A reunion / celebration / pilgrimage / adventure. I’m really good at coming up with justifications to go on a weekend away (if you need any, leave me a comment). This trip had many.
The reunion of myself and my wonderful friend Charlie, a long overdue catch up in a city where we were able to make a pilgrimage to the Museum of Modern Art and say a “hello” and only a momentary “goodbye” to her friend who’s memorial tree is planted in the grounds.
This day was one of many incidences that could perhaps be described as god incidences / synchronicities / magical moments. We planned to make our pilgrimage on our first day (Saturday) and put it off due to weather, getting lost, being distracted by coffee until our last day was upon us (Monday).
It turns out, for reference, a lot of museums are closed in Ireland on a Monday. What at first felt like a total disaster, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We rode the hop-on-hop-off bus to the Museum, enjoyed a coffee in the cafe (which thankfully is open on Mondays) and then were able to sit by Jane’s tree almost undisturbed. We brought vegan cheesecake (from the best vegan restaurant in town, more below) and had a little picnic in the sunshine, Charlie tied a friendship bracelet to Jane’s tree, along with mementos left by other friends and family. It was a really special afternoon and I am very grateful to have been there.
We stayed in the Maldron hotel, Smithfield which due to my last minute booking wasn’t super cute and wasn’t the cheapest stay at around £100 per night. It was however, in the perfect location allowing us to walk everywhere and clock at least 10,000 steps a day – justifying the consumption of all the vegan treats we could manage! On arrival we realised that it was right next door to the best supermarket ever. Fresh – The Good Food Market, an absolute gold mine!! We frequented Fresh every day, at least once, and I purchased the best vegan chocolate bars, macaccino, raw energy balls and a really yummy falafel panini. The security guard was a cutey too, which is lucky because we were practically on first name terms by day three.
We visited about a hundred less things than we had planned, instead enjoying lazy mornings, sunny afternoon wanders, strong coffee and heart to hearts. The absolute best coffee was conveniently located near our hotel and although the outside signage left a little something to be desired, don’t let appearances fool you Craft Coffee Roasters provided deliciously strong coffee served by a wonderful barista that totally dug my double double shot vibe and was full of good recommendations.
Of course we did the essential hop-on-hop-off bus tour, which was unfortunately narrated by an English geezer who taught us nothing useful, instead he spent the entire route telling us inappropriate nicknames for historical landmarks, his favourite shops and the highlights of his weekly schedule.
We explored Temple Bar, watched a fantastic show at The Samuel Beckett Theatre, explored Trinity College after hours, shopped on Grafton Street, moseyed down O’Connell Street and bought a great selection of Irish themed magnets, keyrings and postcards. A highlight – riding the bus past the Irish Narcotics Anonymous Service office! Woohoo!
We ate … where to begin?! This trip was all about the dining, my very obliging and gorgeous friend Charlie had decided to go vegan for the weekend, thus indulging me in all the delights!
Cornucopia – THE BEST VEGAN RESTAURANT IN TOWN – oh my goodness me, this place was so good, I broke my own golden rule and went back, twice. Ticking every box required with vegan, gluten free, sugar free, coeliac friendly & raw food available, I really didn’t know where to start. The best thing is that the food is so so affordable with super generous portions. The cupcakes are divine, and the potato cake – oh the potato cake!! Go here for the lunch time deals, everyday. And the next day. And the next. Read about Cornucopia here.
Kathmandu Kitchen came highly recommended on tripadvisor, chosen for it’s location close to our hotel and promising vegetarian menu. It did not disappoint! Fresh, delicious food, full of flavour and not at all greasy or heavy. We loved it.
Camile Thai was another tripadvisor lead, it’s website promoting vegan dishes that are cooked and prepared separately, apparently voted the healthiest takeaway in Ireland 2014… I don’t like to leave a bad review but we were totally unimpressed, so much so I didn’t actually finish my food (unheard of), the flavour was lacking and the dishes greasy. Sorry, but I’m not recommending this one. Have a nosey here.
P.s. Don’t believe the hype – we were told by everyone including BBC weather that it would rain continuously when in fact it was glorious blue skies everyday. There were some moody storm clouds here and there but they just made the architecture more dramatic!
Best bit – eating pink vegan cupcakes on the hop-on-hop-of bus tour, wearing sunglasses and rain macs, taking selfies and people watching.
I wouldn’t – eat at Camile! It was the only downer of the whole trip, we walked missions to find it too, Cornucopia for the win!
Top tip – Book a hop-on-hop-off for your first day, get your bearings and a vague idea of where you want to visit. The rest of the time you can walk pretty much everywhere and enjoy coffee and cake on the way!
Heaps of adventures booked for the next few months, see you soon friends!
Much love and cupcake eating.