dublin // day 2

This morning, I’m to go on a free tour of the city. Though I’ve already walked through the areas on the programme, I’m always keen on experiencing them with a knowledgeable local. We leave Isaacs Hostel at 10:15am, and meet up with another group at a pub in Temple Bar. There, I chat up some Montrealers and meet a really nice French girl who becomes my tour-buddy for the morning. Our guide is fantastically insightful and witty. I won’t take you through the entire tour, as it covers places I’ve already mentioned in my day 1 posts. However, here are a few trivia facts about Ireland I didn’t find relevant to mention in the previous entries (feel free to put them to good use during your next pub quiz!):
  • Kale is originally from Ireland. 
  • Potatoes are the staple Irish ingredient. Once upon a time, the average Irish farm laborer would eat around 2,000 calories of potatoes a day - the latter often represented over 90% of their diet. 
  • The Irish population went from 8.2 to 3 million inhabitants after the potato famine, caused by microbes which infiltrated the soil and rotted potatoes (our guide swears the famine was orchestrated by the British government - to be confirmed). 
  • Irish nationalism is very progressive. 
  • The Irish flag is the only European flag that stands for peace. Green represents the gaelic, white represents peace and orange represents the Protestant celebrity William of Orange (whom I learned all about in Amsterdam). 
  • Ireland has the highest rate of education in Europe. 
  • The traditional Irish facial hair is the mustache
  • Irish is the official language of Ireland. This explains why all signs are written first in Irish, then in English, despite the fact that only 300,000 speak the indigenous language. 
  • Rory Gallagher, who has his own corner in Temple Bar, is considered the world’s best guitarist by none other than Jimi Hendrix. 
  • In Ireland, craic (pronounced ‘crack’) means ‘fun’. This causes much confusion when Irish folks head over to the States and ask locals if they’re “ready to have some craic”.

The tour ends at 12:30pm, just in time for some shopping! Indeed, I’ve noticed a few boutiques on our way back to Temple Bar, which I quickly head over to after parting from our group. First, I venture inside Filmbase, where a massive record fair is taking place. For all you vinyl collectors, this is an unmissable stop.

Then, I wander into a handful of concept stores, all of which are absolutely fabulous. Here’s the shortlist:
  • Siopaella - A well-curated luxury brands consignment store. Similar to Collette in NYC, but younger. Prices vary depending on the brand, but overall it’s rather affordable! 
  • Scout - This clothing and home décor boutique reminds me of the French region of Bretagne. It sells a number of different marinières, as well as beautiful cutting boards and coffeetable books, such as the lovely Surf Café Living: Cooking, Entertaining and Living by the Sea
  • Folkster - A gem of a vintage shop. Inside, there are two other boutiques: Gilded & Cage homewares and Shutterbug Vintage. Gilded & Cage sells lovely home accessories (think a more pastel, refined version of Urban Outfitters’ home section). Shutterbug Vintage is the place to go if you have a prom or ball coming up. From gowns in every imaginable color to kitten heels and statement necklaces, it’ll be your one-stop shop for any event. I buy two little rings I found in a bowl by the cash register - at 1€ each, they’re nowhere near breaking the bank (unless you buy, like, one hundred, of course!). 
  • Indigo & Cloth - A hipster menswear store and café. Makes me wish I had a man to dress (oh wait, I do: my dad. But this place isn’t within my budget anyway...). 
  • Tamp & Stitch - Whether you’re looking for clothing or coffee (or both!), this place hits the spot. If you have little ones, even better: Tamp & Stitch has a super-cute children’s apparel section. 
  • Find - Just across from Queen of Tarts, Find features a selection of vintage and new home accessories. I particularly lust for its flowered plates and children’s suitcases. 
  • The Garden - Not sure why you’d be looking for flowers during your travels (for hosts, perhaps?), but this little gem of a flower shop is worth peeping into.


Folkster // Gilded & Cage

Folkster // Shutterbug Vintage

Folkster // Shutterbug Vintage
Indigo & Cloth

Indigo & Cloth

Indigo & Cloth

The Garden



Tamp & Stitch


For lunch, I treat myself and head over to Queen of Tarts. A favorite of both locals and tourists, this café-patisserie is loved for its savory pies, brunch options and, of course, for its infamous tarts. I order a tea (2.10€) and, after quite a bit of pondering, settle for the apple crumble 4.95€). The latter is brought to me warm, and is served with some cream on a delicate, flowery porcelain plate (my teacup is equally charming). The crumble is actually more of a hybrid between a crumble and a tart, as it has both crumble bits on top and a fresh, crispy and light pie crust on the bottom. Basically, double the fun. And although there’s a tad too much cinnamon for my taste, the filling is perfection. The table beside mine orders a Guinness chocolate brownie, and they tell me it’s divine.

I cross back over the Ha’penny Bridge one last time and end up inside the cozy Winding Stair Bookshop. This independent bookstore has a great selection of both new and used novels, design, travel and lifestyle books. There’s an entire section dedicated to mindfulness, which is pretty dope. The Winding Stair also has a more upscale restaurant upstairs, and its menu looks just as appealing as the setting (good date place?).

A short walk up O’Connell Street leads my up to the famous, gigantic Monument of Light. It’s a real challenge to manage to take a photo of it in its entirety. Continuing on the busy O’Connell I end up on Parnell Square, a large Georgian square that contains the Garden of Remembrance. This peaceful patch of green features a lovely turquoise-tiled fountain. A great spot for taking a quick bite or a break.

The Hugh Lane Gallery is the last place on my itinerary. Situated on Parnell Square, steps away from the Garden of Remembrance and the Writers’ Museum, the Gallery is inside a building called Charlemont House, which was, as its name indicates, originally the townhouse of James Caulfield, the Earl of Charlemont. I really enjoy both the space and the art pieces it contains, from the more classic (ground floor) to the contemporary (first floor).

The Hugh Lane Gallery is also home to a recreation of artist Francis Bacon’s London studio. The latter instantly reminds me of my best friend Hortense, whom, I imagine, would love to work in such a space. Cluttered, covered in paint and scraps of newspapers, the studio provides an incredibly intimate look into Bacon’s creative process.

“This mess here is rather like my mind; it may be a good image of what goes on inside me, that’s what it’s like, my life is like that.” - Francis Bacon

Mark Clare - La Fontaine du Réalisme (2014)

Oliver Comerford - Dwelling Series I-V (1996)

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