“I share with you some of the best places…”
My City: Dublin
Profession: Medical Student
“Hello! I’m Ash, I’m from Kenya and I am currently studying medicine in Ireland. My degree can be quite stressful at times so I love to unwind by escaping to anywhere and everywhere. My favourite trip so far was to Malaysia last year. I was lucky enough to be there during Chinese New Year, which we celebrated at a massive festival in Penang that was full of culture and terrific food. It was fantastic! I also think you can’t beat a few days of relaxing on the beaches in Kenya… though perhaps I am biased.
When I am not studying or traveling you will most likely find me in a bohemian coffee shop trying to take artsy photographs of food”.
Where do you live? I moved to Dublin a few years ago for university.
Here I grew up: I grew up in Nairobi, the chaotic capital of Kenya. Nairobi isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea but through the bedlam I find charm in its unpredictability, you never know what each day will have in store for you. Of late the city has grown into quite the cosmopolitan hub with luxury hotels and great restaurants popping up all over the place.
Why I visit My City: I go to medical school here! Though I really love Dublin, it is such a young and vibrant city that I would visit it even if I lived far away. Also I have gotten to know the city fairly well so I can hopefully share with you all the best places to go.
My early memory: My family are originally from Ireland so I remember visiting Dublin in the summer time as a child. My favorite activity was to walk along the beach near Malahide (a suburb of Dublin) and to watch the waves crashing against the rocks, the Irish sea can get rather stormy at times. Another fun activity is to watch the crazy people who actually go swimming in it!
My favorite place to eat: I love Fade Street Social in Dublin 2, the atmosphere is always buzzing, they have a massive cocktail list, and the food is superb! They also have a bar upstairs that is very busy on weekends and a great place to go and mingle with the cool and trendy people of Dublin.
What do you eat there? My favorite dish is the Salmon roasted with crab and lemongrass sauce, and the Colcannon as a side dish. Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made of creamed mashed potatoes and kale. In Fade Street they also add in spring onion foam making it extra flavoursome.
Typical local food? Potatoes! I know it is a bit of a stereotype but you will be hard pushed to find a main course that doesn’t come with a side of spuds. Stew is also another typically Irish dish and it is served in many of the pubs around Temple Bar. Temple Bar has Gallagher’s Boxty House, a lovely restaurant that serves authentic Irish food with a contemporary twist, plus their head chef is a self-proclaimed potato expert!
Meet the locals: If I am being honest then probably a fish and chip shop called Leo Burdocks late on a Friday or Saturday night is where you will find many of Dublin’s locals. Dublin is also great for live music; places such as Whelan’s on Camden Street have gigs every weekend and are always packed with people.
My favorite bar: If I am feeling fancy then I really like the Marker Hotel’s Rooftop Bar in Grand Canal. This place has an incredible view overlooking the canal and they make great cocktails. Otherwise, Dublin has a great selection of wine bars, Baggots Hutton Wine Emporium and Olesya, both in Dublin 2, are perfect for a chilled out glass of wine and a chat with a friend. In terms of pubs, Porterhouse in Temple Bar is always good fun.
Best place for a first date? Well if you want to keep it to a casual coffee then Accents coffee shop has lovely comfortable couches where you can sit and chat for hours… or not. If you want to go for drinks then Vintage Cocktail Club in Temple Bar is great, it’s a posh 1920’s style speakeasy that is hard to find and requires reservations, it will also make you seem all mysterious to your date.
My secret place: I really enjoy walking around Grand Canal. The area has recently been transformed from old warehouses to urban chic hangout with several new modern glass buildings. There is also an unused playground in front of one of the apartment buildings, designed with sand and palm trees. It is a great place to go and sit and pretend you are on holiday in some exotic destination.
My best advice: Go for a stroll along Howth Head, the views on the cliff walk extend all the way up Dublin bay and are quite spectacular. Also always carry an umbrella!
My favorite shop: Brown Thomas on Grafton Street is my favourite shop. I can’t afford all that much in there (it’s very posh) but they have beautiful clothes and looking is free.
My favorite Event: The Saturday food market in Temple Bar is great. It is foodie heaven with all the different stalls to choose from, and the brownies are yum.
Taxi or other local transport? Dublin is fairly small so you can walk most places, if you want to go to the seaside then I would get the Dart (a train), and at night I would take a taxi, though more because it is cold than unsafe.
Keep away from: Temple Bar after 2 am. Temple Bar is a must see when visiting Dublin, it is so much fun for drinks and live music but very late at night it can get a little rowdy.
Why do you travel? Because I am curious, I am curious about people and I find it so exciting to get a glimpse into how other people live their lives. I dread the idea of monotony, where everyday is the same as the one before, when I travel there is a sense of freedom from routine and each day you can go and experience somewhere new. Most compellingly, I love the sense of adventure that comes with travel, and the feeling of discovery when you find this great little café that you never knew existed or try a new food that you had never even heard of.
Where next? I am planning on traveling to Oslo and then on to Tromsø for a long weekend in early March. This trip really excites me as I have never been so far north before and I just can’t wait to see reindeer and huskies! I am also hoping that we will be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights.
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