Ireland has a long history of rhyming (Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, Beckett). But there’s no East Coast-West Coast rivalry, which means you can hip-hop across the country from Dublin to Galway.
Dublin or Nothin’
Start by getting cozy. Check into Dylan (Eastmoreland Place, Dublin 4; +353-1-660-3000), a colorful boutique hotel in a renovated Victorian building not far from St. Stephen’s Green. Then head off the beaten path to the serene Irish Museum of Modern Art (Royal Hospital, Military Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8; +353-1-612-9900) for outsider, Irish, and international art.
Now you’re ready for some Guinness. Grogans Castle Lounge (15 William Street South, Dublin 2; +353-1-677-9320) is a divey watering hole where local artists and writers will keep you entertained with stories and so-so artwork on the walls. Order another (and another) at Shebeen Chic (4 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2; +353-1-679-9667), a gastropub decorated in thrift shop finds and clotheslines.
Prevent a hangover with classic Irish fare like black pudding and smoked haddock at The Winding Stair Restaurant + Bookshop (40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1; +353-1-872-7320). How incredibly charming and cozy is this place? Well, there’s also a great selection of hard-to-find used books.
When you’re ready to shop, hit Design Centre (59 South William Street, Dublin 2; +353-1-679-5863) for Irish labels like Philip Treacy and Pauric Sweeney and Avoca (11-13 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2; +353-1-667-4215) for housewares, boho clothing, and affordable jewelry.
And get your green on strolling the River Liffey and the many parks around town.
It’s dramatically gray, right on the water, and authentically Oirish. And when you hang your hat at the glam Philip Treacy-designed The G (Dublin Road, Wellpark; +353-91-865-200), you’re front and center to everything.
Galway is an incredibly walkable town. Here’s your path: Stroll along the River Corrib, over to the Claddagh (yes, of those rings), and amble along the expansive Salthill beaches next to Galway Bay.
The annual Galway Oyster Festival makes for quite a show, but you can get your aquatic fill anytime at the down-to-earth and boisterous McDonagh’s Seafood House (22 Quay Street; +353-91-565-001), where no one notices how much you eat or drink. (It. will. be. lots.)
Pop into Les Jumelles (11 Upper Abbeygate Street; +353-91-564-540) for gems from Irish designers like Lainey Keogh and Mary Grant. Come weekend, hit the centuries-old farmers market (next to St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, Mainguard and Lombard Streets) for local crafts, woolens, and the biggest carrots you’ve ever seen. Saturdays are best for food; Sundays are all about crafts.
You’ve fallen in love with the town, now hit the road. Rent a car and drive to Cliffs of Moher for breathtakingly high views and then wind around through the rocky terrain of the Burren and breathe in the fresh air. So many sheep, cows, and horses. So many green hills and dramatic waters.
Aye, it’s enough to make you wax poetic.
While you’re down there:
+ DailyCandy Goes to Edinburgh
Photos: Jupiter Images; Courtesy of Grogans Castle Lounge; Courtesy of The Winding Stair Restaurant + Bookshop; Courtesy of Avoca; Courtesy of The G; Eoin Gardiner/Flickr; Courtesy of McDonagh’s Seafood House; Courtesy of Lainey Keogh; Courtesy of Cliffs of Moher