As restrictions ease and Dublin reopens, it’s a great time to make a day of it with a trip to the city. With so much to see and do in Dublin’s Liberties, you’ve got to get out and enjoy it – don’t forget your face mask and hand sanitiser!
Two Pups Coffee
Two Pups Coffee has established itself as a central hub for the community, coffee and great food in the heart of Dublin 8. The dog-friendly premises has been open for over three years now, and its location on Francis Street makes it a favourite of locals, coffee connoisseurs and students from nearby creative colleges BIMM and NCAD. Owners Zoe and Kevin are big on quality food provenance, perfectly brewed coffee and homemade baked goods.
During our visit, we sampled a lovely French fancy with both iced and hot lattes, followed by a classic brunch of eggs on toast with hot sauce, avocado and crispy bacon. We finished off our meal with the show-stopping ice cream cookie sandwich that’s become a new house special. It’s made with Tahini cookies dipped in white chocolate and coated with toasted sesame seeds and goji berries, with a generous scoop of homemade strawberry ice cream sandwiched in the middle. If you’re visiting at the weekend and have a sweet tooth, the French toast is also a great shout (but sadly it’s not available during the week). The café operates on a walk-in only basis, and is open from Wednesday to Friday 9am–3pm, and from 9.30am–3.30pm on weekends.
Jam Art Factory
Rooted in a desire to showcase the abundance of talented artists emerging in Ireland today, Jam Art Factory first opened its doors on Patrick Street in the heart of the Liberties in 2011. Since then, this independent gallery and design shop has been showcasing the best of contemporary Irish art to an ever-growing avid fanbase.
The artists that fill the gallery have been handpicked due to their fresh concepts, with the prints they produce using both traditional and contemporary techniques. Jam Art Factory stock ceramics, textiles, jewellery and street art in strange and beautiful forms, always working with the artists to create exciting new designs.
In 2013, brothers Mark and John opened a second location in the lively surrounds of Crown Alley in Temple Bar. Today Jam Art Factory ship their wares worldwide, providing a platform for independent artists to exhibit their work and solving all your home and gift dilemmas! They have two websites – jamartfactory.com stocks pretty much everything they have, while jamartprints.com is solely for prints.
Teeling Whiskey Distillery
When Teeling Whiskey Distillery opened its doors in 2015, it became the first new distillery in Dublin for over 125 years. The family have a long history of whiskey making, with their enterprise in distilling dating back as far as 1782 when Walter Teeling set up a small craft distillery on Marrowbone Lane. Since 2012, Jack and Stephen Teeling, the latest generation of makers, have been putting their mark on Irish whiskey and have come full circle by opening their new distillery, which is only a stone’s throw from where the original family distillery once stood.
It may be a working distillery, but Teeling’s aren’t afraid to show visitors their craft. The tour starts in the museum, showcasing the history of both the family’s business, the Liberties area and Irish whiskey makers at large. Next, it’s on to the distillery floor where the process of whiskey making is explained in detail and you’re shown the family’s prized vaults and casks of the wide range of whiskeys they produce. Round off the experience by heading upstairs to the bar for tastings. Guides show you how to correctly swig, smell and taste the whiskey for a rich experience. You can choose between tasting a selection of three different whiskies, or one whiskey with one bespoke Teeling whiskey-based cocktails. If you like what you’ve tasted, you can also pick up a bottle from the gift shop to take home. There’s a distillery-exclusive bottle, along with a fill your own bottle station, and you can get personalised labels at the till. This is a great gift to either yourself or a whiskey connoisseur in your life! Reflecting the times we’re living in, you can pick up a Teeling’s face mask too.
The distillery is open seven days a week from 10am–7pm, with tours every 20 minutes (last tour at 5.40pm). Prices range from €17–30, depending on which tasting option you go for.
There are many other excellent whiskey distillery tours in the neighbourhood, including Roe & Co, Pearse Lyons and the Dublin Liberties Distillery. We also can’t but mention the world-famous Guinness Storehouse, which has attracted twenty million visitors since 2000. The views from its Gravity Bar are particularly spectacular. To experience the rich history of the area, visit the early 18th century Marsh’s Library, and head to St Patrick’s Cathedral next door too.
If you’re looking to pick up a bargain, look no further than the Liberty Market on Meath Street. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it features an eclectic mix of stalls selling clothes, shoes, crafts and much more. Looking for something rustic for your home? Francis Street, aka Antique Street, features a host of dealers with a wide array of wares, and who knows, you might bump into Rod Stewart.
Stop for a coffee at the famous Mannings Bakery and Café on Thomas Street – it’s an institution in these parts, famous for its cream cakes. You’ll also find great independent coffee shops such as Caffe Noto on Thomas Street or Ground State on James Street. For lunch, the Fumbally Café near Newmarket is another gem. For evening eats, you can sample the Michelin-starred Variety Jones on Thomas Street or gastropub and restaurant Spitalfields on the Coombe, and The Tenters is another great dining option on Mill Street. For more casual vibes, head to Anti Social for a pint and a toastie, or Lucky’s Bar for a Coke Lane pizza and a cocktail – both of which are dog-friendly spots!