Day two was a rather more wholesome affair than day one. We avoided booze and we got some exercise, by renting bikes from the ‘Dublin bike’ scheme. This is a brilliant initiative and it’s so easy to use. You can sign up online for a yearly pass for €20 (they send you out a card). Or you can register for a three day pass at some of their terminals in the city for €5. After that, each bike is free for up to 30 minutes, before you are charged a nominal fee. It was a brilliant way to get around; quick, easy and fun. There are dozens of stations around Dublin too, so you’re never stuck for a bike and all the ones we used were in great nick. If you’re new to Dublin, it’s probably best to avoid them around rush hour, but otherwise, it’s my number one new way to get around!
Once we had our mode of transport, we took off looking for interesting cafés and restaurants, and fun parts of town! Some places, like Smithfield and Stoneybatter are absolutely buzzing at the moment, with interesting people and tempting food joints. Check out the pictures and descriptions below for some of our favourite spots along the route:)
This fab café near Grand Canal Dock reputedly has the best coffee in Dublin, and who am I to dispute that? As roasters, they also sell their beans to other local spots, so you don’t have to come all this way just for the coffee. For the food, however, you do… They do breakfast and lunch, with a menu that changes on a daily basis. Everything is fresh, seasonal and delicious. They are also very creative with their dishes, often including pickles and fermented foods on the menu. As they only have five dishes on for each mealtime they can concentrate on getting them perfect. I actually visited twice on this trip home and can’t wait to go again… Highlights for me were the coffee (they have loads of different blends to choose from), the porridge and the gorgeous pickled veg with creamy salmon creme fraiche.
This place was recommended to me by a foodie friend who recently moved from Zurich back to Ireland. She tends to be me go-to restaurant advisor anytime I’m back in Dublin, and always gets it spot on. With this place, she was victorious once again. This food truck hangs out in a random garage /shop entrance (do you write the word ‘slash’ or go with ‘/’) behind the Four Courts. They’ve made it all homey with the addition of homemade palette furniture, heaters and a little coffee station. Prices are reasonable and food is goooood. This time we just shared a guacamole nachos (€4), but even then they did not disappoint. Smooth, well-seasoned guac with pops of raw onion and perfectly spicy jalapenos.
Brilliant, yet absolutely tiny coffee shop on Smithfield Square. Amazing coffee, ridiculously friendly staff, yummy granola bars… Need I say more???
Stoneybatter has great food emporiums coming out its ears. We were so full by the time we got there that we couldn’t eat more, but if we had space, we would have been all over these bad boys…
Last but not least on our whistlestop tour was ‘The Fumbally‘. This place has really made its mark on the Dublin scene over the past few years. To describe it as a ‘café’ is an understatement. The Fumbally is a restaurant, an office, a meeting space, a shop, a school and much more… They have created a sanctuary in a building and a part of Dublin that you would least expect. Once you walk in you feel welcome. They seemed genuinely devastated that they had run out of all of their lunch food when we came in (at 4pm). They wanted to make us eggs to make up for it, and had a little bit of salad that we could also have. We were already stuffed (and Mum was cooking dinner), so were happy out with a slice of orange cake and some peppermint tea. Although I couldn’t sample the menu that day, I’ve eaten in The Fumbally before and it doesn’t disappoint. You can’t underestimate the power of a good bowl of soup and they have it nailed. They also change the menu everyday, just offering a sandwich, soup and main of the day. Once it’s gone it’s gone. Their other major hook for me is their interest in preserving. They have a fascinating collection of jars filled with pickles and krauts, and these are often incorporated in their daily meal. In the stables out the back, they also hold classes in everything from yoga to fermentation to sourdough to birch tapping. Do make this a stop on your tour of Dublin. Even if you’re not hungry, it’s just a nice place to be:)