The Big Smoke – Dublin Trips 2015

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I’ve been living in Ireland for 3 years now and have been to Dublin on a few occasions, however each time I was in Dublin, I was either at the airport or at some kind of function. Basically I had never shopped, dined or just chilled in the city. That all changed this year when my boyfriend and I decided to take a trip there at the end of January. He was familiar with the city, he lived there for years and even went to university there, but I  had never had the Dublin experience. I grew up in Johannesburg and Lusaka which are both capital cities and I currently live in Limerick City so I’m pretty used to the city life but I was not prepared for how different and beautiful Dublin would be.

Dublin, like New York, has wide open streets, almost like boulevards and they add to the busy, vibrant and cool metropolitan ambiance that I love. The air is different from limerick, its almost like the city itself is alive The Shopping ahhhhh Stop! ( in an Irish Accent lol), is to die for. There are so many options it’s actually insane. We spent 3 days and 2 nights there and I did lots of shopping. The dining and entertainment was also spot on. There were so many places to go and so much to do. Unfortunately because of work  and responsibilities we couldn’t stay longer  but I was able to go back last weekend for my friend’s 21st Birthday and once again the city did not disappoint. Needless to say we have decided to move to Dublin in the next year because I have fallen madly in love with it.

Anyway here are some of the things I did while in Dublin( both trips) and my reviews on them.

FOOD

Hard Rock Cafe

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Okay people this place is amazing.  The food, the cocktails and the staff. I’m not a big tipper but I had to give a decent tip when I went to this place because the service was outstanding. I had been to the Hardrock Cafe a few years back but it was a really quick drink so I didn’t really notice but this time I was there for dinner and could fully experience the place. The decor is unlike any other pub or restaurant and there are some really cool items in there that have belonged to some of our favorite rockers.  The price of food and drinks are not outrageous either which was a pleasant surprise. One thing I wish I knew though is Temple Bar is covered in cobblestones so maybe wearing heels was a bad choice. http://www.hardrock.com/cafes/dublin/

The Marker Hotel

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Elegant, sophisticated and modern are just a few words to describe this magnificent gem of a hotel. Three of my friends and I stayed at the marker when we were celebrating one of their birthdays last weekend and everything was perfect. The rooms were absolutely stunning with fabulous views and luxurious  interior design. The best thing however was the food. Delicious. The food was not expensive but the cocktails are a bit on the pricey side, that being said they are not regular cocktails, they are specialized, with quiet expensive ingredients so its all worth the extra coin. In the summer you can go to the rooftop and enjoy a bbq and the beautiful view of Dublin city. I hear this is the best view you can get of the city and from experience I find that hard to doubt. http://www.themarkerhoteldublin.com/

Cocoa Atelier

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Anybody who know me knows that I love macaroons and if ever you need to bribe me, give me a few macaroons and I will do whatever you want. I could spend my whole day in this shop and not get bored. I love the macaroons, they are fresh and delicious. The hot chocolate is also AWESOME. The only thing is Cocoa Atelier is not cheap but its totally worth it.

 Fast Foods

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  • Nando’s – Growing up in South Africa I ate a lot of Nando’s, but when I moved to Limerick that was the end of good Peri-Peri chicken. When I went to Dublin one of the first orders of business was  going to Nando’s and I was almost in tears as I drank my Savanna and listened to the African music playing in the restaurant. It made me homesick but the food was excellent as usual. I need to speak to someone about getting one of these in Limerick ASAP. www.nandos.ie
  • Flanagans  – This is a small restaurant on O’Connell street with the best Irish breakfast ever and fantastic and efficient staff
  • Sbarro – Only a couple of words here… good pizza… great pizza.. like the best pizza I have had since I moved to Ireland. Okay maybe more that a couple of words but I ate more than a couple of slices so we’ll call it even.
  • Starbucks – This is not much to most people but there is no Starbucks in Limerick so when I go to Dublin and there is one at every corner I’m like a kid in a candy store.

Night Life

The Morgan

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This hotel is one of the most eclectic but still elegant places I’ve been to in Ireland. I can’t really comment on the rooms as I have not stayed there but the bar is fabulous. My favorite thing is the little beer garden at the back with beautifully detailed, vintage inspired beds for seats. The cocktails are also quiet pricey but mouth watering and worth every single cent. Don’t take this the wrong way, but if you do go to The Morgan, try The Pornstar. http://www.themorgan.com/

 Dicey’s Garden/ Krystle Nightclub

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Part of the Russel Court, Dicey’s is the perfect spot for a few drinks, good music and a really laid back Saturday night. If you’re feeling more festive and want to go all out, Krystal is just next door for some elegant clubbing (if that’s even a thing). Krystal is also a part of the Russel Court Hotel and just above Copper Face Jacks if that’s your thing.

Buskers 

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Buskers is the perfect place to go and listen to an Irish Band or just watch the game, unless you’ve been anywhere else that hosts bands or has a TV. Seriously, it is nice but it’s so quiet and just didn’t fit in with the rest of my Dublin experience. The cocktails are cheap, and yeah, they tasted cheap.

Irish Whiskey Museum

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I’m not sure if this is open at night as I went there in the afternoon but this is just good craic you guys. The staff are charismatic and fun. For a small fee you can learn about whiskey while drinking it. http://www.irishwhiskeymuseum.ie/

Shopping

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Forever21, Topshop, Astradivarius, Miss Selfridge and so many more that we don’t have in Limerick. I was in heaven! Not only are there some of my favorite stores that are not in my city, there are also some like New Look, River Island, H&M, Zara, Penny’s and so many others that are way bigger in Dublin with more variety. There are actual Mac stores that are not a part of Brown Thomas. Imagine! To see some of my purchases check out my End of January Haul post.These are only an inkling of the shopping experience you can have in Dublin,dont even get me started on Dundrum shopping mall and all amazing stores in there. My favorite store though is Lush Cosmetics – there will be  a special post dedicated to Lush.

Driving into Dublin is an experience in it’s own. The way the scenery becomes progressively more urban and cool. The build of noise and chaos and fun and all the people around you that don’t seem to notice that they live in the centre of chic. The way the ground beats under traffic with your heart. I know I’ll go back to Dublin again. I’m just not sure if I’ll ever leave.

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