Visiting Dublin: A Complete Guide For the Sustainable Tourist

 

 

Dublin boasts the amenities of an international city while maintaining the old-world charm and romance of a hometown. It’s a city where you will find some of Europe’s most enduring examples of Georgian architecture alongside the sleek, modern headquarters of tech giants like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.

 

 
 

Luminaries Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and Simone Rocha have called Dublin home. Unsurprisingly then, the city is heaving with culture, literary landmarks and cobblestoned thoroughfares championing both vintage and home-grown fashion.

The Fair City remains both lively and intimate - a diverse, dynamic and rapidly growing metropolis with some of the most warm-hearted and welcoming locals you may ever meet. For those of you hoping to visit the Emerald Isle’s vibrant capital, here is our sustainable guide to shopping, dining and bedding down.

 
 

WHERE TO STAY

 

The Iveagh Garden Hotel:

The Iveagh Garden is a luxury boutique hotel just five minutes from the city’s best shopping, cultural and entertainment quarters. The hotel’s Georgian façade houses a chic, Art Deco and highly individual interior which blends classic and contemporary. Think tall Georgian windows and modern chandeliers, black marble and jewel toned velvet, coffered ceilings and library motifs.

The foremost feature, however, is an underground river from which the hotel sources its power. The custom-built renewable energy system has seen a 78% reduction in energy usage and an 81% decrease in CO2 emissions. Low-energy lifts, LED low power lighting and gravity-fed wastewater systems all contribute to The Iveagh Garden’s lightened carbon footprint (the lowest of any hotel in Ireland).

Regulars recommend checking into a room that overlooks the elegant gardens, enjoying a botanical brunch in the airy, plant-strewn terrace and sampling the fabulous gin list at Elle’s bar.

 
 
 
 
 

WHERE TO EAT

Irish gastronomy once hinged upon heavy meats and animal products (lamb stews and pork- centric breakfasts, for example). Present-day Dublin, however, is fast becoming a leader in farm-to-table cuisine and plant-based dining. Here are some of our favourite spots for a sustainable repast.

 

Sova Vegan Butcher:

Barto Sova Vegan Butcher came to Ireland from Poland over 15 years ago. Today, he runs what was Ireland's first vegan restaurant. The local eatery is a purveyor of fully vegan fine dining known to seduce even the most carnivorous of diners. Plant-based pleasures such as seitan 'steak' and seaweed 'caviar' make up the menu, while the raspberry 'cheesecake' inspires room for dessert. Sova aims to promote a healthy lifestyle with his ‘tasty, healthy, happy, sexy’ vegan food.

 
 
 
 
 

The Garden Room at The Merrion:

Spanning four 18th-century Georgian townhouses and neighbouring the Irish Parliament buildings, The Merrion is a Dublin icon. The hotel is furnished in period style with the largest private collection of 19th- and 20th- century art in the country. Treat yourself to a slice or two of art (in cake form) at the Art Afternoon Tea, served in the drawing rooms. A vegan high tea is also available.
While there are several dining options at The Merrion (including Ireland's first two-Michelin- starred Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud), The Garden Room serves modern Irish cuisine by a charming Italianate garden. In addition to the all-day dining menu, there is a range of colourful vegan dishes from Holly White's cookbook 'Vegan-ish' to choose from. The seasonal menu comes to life with artisanal Irish produce and has included a 'shepherd-less' lentil pie, a roasted Mediterranean buddha bowl and fruity sorbets.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Cornucopia:

Cornucopia was established as a family business in 1986, making it one of Dublin's oldest restaurants. Expect hearty, home-cooked vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free cuisine in a friendly and relaxed environment. Truly, it feels like home. The menu changes daily and features both globally inspired dishes, as well as inventive vegan renditions of Irish classics. Complement your meal with a glass of organic vegan wine, a craft bottled beer, an artisan coffee or something sweet from the plant-based bakery. Pop in on Thursday and Friday evenings for live Irish harp music while you dine.

 
 
 
 
 

The Ivy:

The London eatery to the stars opened its Dublin brasserie in 2018. The Ivy Dublin offers an extensive vegan and vegetarian menu including dreamy truffle arancini (to die for!), vegan Keralan curry and pea and asparagus risotto. For non-vegans, there are locally inspired dishes, as well as Ivy signatures such as the crispy Asian duck salad and the very Instagrammable chocolate bombe. Food aside, the strikingly bold interiors and buzzy ambience are reasons alone to spend an evening here.

 
 
 
 
 

WHERE TO SHOP

 

Atrium:

Atrium is a first port of call for sustainable luxury in Dublin. Consumers are encouraged to slow down and purchase only what they love as 'everything loved will last'. The only problem is, it's quite easy to fall in love with hundreds of items in this bright and spacious boutique. Carefully considered collections by independent designers (such as Mara Hoffman and Ireland's Natalie B. Coleman), stand among art installations and fine jewellery counters. There are vegan handbags by Matt + Natt, ethical diamonds by Chupi and organic cotton dresses by Mother of Pearl. The origin of each product is openly disclosed, with sustainability and ethical integrity at the heart of everything.

Atrium is located on the top floor of the Powerscourt Centre, an old Georgian home from the 1700s turned boutique-style shopping centre. Don’t miss the opportunity to browse the independent stores, galleries and eateries here including Article (for sophisticated homeware), The Garden (for bespoke bouquets) and Courtville (for Irish antiques).

 
 
 
 

Havana:

Havana first opened its doors in 1994, with half of the store showcasing the best in Irish design and the other half introducing Japanese designers such as Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons to Ireland. The boutique continues a similar concert today by stocking elegant Irish designers such as Simone Rocha, Castena and Sphere One, alongside international heavy hitters Rick Owens, Anne Demeulemeester and Kate Middleton favourite The Vampire's Wife. The boutique carries an eclectic, avant-garde selection, establishing itself as the go-to shopping destination for investment pieces and contemporary design with an edge.

 
 

Brown Thomas:

The tone is set for Dublin's most prestigious department store with the Brown Thomas doorman, uniformed and complete with a top hat. Inside is an haute couture melting pot of Hermès, Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Christian Lacroix and Alexander McQueen. Stealing the show, however, is Brown Thomas' ongoing support of emerging fashion talent in Ireland and their dedication to sustainability. The destination store continues to grow their ranges of responsible fashion, beauty, food, accessories and homewares to ensure the conscious consumer can have it all. Check out the Brown Thomas sustainable edit for a guide to style with a light footprint, featuring Stella McCartney, Ganni, Nanushka, Mulberry and beauty by YSL, Giorgio Armani, Bare Minerals and The Ordinary.

 
 

PRE-LOVED LUXURY AND VINTAGE

Dublin is teeming with incredible pre-loved and vintage destinations. Om Diva, one of Dublin's most darling, is a larger than life boutique where contemporary fashion, vintage and cutting-edge Irish design all reside under one roof. Jenny Vander is another steadfast favourite with pieces dating as far back as the 1700s! Here, you'll find hats, gloves, bags and scarves from the 1920s, vintage occasion wear and jewellery from Dior and Chanel.

Siopaella (meaning Ella's shop in Irish) is a luxury re-sale store founded upon a passion for sustainable fashion. The consignment store specialises in the resale of everything from high street to high-end (Chanel, Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, Miu Miu and Celine, amongst others). Since their launch in 2011, Siopaella has rescued 140,000 items from landfill, finding everything from vintage Louis Vuitton luggage to 1970's Hermès a new home.

There are boundless charity shops across Dublin where, if you have the time and energy for a good rummage, you can find some hidden gems. George's Street, Capel Street, Camden Street and Aungier Street are all great places to start. There's a good chance you'll hear some excellent live music (buskers) on the streets while ambling about, too.

 
 

Arran Street East:

Tucked away amidst Dublin's Victorian Fruit and Vegetable Market, you will find Arran Street East's humble headquarters. The pottery studio, shop and café garnered a global following (including big fan Sarah Jessica Parker) for its beautifully simple hand-thrown pottery. Clean, architectural design is brought to the age-old craft, resulting in modern pieces that are designed to enhance everyday eating and drinking, or to adorn your home. The heart of Arran Street East lies in job creation, artisan support and reconnecting to the handmade. Sustainability is also a priority with packaging and materials being sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly, where possible.

 
 
 
 
 

Gifting at The Irish Design Shop & Scout:

The Irish Design Shop is a small business that stocks the best in Irish craft and design. Shop for handicrafts including handloom-woven tweed blankets, hand-blown whisky tumblers and hand-poured organic candles. An appreciation for originality, craftsmanship and the handmade is evident throughout with each purchase in support of local businesses and the Irish heritage craft community.

Another fantastic store for gift shopping is Scout. Here, you'll find chunky traditional knits from the Original Aran Company, McNutt blankets (woven in Donegal and inspired by the Irish landscape), independent natural skincare, handmade beeswax candles, ceramics, homeware and stationery.

 
 
 
 
 

   +  Words: Marie Woods, Luxiders Magazine Guest