Brown Thomas and Dublin Castle
After spending time in Belfast I was almost sad to leave because I found it so charming, but Dublin did not disappoint! It had a lively music scene in the pubs at night and a lot of history throughout the city, I’ll be talking about that aspect in a later post, but there were two things in Dublin that I found made for a nice contrasting afternoon.
First we explored Dublin Castle in the heart of the city. Full of so much history, from the time that Dublin was invaded by England, up to it’s present day existence. The entire building was very imposing and the fact that it’s now sandwiched in the middle of everything else in thriving downtown Dublin makes me a perfect stop to soak in some history.
In the afternoon we found ourselves in Brown Thomas, a luxurious department store with it’s main entrance on Grafton Street, having high tea. The experience was decadent, especially when coupled with a visit to Dublin Castle. We were surrounded by locals, which elevated the experience for me, and felt as though we’d stumbled into a locals spot. The fare was light and refreshing with beautiful design touches throughout the experience. Also, it was a champagne high tea…what could possibly be more fun?!
Tea with the Queen
I’m a huge fan of tea time. Which is why when I was in Dublin I tried to fit in as many tea experiences as I possibly could. The first place we stopped was a little tea house called Queen of Hearts. It was so cute and tiny and right in the heart of Dublin.
While in Dublin and Belfast I rediscovered my deep love of scones, specifically fruit scones. Which we indulged in while at Queen of Hearts.
The clotted cream in Ireland is so rich and flavorful that naturally I felt the need to use heaps of it on everything. The tea was excellent, Earl Grey being one of my favorites, this blend was particularly full bodied and the flavor was not dampened by the cream.
I would definitely recommend popping in to the Queen of Hearts if you find yourself in Dublin, it’s worth it!
Vintage Tea in Dublin
I’m such a fan of tea. Also of high tea. And double decker buses. So Vintage Tea Tours was an absolute dream! It’s fairly new, so I’m so glad that my mum stumbled across it when she was exploring Dublin! As soon as you walk down the cobblestone street it feels as though you’re on your way to experience a cross between the Knight Bus of Harry Potter and a Tea Party with the mad hatter and Alice. Once seated on the second level we were greeted with a tray of treats and an offering of tea flavors. I chose the rosé champagne tea which was light and fruity. The array of edible offerings ranged from a sour green apple cupcake to cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches. Then we were off and touring around Dublin viewing all the best that it has to offer from Phoenix Park to the Spire in the heart of the city, passing Trinity College and Temple Bar along the way! All in all the experience was truly a delight. Our host was knowledgable, friendly, and attentive, the bus was well restored and well appointed for a tea tour, and the food was fun and whimsical.
Exploring Northern Ireland
I love old castles and there is no shortage in the United Kingdom and Ireland! This castle, Carrickfergus Castle, was a fortress on the edge of Belfast. It’s right off the main road now and a whole portion of the city has grown up around it. It was one of the first structures in that area and it’s wonderful that they preserved it even with the modern world growing up around it. One of the best tips I could give anyone traveling to Ireland during March is to pack lots of light layers, because the weather is erratic but the landscape is beautiful! A light rain jacket and a light down jacket are a great option for layering. I chose one from Uniqlo, which I’m linking here because it’s the ideal travel jacket and it happens to be on sale right now!