Tag Archives: Listicles

Lists of things to do, places to see, top tips

Dublin’s Festivals

Dublin’s abundance of open green spaces makes it the perfect location for summer festivals. From the crazy festival outfits, to the friends you make just queuing for the loo; the live acts might be why we buy the ticket, but they’re not the essence of why we go. Dublin’s laid-back and sociable atmosphere is heightened during one of its summer festivals, and spontaneity becomes the name of the game. There are loads of festivals in Ireland this summer, and here are a few of the best in Dublin:

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Earlier this summer ‘Forbidden Fruit’ kicked off Dublin’s festival season with headliners ‘The Flaming Lips’ and ‘2manydjs’. Since its launch in 2010, the festival has grown in popularity and hosted acts including ‘Kasabian’ and ‘Primal Scream’. Held in the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the festival describes itself as a ‘modern day Garden of Eden’. In addition to the live music which made it famous, Forbidden Fruit now hosts a Comedy Tent to showcase a variety of comic talent. Having received great reviews for this year’s show, expectations are already high for next year’s offering.

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Only a couple of weekends away and excitement is rising for Longitude this year. Hosting big-name acts including Ben Howard, Bastille, Disclosure, Massive Attack and many more; it is no wonder that Saturday tickets have already sold out. However, organizers have insisted that Longitude is more than just a music festival; spread across the rolling hills of Marley Park, art installations (and more) have been scattered throughout the grounds to delight and intrigue revelers. Following last year’s success, organizers are already being tweeted by enthusiastic festival-goers in anticipation of a great weekend.

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If you’d rather see your favorite comic than your favorite band, the Vodafone Comedy Festival later this month is likely to be right up your street. With a mix of international names and local talent, the festival looks to be a hit for Dubliners and visitors alike. There are 85 comedians set to perform; big names include ‘Mock the Week’ stars Dara O’Brien and Russell Howard, Canadian one-liner Stewart Francais, Chelsea Lately panelist Jen Kirkman, and the award-winning ‘Pajama Man’. Since Dublin is known as one of the world’s centers for stand-up comedy, this festival could be the perfect way to get a flavor of the local scene for any new students who are arriving for college early.

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10 things to know about the BLU

Love it or hate it, for most Arts students (like myself) the Berkeley-Lecky-Ussher library complex (or BLU) can sometimes feel like the center of college. The first time you enter the library it feels like a confusing maze of bookshelves and desks, and after a few visits you’ll realize you’ve barely scratched the surface. Put simply, in spite of the fact that most of the books available are in storage, as Ireland’s largest research library, Trinity’s library complex is huge. So here are insider tips on the BLU.

  1. If you can think of a book then the library has it

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As a legal deposit library, Trinity is entitled to a copy of every book published in Great Britain and Ireland (and I mean every book). From Darwin’s ‘Origin of the Species’ to ‘Dora the explorer: ultimate sticker book’, we’ve got it all (including three copies of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, although don’t expect not to get some raised eyebrows if you check one out).

  1. Berkeley’s law

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Not exactly a real rule, but “Berkeley’s Law” states that you will only run into people you know in the library when one or both of you is on a tight deadline and really can’t chat (usually just on your way to the infamously solemn Berkeley study space).

  1. The best desks are in the furthest places

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The first desks to fill up are usually the most accessible; if you think there isn’t any space try going up or down a few floors, or to an obscure section, and you’re likely to find more room.

  1. Don’t leave your stuff over lunch

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This issue has divided the college; with some saying that ‘saving’ a desk to use later is the privilege of arriving early to the library, and others arguing that this is a selfish way of hogging a desk without using it. Either way the librarians can fine you or claim your stuff, so maybe it’s better just to find a new study spot after lunch?

  1. Early Printed Books

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Through a side door, down a winding passage and up in a little lift you’ll find the Early Printed Books room where you can read manuscripts published hundreds of years ago, some with ancient annotations by unknown scholars.

  1. Excessive PDAs will end on up the internet

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When students are bored studying in the library and they see a couple all over each other, it is only going to be a few minutes before that picture ends up on Facebook with an appropriately disparaging comment (you have been warned!)

  1. Leave plenty of time to get out

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Because there are only two exits in this vast library, packing up your stuff and going to class can take significantly longer than you would think, so leave plenty of time (particularly if you’ve been studying in a far-off corner!)

  1. Shh!

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Making too much noise in the library, or having a phone that goes off, can lead to a fine from one of the librarians (something which they make a point of enforcing during exam season), however there are marked areas where you can now use your phone to make calls.

  1. Don’t forget the DVDs

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As well as millions of books and online journals, Trinity also has quite a good DVD collection. Although it is intended for Film and Drama students, you can often find a good movie there to take out for free.

10. Each library is different

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Obviously they each contain different collections of books, but what really distinguishes the three libraries in the complex are their atmospheres. The many windows and relaxed atmosphere of the Lecky makes it a sociable study space. The red carpets and basement sofas of the Ussher make it a great quiet spot for getting your reading done and working at your own pace. But if you’re on a deadline then the only place is the Berkeley; where you can cut the tension with a knife as rows of students churn out their last-minute essays and cram information into their brains before their exams.

Getting Around Dublin

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Trinity students live all over the city, so we’ve become pretty adept at navigating Dublin’s public transport. We know which route will take you where, and our Leap cards are always to hand.  Once you get here, be sure to invest in a student travel card from the SU; for only €15 the cards are printed on the spot and will give you substantial discounts for the Dart, Luas and bus routes around Dublin. There are lots of options when it comes to getting around Dublin, so here are the most common for travelling to and from college:

Bus 140

Dublin Bus

With a fleet of over 900 busses, wherever you want to go in the city Dublin Bus is likely to help you get there. Students staying in Trinity Hall use the 140 to get into college each day, and if they stay on it will end up at IKEA (where they can stock up on pots and pans). Dublin Bus is part of the ‘Leap Card’ system, where you can touch on with a prepaid card to pay your fare and fares begin at a discounted €1.45. Although the main services finish between 11.30 and midnight, Nitelink buses run throughout the night on simplified routes.

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Dublin Bikes

For the more health-conscious traveler, Dublin’s bike share scheme allows travelers to cycle around the city without the potential hassle of owning a bike. Users simply take a bike from their nearest bike station and return it to another at the end of their journey. It only costs €20 to subscribe and the first 30 minutes of each journey is free, making it the cheapest transport option in Dublin by far. Because the bikes are maintained by DB, and there is no requirement to return the bike to its original station, many find the service to be the cheapest and most convenient transport option in Dublin.

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The Luas

Two tram lines operate within Dublin, affectionately named the ‘Luas’ (which is Irish for speed). If you live on the Luas line it is by far the most reliable and convenient travel option, unimpeded by traffic. Trinity Hall residents live a short walk away from the green line, which ends at St Stephen’s Green (a few minutes from Trinity’s campus, at the end of Grafton Street). Like Dublin bus, the Luas is part of the ‘Leap Card’ system, allowing travelers to swipe on and off. There are no ticket checks when passengers board the tram, however spot checks and fines do occur to keep the honor system running smoothly.

Dublin restaurants for tricky diets

Like around 1 in 10 of us, I can’t eat dairy products (annoying, I know!) and, because of that, eating out can become a bit of a challenge. However, since moving to Dublin, I’ve discovered some great places close to Trinity which those of us with strange diets can enjoy. Here are three of my favorites….

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Cornucopia

Just off Grafton Street this vegetarian restaurant has a range of vegan options, in addition to gluten free, sugar free and coeliac. You might expect somewhere that caters to so many people’s needs would produce overpriced bland food, but this is far from the case. You can get a great bowl of soup with bread for less than €5 and mixed plates of salad start at €4.95. They even have desert options (usually a no-go area for those who avoid cow’s milk, unless you have a real love of sorbet) starting at €1.95. All that and a 10% student discount make Cornucopia a great lunch option for anyone on a budget.

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K.C. Peaches

With four locations around Dublin, one opposite the entrance to Trinity’s arts block, K.C. Peaches is a chain which knows the value of good food. Because their food is made on site, it is easy to check ingredients lists and their made-to order sandwiches can cater for a range of dietary requirements. A membership to Trinity’s Philosophical society gets you a good discount, but their sandwiches and salads are already reasonably priced (at less than €5 for a take away gourmet sandwich made to order). They also offer gluten free and vegan cakes, however they are made in an open kitchen so they cannot guarantee safety for those with severe allergies.

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The Mongolian Barbeque

At €5 for students at lunch this Temple Bar restaurant offers diners the opportunity to have a personalized hot meal on the cheap. Although it is not suitable for those with severe allergies due to its communal cooking methods, the fact that you personally select each ingredient in your stir fry offers flexibility and peace of mind. Each diner is given a bowl to fill with noodles, vegetables, herbs, spices and sauce, and can select which meat they would like in their bowl. They then watch as their ingredients are personally cooked on a huge hotplate and receive an additional bowl of rice and iced water for the table. All this means great value and peace of mind if you want to know exactly what is in your food.

Top 5 Dublin Walks

One of the best parts about Dublin is how easy it is to get out of the city and into the beautiful country surrounding it. Here are our top five recommendations for day walks.

Howth

  1.  Howth Head. This walk across Howth’s cliff tops offers unique and incredible views of the sea as well as a ready-made challenge for those who enough a walk.  There are various different walks that you can go on and these are marked using colours. As a result the full walk from Howth village can take from an hour and a half to anywhere around three hours. Along the way you walk along the cliff path, which is a journey of about 3km. If you choose, parking is available in the summit car park and you can just do the cliff walk itself. This is a beautiful walk, especially in the summer, and the long grass is ideal for sitting down to have a picnic.

Glendalough

  1. Glendalough. This glacier created lake in Wicklow is one of the most serene spaces for a walk or a hike, depending on which route you choose. Different routes have been set up and marked so you can choose what level of walking you wish to do (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and also what rough time you want to complete the walk in (from 1 hour to between 4 and 5 hours in a loop).  During the walks there are chances to see wildlife such as deer, goats, kestrels, falcons and more as well as waterfalls and an old miner’s town. Due to the number of walks, it is possible to return many times and discover a new path. When you return to the lake, there are many places to eat food from home, and a small café that sells ice creams, drinks, and a number of hot food items.

Phoenix Park

  1. Phoenix Park. The Phoenix Park is known for a number of things – namely the zoo, Aras an Uachtarain and its deer.  It’s also, however, a very large, green space in the heart of Dublin.  The walk around is pleasant, and there are many different routes to go – whether that’s along the roads within the park or down the dirt paths that have been created.  As well as a nice walk, there are Segway tours in the park and bicycles can also be rented (it says €5 for a few hours which tends to get you about 3-4 hours). There are also tea rooms and a café within the park as you’re wandering in case you need a snack. Magazine fort also stands abandoned in the park and is an interesting set of buildings to take a look at.

Bull Island

  1. North Bull Island. Dollymount strand makes up a large part of North Bull Island, but the island itself is good for bird watching and quite quiet walks as most people stick to the first km of the beach. As a UNESCO protected biosphere reserve, Bull Island harbours some unique animals and birds such as Reed Buntings and Irish Hares. It’s also a great place for swimming (when it’s warm!) and flying kites. The spot has also recently become popular for water sports.

Bray

  1. Bray to Greystones. This walk takes about two and a half hours across a really well-kept and scenic costal path. The walk is moderately difficult but brings you along the sea the whole way and ends in the cute town of Greystones, which has plenty of cafes, and lunch spots for when the walk is finished and you’re famished. The DART can bring you back into town after your walk and is fairly inexpensive.

-Sally

A Guide to Dublin Markets

I like markets a lot. They’re friendly and quirky and you can find stuff/food that you couldn’t find elsewhere, often unique and always with a story if you ask for one. Here are my top 5 markets in Dublin.

Irish Farmer’s Market – Howth:

This market takes place on a Saturday and a Sunday in (sometimes) sunny Howth. It’s split between two different locations but always has delicious foods from dumplings to noodles to bratwurst to pancakes and features artisan bakery and confectionary as well as some local crafts. After stuffing yourself on very reasonably priced food from a minimum of 4 cultures, a stroll on the pier never goes amiss.

Blackrock Market

This market also opens on Saturdays and Sundays but features more shopping than the Howth market. There’s books, clothes, CDs and general trinkets to be found and everyone is friendly and will go out of their way to help you out or find you something you really want.

Temple Bar Book and Food Markets

On Saturdays around Temple Bar you can find stalls set up selling books of every kind and every genre and then wander down to the food market which hosts stalls which sell anything from roasted hog to stir frys. For the veggie’s Aruna’s Kitchen has some really good food and I highly recommend picking up cheeses from Sheridan’s which has a permanent store as well.

Ferocious Mingle Marcade

Located on Camden St, this indoor market has a host of stalls selling jewellry, books, posters, sweets as well as a million and one other oddities. The atmoshphere is relaxed and it even has it’s on coffee bar inside and live muscial performances from time to time. They’re open from Thursdays through to Sundays.

The SuperNatural Food Market

This market is for all you organic food lovers out there. Not quite as bohemian or varied as some of the other markets, this one does offer organic foods as well as cosmetics, cleaners and baked goods. They offer advice on organic and super foods as well as tips on cooking and demystifying ingredients such as kelp and other exotically named foods. They provide a gentle introduction into a healthier lifestyle and have over 10 specialised stalls which can help you with any questions.

Where are you favourite spots to wander + shop in Dublin?

-Sally

Of Curries and Tikkas

Where to find the best Indian food in Dublin

My love for food is unprecedented; this love finds justification in the light that it feeds much more than your appetite- it feeds your soul. Before you conclude I have an unnatural relationship with food, consider the image of moist chocolate cake oozing out silky raspberry sauce, or that of crispy, crunchy potato fries waiting to be bit into.

Coming back to the topic at hand- my first blog has to lend itself to resolving the commonly-shared goal of finding authentic, speech-altering cuisine. So I shall start with what I know best. Here, I list my favourite spots to get hold of traditional Indian food.

Kajjal, Malahide

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My reasons for listing this first are simple- restaurants go beyond food, and this one ticks all the right boxes! Not only does Kajjal promise a mouth-watering range of choices for a multiple-course meal, it also promises splendid service amidst great ambience. It even offers live music on Sunday afternoons, an experience well worth the buck. Speaking of which, it isn’t the cheapest of places, at least to those (like me) who are used to getting Balti-house takeaways for our day-to-day business. However, I consider it to be the ideal destination for those occasions when you have more than food to celebrate. Ideal for a date or a business lunch, it amalgamates traditional recipes and tasteful settings well. Be sure to not miss out on the well-selected wines and cocktails offered.

Madina Desi Curry, Moore Street

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Madina is my go-to place for a quick, delicious Indian lunch while crawling along usual college days. Situated in the city centre, it spells out convenience. And it’s easy-on-the-pocket menu makes it even more appealing. However, it’s USP lies in its simple, honest flavours- it is as close to home-cooked food as it gets for me- and that is still not the best part. It comes in ample proportions which ensure I leave the place feeling like a proud, stuffed chicken. The consistently well made Chicken Biryani, Lamb kebabs, and Mango Lassi guarantee I maintain my loyalty to the restaurant. Further, it is perfect for those Indian take-away nights with your friends.

Spice of India, South William Street

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Again, intelligently located in the City Centre, Spice of India serves to be a convenient place to go for genuine Indian food. With the early bird deal lasting till 8 in the night, it pulls many hungry stomachs looking for filling meals. The fiery Vindaloo and the well-flavoured Biryani never fail to please me- and yes, the spice can be customsied according to your taste. However, the experience is made special with the friendly, attentive staff who make sure you get what you want to have. While the décor may not be its strong point, the quality of food surely is which makes it rank amongst the top-dogs.

Delhi O’Deli, Moore Street

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Indian cuisine is known for the staggering variety and brilliance of its vegetarian dishes. While I am a girl who loves her meat, this place reflects the ideology that you can make a great meal out of vegetarian ingredients. Delhi O’Deli is the first vegetarian Indian restaurant in Dublin, and it offers decent choices for very cheap prices. The 5 Euro all-you-can-eat-buffet is perhaps its crowd-puller; however, the absolutely gigantic dosa they serve is my star-attraction. They offer a range of chaats and chutneys- the scene takes me back to street-food binging memories of New Delhi.

Ananda, Dundrum Town Centre

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Last, and most definitely not the least, Ananda is yet another incredibly decorated restaurants which reflects the notion that restaurants go beyond food. With a variety of delicate to bold dishes available to be customized according to the your affinity with spice, it ruins its customers with choices. While the portions keep a little to be desire, the décor, the service, and the fancy layout of your food, serve to fill your appetite. The pleasant setting allows for a good chat over a good meal, and I would surely recommend this for family dinners- though, be mindful to book a table, the place is fairly busy during the week.

These are just a handful of the many Indian restaurants that leave me salivating. While my hunt for the best platters and plates shall perhaps never end, this entry ends here. On a concluding note, be sure to try and test the wide range of palates that Indian cuisine offers. Of course, it boasts of a plethora of spices; however, there is much more to it than dishes which leaves you panting. Do try out the dishes which please that sweet tooth of yours- my personal favourite being Ras Malai.  With this, I sign off; time to stock my stomach up.

Bon Appétit!

-Aishwarya