Cathal’s Recommendations


Sheehan’s Pub, Chatham Street – Great place for lunch and dinner just off Grafton Street. Very easygoing and local.

The Stag’s Head, Dame Court – Lovely Victorian pub that is great for lunch or drinks. Can get busy at weekends.

The Bank, College Green – Lavish, opulent pub/restaurant on Dame Street. It is a former Victorian bank that still has the vaults and tellers. It also has a facsimile of the Book of Kells. Very nice food.

Davy Byrnes, Duke St – One of Dublin’s famed literary pubs. It is mentioned in James Joyce’s Ulysses. You can order the Gorgonzola and brown bread sandwich mentioned in this classic novel.

The Hairy Lemon , Stephen Street Lower – Great pubs for drinks and food. They have an extensive menu of traditonal Irish dishes.

Darkey Kelly’s, Fishamble Street – Nice food and drinks. Lunch and dinner served here until late. Irish music in the evenings.

Kennedy’s Pub, Westland Row – Literary pub and restaurant with nice food. Great for lunch or dinner.

The Hairy Lemon, Stephen Street – Extensive menu of traditional Irish dishes in this busy but fun pub, close to Grafton Street.

The Brazen Head, Lower Bridge Street – Oldest pub in Dublin (not Ireland as they claim). Nice food, and a great place to get a drink if it’s not the weekend. It tends to get overrun by tourists at certain times.


  1. Full Irish Breakfast – Should consist of black and white pudding, sausage, bacon rashers, mushrooms, tomato, fired eggs, and toast. Obviously not something you would eat every morning, but a nice treat every now and then.
  2. Beef and Guinness Stew – Very tasty option, and great on a rainy day. The Stag’s Head and Sheehans have particularly good versions of this dish.
  3. Fish and Chips – Served in every pub. Darkey Kellys and Kennedys do a good Fish and Chips. You can also choose to get as a take away in what we call “chippers” all over Dublin. Burdocks and Beschoff Bros. are two famous franchises. Smoked Cod is a good choice if you’re looking for something different.
  4. Steak – Ireland has  one of the best quality beef in the world. You will get steak in any restaurant. FX Buckley specialises in steaks.
  5. Lamb Shank – Normally served with a red wine sauce, potatoes and vegetable. Ireland has great lamb. Sheehans Pub serves a great Lamb Shank.
  6. Seafood Chowder – Again, The Stag’s Head is a good option for this dish.
  7. Irish Stew – Rarer than you might think. A stew made from lamb as opposed to beef. Tends to be more watery than the beef stews.
  8. Dublin Coddle – A traditional Dublin stew made from sausages and whatever else they could throw in th pot.
  9. Bacon and Cabbage – Very traditional meal, consisting of boiled potatoes and cabbage, boiled pink bacon, and a white sauce. Not for everybody, but a staple dinner for most Irish people growing up in Ireland.
  10. Corned Beef and Cabbage – Served with parsley sauce, potatoes and vegetables.  This is actually a traditional Irish-American dish as a replacement to bacon amongst Irish emigrants who bought it from Jewish butchers in the United States.
  11. Bangers and Mash – This is actually a traditional English dish, but you will find this tasty option in a lot of Irish pubs. Mashed potatoes mixed with sausages.


Scones – The scones you will find in Ireland are the best you will find in the world. I particularly love blueberry or raspberry scones. Queen of Tarts and Bewleys are great places to get scones, but many places serve them.

Brown Soda Bread – You will get brown soda bread in most pubs and restaurants. Normally it is served with soup. When it is eaten with creamy Irish butter it is delicious.


Peruke and Periwig, Dawson St – Great cocktails. Try to book a table upstairs if you can.

The Blind Pig Speakeasy, Suffolk Street – Great cocktail bar and restaurant with live music.




The Workman’s Club



4 Dame Lane

The Button Factory

Dicey’s Garden

Cafe En Seine

Copperface Jacks


The Cobblestone, Smithfield – Famous traditional Irish music pub. Live music most of the day and evening.

O’Donoghue’s Pub, Baggot Street – Traditional Irish music pub near St Stephen’s Green Park. The famous traditional band The Dubliners were founded here.

McNeill’s Pub, Capel Street – Traditional Irish music from 9:30pm.


There are plenty of these in Dublin, but here are some interesting places to have a drink:

Old Style Pubs

The Stag’s Head – Victorian pub.

Neary’s Pub – Great old Dublin pub.

McDaid’s Pub – Famous literary pub.

The Swan – Victorian pub.

The Cobblestone – Well known pub for traditional Irish music.

O’Donoghues Pub – Another great pub for Irish music.

The Hairy Lemon – Great pub for drinks and “craic”.

Nealon’s Pub – Lovely pub on Capel St.

Chaplin’s Pub – Great local pub near Temple Bar.

Modern Pubs

The Bar With No Name – Just off Grafton Street area. Popular pub with 20 somethings.

Cafe En Seine – Celtic Tiger  pub on Dawson Street.

Pygmalion – Nice drinks and pizzas. Popular with younger crowd.

Hogans – Fun and lively pub.

Anseo – Great pub on Camden Street.

Sin e – Live music venue by the River Liffey.

Whelans – Popular rock music venue and great pub.


Toners Pub – Traditional Irish pub with a large beer garden.

Banobo, Smithfield – Hipster pub with a beer garden that serevs a great variety of beers and the best pizzas in Dublin.

Brewdog, Grand Canal – Lots of space in this beer garden. Brewdog have great beers and food. Amazing vegan burgers and spicy cauliflower wings.


1. Guinness

2. Smithwicks (Red Ale)

3. Hop House Lager

4. Smithwick’s Blonde Ale

5. O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ale

6. The Five Lamps Lager


1. Lambay Small Batch Blend

2. Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey

3. Teelings Small Batch Whiskey

4. Writer’s Tears Pot Still Blend

5. Green Spot Single Pot Still

6. For something different try a peated Irish whiskey: Two Stack’s Smoke and Mirrors Whiskey.


Irish Coffee – A mixture of coffee, whiskey, sugar and fresh cream. A delicious dessert option too. Served in most pubs and restaurants all over the country.

Baileys Coffee – An alternative to Irish coffee. Baileys is used as a replacement for whiskey.

Guinness and Blackcurrant – If Guinness is too sour for you, then ask the barman to add a dash of blackcurrant to sweeten it up a bit.


For Those On A Budget 

Leo Burdocks, Crown Alley, Temple Bar (but also in other locations)– Great fish and chips (particularly smoked cod and chips). You can sit in here. 

Umi Falafel, George’s Street Arcade (but also in other locations) – The best Falafels in Dublin. A great option for vegans.

Bunsen Burger, Duke Street (but also other locations) – Great burgers in this handy restaurant.

The Saucy Cow Vegan Food, Temple Bar  – Amazing vegan burgers.

Zaytoon Persian Restaurant – Best kebabs in Dublin.

Pablo Picante, Dawson Street – Best burritos in town

Mid-High Range Restaurants

FX Buckley’s Steakhouse, Pembroke Street – Great steak restaurant just off Baggot Street.

The Winding Stair, Ormonde Quay – Old fashioned, Irish food in an upmarket setting with local produce.

Chez Max, Palace Street – Very nice French food in a great location close to Dublin castle.

Italian Restaurant

Toscana, Dame Street – Very nice Italian restaurant close to the castle.

Il Vicoletto, Crow Street, Temple Bar – Lovely Italian restaurant in Temple Bar.

Michelin Star

Chapter One, Parnell Square North – Top of the range restaurant on the north side of Dublin.

 Mr Fox, Parnell Square – Located close to Chapter One is another Michelin Star restaurant. 


Coffee and a Pastry

Queen of Tarts, Cow’s Lane – Nice place for a tea, coffee, scone. They also serve brunch and lunch.

Bewley’s Cafe, Grafton Street – Iconic cafe in the centre of Grafton street. Lovely scones and pastries.

Bookseller Cafe, Dawson Street – Lovely cafe to sit and relax while enjoying a coffee or tea.

The Silk Road Cafe, Chester Beatty Library – Middle Eastern/Mediterranean themed cafe with amazing food. Nice coffee and scones too.


Mad Yolks, Smithfield – Lovely breakfast bagels and sandwiches. Great coffee too.

Kilkenny Cafe and Restaurant, Nassau Street – Great place for the Full Irish breakfast. They also serve fresh scones. It is located upstairs in this high quality gift shop.

Copper Alley Bistro,Lord Edward St –They do a lovely Full Irish breakfast here. It is a good option earlier in the morning when most other places are closed, especially on Sundays.

Two Pups Cafe, Francis Street – Lovely breakfasts in this cool, hipster cafe.


KC Peaches (Multiple locations – Dame St, Baggot St, Nassau St) – Lovely sandwiches and coffee here.  They also serve a hot breakfast and dinner. Irish company.

Simon’s Place Coffee Shop, South Great George’s Street  – For a handy, tasty pre-made sandwich and a nice cup of coffee, they don’t come better than Simons. Great value too. I recommend the chicken sandwich.

Blazing Salads, Drury Street – Lovely vegan burgers and falafels with outdoor seating.

Metro Cafe, South William Street – Nice place for a sandwich and a coffee/tea if it’s not too busy.

Umi Falafel (multiple locations) Also mentioned above as a cheap but tasty dinner option. This is where I regularly go for a healthy lunch. Amazing Palestinian falafels.

Kilkenny Cafe and Restaurant, Nassau Street – Cafe is located upstairs in this great clothing/gift shop. Lovely lunches and dinner at reasonable prices. Also one of the best Irish breakfasts in Dublin. 


Murphy’s Ice Cream, Wicklow Street – Amazing Irish ice cream with unusual flavours. I recommend the sea salt and chocolate whiskey. Bit pricey (6 euro for small cone/tub), but worth it.

Butler’s Cafe and Chocolate (multiple locations) – Order a tea/coffee/hot chocolate and pick a free chocolate from one of their range. Best chocolate in Ireland.


  1. National Archaeology Museum  (Free Entrance) – Bog Bodies Exhibition is a must.
  2. Christchurch Cathedral and/or St Patrick’s Cathedral (Entrance Fee – Approx. €10) – There are two cathedrals in Dublin, both are Church of Ireland (episcopalean), as they were both taken over by Henry VIII in the 1500s. There is an entrance fee for both. I would highly recommend the Christchurch cathedral tour for €10. Christchurch also has a crypt. St Patricks, although larger than Christchurch, does not have a crypt. Both are worth visiting, but I would favour Christchurch Cathedral if you were to visit one. Try to do the tour to get the most out of your visit.
  3. St Audoens Church, High Street (Free Entrance) – Hidden gem of a church dating back to 1190. Touch the Lucky Stone for good fortune. 
  4. Old Library and book of Kells (Entrance – €18.50) – Most spectacular room in Ireland.  There is an exhibition on the ground floor of the Book of Kells, and you will see the actual illuminated manuscript (800AD) on display. Upstairs is the Old Library, which for most people is the highlight of this visit.
  5. St Michan’s Church, Church Street (Entrance Fee – €12) – Mummies of  a crusader, a nun, and a thief can all be seen via a creepy tour of the crypts of this old church on the North Side. Theire website crashes all the time (which is creepy too), so call and see if they are running tours. Contact number is (01- 8724154).
  6. Kilmainham Gaol (Entrance – €8) – One hour tour of this old, histrorical jail is well worth a visit.
  7. National Gallery (Free Entrance) – Art is not everybody’s thing, but out National Gallery is well worth a visit. Walk through Merrion Square Park  afterwards and drop by the Oscar Wilde memorial. Also walk around the square to admire the beautiful Georgian houses from the 1760s. 
  8. Marsh’s Library, next to St. Patrick’s  Cathedral  (Entrance approx. €10) – Ireland’s oldest public library (1707) is reputedly haunted. It still has the old cages were readers were locked in (to prevent theft of books) in the 1700s. Small library, and a cheaper, more quaint option than the Old Library in Trinity College.
  9. 14 Henrietta Street (Entrance- €10) – Old Georgian house that became a tenement home in the 19th and 20th century. Very interesting tour.
  10. The Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship (Entrance – €14) – Interesting tour of a replica Famine Ship, also known as a coffin ship. These ships brough emigrants all over the world during the Great Famine (1845-1850).
  11. Grafton Street Area – Explore the cafes around Grafton Street, particularly South William Street with the stunning Powerscourt Townhouse (converted into a Boutigue Shopping Mall in the 80s) and George’s Street Arcade. Great pubs around here too including Sheehans, Nearys, The Hairy Lemon, Hogans, P Macs, Farrier and Drapier, and the list goes on.
  12. Dubh Linn Gardens – This is where the name Dublin originates from. Peaceful gardens at the back of Dublin Castle. You can do a tour of the castle, visit the Chester Beatty Library (free entrance), and have coffee/lunch in the Middle Eastern/Mediterranean themed cafe there The Silk Road. Great scones and dishes.


Working Distilleries

The Dublin Liberties Distillery – A working distillery in the Liberties area of Dublin. Very near St Patrick’s cathedral.

Teelings Whiskey – Another working distillery near St Patrick’s Cathedral.  Take your pick!

Non-working Distilleries

Jameson Distillery, Smithfield – No longer a distillery, but a great tour of Jameson’s original location.

The Irish Whiskey Museum – This museum is right next to Trinity College and Grafton Street, so it is in a very central location. It is great fun with good whiskey samples of a variety of brands at the end.


Johnnie Foxes  “Hooley” Irish Dance, Music and Dinner- For the more adventurous who don’t mind leaving the city for an evening. Book online. You will also need to book a bus that leaves the city centre (€10 return) to bring you 30 mins up to the highest pub in Ireland. An interesting, old pub in its own right.

The Irish House Party – A show with a slightly different angle. A more intimate “chat” with musicians and an Irish dancer as they perform and speak about their various skills and instruments. It is located a short walk from the city centre on the south side. Great fun, and a nice meal.

Belvedere Hotel Irish Dance Show (Lansdowne Hotel) – An Irish dance show in a more centralised location just above O’Connell Street.


The Abbey Theatre – Our national theatre that produces Irish plays, both classic and modern. 

The Gate Theatre – European and American plays feature in this private theatre. They are produced to a very high standard.

The Gaiety Theatre – Privately owned theatre that runs travelling theatre shows and Riverdance, the famous Irish Dance Show during the summer season.

Bord Gais Theatre – Features high production musicals.


These are various companies that run tours to these areas. I have no recommendatiosn for companies, but here are the places that I recommend.

1. Glendalough Monastery and Kilkenny City – Glendalough is a ruined 10th century monastery, located close to two lakes and surrounded by mountains. It is a glorious, tranquil and spiritual place to go for a hike and admire the natural beauty. Kilkenny city is a very interesting medieval town (more of a town than a city to be honest) with an old cathedral and castle. I would recommend a day tour that incorporates these two sights and a bit of the Wicklow mountains. Sally Gap is a scenic part of the WIcklow mountains that can be passed through on the retuen journey to Dublin.

2. Powerscourt Gardens – Beautiful Italian and Japanese gardens about 30 minutes outside of Dublin. 

3. Newgrange Passage Tomb and Mellifont Abbey – Newgrange and the Boyne Valley are home to Neolithic monuments dating back to over 5000 years ago. Another amazing, spiritual and mystical area.

4. Howth Seaside Village – Take the DART train from the centre of Dublin. It takes about half an hour before you arrive in Howth. A beautiful seaside village, where you can eat fresh seafood, walk around the cliffs and visit the lighthouse, or do a free walking tour that begins at the DART station.

5. Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk – Take the DART train to the south coast of Dublin until you arrive at Bray, take the cliff walk to Greystones where you can visit one of the many cafes there for lunch, including the most famous vegan cafe in Ireland, The Happy Pear. Then take the DART back to Dublin, possibly stopping by Dalkey village for a look with its old castle. Also check out Sandycove with its Martello  Tower and James Joyce Museum. Also jump into the 40 Foot for a dip!


1. Skellig Michael – UNESCO World Heritage Site that was used as a location in The Last Jedi. Most amazing place in Ireland, or should I say around Ireland. It was once a monastery in the Middle Ages, in spite of the fact that is merely a very large rock in the atlantic sea 12kms off the coast of Kerry.

2. Dingle – My favourite town in Ireland. Dingle is right on the coast in County Kerry and offers a great base to explore Slea Head, a wonderfully scenic are that is not too much of a drive. Home to great restaurants, beaches, and boat trips to the Blasket Islands.

3. Ring of Kerry – One of the most famous scenic drives in Ireland. This area includes views of the highest mountain in Ireland, coastline, and the beautiful scenery of Killarney.

4. Killarney – A very touristy  town, but for a good reason. Great tourist infrastructure. An amazing national park, and Muckross House, Ross Castle and Inisfallen Island are all worth visiting. My favourite ruined abbey is located in Killarney. It is called Muckross Abbey. A must see!

5. West Cork – Glengarriff, Beara Peninsula, Kinsale, Clonakilty. These are all wonderfully scenic areas with plenty to offer tourists in some of the prettiest parts of the country.

6. West of Ireland – Clare (including Bunratty Castle), then drive through Connemara, Galway City, Mayo, Westport, Sligo and finish in Donegal. These areas are all part of the Wild Atlantic Way. If you have a week or so in Ireland and are travelling by car, then this is a great journey to make.


1. An Cailin Ciuin (The Quiet Girl) – Nominated for the Oscars in the Best Foreign Film Category 2023. This is a lovely film in Irish about a young girl from a poor family in 1980’s Ireland.

2. In The Name of the Father – A great film about the Guildford 4 injustice during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, starring one of the greatest actors ever, Daniel Day-Lewis. Directed by Jim Sheridan.

3. Michael Collins – Directed by Neil Jordan, this film tells the story of Michael Collins, one of the leaders of Ireland’s War of Independence from 1919-1921. It stars Liam Neeeson and none other than Julia Roberts.

4. The Field – This dark story about rural Ireland’s obsession with land stars Richard Harris in one of his greatest performances ever.

5. My Left Foot – Another Jim Sheridan film. This tells the story of Irish writer and painter, Christy Brown, who had cerebral palsy. This film accurately shows the poverty experienced by working class people in Dublin in the 30, 40s and 50s. Daniel-Day Lewis won an Oscar for his portrayal of Christy in 1990. 

6. The Butcher Boy – A very dark but at times funny drama exploring a young boys madness. Not for everyone, but a great film from Neil Jordan in my opinion. 

7. Black 47- An action/western that is set during the Great Famine of 1845-1850.

8. Wolfwalkers and The Secret of Kells – Two beautiful cartoons, one dealing with the Cromwellian wolfhunters during the 1600s, and the other with the Book of Kells.

9. Sing Street – Feel good musical set in 1980s Ireland.

10. Once – A low-budget musical set in Dublin city centre. This film has an amazing soundtrack.

11. The Snapper – Very funny film with typical dark Irish humour set in 1980s Dublin. Based on a Roddy Doyle novel.


Star of the Sea by Joseph O’Connor – A historical novel set during the Irish Famine.

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin – A novel about a young Irish immigrant in 1950s Brookylyn, New York.

A Portrait of the Artist As  A Young Man by James Joyce – One of Joyce’s more accessible reads. It tells the story of Joyce’s alter ego, Stephen Dedalus.

Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor – A reimagining of the real-life relationships between Bram Stoker and two stars of the Victorian theatre.


1. Braveheart – Classic epic film about the Scottish historical figure, William Wallace. Directed by Mel Gibson, who also plays Wallace.

2. Barry Lyndon – Stanley Kubrick’s epic drama was mostly filmed in Ireland in the 1970s. It follows the fictional character, Barry Lyndon, as he progresses through the higher classes of society. 

3. Leap Year – A very charming Romantic Comedy, set in Ireland, starring Amy Adams.

3. The Commitments – A funny musical set in 1980s Dublin about a soul band’s rise and fall.

4. PS I Love You – A Romantic Comedy starring Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank with many great locations in Ireland.

5. The Quiet Man – Classic film starring Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne. Filmed in Cong, Co. Mayo.

6. Saving Private Ryan – Steven Spielberg’s brilliand WWII film. The opening scene was shot on the beaches of County Wexford.

7. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Filmed in Donegal Kerry and the most spectacular place  in all of Ireland, Skellig Michael.


1. Guinness

2. Smithwicks (Red Ale)

3. Hop House Lager

4. Smithwick’s Blonde Ale

5. O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ale

6. The Five Lamps Lager


1. Lambay Small Batch Blend

2. Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey

3. Teelings Small Batch Whiskey

4. Writer’s Tears Pot Still Blend

5. Green Spot Single Pot Still

6. For something different try a peated Irish whiskey: Two Stack’s Smoke and Mirrors Whiskey