Dublin

Irish whiskey tells the country’s tale

Judging by the job posting at Teeling's Whiskey, the first new Dublin distillery in 125 years is finally getting ready to open its visitors center. The job? They're looking for fluent English speakers with at least one other language to give tours. The center, located on Newmarket Square in the Liberties section of Dublin (that's Dublin 8 for those who understand the city's postal codes), will be open daily 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Exactly when it first opens for business is still unannounced. Meantime, Dublin hardly lacks for whiskey attractions, some of which we outlined today in a story in the Boston Globe travel section, "Even its whiskey tells an Irish tale". The story includes the new Irish Whiskey Museum (inaugurated in January) at...Read More

What to buy in a Dublin grocery store

Whenever we visit Dublin, we make sure to enjoy lots of incredible butter and cream since we can't bring any home. (U.S. Customs frowns on such dairy products.) Fortunately there are lots of other good Irish foodstuffs that we can pack in the suitcase. For cheeses, we make our purchases at Sheridans Cheesemongers (see earlier post), but here are some of the things that caught our eye in a neighborhood Dunnes grocery store: Irish soda farls Pat's mother still remembers her own mother, who hailed from Northern Ireland, making soda bread farls in a round pan on the top of the stove. First she would shape the dough into a circle and then cut it crosswise into four pieces, the so-called farls. This style of...Read More

Making fudge with an Irish accent

With his engaging banter, Tomás Póil could surely peddle ice to Eskimos, but he doesn't have to work nearly as hard to persuade the folks of Dublin to indulge in blocks cut from his big slabs of fudge. We ran into Póil at his Man of Aran Fudge booth at the street food market on Bernardo Square on New Year's Day. (To find out where he'll be on any given weekend, see www.manofaranfudge.ie). A surprising number of people seemed to be finding Póil's sweets to be the perfect antidote to a night of overindulgent revelry. Originally from the Aran Isles, Póil began making fudge in 1999 and hasn't yet grown tired of coming up with new flavor combinations. In one, he tops a slab of...Read More

Dublin gastropub’s inspired sweet potato soup

Pubs have always had some kind of grub to sop up the suds, but pubs all over Ireland began to take the quality of their kitchens seriously about 10 years ago. The turn toward better food was a matter of survival. Pubs lost a slew of customers after March 29, 2004, when Ireland became the first country in the world to ban smoking in the workplace — including restaurants, bars, and pubs. Once a few pubs introduced quality food with strong Irish roots, it became clear that the gastropub concept was the way to win new customers. Two years ago, the Restaurant Association of Ireland began giving out awards for best gastropubs, and in the two competitions since then, one of the top contenders in...Read More
Making The Marker’s Irish brown soda bread

Making The Marker’s Irish brown soda bread

If you're following our series of posts on dining in Dublin, you might recall that our last post called for Irish brown soda bread. We realize that unless you're blessed with an authentic Irish bakery (like we are, with Greenhills Bakery in Dorchester), you'll probably have to make your own. For folks who often flub yeast breads, a delicious Irish soda bread is almost a godsend, since it's hard to screw up if you follow the directions. At the chic and rather new Marker Hotel in Dublin's hip Docklands district, we tasted a spectacular version of Irish brown bread on the extravagant breakfast buffet. Seeds in brown bread are nothing new, though the classic recipes only call for oat groats to add texture. This version...Read More

Chasing Dublin’s most famous cheese sandwich

Having spent a glorious hour or so sampling and buying farmhouse cheese at Sheridans (see last post), we thought it would be a great idea to lunch on the most famous cheese sandwich in Dublin, even if it doesn't involve an Irish cheese. Although much refurbished and modernized, Davy Byrnes Pub (21 Duke Street, +353 1 677 5217, davybyrnes.com) has been a downtown fixture just off Grafton Street since 1889. It was a popular watering hole among the literati long before James Joyce immortalized the bar in Ulysses, published in 1922. In chapter 8, “Lestrygonians,” Leopold Bloom stops in on June 16, 1904, and orders a Gorgonzola sandwich. The dish is still on the menu, though the pub now fancies itself “Dublin's original gastro pub”...Read More

Exploring the world of Irish farmhouse cheese

It's not really surprising that Irish cheeses all come with a story. Probably the best place in Dublin to hear these tales is the local branch of Sheridans Cheesemongers (11 South Anne Street, +353 1 679 3143), conveniently located a short distance from Grafton Street, just around the corner from the Celtic Whiskey Shop (more on that another time), and close by St. Stephen's Green. For a cheese-loving visitor, Sheridans amounts to a crash course on Irish farmhouse cheeses — and the perfect source to get pieces shrinkwrapped to take home in your luggage. Get a preview at sheridanscheesemongers.com. Several commercial Irish cheddars reach North America, but farmhouse cheeses are another matter. In fact, farmhouse cheesemaking had nearly died out in Ireland, as dairy farmers...Read More

Top food with a view at Sophie’s, Dublin’s newest

When it comes to good eating in Dublin, the best choices at the moment seem to be either the self-styled gastropubs or terrific restaurants in some of the hotels. The latest arrival is Sophie's (33 Harcourt Street, +353 1 607 8100, sophies.ie) at the Dean (deanhoteldublin.ie), a chic new designer boutique hotel. Both restaurant and hotel opened at the beginning of December, so by the time we arrived on New Year's Eve, chef Darren Mathews (below) had Sophie's running on all cylinders. The top-floor restaurant and bar is surrounded on three sides by windows with views of the Dublin rooftops. It's a spectacular space, with banquettes and some booths lining the perimeter of the room and — in true Irish fashion — a big bar...Read More

Celebrating great dining in Dublin

We just returned from Dublin's New Year's Festival, celebrated over three days from December 30 through January 1. This was the fourth year of the festival, and the biggest yet. Along with the raucous parade (above), it featured live rock concerts, a Spoken Word Festival of poetry and rap, other music that drew on traditional and classical genres, special museum and gallery shows, and a whole lot of fun. The Irish know how to celebrate, and it turns out that they have a lot to celebrate year-round with the new Irish cuisine. Ireland has always had the makings of great food — from the sweet vegetables to the succulent meat from animals grazed on its rich green grass to the fish and shellfish from its...Read More