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 on Dublin’s northside, you’ve got to get out and enjoy it – don’t forget your face mask and hand sanitiser!
Croke Park GAA Museum & Tour
You may not be able to go to Croker for a match any time soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your GAA fix another way. Go to the hallowed home of Irish sport to have the ultimate fan experience in taking a guided tour of the stadium. You’ll get to explore the dressing rooms, go pitchside, browse the informative museum, which illustrates the interwovenness of GAA and Irish history, see the Sam McGuire and Liam McCarthy cups, and finally take the Skyline tour!
With a tour guide to point out all the points of interests you could possibly want to see, it’s the ideal spot to get panoramic views of Dublin. It’s wheelchair accessible too so that anyone can join in the fun!
Combined tickets for the stadium tour and GAA museum cost €30 for a family, €10 for an adult, €8 for students and senior citizens and €7 for children. The Skyline tour is €54 for a family, €21 for an adult, €19 for students and senior citizens and €13 for children (note that children must be 1.2m or taller to go on this tour). All tickets can be purchased in advance online, with tour slots available throughout the day, seven days a week. The Blackthorn café is open for takeaway coffee only too, in case you need refreshment after your sporting fix!
A fifteen-minute stroll from Croker you’ll find award-winning Anderson’s Creperie, a gorgeous little slice of French cuisine in the middle of Dublin 9. They also have a branch in Glasnevin. When we arrived for lunch there were queues down the road – but it’s definitely worth the hype! We ordered an all-day breakfast galette (which is basically like an Irish breakfast roll but in a pancake), topped with a perfectly runny fried egg and served with a side of crispy fried potatoes and relish. The sweet crepes are gorgeous too – ours was packed with Nutella, oreo and fresh strawberries, accompanied by some delicious ice cream.
If you’re not feeling a crepe, there’s tasty sambos, toasties and salads to choose from too. The Croque Monsieur is understandably a house special. Wash it all down with a perfectly brewed coffee or fresh fruit juice. If somehow you’re still hungry after your mains, have a look at the counter to pick out a slice of cake or a pastry for dessert! We’d recommend going with a group of fewer than four people, as space is limited inside. Bookings aren’t necessary, but you may have to queue a bit, and there’s on-street tables if you happen to visit on a sunny day.
The Arts & Business Campus Drumcondra is a thriving hub for local business and community activity. If you want to support local with your shopping, this is the perfect place to come. We visited Irish Craft Siopa, Small Changes Wholefoods Store and SteamPunk Studio @ PopArt Factory, three indie shops selling unique produce in the building. Irish Craft Siopa is home to locally handcrafted products including baby clothes, knitted tea cosies, jewellery, baby shoes, home decorations and more. Small Changes is a small supermarket with a difference that allows you to buy loose fruit and vegetables, fill your own containers with grains and pulses and purchase sustainable grooming products and home cleaning agents. You can bring your own plastic bottles to get refills on items such as shampoo and soap. The store also stocks locally made honey from Drumcondra and plenty of vegan-friendly products. SteamPunk Studio and the PopArt Factory stock custom made lamps, prints and homewares, along with unique Dublin-themed t-shirts and hoodies. A lot of the stock is locally designed and produced, and custom orders are welcomed.
In addition to these unique stores, the building also houses a Montessori, ballet school, classrooms for Dorset college, a café and a restaurant. It’s a real tardis – when you look at the building from the street, you’d never guess how much activity it contains! For now, it’s something of a hidden gem, but with so many unique outlets, word is bound to get out about it soon.
If you’re visiting the ABCD Building late in the day, stick around and have dinner in Shouk, a fantastic middle eastern restaurant that has a large enclosed patio for outdoor seating in the courtyard out the back. They do mezze platters for sharing, and takeaway food too if you’d prefer to enjoy some falafel at home. Their menu is vegan and coeliac friendly. San Sab is also an excellent shout for food in the area – they won the national award for the best curry in 2018, and their extensive Thai menu has plenty of options for both eat-in and takeaway.
Take a stroll through the nearby Botanic Gardens, where the OPW are still offering daily guided tours for small groups. Admission is free, and it’s in beautiful late summer bloom, so it’s a perfect time to go. Due to current restrictions, the glasshouses are closed, and there are arrows on the ground to guide you around the one-way system for pedestrians. The café recently reopened, so you can stop in for lunch or even just a takeaway coffee during your visit. Picnics are not allowed in the gardens though, and neither are dogs, ball games, running or cycling. Admission is free, and the gardens are open from 10 am – 5 pm daily.
Glasnevin Cemetery has a gate that adjoins the Botanics, and it’s a great place to go for a wander to explore the graves of many famous Dubliners, including Daniel O’Connell and James Larkin. Since 1832, 1.5 million people have been buried here – more than live in Dublin city today. Due to current restrictions, the museum is closed, and no guided tours are happening, but there’s nothing to stop you doing a self-guided tour! If you’re after a pint of plain and some tapas, head to the Gravediggers pub afterwards.