Simon's place is a throwback of a cafe, reminiscent of a time where not every inch of Dublin was dedicated to profit maximisation. You can get coffee, tea, juice, a sandwich, salad, some homemade soup and a bun, and that’s it. Oh and toast if you get there before 12.
The coffee is good, the hot chocolate strong, the sandwiches fair, the soup middling. The cinnamon buns are meant to be delicious, but as I hate cinnamon I didn't try them.
The ambiance, however, is brilliant. The wall are utterly covered in posters advertising gigs (often serving to show you what you've missed), the music is eclectic but relaxed, the customers the eclectic but relaxed and the staff lovely.
Part of the George Street Arcade
Fantastic new grill restaurant. Decorated like an American bistro, everything was cheaper than I expected; Verve Clique champagne at around €40, a good choice of wine similarly priced.
The food, the important bit, was superb. They have an America grill which chargrills the steaks and chops, both of which are delicious. You have to order your sides, of which there's a decent range. I had the creamed spinach - perfect, and a portion of the best chips in Ireland. For dessert they encourage you to try a selection of different, small desserts, each for €2. We were not disappointed.
The restaurant stays open late - we arrived at half eight and didn't leave until one in the morning. We weren't the last to go.
The staff were excellent, particularly the impressively tall and friendly Rory, who informed me they are planning a small portion menu - like tapas but a bit more substantial, and a lunch menu.
Easily one of the best restaurants in Limerick and very good value for what you get, the Hamptons is worth a trip nearly on its own.
underneath the Marriott, Henry Street, Limerick City
The Pav is Trinity College Dublin's only drinking hole at the moment, and as the summer approaches is really the only one needed. The bar itself is horrid.
I'm recommending it on the strength that it is the best place to drink outside in central Dublin, legally.
On a Thursday and more so on a Friday there will be literally thousands of people, students, office slaves and more, sitting in the sun drinking. Drinks can be bought at the bar- 4 cans of larger for €8 - or more often brought in. Sometimes there's cricket on, and you can laze and look at that, or the stunning Berkley Library full of studying students, all wishing they were down on the grass next to you.
Other activities might include an impromptu kick about, impromptu sing-a-long, frisbee game, streaker and other studenty type activities.
Food and other drinks available and there's a very limited selection of beers and stouts on tap, but buying drink in there seems against the whole spirit of the thing.
The Pavilion Bar,
Trinity College Dublin,
It's the yellowish building facing on to the cricket pitch.
Great little burger bar on the Rathmines Road, great selection of organic meats, three different types of veggie burger and great imaginative and tasty options for the garnish.
There's a DJ booth in the corner and the crowd is young and hip. Alcohol is available and they have a great South African beer. Costs around €12.50 a burger and €5 a beer so not cheap, but is good value. Open quite late on the weekends.
Charlies popped up a few years ago as a sort of fast food Chinese restaurant and there are now three or four of them about the centre of town. The food is standard Dublin prices, or in other words a bit more than it should be, and is all right if you get it when the place is quiet. Other than that stay the hell away from them. It's a magnet for the drunk and serves up the vilest food when it gets busy. I've been ill the last two times I've eaten there, and won't be returning.
The main problem is that for the same money you could get a decent enough meal elsewhere.
Around Temple Bar
The Bernard Shaw is one of a number of pubs catering to a youngish, trendyish crowd. There's a massive smoking area with a pool table, a dj booth, and decently priced if limited selection of beers.
Decent music nights, recent ones were Dubstep and a celebration of the Rio Carnival with drummers and cheep Brazilian beer. Usually packed at the weekend, always a laugh.
Huge bookshop with a vast, if slightly populist, selection and decent discounts. Certainly one of the best in town for scale and economy, there's a decent if slightly overpriced second hand section as well.
Parnell Street, North of the river
A voluntary charity in the centre of town. If you're here for a while, teach a bit of English, or help with their ever-precarious IT situation, shorter term there is a nightly drop-in English conversation class, just come along and chat, that's it.
As well as all this, they also have yoga classes, some of the cheapest rooms in town and it's a good place to meet other travellers who aren't in India for the cheap weed.
Lots of good work here with many newly arrived refugees and monks, even if you cannot volunteer, donate something.
Temple Road, opposite Thomas Cook
A three day event held in the midst of the trees and rolling fields of Stradbally House. Tickets are only sold for the whole three days, stopping daytrippers, who are such a problem at Ireland other festival Oxygen.
I'm not going to describe the whole shebang, go to the website; its quite exhaustive. Instead, here's my highlights from last year;
The big tree, an acoustic stage, where the Dublin gospel choir, amongst others, duet with anyone hanging around, and the last music of the festival is played.
The cinema tent - fantastic for when you want to crash after a long night etc, it plays a decent mix of art films and slacker comedies - Ferris Bueller's Day Off was a real highlight.
The Crawdaddy tent - really good, full of atmosphere. themed on old New Orleans, and great fun.
The food, really really good for a festival. Nearly every type of food was represented, and there were a lot of vegetarian and organic options. the only thing lacking was a fry up.
A bit of advice - get there early and if you're camping in a tent go for the quiet section- it's a bit away from the music etc and you're able to sleep. I'm bringing my van so pop over and say hello, it's the 1966 VW camper. Bring loo roll and some antibacterial hand cream. Plastic bottles only, so decant that shizas.
Around an hour from Dublin
The Fisherman's bar is attached to Waterville's central hotel, the Butler's Arms. Charlie Chaplin once stayed there, so there's a statue of the little tramp on the sea front promenade.
The Fisherman's is where most of the 'decent' locals drink. The stoners and the drunks and the GAA-heads all have their own bars in this wee town, and this is one of the best.
There are open fires, clean loos, comfortable seating and come the evening, it's packed. You can have a good night in nearly any bar in Waterville, but this place is one of the best.
There's only one street, you can't miss it.
The European flagship of the Four Seasons chain. Recently renovated to its glorious, Art Nouveau best.
Stunning all the way I'm sure, but I've only been in for tea, as I'm a poor student and not a millionaire, like you. I ate in the bar area, which is beautiful, and the food was good and the service impeccable.
Wish I could afford to stay there. Donations on a post card to...
Roosevelt Tér 5-6. 1051
Tel: 36 (1) 268-6000
Fax: 36 (1) 268-5000
I know, I know, it's a bit hypocritical after telling you to avoid the place in a previous tip, but I actually quite enjoy it there.
It's like going out in a market town in England on a Friday; raucous; loud; packed with fools and too much drink. But it also has some of Dublin's best pubs, live music, galleries and restaurants.
It's rare that the sense of violence, which always seems a wrong look away in London, is felt here.
I wouldn't recommend Temple Bar at night for someone in search of a quiet drink, or a civilized time. The puddles of vomit and p!ss ensure that, but it is great fun if you're in town for a laugh with a group of friends.
the centre of town
Large tapas bar in the heart of the city centre, hidden in behind the George Street Arcade. Decent portions, though not particularly cheap.
Its a massive space with exposed brick and palms. The service is iffy, but the atmosphere is great and mercifully there isn't any music, a rarity these days.
George Street Arcade
Known locally as the Dead Zoo, the museum itself is a museum piece, with stuffed animals in glass cases, and hunting trophies everywhere and draws upon draws of butterflies and insects. The whole place is exactly like a normal Victorian museum. But without sideburned attendants.
Merrion Square West
Temple Bar is where every drunken eejit and plastered hen/stag party will end up. Avoid it like the plague on St Patrick's, last year the place ran with piss and vomit. Horror.
Instead go to Camden Street, still city centre, which is full of decent bars, most have live music and DJs organized for the night and where I'll be, in Anseo.
Excellent authentic Thai food in a very relaxed and cozy atmosphere.
Great value early bird menu between 6-8pm. Often quiet, but fills up on the weekends.
No bookings taken.
Anne's Lane, just of South Anne Street, which itself is just off Grafton Street.
A smattering throw back to Dublin's hippy scene, which has been nearly totally decimated. This is really only a shadow of some of Dublin's great markets. Still it has a nice feel to it and there are stalls for second hand books, fresh olives, old records and new Japanese and Chinese fashion. There's Simons Place cafe - a real stalwart, and there's a chipper in one of the stalls. Plus there's an entrance to the excellent Market Bar - with its own entrance for when the arcade is closed. It's a fun wee refuge from the occasional rain. A bit over priced in places tho'
It keeps in the fine tradition of Indian bookshops the country over of stocking a wildly varied selection of books in English, Tibetan, Nepalese and Hindi, and some in other European languages.
The English selection is excellent, with a large number of books on Tibetan religion and other issues, on Himalayan wildlife as well as a really decent fiction section.
Modern classics, proper classics and airport novels all sit happily together. Plus you can get second-hand books too. And they'll buy the books back off you too.
Don't talk politics with the old guy behind the counter - I made an off the cuff remark (something non-offensive and conciliatory towards the position he was outlining) and got a book thrown at me for not agreeing enough.
Smack bang in the centre of town
A student radio station broadcasting 6 weeks a year playing the usual mix of indie classics, new tracks, gigs reviews and then there's the music from the darker recesses of the DJ's collection - everything from indefensible pop to space music and hard rock. Headline show is Reverb.
97.3 FM in central Dublin or www.trinityfm.com
Majnu-ka-Tila is a quiet, relaxing little area in north Delhi totally at odd with the rest of the city. It's quiet, nearly clean and relaxing.
There are several cheap clean guest houses, like the Snowlion. The buses to Dharamasala leave from here.
There is a problem- the local council are attempting to demolish this little Tibet, so I'm not sure if it'll be there when you arrive.
Should only cost 120 R for a rikshaw from the center of town.
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