If you’re planning a trip to Dublin or live here and want to explore the city more, I have lots of tips for you. Dublin is a wonderful city full of great museums, galleries, shops and restaurants. Here’s where to start!

I write a regular series called One Day in Dublin – detailing whole days full of Dublin adventures. Check back every few weeks for a new installment! You can view the first Day in Dublin here.

I also write a regular column for Poppytalk called Dispatches from Dublin, about the craft and design world in our great city. I share the stories behind great shops, initiatives, tours and workshops.

Getting around Dublin is pretty easy. Here’s what you need to know about public transportation and Dublin Bikes. And here a few more links to get you started here on FCV!

I wrote a City Guide for Design*Sponge about Dublin.

Like ice cream? Check out Murphy’s.

Everything you need to know to blend in at the pub.

Romantic Grafton Street.

*** Need a little more help? I also give custom tours of Dublin through Vayable. Whatever your interests, I can put together a three-hour tour that will help you learn about the makers, bakers, artists and creators that make this city tick. Click here to learn more about my Made in Dublin tours.

Breakfast with an Artist at Talbot Gallery

breakfast_with_artist_talbot_gallery Last weekend I spent a heavenly few hours in the Talbot Gallery at their Eat / Talk / Art breakfast series. I didn’t take many photos, but I wanted to share just these few and encourage you to buy a ticket to their next event on April 26th if you possibly can make it. It’s so, so worth it. It was one of the loveliest, most delicious, and most inspiring mornings I’ve had in a long time.  breakfast_with_artist_talbot_gallery_2

The team at the Talbot Gallery set the most gorgeous table and then cooked up a delicious meal – granola and fruit and yogurt, and then a savory hot dish (I’ll leave it a surprise in case you do make it to the next one!) with crusty bread, followed by sweet treats I was too full to try. After we munched and chatted, artist Alison Pilkington had an open conversation with the featured painter, Joe Scullion. It was an inspired format – perfect for amateur art-lovers as well as those better acquainted with the subject. It wasn’t intimidating or too theoretical, instead, it was a great way to learn about Joe’s paintings and add a few new art terms to your vocabulary.

breakfast_artist_talbot_gallery_2014_4 breakfast_with_artist_talbot_gallery_3

Really, if you’re free and in Dublin on April 26th, book a ticket. And don’t be surprised if you see me there, back for seconds!

4 Spots for the Best Street Art in Dublin

tivoli outside dublin street art

You know what I love about Dublin? In the last few years, there’s been so much great street art popping up around the city, which makes it feel like a we have bonus art exhibits all over the place. Some days happening upon a new one is a really nice surprise, and other days I take little detours to catch a glimpse of my favorite pieces I know will bring a smile to my face.

I thought it would be fun to share just a few spots that have my favorite street art today, but I have to make a little disclaimer about this list. In a few months or even in a few weeks, this list might be out of date. But you can almost guarantee that if one piece of street art gets painted over, another will pop up down the street. You just have to keep your eyes peeled!

Four Spots for the Best Dublin Street Art

tivoli street art dublin

Tivoli Car Park

Tivoli Car Park is by far the best spot because each year there’s a street art festival and they bring in loads of talented street artists to re-graffiti the whole place. The other hilarious thing about it is it’s a parking lot. But it’s by far the most beautiful parking lot in all of Dublin!

dealer street art dublin

Temple Bar

You have to look a little harder for the street art in Temple Bar – you’ll find it hiding down alleyways and up on the side of buildings. But when you do find it, it’s colourful and sassy.

Baggot Street

Baggot Street is a sleeper spot for Dublin street art. Last I saw there was a unicorn on the side of one of the buildings which is just about as good as it gets.

homebird street art dublin

Newmarket Square and Francis Street

That little old lady at the start of this post lives on Francis Street and she cracks me up. I agree, little old lady, I agree. Meanwhile, just down the block in Newmarket Square, you’ll find the Homebird, which is the name of the new clothing line from Dublin’s favorite street artist, Maser.

So those are my favorite street art spots in Dublin at the moment – do you have any to share? I’d love to hear what fun free art exhibit is hanging on the side of a building in your neighborhood!

Are you planning a trip to Dublin? I give walking tours of Dublin. If you’re looking for accommodation for your stay,  check out the great deals available with Expedia Ireland for city breaks in Dublin. 

Breakfast with an Artist in Dublin

breakfast with an artist talbot gallery

Yesterday I booked a ticket to have breakfast with an artist on Saturday morning and I don’t think I’ve looked forward to something so much in a long time. The event is taking place at the Talbot Gallery, a second floor space that looks out over Connolly Station and busy Talbot Street. Each Sunday morning on the way to church we drive by and I wonder what’s up there and this weekend I finally get to find out! And I get to learn about the work of an artist, in the company of friends who are excited about this kind of thing. Also, there’s going to be breakfast, which is arguably the best meal anyone ever invented.

There are still tickets if you’d like to come along!

Photos by Rincy Koshy.


To the Loo! Four Spots in Dublin for a Bathroom Break

bathrooms in dublin

Ages ago, my friend Ursula suggested that I write a post advising visitors on the best places to stop for a bathroom break while walking around Dublin. I completely forgot about the idea until last week when I was in the city centre three days in a row and found myself in need of a bathroom break – three days in a row! Sometimes you just can’t wait!

So, without further oversharing, here are four places you can sneak in a bathroom break while you’re out and about in Dublin. And I’d love to hear your suggestions – I’m always looking to expand my bathroom map of the city – just in case!

Pearse Street Train Station – Train station bathrooms are usually a little terrifying, but as train station bathrooms go, Pearse Street is pretty okay. Not all train stations in Dublin have bathrooms, and of those that do, I certainly wouldn’t recommend all of them! But Pearse is a good option in a pinch.

Powerscourt Centre – I think everyone should go to the Powerscourt Centre anyway (check out Article and A. Rubanesque for sure), so you may as well take advantage of the bathroom break opportunity! The bathrooms are on the top floor, right next to the Design Loft Market.

Museums – Almost all of the museums in Dublin are free and their bathrooms are clean. For research purposes, I stopped into the Chester Beatty Library to check out their facilities. Neat, clean and a full length mirror (see above photo). And right next to the sweet little gift shop. Just keep in mind that museums in Dublin are closed on Mondays!

Brown Thomas – I’m sure Brown Thomas wouldn’t really love that I’m suggesting this, but you can walk right into Brown Thomas, swoop up the elevators to the top floor, and use their fancy bathrooms. You know what? A man with a top hat will even open the front door for you! Trust me, they’ll never know.

Any other spots that are good for a quick bathroom break? Maybe skip the details though!

Away to the West

sheep connemara

I found more sheep! We took my parents west to Limerick and Connemara over the weekend and I can’t wait to tell you about our adventures. In the meantime, I’m spending this Monday soaking up the last of their company before they head back to the States tomorrow morning. We’re heading to our favorite chipper and the local pub tonight!


In Season / March Blooms

magnolia 1

A week ago, Michael and I went to a wedding in County Clare at Dromoland Castle. Somehow I managed to forget to snap any photos of the centuries old castle, but I did catch these insanely bright and giant magnolia blossoms. Aren’t they insane against the grey of the stone castle?

magnolias 2

For the record, I didn’t edit the saturation of these at all. They came straight out of the camera with that incredible pink.

magnolias 3 magnolias 4 Anything blooming in your neck of the woods? My poor family is still buried in snow back in Maine! Luckily my parents are on their way here tomorrow! I just can’t wait to show them all our signs of spring.

In Season is part of a monthly series exploring what’s in bloom in Ireland. February might surprise you!


Dublin with LikeWhere for St. Patrick’s Day

likewhere for st patrick's day Ever wonder what it feels like in Dublin the week before St. Patrick’s Day? It feels like everyone is gearing up for our special day! Businesses are washing their windows and making sure their shelves are stocked, tourists are starting to fill the streets, and companies are rolling out their holiday promotions. With the spotlight turned right on Dublin, it’s the perfect time to shout from the rooftops about the city’s best parts.

My favorite travel app LikeWhere is no different. They’ve teamed up with the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival and are taking the opportunity to share some locals’ popular spots and memories. They asked me a few questions and they’ve shared them on their website, along with stories and memories from a bunch of other Dubliners – including the head chef at the Marker Hotel, the bass player for KeyWest (my sister-in-law loves that band!), and the owner of Roasted Brown coffee shop. It’s a great collection of locals and their favorite spots around the city – just in time for our biggest holiday of the year!

Want a little taste of Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day? Check out the video about Dublin I did with LikeWhere last fall! And if you’re planning a trip, do check out LikeWhere – it’s the app that helps you plan your trip based on places you visited and liked! So clever!


In Season / February Blooms

purple and white crocuses

Spring just about fully sprung in Dublin this week. And not a moment too soon. While it’s still chilly outside, we had a few days of sunshine in a row and all of a sudden flowers are popping. After a hectic week (successful blogger meetup! meetings! work! blog! phew!), I spent a few hours this afternoon taking myself on a sunshine-drenched but chilly photo walk around our neighborhood. I snapped photos of crocuses until my fingers froze and it was so refreshing.

I thought I might share what’s blooming around these parts every month or so. It’s one of my favorite things about taking walks in our north Dublin neighborhood to see what’s in season and what’s blooming in all the front gardens. I’m always amazed at the different things that bloom at different times of the year because it’s so different from the Maine growing climate. By the end of February the snow drops are wilting and we’re cruising into crocuses. This could also be a great record of what I should be planting in our garden so I can have something in bloom at all times throughout the year!

Without further ado, this is a peek at what’s in bloom in my neighborhood this month. Have a wonderful weekend, and I hope spring pops up wherever you are very, very soon.

daffodils and crocuses

purple crocuses above

sky february dublin

pink branch purple crocuses

cherry blossoms

Six Dublin Cafes for Coffee Snobs

coffee dublin

I have to tell you, the more I thought about this list, the harder it was to narrow down. I think there could actually be about 50 cafes in Dublin that are great for coffee. But Michael and I have become somewhat painful coffee snobs in the last while, so these are our six go-to cafes we hit up when we’re looking for a coffee fix. Neither of us drink a lot of coffee, maybe one cup each per day, so when we do we want it to be delicious. These six are so delicious Michael is usually tempted to order one for the road and meanwhile, I always try to drink as slowly as possible and savor every sip.

Six Dublin Cafes for a Coffee Snob

Brother Hubbard – I’ve raved about Brother Hubbard before, their hot chocolate is still very high on my list (there’s another post I should write while it’s still winter!) of best in Dublin. They use Hasbean coffee beans and every cup is made with two shots. If you’re not a two shot person, you can ask for one shot, and they’re very nice if you do. I’m pretty sensitive to caffeine, so I always ask for one shot and they never give me coffee impostor dirty looks!

Coppa – If you know me, I’m sure you’re bored of me going on and on about Coppa, so I will keep this one brief. They use Badger & Dodo beans, which are roasted in Cork, and their coffees are super. (This is where Michael asked for a to-go coffee for the road after downing a flat white last weekend! Thanks, Marcus!)

Clement & Pekoe – If I make a single hint about coffee and we’re within fifteen minutes of Clement & Pekoe, Michael suggests we make a detour. It’s his all-time favorite, also Badger & Dodo beans, and a great stoop for watching the hipsters go by on South William Street!

Vice Coffee – Vice is like the cooler, edgier North side brother of this bunch. It’s located in the Twisted Pepper, which hosts gigs and craft beer and cocktails in the evenings. But by day, they do coffee and a few munchies very, very well.

Butler’s - This will probably show the real coffee snobs that I’m a complete phony, but when I need a real treat (especially at the airport) that still has a little caffeine, I love a Butler’s mocha. For the same reason I love their hot chocolate – they ladle in thick chocolate sauce before adding hot milk and coffee. It makes a bad day instantly cheerful.

Peacock Green – I’m not sure Peacock Green will make most coffee snob lists, it flies a little under the radar. But since I started working at House & Home before Christmas, it has become my favorite daily treat. I haven’t stopped long enough for a sandwich, but they always look delicious, and they love to put edible glitter on their treats. Really, how can you refuse edible glitter?!

I’m not kidding when I say there are lots upon lots of great coffee joints in Dublin – here are a few more: 3fe / Coffee Angel / Joe’s Coffee / The Fumbally / Fixx Coffeehouse

And of course, this list wouldn’t be complete (for us at least!) without mentioning how yummy Michael’s mom’s coffees are. He stops by there more days than he’ll admit for a daily coffee!

One Night in County Monaghan

castle leslie
Last weekend, Michael decided we should take a little break away from Dublin for one night. He found us a room at the Castle Leslie Estate in County Monaghan, a county on the border of Northern Ireland that I don’t think I had set foot in before!

castle leslie room This was our room…for about twenty minutes. We dropped our bags, looked around and then headed to get something to eat in the Lodge across the green. And during that dinner (which was delicious) Michael and I both admitted that the room made us both a little nervous – it was like a museum! By the time dinner was over, we had managed to downgrade (well, upgrade for us) ourselves into a room at the Lodge overlooking the stables.

castle leslie lodge

The Lodge was equally old but had been upgraded to be a little more like a modern hotel room and a little less like we might break something. And frankly, the bed was bigger. When you’re married to a dude who’s 6’4 and only have room for a full size bed in your apartment, a king size bed is awfully appealing!

boot room castle leslie Plus, I loved that just down the hall was the boot room!

driveway castle leslie We very much wished we had brought our wellies (which we still don’t own, such city slickers we are) when we took a walk around the grounds. It was a perfect chilly morning for a walk, but we were scrubbing mud off our shoes the next day. And we probably looked a tad silly – Michael in Converse and me in two inch booties. Oops!

horse castle leslie We paused to say hello to this guy. He and his friends were all wearing their winter coats. The wind was howling!

horses and ivy michael castle leslie And then we hopped in the car and took the scenic route back to Dublin! All in all, a super little one night escape from Dublin.


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