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dublin's hidden gems: things to do and see in dublin

dublin's hidden gems: things to do and see in dublin

Our resident travel writer David takes a look around the city to give us some of his recommendations of things to do and see in Dublin.

David's guide is the perfect companion to Secret Dublin and Dublin: Like a Local, as it picks out some real gems hidden around this fair city that will compliment and extend your explorations through Dublin's street, letting you experience it just like a local.


scéal bakery

Dublin is experiencing a mini bakery boom at the moment and it doesn't get much better than scéal. They are an absolute haven for pastry lovers and have some utterly delicious varieties of sourdough breads, all made in their Smithfield bakery. From my countless visits I can wholeheartedly attest that they have the best morning bun in Dublin . You can find them in the Fumbally stables from 10am-1pm every Thursday and Saturday.

soup 2 / a stór coffee

a lovely new addition to Smithfield, soup 2 (sister restaurant of soup in Dún Laoghaire) is an Asian inspired diner serving up delicious ramen, fermented foods and cocktails in the cool environs of D7. If you're looking for some great food in a chill, casual environment this is the spot. During the day soup 2 is also home to a stór coffee (meaning 'treasure') which serves up some fine, fine coffee.

one kinda folk

I discovered the brilliant coffee shop, one kinda folk during one of the many lockdowns in Dublin and now every time I pop down to it I get to live out my own Notting Hill inspired life (thanks to the neighbouring dartmouth square). One kinda folk is a literal hidden gem, nestled behind a leafy residential wall covered in ivy, once you step in you automatically feel at peace. They serve up some great coffee and have a variety of lovely treats to nibble on your walk around Dartmouth Square.

For more recommendations check out our designist eats highlight on Instagram, which is filled with great ideas for a leisurely brunch.


john gunn's camera shop

well, what can I say about john gunn's camera shop other than it is an absolute dublin icon. John Gunn's camera shop is a family run camera shop, run by mr. Gunn and his two daughters on Wexford street; it's been going for over 50 years now. It is one of those places that immediately makes you feel at home and you're always absolutely beaming after a visit. If you're just thinking of getting into photography or just need to grab supplies, it is the place to go as they are a world of knowledge in there.

urban plant life

hidden in the heart of the liberties there is an absolute oasis of plants. Urban plant life is the Dublin city centre's only garden centre, found down on cork street. it has everything you'd need to create your own world of plants (indoor or outdoor). There's plenty of inspiration to be seen and the folks in urban plant life are only too happy to give advice for some of us more disastrous plant lovers.

honest2goodness market

dubliners love a good old market but unfortunately finding market space seems to be a growing issue however we are incredibly lucky to still have honest2goodness up in glasnevin that is going from strength to strength. the market covers all your bases, great food, lovely flowers and good coffee and you'll actually some our own designist favs up there too (proper chocolate company and sarah & olive)


ye olde hurdy-gurdy museum of vintage radio

The Ye Olde Hurdy-Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio is a wondrous world of old vintage relics found in the old martello tower at the top of Howth village. If you want to feel like you’re in a Wes Anderson film this is the place to go, because inside you’ll come across so many gadgets and vintage gems. From early morse equipment, gramophones, radios and plenty of other marvellous finds. The museum first opened in 2003 when Pat Herbert, the curator, was looking for a home to display his vast collection and eventually home became Howth’s iconic martello tower. To visit you can book online, with tickets €5 for adults, €3 for students and kids go free.

the national print museum (& press café)

It should come as no surprise that here in Designist that’d we’d love the National Print Museum in Beggars Bush barracks. The museum's collection is made up largely of letterpress printing equipment which are all still fully-operational and is full to the brim with beautiful typefaces. The guides give a brilliant overview of the history and development of the printing world with some fascinating demonstrations. The adjoining Press Café is also itself a hidden gem worth visiting, with some incredibly scrumptious breakfast, lunch and brunch menus.

kerlin gallery

Just off Grafton Street and nestled down Anne’s Lane you’ll find one of Ireland’s leading contemporary galleries. The gallery is a stunning space found at the top of two flights of stairs and hidden behind a grand wooden door that you just need to buzz to make your way in. The Kerlin gallery has been exhibiting some of the best contemporary works of both Irish and international artists for nearly 25 years now, from Dorothy Cross, Jaki Irvine, Kathy Prendergast to Sean Scully.


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