Dublin's Essentials from a Student

Isabel Fernandez
December 12, 2021

I’ve lived in Dublin for a few months now so it only makes sense that I should wildly generalize and make some sweeping statements about my “must do things” of the city. 

  • Best Food: Vegan Sandwich Co.

If I had the budget I would eat from Vegan Sandwich Co. every single day. Dublin in general is a great place to eat for vegans (though I am not one, my roommates are so I’ve become a part-time vegan by proxy). There are lots of vegan specialty restaurants and places with vegan options that go beyond plain toast and salads. Vegan Sandwich Co. is easy to get to and has a diverse menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner sandwiches. I especially recommend the pesto chicken toastie and the kebab. There isn’t seating, it's only carry-out or delivery, but the vibe inside is great with friendly staff (they’re always singing along to wildly different radio stations as they work and I may or may not be in love with at least two of them). 

  • Best Study Spot: Blas Cafe

Blas Cafe is a great place to sit down with a coffee or a light lunch and work on homework for hours without stealing valuable customer space. The cafe space is large and open with big tables so you can spread out with your things comfortably. While Dublin is full of great cafes, there is not a lot of physical space to sit in place. COVID, of course, complicates sitting long for anywhere but everyone who stays in the cafe has to show their vaccine card and the space is well ventilated. I’m particularly fond of the house plants along the windows, all of which have designated names. Reggie has kept me company through a lot of Gothic Ireland readings. 

  • Best Park: Merrion Square 

Merrion Square is on the south side of the city, not far from St. Stephen’s Green, its more famous neighbor. While both parks have amazing green spaces, Merrion is a bit quieter and home to the Oscar Wilde memorial. In a corner of the park, Wilde’s statue sprawls across a rock looking pleased with himself. Merrion Square is also home to a rotation of delicious food trucks. It’s a great place to sit and think on a bench or in the grass while watching the Irish dogs and the magpies play. 

  • Best Museum: Chester Beatty 

The Chester Beatty museum is an absurd gem of a museum only a few feet away from Dublin Castle and the heart of the city. Its collection is full of rare manuscripts, including sections of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, illustrated Japanese scrolls, a beautiful collection of Qur’ans, and artfully bound European books. All of the museum comes from Chester Beatty’s personal collection that he donated when he passed away. Beatty was Ireland’s first honorary citizen. The museum is connected to the Silk Road Cafe, which has delicious Mediterranean food. 

  • Best Day Trip: Howth 

Howth is an essential destination for anyone studying in Dublin. A 30-minute train ride out of the city on the bay, Howth is a small fishing village at the base of cliffs and hills with open paths to explore. The views of the ocean, the cliffs, and the bay from the top are breathtaking. All you need is enough money on your leap card to take the DART and a good pair of shoes. I visited Howth for the first time within my first week or two in Dublin and it remains one of my favourite places in Ireland. 

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Isabel Fernandez

<p>Hello! My name is Izzy (they/them) and I’m a senior studying anthropology at Indiana University. Within anthropology, I’m particularly interested in storytelling, intersectionality, and modern concepts of gender. I am studying overseas as a part of the IES Dublin- Irish Studies program in the Fall of 2021. I’m excited to share my adventures and discoveries during my time in Dublin. In my free time, I enjoy listening to alternative music, reading the same 4 books over and over again, and attempting to learn random languages before getting distracted after a few weeks.</p>

2021 Fall
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Indiana University
Bloomington, IN
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