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Hidden gems in Dublin 8

A Few Fantastic restaurants and places to visit in Dublin 8.

St. James Gate Brewery, Photo Credit Jeff Maguire
St. James Gate Brewery, Photo Credit Jeff Maguire

Guinness Storehouse

St. James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin 8.

Located in the heart of Dublin 8, Guinness’s Brewery is one of Irelands leading tourist attraction. Sixteen years ago the largest brewery in Europe opened its gates to the public. The seven-story visitor centre resembles a pint glass and shows the history of Guinness’s brewery, cooperage, transportation and the story of Arthur Guinness himself as well as Guinness’s world of advertising.

The Gravity bar on the 7th floor has a fantastic 360-degree view of the city’s skyline and it is worth the visit for this alone.

Admission fee: From €18 (all adult tickets include a complimentary pint of Guinness)

Kilmainham Gaol Museum

Inchicore Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8

Built in 1796, Kilmainham Gaol was used mainly for housing criminals up until the 1916 Easter rising. After the rising the Gaol became a focal point in Irish history. Fourteen leaders from the Republican uprising were executed in May 1916 in the Stonebreaker’s Yard. A plaque and two crosses in the Stonebreaker’s Yard commemorate this key historical event today. These executions changed the tide of public opinion in favour of the uprising and Irish history was changed forever.

“The building symbolises the tradition of militant and constitutional nationalism from the rebellion of 1798 to the Irish civil war of 1922-23”

The tour consists of the Chapel, the West Wing, the East Wing and the Stonebreaker’s Yard where the executions took place.

Admission Fee: Adult €7, Child €3

Entrance of Kilmainham Goal, Photo Credit Sadbh Maguire
Entrance of Kilmainham Goal, Photo Credit Sadbh Maguire

Marsh’s Library

St. Patrick’s Close, Wood Quay, Dublin 8

Built three hundred years ago Marsh’s Library is Irelands first public library.

The library is one of the few 18th century buildings that is still being used for its original purpose. “Many of the collections in the Library are still kept on the shelves allocated to them by Marsh and Elias Bouhereau, the first librarian, when the library was open”. The library is not like any other public library that you know, it is a charity and relies on public donations as well as a grant from the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht. It holds a large collection of old manuscripts and books, dating back to 1707. The library is tucked away in the grounds of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and has a beautiful secret garden. The library encourages children to visit and had a recent Bram Stoker competition for schools in the area. The Guinness family recent donated the Benjamin Iveagh library from Farmleigh to Marsh’s library.

Admission: adult €3, Student/Senior citizen €2 and no charge for children under the age of 16.

IMMA from the courtyard, Photo Credit Jeff Maguire
IMMA from the courtyard, Photo Credit Jeff Maguire

IMMA (The Irish Museum of Modern Art)

Military Road, Ushers, Dublin 8

The Irish Museum of Modern Art is housed in the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham. Originally built in 1684 as a retirement home for old soldiers, the hospital was in use for two hundred and fifty years. It then fell into disuse for a period of around 50 years, during this time it was used as a storage area and dumping ground for old statues that were in public places when Ireland was part of the British Empire (before the War of Independence). In 1991 after a major restoration program the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) had its grand opening. The Museum has a permanent exhibition and a whole series of temporary exhibitions; a recent exhibition that was very popular was an exhibition of the life’s work of Irish architect Eileen gray.

Admission: Free admission except for occasional special exhibition €5/€8

Gaillot et Gray

59 Clanbrassil Street Lower, Dublin 8

While owners Gaillot and Grey were in France they came across road-side trucks serving pizza and decided to bring this French idea into Ireland. The pizza was unusual as the cheese used was Emmental and not the normal Mozarella as used in Italian pizza. Gaillot et gray started life in an ancient Citroen van with a wood-fired oven parked beside the beach in Greystones. Following the success  of the mobile-pizza-in-a-van the owners Gaillot and Gray expanded into a fixed premises beside Leonard’s Corner in Dublin 8. The French pizzeria has a small menu of pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven and served on large aluminum plates at large communal tables that give the restaurant a great buzz. They also bake and sell beautiful loaves of bread, but you have to get there early as they sell out very quickly.

The Tea Rooms

Chesterfield Ave, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8

When visiting the Phoenix Park, a visit to the famous Victorian Tea Rooms should be on the top of your list. Located between Dublin Zoo and the Polo Grounds, the Tea Rooms has been a meeting place for over a century. Opened in 1896, originally as an ice cream kiosk, the Victorian tea rooms serve a wide variety of delicious freshly-made dishes as well as tea and coffee. They also serve a range of gluten-free cakes and vegan treats and so everyone has a choice.

Victorian Tea Rooms, Photo Credit Jeff Maguire
Victorian Tea Rooms, Photo Credit Jeff Maguire

The Fumbally

Fumbally Lane, Merchants Quay, Dublin 8

Fumbally on Clanbrassel Street is hard to find as it is in the basement of a modern building and looks anonymous from the street. But once you find it, it’s a great place for breakfast and lunch. The venue is a huge open room with a high ceiling with scattered mismatched tables and chairs that look like they came from a charity shop auction. But don’t let this put you off; this contributes to the hipster boho vibe. They serve great daily specials, coffee and baked goods.

Brother Hubbard South

46 Harrington St, Saint Kevin’s, Dublin 8

It’s a great place to go for lunch or a coffee. Located on Harrington Street close to the Camden Street end of the South Circular Road.

They serve a range of really good sandwiches and salads but my personal favourite is the beans and pulled pork special, served with a beautiful fried egg on top and some toasted sourdough bread drizzled with live oil on the side.

The food has a Middle-Eastern feel to it with dishes such as Shakshuka baked eggs with sourdough bread and Turkish eggs menemen – scrambled eggs with peppers and tomato. Main course items are all under €10 but the portions are good and you will not leave Brother Hubbards hungry.

The coffee is sourced from 3fe and is top notch. They serves a large range of teas ranging from classic Irish breakfast to specialist teas such as the naturally decaffeinated Lemon and Ginger Springer.

The cafe is mostly a breakfasty, brunchy, lunchy kind of place but they have recently started serving ‘suppers’ – rather than dinners.

The menu has a very healthy feel to it and there are gluten free dessert options and some vegan dishes. If it ever stops raining you can sit outside where there are a good few tables. Knee blankets are provided for those chilly Summer days. This is a really good, not too expensive, place to eat lunch/brunch/supper.

Bibi’s Café

14A Emorville Ave, Wood Quay, Dublin 8

Some of the best places in Dublin 8 are hidden gems because they are literally hard to find. Tucked away only a few steps from the busy South Circular Road lies Bibi’s. A quiet and cosy neighbourhood café is a stone’s throw from the bustling streets of Dublin. Chef and owner Maisha Lenehan and her brother Geoff created a unique dining experience with an ever-changing menu. The kitchen is tiny and you will be literally amazed at what is produced from such a small space. The venue used to be two thirds clothes shop and one third kitchen/restaurant. However the café became so busy that the clothing shop was closed down in order to expand the sitting area of the restaurant. On a sunny day there is nothing nicer than having your lunch with a nice glass of chilled white wine at one of the tables outside Bibi’s. Bibi’s is open for breakfast and lunch but sadly closes around 4 pm so you need to get there early to experience it.

BiBi's, Photo Credit Jeff Maguire
BiBi’s, Photo Credit Jeff Maguire
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