Red7 Blogs , November 26, 2016
Famous for being one of the friendliest cities in Europe, it’s no wonder Dublin is so popular with our Red7 hens. With its stunning views across the Irish Sea, cosy pubs, superb shopping and welcoming locals, the city is home to a great mix of quirky attractions for the day and a buzzing nightlife to make your hen do a send-off to remember – or not remember depending on how much prosecco you and the girls get through!
With a city steeped in history, there’s plenty to discover in Dublin, from Georgian architecture, to pubs that date back to 1198. Drinking a pint of Guinness and taking a trip to the Jameson Distillery are the most obvious must-dos for any trip to Dublin, but the city has plenty more to offer! Rather than visiting the usual tourist traps, be sure to check out some of these hidden gems that the locals love. Slightly off the beaten track, we think they’re well worth searching for if you want to experience a different side to Dublin.
Founded in 2007, the Loft Market is fast becoming a favourite amongst fashion fans in the city, with a huge collection of independent art, fashion and jewellery, all brought together in one place. Sadly the market is now closed but you can now buy your favourite pieces online from anywhere in the world. Styled on a New York City indoor fashion market, the Loft is crammed full with boutique shops. As you and the girls wander around the Loft in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, expect to find plenty of up and coming designers, as well as vintage pieces here. The Centre is also home to restaurants, bars and antique galleries on the lower levels, perfect for a pit-stop during the day!
Whilst you’re in the area, be sure to step out of the Powerscourt Townhouse and explore all the surrounding side streets. This area is well known as Dublin’s creative corner, and like the Loft Market, the streets are full of shops with independent designers, alongside high end boutiques selling designer labels. Whilst you’re strolling the streets be sure to look up at the Georgian architecture, as this is one of the prettiest parts of the city.
Now this activity is not for the faint-hearted, but if you and the girls like to walk on the wilder side then it’s definitely worth investigating; you’ll need your swimsuits! The Forty Foot started out as a male-only swimming spot, but has since become a much-loved diving spot for extreme sports fans, the braver locals and tourists. Located on the southern tip of Dublin Bay, it’s famously used all year round (yes – we’re shivering just thinking about it in winter) and divers can use it during high or low tide. Dubliners are known to take it to the extreme and dive in regardless of the weather, with the spot proving to be particularly popular on Christmas Day. The question is, are you up for the challenge? Those looking for a slightly tamer adrenaline rush can always try out our White Water Rafting experiences.
With its beautiful backdrop of the mountains and views over the Irish Sea, Dublin has some great spots to sit back, relax and take in the scenery – preferably whilst sipping on Prosecco. Some of the best views of Dublin can be found at the Great South Wall at the Port of Dublin. The 4km promenade stretches out to sea with a lighthouse at the end, where you can see some incredible views of Dun Laoghaire, Killarney Head and on clearer days, the mountains that overlook the city. The walk there and back takes roughly 60 minutes, so be prepared, but all that fresh sea air makes an excellent hangover cure.
However, if you and the girls would rather sit comfortably with a cocktail as you take in the Instagram-worthy city views, there is another option. Head to the glam Marker Rooftop Bar and Terrace in Grand Canal Square. Here you’ll find a huge menu with a decent cocktail list and the perfect spot to watch the sunset over the Irish Sea and Dublin Mountains, all before the real party starts when you hit the town.
Have you always wanted to pick up the guitar and learn to play? Well we have the next best thing… Every Tuesday, the Stags Head pub in the city centre holds a ukulele jamming session. One of the more unusual activities for a hen weekend in Dublin, this is open for ukulele players of all levels. You don’t need to know how to play before joining in! Even if you don’t fancy a go on the ukulele, the Stags Head is well worth a visit any day of the week. Filled with locals, the Victorian pub is a regular award winner and even picked up the title of Best Traditional Pub in 2016! One to put on the list of pubs to visit, even if you only go for a sing-along session.
Weekends were made for brunches and for the best brunch in Dublin, follow the locals and head towards the Press Café. Tucked away from the city’s hustle and bustle in a cosy conservatory on the grounds of the National Print Museum, Press Café is the perfect place to go for a homemade brekkie with the girls after a heavy night. Serving up a variety of dishes from Belgian Waffles to a Full English with an Irish twist, you’ll be sure to find a delicious breakfast to suit everyone in the group here, plus all the dishes are made with fresh ingredients from Irish suppliers.
Hidden away on a back road just off Camden Street in a secret garden, the Cake Café is hard to find but worth the search according to locals! Specialising in home bakes, you can also pop in for a little lunch, or an afternoon tea with a glass of bubbles. Registered with the Irish Crafts Council, it’s also a great place to pick up a souvenir, from tea towels to plates, all designed in the distinctive Cake Café pattern.
Ireland’s only contemporary Mexican restaurant and cocktail bar, 777 is the place to be for tacos, tequila and top tunes. Located on Georges Street, with a black façade and frosted glass, it’s hard to believe that 777 has that much to offer. This changes the moment you walk in the door as you’re greeted with a buzzing atmosphere, whilst the DJ plays tracks in the background. Margaritas are a must here, and with over 100 tequilas to choose from, you are spoilt for choice when deciding on tequila slammers! 777 is great choice for the gang before a big night out, but for those who would rather go traditional and get a taste of Ireland’s traditional cuisine, try a delicious 2 Course Irish Meal booked for you by Red7 at one of the top restaurant spots in Dublin.
For the wine buffs, Hugo’s Restaurant and Wine Bar has a wine list that’s extensive but thankfully not expensive. With over 50 wines to choose from by the glass, it’s the perfect way to sample all the different varieties! Count us in! It’s hard to miss this Parisian style restaurant with its bright turquoise front, and you’ll be glad you didn’t. Serving up Irish food with a heavy French influence, all dishes are made by the chef who started out in a 3 Michelin star UK restaurant – plus on Sundays, diners are treated with live jazz. Whilst in Dublin, wine lovers can also check out the Red7 Wine Tasting experience to learn all about the art of wine tasting and the history of different wine varieties.
After a night out, all Dubliners know that the only way to treat yourself is with a Dublin Spice Bag. Found in most takeaway shops, it is pretty much a bag of dreams, AKA fried chicken, chips and chilli peppers. Named as Ireland’s favourite takeaway, locals eat it after a great night out, so no trip to this Irish city is complete without tasting it for yourself. Make sure to get your hands on one before heading back to your party pad to continue the hen celebrations!
For a tamer night (if you have one that is), the Library Bar at The Central Hotel is the perfect place to begin. The bar itself is pretty quiet, but feels authentic and the perfect peaceful place for a pre-dinner cocktail. If your hen weekend is more ‘go hard or go home’, then this bar also serves up a mouth-watering weekend brunch menu, making it an ideal spot for chilling out the morning after the night before.
Also known as Bar no.3, Kelly’s, or The Snail to name a few… this bar is located upstairs through an unmarked door. Hidden away as part of Kelly’s Hotel, look for the street door with the large wooden snail hanging above it. Once you’ve found it, you will find a laid-back atmosphere that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a friend’s house party. Famous for its Mojitos, the Bar with no name is a great place to stop for a couple drinks before hitting Dublin’s nightclubs.
If you love cocktails, and who doesn’t, then the Vintage Cocktail Club is for you! Hidden away in the Temple Bar area, you’ll need to make a reservation to get a decent table as this is fast becoming a favourite for locals. Look for a discrete door on Crown Alley and ring the doorbell before making your way upstairs into two levels of speakeasy and a patio. Once inside, sit back, take in the décor and indulge on your favourite cocktails! It is worth noting that this bar is strictly for over 23’s, so be sure to carry ID! If a night sipping the perfect Daquiri sounds good, then you and the girls will love taking part in your very own Cocktail Masterclass. In these professional sessions you’ll get taught everything you need to know about your favourite cocktails, before sampling a few and trying your hand at making your own – so you can go home and impress everyone with your new found skills.
For the hottest nightlife, Harcourt Street is where you’ll find some of the best clubs in Dublin, filled with locals that want to get away from the touristy Temple Bar. The street itself is made up of Georgian buildings that look like housing, however don’t judge a book by its cover, as these lead to some of the best nightclubs in the city. Dicey’s Garden, known for its cheap drinks, is one of the most popular ones on the street. Open 7 nights a week, this club has an ever-changing line up of DJs playing a variety of top tunes that will keep you on the dancefloor all night long.
Dublin has so much more to offer hens than a pint of Guinness and four-leaved clovers, so if this round-up has left you wanting more don’t forget to check out our awesome line up of Dublin hen experiences, or get in touch with one of our Red7 gurus to start planning your hen weekend antics.