BUST’s Travel Guide To Dublin

by Holyn Thigpen


DUBLIN IS JUST as lively as the pubs lin- ing its streets. With Georgian architecture, cobblestone alleys, and towering, centuries-old churches, living here is a never-ending history lesson. Though the city center is dense with shops, street performers, students, and the occasional rowdy drunk, a half-hour’s drive will take you to serene beaches and rocky cliff faces straight out of Game of Thrones. (No, seriously, so much of the show was shot in Ireland!) There’s also nothing quite like the River Liffey—which flows right through the middle of the city— when a beam of sunlight hits the water just right. Though I haven’t lived here long, Dublin’s welcomed me with open arms. Most of the time, it feels like a quaint village just posing as a major city. Dubliners are a friendly bunch, always ready to tell or hear a good story, usually in a cozy café or pub. Of course, they’re also always down for some “craic”— good, often mischievous fun—and there’s never a lack of new adventures to be had.

Dream Day


There is, in fact, a correct way to spend your morning in Dublin: tucking into a massive Irish breakfast. Typically, this ubiquitous meal includes bacon, sausages, beans, tomatoes, eggs, and soda bread. Oh, and black pudding, an interesting Irish delicacy. For an especially massive and delicious Irish breakfast, head to Keoghs Café—a comfy, family-run spot in the heart of the city center. If you’re looking for something a little lighter to start your day, Two Pups Coffee is a hidden gem that serves up a mean Greek yogurt bowl with house-made granola, rhubarb jam, and poached fruit. Their house-baked “baby brownies” are the perfect bitesize treats to dip in your morning coffee.


Urbanity in Smithfield

Wander westward from the city center to Smithfield, one of Dublin’s hippest and most quickly developing neighborhoods. For lunch, pop by Urbanity—a sleek, industrial-chic café that serves up a rotating seasonal menu of creative sandwiches (garlic halloumi and cumin roast butternut squash, anyone?) and coffee that’s roasted in-house. While you’re on the north side, take a stroll through Stoneybatter (the Dublin equivalent of Brooklyn’s Bushwick), where you’ll find The Little Cactus, a cactus/coffee/vintage clothing shop, and Little Deer Comics, an adorable shop specializing in small-press comic books.


Happy hour has arrived, so naturally it’s time for a Guinness. Grab your first pint at Token—an arcade bar with killer vegan grub (try the coconut katsu curry seitan nuggets for a truly out-of-body experience) and an epic pinball parlor. Once you’ve crushed it on the controls, it’s time to boogie, so take a quick walk over to Sin é. This swanky, multi-floor bar has live music every night of the week (with no cover charge!), from local alt/punk acts to the best DJs in Europe. Sin é also hosts comedy events in its intimate basement theater. If you’re up for another round, the late late-night hot spot is Fibber Magees—a rock music haven that also houses an enormous beer garden.

Shop Till You Drop

Bow & Pearl

Retro Shop Dublin: This tiny treasure trove houses an ever-changing selection of fun vintage pieces and unique indie fashion, from ’50s swing dresses to corsets to graphic tees.

Bow & Pearl: Located in south Dublin’s trendy Rathmines neighborhood, this women’s boutique offers the latest in designer fashion and homeware in a stylish, homey interior.

The Design House: This self-described boutique/design hub unites designers, vintage sellers, local jewelers, and craftspeople under one roof. They also offer one-day and multiweek classes in everything from candle making to canvas printing!

Icons Worth Your Time

Trinity College: Be the main character in the Sally Rooney novel of your life.

Phoenix Park: Plenty of Irish green here.

The Brazen Head: Order a pint of the black stuff in Ireland’s oldest pub.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral: Get medieval at this beautiful, ancient church.

National Gallery of Ireland: So much art.

Dublin-Set Books by Irish Authors

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney The latest novel by the certified queen of Dublin’s literary scene, which follows two best friends through their heartfelt emails to one another, is filled with her signature artfully rendered angst.

In the Woods by Tana French Irish charm + murder mystery = page turner. This book kicks off French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, launching you into a darker side of Dublin’s wooded suburbs.

Tender by Belinda McKeon Ireland’s rapid economic growth in the 1990s, aka the “Celtic Tiger” period, is explored through the eyes of Catherine and James—best friends whose relationship veers between love and obsession.

Sweetest Female-Owned Bakeries

The Fumbally: An art-filled café, marketplace, and event space with a wide selection of local produce, premade meals, and pantry staples.

Fable Bakery: Once a pop-up shop, this pastry powerhouse now has a physical home at Sprout and Co. on bustling Dawson Street. Stop by their takeaway window for inventive tarts, monster-size cookies, and their trademark brioche buns.

Lolly and Cooks

Lolly and Cooks: This local café chain is beloved for its specialty “savage rolls”— sausage rolls packed with pork, garlic, and rosemary in a perfectly golden crust. Vegetarians can nab the equally delicious veggie version!

Cliffs Notes

Want to see some of that craggy coastline up close? Take a day trip to Bray, my favorite beachy area and coastal town, just a 30-minute train ride from Dublin. It’s got a cute lil’ promenade and some seriously phenomenal cliff-walking opportunities.

Top Image: All Photo Credit: Matthew Spalding

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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