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Insider Guides

An Insider Guide To Dublin With Danielle Ryan

Dubliner Danielle Ryan is refreshingly curious about the world around her.

Growing up between Ireland, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and London, such variety of place may have helped cultivate Danielle’s sense of adventure and cultural appreciation. An ardent explorer, in 2013 she created Roads Fragrances – a range of niche, luxurious eau de parfums that transport the wearer to pastures new. Its “roots are in Dublin, but the scents are fed by inspirations drawn from cultures that span the world”.

Crafted from various themes and ideas, Roads presents a unique approach to scent, allowing the wearer to be wholly immersed in a given aroma. A novel concept, the idea of ‘scented storytelling’ stemmed from another of Danielle’s passions – theatre. While setting up Dublin’s The Lir Academy – who’s alumnus, Paul Mescal, you may be familiar with? – RADA graduate, Danielle explored the possibility of incorporating scent into the dramatic experience, offering audiences another dimension of engagement. Diverting away from Punchdrunk terrain and toward luxe fragrances, the project’s rerouting led to the creation of a covetable line that occupies the shelves of some of the world’s chicest boutiques.

Still, alongside her aromatic pursuits, acting and performance persist as key focuses for Danielle – who recently starred alongside Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, and Jon Hamm in Wild Mountain Thyme. Setting the scene for a trip to Dublin, Danielle suggests swotting up with texts by Roddy Doyle and J.P. Donleavy, and bookmarking a selection of artisanal coffee shops and moreish lunch/dinner spots outlined in her guide to maximise on people watching.

From live music gigs to mountainous hikes, her itinerary proves as spirited as the city she calls home.

Essential items to pack for a trip to Dublin…

Good walking shoes, a light rollup raincoat, and a good book. I love reading a novel set in the city I’m visiting so something like the Barrytown Trilogy by Roddy Doyle or The Gingerman by J.P. Donleavy is good to set the tone.

The best time to visit is…

Early September is always a great month and usually has better weather than summer.

Our first pitstop should be…

A little walk around Trinity campus, Grafton Street, South William Street, and Drury Street. Sit outside Kaph coffee shop on Drury street, or Metro café on South William street and people watch.

Your favourite hotel to check-in at is…

The Merrion Hotel if you are splashing out, it’s a beautiful five-star hotel in a Georgian Building in the centre of Dublin. Number 31 is very close to the centre of town and is a very cool little boutique hotel. For something more central, The Westbury off Grafton Street is smack bang in the middle of everything and is a great hotel.

For an early morning workout head to…

Plenty of great running routes around the city. Also, I love “Form School” which is just off Merrion Square for fantastic drop-in Pilates classes. For more intense CrossFit class or spin, which I love, Perpetua on Windmill Lane is the place to go (and offers pay as you go).

Where should we go for breakfast?

Bibi’s in Portobello is a must and is lovely to walk over to, Tang Café off Stephens Green is excellent. Also Meet Me in the Morning, Alma, and Fumbally Café are all fantastic independent cafes that are within walking distance of the city centre.

How about for a long, lazy lunch?

Coppinger Row I love – they do a fantastic Bloody Mary and have a fun, relaxed atmosphere.

And for dinner with friends?

Etto and Uno Mas are places I go all the time. Relaxed and the food is exceptional. Also, Hang Dai is a fun Chinese on Camden Street. On that same street is Delahunt which is a superb restaurant and is an old pub conversion – there is a great little cocktail bar upstairs to meet before you have your dinner

A must-try spot for date night?

Allta, Host, and Forest and Marcy are all cool, intimate, and have great food. 777 is great little place for Mexican food – definitely good for a fun date that includes great margheritas.

Your favourite restaurant in town?

Budget: Lucky Tortoise for dim sum or Bunsen for really good burgers.

Blow Out: Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud at the Merrion, or Liath for a Michelin-star level food experience.

Where should we head post-dinner?

Peruke & Periwig, The No Name Bar, Vintage Cocktail Club, and The Liquor Room are ones that I love. I’m more about a cool bar with good music than a club.

The drink to order at the bar…

I’d tend to order a good French 75 or a Negroni.

The best place for people watching…

If the sun is out, it’s nice grabbing coffee and sitting in Stephen’s Green watching people come in and out.

The culture spot to rave about…

Check out what theatre is on in the Project Arts Centre or The Abbey Theatre. Whelan’s for great live music gigs.

The best place to treat yourself is… 

Murphy’s Ice Cream on Wicklow Street – order a scoop of brown-bread ice cream.

For great shopping head to…

Powerscourt Centre and surrounding streets have loads of independent stores.

The one place only locals know about… 

Sea swimming is a big thing in Dublin and although it is freezing it will make you feel amazing. Head down to Seapoint or The 40 Foot with a swimsuit and towel… you may need a flask of hot tea for afterwards.

For the best views head to…

Howth. Head on the DART train and do the Howth Head Loop Walk – a stunning cliff walk with views over the Atlantic.

For a change of pace try…

Rent a city bike and cycle up to Phoenix Park (where you could very likely see a large herd of deer) and grab a cake and coffee at the Phoenix Café.

Great day trips include…

Do a hike up around Glendalough. Drive out of the city and spend the day enjoying the most incredible scenery of this glacial lake. Take a rucksack picnic with you and do one of their loop walks choosing the distance depending on your energy and fitness. Incredible place.

How should we spend the final day of our trip?

A wander through Temple Bar – with a day movie in the IFI cinema and a lobster roll at Klaw, popping into to the Library Project to look through their fantastic art books and into the Gallery of Photography to see what exhibition is on.

What’s your Dublin secret?

Not a secret but something that is vital on your trip to Dublin is to go to a real authentic pub for a pint. I love Grogans, Kehoes, and O’Donoghues which also has live trad music some evenings.

In a word, Dublin is…


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