Dublin has been my home now for a couple of years since I moved here to be with my boyfriend. I was apprehensive when I made the move. What if I didn't make any friends? What if I didn't like Dublin? Is it really possible that Ireland is even more rainy than England?!
My motto for the move was "Hope for the best, expect the worst." All the psychological preparation I did seemed to pay off, because I can honestly say that I've never felt homesick since moving across the Irish sea. Of course, I'm an English girl at heart and I miss a lot of things about England (my friends and family, clotted cream, Radio 4). But Dublin and the people I've met here made me feel welcome immediately, and now I can't imagine living anywhere else long-term. I've fallen in love with this place!
My new favorite hobby is recommending things to do, see, and eat in Dublin to people who I know will be visiting. Dublin is a small but mighty city that I hope you all get to visit at some point in your life. And while I hope you'll spend most of the time in the pub (Grogan's is my regular haunt) or swimming in the sea, if you do decide to make time for a bit of beauty tourism, here are my picks.
You can't miss Brown Thomas at the bottom of Grafton Street, one of Dublin's main shopping streets located right across from Trinity College. Brown Thomas is basically the Selfridges of Ireland — they even have uniformed and friendly doormen!
The beauty hall at Brown Thomas has recently been refurbished, and while it's quite small compared to other flagship department stores around the world, it is perfectly formed and staffed by very friendly people.
Highlights include Charlotte Tilbury, Giorgio Armani, and Jo Malone. There's also a dedicated MAC boutique.
Avoca has some beautiful and much larger stores outside of the city, but their Suffolk Street store is a treasure trove of homewares, fashion, food, books, and beauty products.
If you're looking to pick up homegrown Irish products, Avoca is your place. They stock their own range of beautifully packaged soaps, as well as candles and home fragrance from Max Benjamin, and seaweed-infused skincare from Voya. Once you're done shopping, head upstairs to the café for tea and scones!
Saoirse Ronan caused quite a stir in Ireland when she name-checked this amazing Dublin nail salon on the Ellen show earlier this year (click on the link if you want to hear Saoirse saying "Tropical Popical" in her amazing Dub accent). Tropical Popical is kitsch, fun, and super friendly.
Irish girls love a good manicure and don't take themselves too seriously, both things epitomized by this salon. You'll need to book a couple of weeks in advance if you want a manicure, but this place is such great craic that it will be worth your time.
Penneys — not to be confused with JC Penney — or Primark as it's known worldwide, was founded in Ireland and is an essential part of Irish life. Whether or not you're a fan of fast fashion, their flagship Henry Street store is well worth a visit for the budget makeup offerings from Essence, Catrice Cosmetics, and every cheap beauty tool you could want. If anyone compliments you on your lipstick, you have to say, 'Thanks, Penneys!' because it's the catchphrase of every girl in Ireland.
And because I can't resist...
Let me recommend some of my best-loved spots in town! For coffee, check out Kaph, Sasha House Petite, and the Books Upstairs cafe. For pubs, you can't go wrong with Grogan's, The Palace Bar, or The Black SheepThe Black Sheep. For food try Cornucopia for vegetarian delights, Musashi for sushi, and La Cave for a fancy meal and wine.
Come here to me:
- Have you ever visited Ireland, or is it on your bucket list?
- If you've been to Dublin, tell me what I've missed!
- What city in the world do you find yourself gushing over?