Keep Calm and Stay Out of Temple Bar
While participating in the UA in Ireland: Chemical Engineering program, you will spend an excessive amount of time studying and doing homework. Your best friends will be coffee (which is €1 before 0900 at the on-campus Starbucks), your textbook, the library, and your classmates while doing your homework. This program is truly a study abroad, not like a “study abroad” your friends and family will assume you’re participating in. Remember, you are an engineer, and your professor will expect a lot out of you as an engineering student.
Our dorms had a stove and microwave along with refrigerators and freezers, but it is difficult to find time to cook. With that being said, outside of the required excursions (see pictures above) you will have limited time to explore Dublin’s food scene itself. We often sought out the locals and asked for their advice on what to eat in Dublin. Luckily, University College Dublin (UCD) has a very active summer crew that chose to keep us involved through their Instagram page @summeratucd. I recommend checking them out while you’re trying to decide on making this trip. The biggest advice we heard from all the locals was STAY AWAY FROM TEMPLE BAR. It was always emphasized as a tourist trap, a place to get pick pocketed and most of all, a pint rip off.
Temple Bar is an actual bar, but the locals (and google maps) will also point out that Temple Bar is also a region that borders the River Liffey. I will say that if you are just trying to experience a cool, “hip” culture filled with modern art and such, then you should at least walk through Temple Bar but do not spend money there! Dublin is huge and it can be quite overwhelming. However, Dublin is split into small towns and can typically be organized around street names. We chose 3 main streets to hangout around: Haddington Rd, Ranelagh, and Harcourt St.
- Milano: a pizza joint in which we never ate pizza. We often went there to enjoy some dessert and excellent espresso martinis. I actually had my birthday cake here.
- Angelina’s Restaurant and Deli: the best brunch we had while we were in Ireland. It’s moderately priced, but we typically went for Sunday brunch so we were okay with that.
- The 51 Bar: the home to €14 meal + pint during happy hour. They had amazing fish and chips that came with a drink. It’s set up like a typical Irish pub so you can enjoy the local scene along while eating a cheap, good tasting meal.
Ranelagh: (our favorite)
- Bunsen: probably the best hamburger I’ve ever had. Their menu is so simple it’s on a business card. They use Irish beef (duh) and they know how to work it. I recommend the double cheeseburger with a sweet potato fries to share with someone.
- Cinnamon: THE BEST BROWNIE. Their early bird dinner is really good and priced well. We often would eat at Bunsen first then stop in Cinnamon to get a dessert brownie and cappuccino.
Camden St./Harcourt St.: (Dublin’s equivalent to Ttown’s The Strip)
*Disclaimer: Ireland’s legal drinking age is 18, but I turned 22 on this trip.*
- Dicey’s Garden Club: Thursday’s are €2 drafts… including Guinness and Ciders, therefore we only went on Thursdays. This was an actual club that had a line and typically a €10 cover charge. UCD students actually recommended us to check this place out and we did. It is definitely something to experience, but it does remind me a lot of Rounder’s. Needless to say, I didn’t go to Dicey’s as often and it was not my favorite.
- Flannery’s Bar: this bar surprised me a little bit. There was no cover when I went and the bar had a nice vibe to it. I thought it was a small bar at first then I continued walking around and found large, random courtyards, narrow hallways that led to other small bars, and an upstairs. I like to compare this bar to Dark Horse Tavern in Atlanta’s Virginia Highlands, minus the basement (if anyone reading this has ever been there, they know what I’m talking about).
- Jimmy Rabbitte’s: this was an actual small bar that only had a small courtyard and portapotties for bathrooms. I think their bathrooms were under construction for upgrades though (I hope). I actually enjoyed this bar because it was a bit more intimate and I could actually sit down and have a conversation without losing my voice.