My Favorite Places in Dublin

Molly Ballenger
March 29, 2022

Hello there! I’ve spent a lot of time writing about the other places I’ve traveled, so I wanted to make sure I gave my home city the credit it deserves. It’s been so fun to explore and make Dublin a new home by finding a routine in the places I keep going back to. 

First up is Saint Stephen’s Green! This park is gorgeous. It’s the same vibe as Central Park; it’s just a huge space with ancient oak trees, a couple of ponds filled with swans and ducks, and lots of grass that’s often, in good weather, filled with people lounging and picnicking. I love spending an afternoon reading on a bench or hanging out with friends there; it’s great for people-watching and enjoying some time in nature. 

But if I want to beat the crowds that fill Saint Stephen’s and enjoy a quieter day, I go just a little farther south to Iveagh Gardens. It feels like a well-kept secret, a small walled park with only one entrance through a small gate. Only locals really go there, so I enjoy reading there a lot. It’s so peaceful!

One of my favorite parts of my walk to school is along Grafton street, one of the most popular and touristy areas of Dublin. Yes, the crowds can be annoying, but I can’t help but love this area. The buildings are bright and colorful, buskers along the street provide a happy soundtrack to your day, and flower stands on every block bring plenty of natural beauty. The surrounding streets are also really fun, with lots of cool shops and restaurants. Some of my favorites are the mall in Powerscourt Townhouse and George’s Street Arcade. 

It sounds strange, but the place in Dublin that reminds my friends and I most of our home in America is a Mexican restaurant called El Grito! It’s in the basement of a Georgian townhouse in Mountjoy Square, one of the most historic places in Dublin. We go every Thursday night after we get out of class, and it’s become our most treasured tradition this semester. It’s probably some of the most authentic Mexican food in Dublin and it’s so tasty. 

My favorite restaurant the rest of the week, however, is a small cafe called Grove Road Cafe. It’s only a few doors down from the IES Abroad center, where we take our classes, so it’s become our regular lunch and coffee place. It has amazing food, free WiFi, and its staff is really nice: everything I’ve ever wanted in a cafe!

Croke Park is the third-largest stadium in Europe, and it’s only a few blocks away from our apartment. It’s run by the GAA, the home to Gaelic football and hurling, the two most popular sports in the country, and we’ve gotten to tour the park with our class as well as go to a game. It’s so much fun, and it’s such a great way to experience Irish culture. 

Howth is a small seaside town just north of Dublin, just about a thirty-minute train ride away. It has one road with some fun shops and restaurants, but the main event is the cliff walk only a little bit away from the main town. It’s an amazing example of the iconic Irish natural beauty, and it’s so close to Dublin, which is really special. I’ve been several times, and I will never get tired of those views. 

It would take me forever to list all of the things I love about Dublin, but these places are the highlights! I hope that someday you get to experience Irish culture like this.

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Molly Ballenger

<p>I'm an English and Religion major at Furman University from Lookout Mountain, Georgia. At school, I'm on the leadership team for several campus ministries, I work at my school's farm, and I play club ultimate frisbee! In my free time, I enjoy being outside, climbing, and playing guitar, as well as spending time with friends.</p>

2022 Spring
Home University:
Furman University
Lookout Mountain, GA
Religious Studies
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