Dublin Mini Guide

My first plans of visiting Dublin go back a long, long while. Early 2012 to be precise.

And then my entire bag, including every form of ID I had got stolen and I couldn’t go. There was also the family trip for my brother’s 18th birthday I couldn’t attend because of work obligations, and the aborted trip because of poor weather conditions.

Fast forward 5 years almost to the day and there I was, finally stepping foot into the Emerald Isle’s capital. And it was totally worth the 5-year wait and anticipation.

A city in full reconversion where Celtic history meets the latest tech innovations, Dublin is a fascinating destination.

This means there’s something for everyone, from hipster designer goods to fine dining, from little community cafés to wow-inducing libraries. And then everything else.

It also means planning a trip to Dublin can feel rather daunting –especially for the most FOMO-prone amongst us– so I’ve gathered together the things we prefered from our short trip in case you need inspiration for a trip!

SEE

Trinity College Library's Long Room, Dublin Trinity College Library's Long Room, Dublin Trinity College Library's Long Room, Dublin

Trinity College Library’s Long Room

The largest library in Ireland, permanent home to the famous Book of Kells and acting as “copyright library”, the Trinity College Library comes at the top of every list of things to see in Dublin.

I’d usually run away from that sort of place, but its Long Room, panelled with wood, then covered in books from top to bottom is the real-life version of my Beauty & The Beast dreams and truly worth seing.

Book your tickets online and try to go early to avoid touristy crowds though.

Humans need not apply at Dublin Science Gallery Humans need not apply at Dublin Science Gallery Humans need not apply at Dublin Science Gallery Humans need not apply at Dublin Science Gallery

Science Gallery

It may have ‘science’ in the title, but each exhibition at the gallery proves it to be the most creative, innovative and artistic venue in Ireland.” – Shane Hegarty, Irish Times, April 2011

The current exhibition, Humans need not apply, looks into the collisions between automated world and consciousness and looks into the consequences on work and society of machines being incresingly able to do everything better, faster and for longer.

DO

Irish Whiskey Museum, DublinA mini guide to Dublin, Ireland | Cake + WhiskyTeeling Distillery Dublin, Ireland

Build-your-own whiskey tour

Whisky is to Dublin what wine is to Bordeaux – the water of life. Quite literally for the former, as the gaelic spelling of whiskey, uisce beatha, translates to “water of life”.

While the Irish capital lost all of its distilleries and most of its international trade following the two world wars and the American prohibition, the spirit of Dublin is nowadays coming back to the city, with distilleries such as Teeling producing and trading in the historical Liberties quarter and the brand-new Irish Whiskey Museum drawing on centuries of shared history.

Seasoned whisky drinkers will also enjoy the incredible Irish and international selection available at the Dingle Whisky Bar.

A mini guide to Dublin, Ireland | Cake + WhiskyA mini guide to Dublin, Ireland | Cake + WhiskyA mini guide to Dublin, Ireland | Cake + WhiskyA mini guide to Dublin, Ireland | Cake + WhiskyScout Dublin store | Cake + Whisky

Get off the beaten track

Forget the never ending list must-visit places, forget the maps, tourist buses and the recommended itinerary. Instead, take the small streets, go ’round in circles and explore.

There’s no better way to discover what a city really is like and find true local gems in the process.

With plenty of gorgeous buildings, carefully curated designer stores (above is my favourite, Scout Dublin) and incredible street art, Dublin will throw plenty of good things your way!

A mini guide to Dublin, Ireland | Cake + WhiskyHoath, Ireland at sunset | Cake + Whisky A mini guide to Dublin, Ireland | Cake + Whisky

Make it to Hoath for the sunset

Because no matter how much I love cities, nothing beats a sun-kissing-the-sea sort of sunset (and the fresh-off(the-boat seafood doesn’t hurt either)!

EAT

Dublin's best brunch at The Fumbally | Cake + Whisky Dublin's best brunch at The Fumbally | Cake + WhiskyDublin's best brunch at The Fumbally | Cake + Whisky

The Fumbally

A locals’ favourite for great coffee, some of the best eggs in town and an unbeatable, laid-back atmosphere. Go early, especially on weekends, to avoid the (long) queues.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky
Forest Avenue

Financial Times-acclaimed neighbourhood dining room run by passionate husband and wife team, turning truly excellent seasonal ingredients into simple-yet-spectacular modern dishes.

The Winding Stairs, DublinThe Winding Stairs, Dublin The Winding Stairs, Dublin
The Winding Stairs:

After a browse through the little downstairs library amazing selection of weird and wonderful books, make sure you pop upstairs for a generous plate of their bread and butter pudding.

It’s golden, moist, drenched in salted caramel sauce and the absolute best pudding I’ve ever had. Absolutely life-changing.

Murphy's Ice Cream, Dublin

Murphy’s:

4 words. Brown bread ice cream. Simply divine.

What’s your favourite thing to see, do or eat in Dublin? Any tips for my next trip?

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Dublin Mini Guide

Forest Avenue, Dublin

I’m afraid that when it comes to food & drinks, a lot of the clichés about Ireland and Dublin are really rather true.

So yes, there’s a pub on (almost litteraly) every corner, and the vast majority of your meals will include the holy meat-stew-potato-and-cabbage trinity. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

But if you’re after a more modern take on local, seasonal ingredients, booking a table at very popular Forest Avenue is a must.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + WhiskyRun by passionate husband and wife team John and Sandy Wyer, Forest Avenue is the sort of place both hipsters’ and foodies’ dreams are made of.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + WhiskyForest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

The restaurant itself has a very shabby-chic, Shoreditch-meets-the-rural-world sort of vibe.

There are deer skulls and dried flowers, wooden tables, chairs and a big wooden staircase…

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

And a stunning marble bar to grab a drink at while you wait.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

The cocktail list is short but perfectly formed, as demonstrated by this combination of vermouth, bay leaf and orange.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

Sherry & tonic with lemon & mint.

Both so much more that the sum of their parts. But that, as we were soon to find out, is a theme running deep into Forest Avenue DNA…

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

For dinner, the deal is really quite simple. You can choose between two tasting menus. One is 3 courses long, one is 5, with the possibility to extend the latter to 6 should you be especially peckish.

But before you decide, they bring you a series of nibbles.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

Homemade sourdough bread with beef fat whipped butter.

Yes, this IS a thing and a very heavenly one indeed!

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

Herb ricotta and breadsticks

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + WhiskyForest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

Potato doughnuts, served atop the most incredible, umami mushroom cream.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

Next up on the pre-menu nibble snack extravaganza, small but mighty spiced lamb cigars with smoked yoghurt green chutney.

Basically the very best of Indian food in a mouthful.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

Seaweed sablé biscuit, smoked cod roe and elderflower vinegar.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

And last but not least, dashi with seaweed and potato foam. A truly spud-tacular little number, that one.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

Now it’s finally time to choose your menu.

All in with the 5-course tasting menu for us please!

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + WhiskyForest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

Starting with a delicate veal tartar with white beetroot, Cratloe Hills cheese, pickled radish and shiitake mushrooms.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

Next up, parmesan agnoletti with swede, whey butter and kale pesto.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

Plaice with potato puree, cabbage leaf and smoked cod roe.

Beautifully cooked, with the saline flavour reinforced by the salty cod roe.

All in all a dish sure to make me happy as a clam.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

That said, it was also love at first sight for the venison dish…

All topped up by the most creative dessert I’ve had since our trip to Copenhagen.

Forest Avenue restaurant, Dublin | Cake + Whisky

Warm Chocolate Mousse, Jerusalem Artichoke, Miso Butterscotch, and Salted Walnut Ice Cream.

Might not be an obvious winner on paper, but much like everything else about Forest Avenue it’ll have you rooting for it in no time!

Forest Avenue, 8-9 Sussex Terrace, Dublin 4, Ireland
Forest Avenue, Dublin