A Very Dublin Christmas Gift Guide

After watching A Very Murray Christmas on Netflix, the festive spirit has finally managed to get a weak hold on me. I thought while the feeling lasts, I would put together a little Christmas gift guide here … “gift guide” who am I kidding, this is clearly my letter to Santa, poorly disguised.

Just as with my previous one, this is an opportunity for me to showcase some of the best indie shops in Dublin and celebrate their owners’ talent for curation. And this year, the selection was especially tricky as I discovered so many shops I fell in love with. It is a very Dublin-centric assortment, but most of the shops actually ship worldwide if anything catches your eye.

A Dubliner's Christmas Gift Guide

1. Huns Cocktails Print by Aoife Dooley (Damn Fine Print, 30€)
Aoife Dooley’s serialised portrayal of a certain Northside Dublin’s subculture is one the funniest thing that has come out of 2015. If you don’t follow her Instagram Dublin Hun, you really should, ye tick. As part of the Bram Stoker Festival, the studio Damn Fine Print released a limited edition of her hysterical piece ‘Huns Cocktails’ with special glow-in-the-dark ink to celebrate Dublin’s nightlife.

32 North Brunswick Street, Stoneybatter
(Worldwide shipping)

2. Tickets to Mary Poppins, The Musical (Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, 25€-68€)
I have never seen a musical so I feel like this would be a magical first. I’m already a big fan of the Disney film, but Mary Poppins on stage, scripted by no-other than Downton Abbey King, Julian Fellowes… I mean, where do I sign?! It will play the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre until 9 January 2016.

3. Christmas Platter (Pottery Corner, 25€)
I discovered the distinctive white & blue crockery of Pottery Corner on a stand in Taste of Dublin this year. I’ve been lusting after their pieces ever since. That platter is part of their newly released Christmas Collection and I would love to see it on my festive table. Or any of their dreamy pieces really.

Pottery corner has a stall at the Terenure Village Market on Saturdays
 (Shipping is only available in Ireland & Northern Ireland)

4. Stone Dining Plate (Industry & Co, 16€)
I love the look of these plates, the slightly raised edge make them look so modern. They come from no other than the insanely cool shop Industry in the Creative Quarter.

41 a/b Drury Street, Dublin 2
(Worldwide shipping)

5. Three Candle holders (Article, 22€)
The display of an object of Scandinavian design should be a Feng Shue rule, in my opinion. They do make everything look balanced. Mix this brass centrepiece with green foliage on a crisp white-clothed table for a minimal yet striking Christmas decor.

Powerscourt Townhouse, South William Street, Dublin 2
(Worldwide Shipping)

6. Black Pineapple Candle Holder (Dust, 14.95€)
Is anyone sick of the pineapple trend yet? I sure am not! You can trust the ultra chic Dust shop to get your exotic fruit fix. My personal fave is this gunmetal little number but keeping with the theme, they also have slick stickers and one shiny washi tape.

4 Grantham Street, Dublin 8
(Worldwide shipping)

7. Boketto Bangle (Inner Island, 139€)
I discovered Inner Island on Instagram and immediately fell in love with the company’s aesthetics: minimal, soft, feminine but with powerful lines. I especially love the design of this bangle.

Inner Island Jewellery is also stocked in Om Diva, The Loft Market and Seagreen
 (Worldwide shipping)

8. Rifle Paper Co 2016 Floral Planner (Moss Cottage, 37.95€)
Would you look at this? Isn’t this perfection in a shape of a planner? This beauty can be found at Moss Cottage where Jen stocks the best selection of Rifle Paper Co stationary in all of Dublin, among the prettiest bits and bobs only she has the knack to curate.

14 Main Street, Dundrum
(Worldwide shipping)

A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin

A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin
A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin

There’s been a distinctive lack of posts around here, I hope you won’t hold a grudge but I’ve been trying to keep my head above water with assignments and general anxiety, so the mood hasn’t been very conducive to writing blog posts. But yesterday I was out and about in town for a job and I thought I would take a few pictures to show you Dublin in all its Autumn splendour. It’s probably  the season when Dublin is at its prettiest (although I’ll probably say something similar come Spring). If you’re looking into visiting the Irish capital, I’d recommend you come at this time of the year as there are generally quite a few events and festivals knocking about and the weather is generally what you would expect, so no disappointment there to have (as opposed to our underwhelming Summers).

Yesterday started with a bit of Dublin Bus drama, I was on my way to town when a guy decided to hold the bus hostage because the driver allegedly overcharged him. Nothing abnormal for a weekday but a bit of a pain when you’re trying to get somewhere. So I squeezed past the angry shouting men and decided to walk the way to town. This turned out to be a bloody good thing as it meant I had to walk through Stephen’s green. The park is a true Autumn Wonderland at the moment. I slowly let go of the commute tension, breathed full lungs of the musty air and gleefully stepped on the dry colourful leaves.
A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin

My first port of call was the National Museum of Archeology. It was my first time visiting it and if I hadn’t had to for a job, I’d probably have never stepped inside. If you read me regurlarly you know I’m a sucker for period rooms but I can’t say that anything happening before that time captures my imagination. So while the exhibits left me a bit cold (bar the very thing I was coming to photograph, it left me a bit shivery that… I’ll probably talk about it later), I was completely enthralled with the building itself. The tiled floors are some of the best I’ve seen and the domed ceiling in the entrance is one pretty amazing sight.

A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin
A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin
I then walked around the beautiful squares of Georgian Dublin to look at the red ivy creeping on the bricks here and there. The temperature dropped so I stopped by Yogism to get a hot drink. I opted for a matcha with almond milk which I’ve been meaning to try for the longest time. It was actually quite nice, would go for it again! (sorry I destroyed the pretty latte art because you know, SUGAR).
A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin
I was also looking for some new stationery so I stopped by TK Maxx and Article in the beautiful Powerscourt Townhouse. I already waxed lyrical about Article here but I could have bought everything, this shop is curated to a T.
Later as I was passing by Dublin’s City Hall, I stepped in to admire another phenomenal domed ceiling. I would have never guessed that such a jewel of a design was there to be admired if it wasn’t for Emily’s blog. #thepowerofblogs
A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin
A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin

The day ended with a couple of pictures taken at St Audoen’s Church and a walk by the Liffey to catch my bus home. Doesn’t it look like the banks could belong to Paris the way the light hits the stone? 

What’s your verdict of Dublin in the Autumn? Doesn’t it look glorious? 
As Halloween is fast-approaching, I thought I would set the mood on the blog next week so I hope you’re ready to get spooked x

Killiney Hill | Dublin

Killiney Hill
Late April, I climbed Killiney Hill for the first time. I had no idea of its existence until Eadoin from City of Blackbirds posted a picture of it on her instagram (you should check it out by the way, it’s filled with beautifully serene scenes of the Irish countryside). It baffles me and gives me so much joy at the same time that such a place has managed to escape my radar, even after living here for 7 years. I wonder what other jewels you’re still hiding from me, Dublin.

I say ‘climbed’ like it’s some sort of feat but it’s actually a very pleasant walk, with some steep paths but nothing too arduous and always well paved. You can start the ascent either from the Dalkey or Killiney Dart Station. I would advise the former as the road from Killiney Station is a mean slope. You would definitely be better off going down this one.

Coming from Dalkey, don’t miss the Torca Cottage (photo above) next to the quarry, just before where the trail starts. This is where George Bernard Shaw spent his life as a teenager. I sure wouldn’t have minded that view!
Killiney Hill
Killiney Hill
As I enter the trail, the sweet coconut-like smell of the gorse hit me. Twice a year, in Spring and Autumn, a sea of blooms cover the hill. I keep walking, breathing ladleful of the air where sea salt and the flower scent artfully swirl. At the end of the path, I catch a glimpse of the pointy obelisk breaking the yellow waves. The top of the hill is within reach. I look behind me, down to the dazzling white Sorrento House, which looks like a haunted hotel, and next to it, the Dalkey Island with its goats and its strange little tower in the middle, like some sort of fortified nipple. I still find it hard to believe that all of this is a mere 30 minute train journey away from the city centre.

On the top of the hill stand three weird-looking buildings: two obelisks (nicknamed The Witches’ Hat after their conic roof) and a step pyramid. They are follies, structures built for no other purpose than to look ‘pretty’. In Ireland, they’re mostly ‘Famine Follies’, like these ones, they were ordered by rich landlords in order to create jobs for the poor in the darkest hour of Irish History.

Did you know?

If you walk around each level of the pyramid and then stand at the top of it, facing Dalkey Island, you can make a wish and it will come true! Locals call the pyramid ‘The Wishing Stone’.

Killiney Hill
Killiney Hill
Killiney Hill

The view at the top of the hill is everything (for a better vantage point, go inside the obelisk). The endless blue of the Irish Sea in front of you (on a clear day you can see the mountains of Wales), in your back the Poolbeg Chimneys can be seen looking over the Dublin Bay, on your left Dalkey Hill and Dalkey Island and on your right Bray and the Wicklow mountains. Panoramic views, innit.
And the cherry on top of the biscuit if you’re a dog lover like me, the place is a prime location for dog-watching. It seems to be the meeting point of all the dog owners in the area. That afternoon, I spotted a lady walking 5 dachshunds! Five! #DOGGOALS

Top tip

Bring a blanket and a picnic, the whole hill is a lovely spot for setting down but you might be able to grab the ‘best seats in the house’, a couple of flat stones facing the sea. I don’t think there’s a more romantic spot in Dublin!

Killiney Hill
Practical Information

Killiney Hill
The trail circuit is 2km

Dart: Dalkey or Killiney

Dublin in Love (and clumsy thoughts of an expat)

Dublin in Love
Dublin in Love
Today’s the day Ireland gets to decide on same-sex marriage. The past few weeks Dublin has slowly morphed into a beautiful bird of paradise, her plumage showing off all the colours of the rainbow.
Exciting new street art pieces appear on walls, shops show their support in creative displays and Dubliners wear colourful accessories and badges. Dublin you’re beautiful when you’re in love.
Dublin in Love
Dublin in Love
Dublin in Love
I’ve been wanting to document this moment in Irish History ever since I was met with ‘Vote No’ posters outside my place a few weeks ago. Their hateful messages made me sick to my stomach and I couldn’t comprehend that they were even allowed in a public space. From then on, I decided to focus on the incredible display of love and creativity shown all over Dublin.

It’s a weird thing moving to Ireland when you come from Belgium where abortion and gay marriage have been legalised for decades (respectively 1990 and 2003). But then it taught me so much and I think (hope) I’ve grown as a human. For the first time, I was faced with people who would openly say they’re against such rights. And these people weren’t the ones I had imagined. I would go as far to say that some of them were free-spirited women. I think it’s easy to think when you live in a country where the vast majority is in favour of these rights that those who are not are simply monsters. Like it’s easy to think that ‘no-ers’ are all bat-shit crazy when you look at the ‘Vote No’ posters.
Ireland taught me something different. It doesn’t take a cruel heart to be against someone else’s right but just a different experience, a different emotional connection (or sometimes an absence of it). That’s all it is.
As humans, we base our opinions on experiences and on the emotions they create. And in a country where abortion is illegal and where homosexuals can’t marry, these experiences and emotions and the way they are discussed and taught are, in essence, different.

Dublin in LoveDublin in Love
Dublin in Love
Dublin in Love
Dublin in LoveDublin in Love
I’m not sure I’m making sense or sounding horrendously patronising, I don’t mean to, but these are the thoughts that have been going round in my head since the Savita tragedy (and the failed attempt at changing the Irish law on abortion).

Recently, those thoughts have been somewhat crystallised by the episode of This American Life podcast called ‘The Incredible Rarity of Changing your Mind‘ where the Los Angeles LGBT lab research send volunteers to talk to voters who are against gay marriage. It was eye-opening to hear voters’ thought process evolve after they made a personal connection with the matter. I really recommend a listen, food for thought, for sure!

I obviously hope with all my heart that today is going to bring us a yes but whatever happens, I’m optimistic as the past few weeks have opened a conversation that can’t be swept under the carpet anymore as so many now feel invested.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you Una, and for you Ireland.

3 interior design shops in Dublin that will make your Pinterest dreams come true

I’m going to blame Spring but I’ve had home decor on the brain a lot lately. I have this urge to strip everything from my flat and redecorate. Start afresh.  I’ve been trawling Pinterest and I enjoy so many current trends: open shelves, brass, wire, copper, earth toned ceramics and linen, marble, … give them all to me! Seeing my current obsession, I thought it would be fitting to talk about the brilliant design shops we have in Dublin today. All of them are greatly curated by passionate owners who pride themselves in stocking contemporary Irish makers. You could say they have their finger on the pulse of interior design trends but each shop differs in personality and atmosphere. Let’s see how, shall we?

Moss Cottage
Moss Cottage


Moss Cottage is the cutest little shop located in the red brick cottages on Dundrum Main Street. The owner Jen managed to fit so many goodies in this tiny little space. You can see that she puts so much heart in her shop, only stocking what she would want to buy. As a result, the display changes quite frequently. When I came in last month, she was joking that candles were taken over the shop and funnily enough, as I was browsing, a new delivery came through the door: candles in copper tins whose scents are inspired by famous authors. Some bad-ass candles, if you ask me!
The overlook of the shop is colorful, feminine and there’s a definite crafty vibe about it. The shelves are full of very well-priced giftware and homeware, ranging from cheerful mugs to copper wire candle holders. And if you’re like me, obsessed with anything Anna Bond does, you’ll be delighted to know that Rifle Paper Co stationary is available at Moss Cottage. Hurray!
PS: For all the craft-lovers out there, Jen also hosts chalk paint and wedding DIY workshops.

Main Street, Dundrum, Dublin 14
Opening Hours: 10 am – 6 pm (Mon-Sat); closed on Sundays & Bank Holidays
website | online shop (international)

Dust Dublin
Dust Dublin
Dust Dublin


Dust is located in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Dublin 8. Two friends, Sarah and Lisa, united by a love of interior design, opened it a couple of months ago, after setting up successful pop ups.
It is pretty much the new ‘kid on the block’ of decor shops and it’s making quite a wave. Understandably so. As I stepped in 4, Grantham Street, I felt like I was entering the living space of a toned-down Diana Vreeland. The girls’ motto is to ban beige, which actually sounds like something Mrs Vreeland would say.
The shop is sophisticated, colourful but doesn’t take itself seriously as fun pieces are also stocked up like cute pillows (look at the little Bowie rock pillow <3 ), porcelain pineapples and unicorn heads (!!).
Another surprising feature of the shop awaits you on the second floor, a whole room is dedicated to faux flowers. I must confess I wasn’t very convinced on the matter but seeing them in person, so intricate and letting the light sofly trickle through their petals like a real flower would, I was decidedly won over. The trick is, according to Sarah and Lisa, to display them just like you would with fresh posies.
PS: They’re celebrating the launch of their new online shop today with a 20% discount (available until Monday 04/05 midnight).

4, Camden Market, Grantham Street, Dublin 8
Opening Hours: 10 am – 6pm (Mon – Sun; opens until 7pm on Thursdays)
website | online shop (international)

Article Dublin
Article Dublin
Article Dublin


There’s something really serene about the shop Article. It has this vibe that Japanese neighbourhood cafes give off when they’re trying to emulate the Scandinavian aesthetic. On its shelves, you’ll find contemporary homeware mixing natural material and vibrant colours, local independant magazines, Irish stationary and prints as well as something that fills me with joy (hope I’m not the only one here): mini washi tape rolls! They’re really cheap which means you can try lots of them #happynora
Located in the beautiful Powerscourt Townhouse, Article makes for a delightful shopping experience so much that they were voted the best design shop by the Irish Times last year.

Powerscourt Townhouse, South William Street, Dublin 2
Opening Hours: 10.30 am – 6 pm (Mon – Wed, Fri & Sat); 10.30am – 7 pm (Thu); 1 pm – 5 pm (Sun)
website | online shop (international)

National Botanic Gardens | Dublin

National Botanic GardensNational Botanic Gardens
I recently went to Dublin’s Botanic Gardens to film a little segment for an upcoming video and it reminded me that I had some pictures in my archives I haven’t shown you yet. They were taken at the same time two years back. This is one of my favourite places in Dublin but it’s truly glorious come Spring. The tulips are swinging, the bluebells turn the little forest patch into a magic land, the rhododendrons and magnolias fluff out the the trees and the daffodils sprinkle the grass with their round happy faces. There are few other places in Dublin I’d rather be right now.

National Botanic GardensNational Botanic GardensNational Botanic GardensNational Botanic GardensNational Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens is a beautiful place to wander, sit and breathe. I especially love the beautiful iron-wrought glass houses. They host cacti, exotic palm trees and a great orchid collection among other species. Some of the ironwork actually come from London’s Kew Gardens, which make me love the place even more, if that’s possible.

National Botanic GardensNational Botanic GardensNational Botanic Gardens
There’s also a little café with terrace where I had a nice squishy cookie and a lemonade. At the table next to me, a man was singing Irish rebel songs to soothe his baby, which made the infant laugh furiously, which in turn made me grin like a mad cat #onlyinireland

National Botanic GardensNational Botanic Gardens

Did you know?

The scientists at the National Botanic Gardens discovered the potato blight responsible for the Irish Famine. They predicted its effect on the crops before it all happened. Unfortunately, they didn’t manage to find the remedy in time.

National Botanic Gardens

Practical Information

National Botanic Gardens – website
Dublin 9

Admission: Free

Opening Hours
Summer: 9am-5pm (Mon-Fri) / 10am-6pm (Sat, Sun & Public Hols)
Winter: 9am-4.30pm (Mon-Fri) / 10am-4.30pm (Sat, Sun & Public Hols)

Bus: 4, 9, 83

Last Minute Gift Guide: Christmas Shopping in Dublin

I don’t know about you, but each year, i feel it’s the year of change. Every time November rolls around, I firmly tell myself, enough is enough, the Christmas shopping will start now and come december, I’ll be armed, beribboned and wrapped-ready for the holidays. Maybe I’ll even have a colour design and fancy handmade tags for the wrapping. And without fail, a few days before Christmas, my Santa’s sack holds nothing but a sad echo and I convince myself that newspaper is totally cool and edgy to wrap presents.
Well, here it is, the week before Christmas, 2014 was no different, not one name has been crossed off my list. Instead of banging my head against the wall in shame, I thought I would share a little gift guide with you in solidarity for all the last-minute shoppers out there. Believe me, I know how you feel. This list features items that I secretly covet but also some I love and use on a daily basis. Hopefully you’ll find something in there to fill a stocking or two. This post is also an invitation for you to check out some of the awesome shops in Dublin.

christmas gift guide dublin 2014 with prices

Gobshite Mug (€12)
Please tell me, I’m not the only immature one who giggles at the sight of this cup.

Jam Art Factory
14, Crown Alley
Temple Bar

64, Patrick Street
Dublin 8

Bewleys Christmas Chai tea (€2.99)
I normally have this little tradition of buying loose Christmas tea in a specialised shop every year, but I stumbled upon this box of Bewleys Christmas chai tea in my local supermarket a few weeks ago and decided to give it a go. It’s very much on the fruity side which is an interesting change from other Christmas tea offerings I’ve sampled before that were predominantly spicy. Basically, it’s like drinking mince pies. I’m completely hooked and plan to stock up to hold until next Christmas!

Bewley’s Café
78-79, Grafton Street
Dublin 2

Iittala votive (€22)
This cute little votive is totally on my Christmas wishlist. I keep seeing them on Scandinavian blogs peppered around perfect minimalist white decor and while this style is probably out of reach for little old messy me, I see this candleholder as a little piece of the nordic interior dream. And luckily, Dublin has a design shop for all things Scandi!

Royal Hibernian Academy
15, Ely Place
Dublin 2

Atlantic Aromatics rosewater (€7.95)
I have gone through bottles and bottles of this Irish organic rosewater and I can’t see myself stopping here. I love what it does to my skin, a few spritzes get it all smooth. I use it as a toner, sometimes make-up remover combined with an oil and it helps me to wake up in the morning. Also, if I need a little pick-me-up while working, it’s always within reach on my desk during the day. It’s fair to say I’m addicted to the stuff and I seriously couldn’t recommend it enough!

Nourish (6 shops are located in Dublin)

Mark’s Inc diary (€14.50)
I was browsing in Article a few weeks back and stumbled upon this Japanese stationary brand and fell in love. It’s very minimalistic and maybe later in the year I will miss polka dots and gold details but right now I feel like it’s been made for me. The layout, the size, the font, … it just works!

Powerscourt Townhouse
South William Street
Dublin 2

Dyflin candle (€35)
Dyflin is the Norse word for Dublin. This candle evokes the Viking past of the city with notes of juniper, birch and camphor. It is a unique scent and would make for a sweet present for someone who misses Dublin.

Indigo & Cloth
9, Essex Street
Temple Bar
Dublin 2

Damn Fine City by Annie Atkins (€60)
Not sure if it’s something that made the news outside of Ireland but there was a lot of talk this year that the Poolbeg chimneys should be destroyed. For anyone who’s never been to Dublin, you could say it is our double Eiffel towers. It is a recognisable landmark that can be spotted from anywhere upon the Dublin coastline. For me, they mean ‘home’ as they signal the end of the journey when I travel back to Ireland by ferry.
Amidst those talks, Annie Atkins designed this striking blue poster featuring them. You may remember I visited, earlier this year, the exhibition dedicated to her work on Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel.
I don’t think you could get a cooler gift than this.

Damn Fine Print Block T
Smithfield Chambers
Smithfield Square
Dublin 7

5 Places in Dublin That Will Give You the Heebie-Jeebies

Halloween in Dublin

1. Halloween in The Suburbs

Halloween is a great time of the year to visit Dublin, there’s something about the gothic vibe that just works with the celebration. If you have kids (or not), I dare you to go trick-and-treating in one of Dublin’s residential areas. Maybe it’s because Halloween finds its roots in the Irish tradition but Dubliners have a knack for making their abodes look terrifying. I think the decorations especially suit the Georgian neighbourhoods what with the high ceilings and the infamous heavy doors.

Mount Jerome Cemetery

2. Edward Dycer Vault

Have you ever peeped through a vault’s door fearing for what your eyes will meet in the darkness? The Dycer Vault in Mount Jerome Cemetery is your worst nightmare coming true. Inside lies a staring skeleton with a twisted spine. He is said to be a relative of Edward Dycer, a veterinary surgeon who lived in Stephen’s Green in the early 19th century.

Read more on Mount Jerome Cemetery.

St Michan's crypts
3. St Michan’s Crypts

Underneath St Michan’s Church, you can access vaults where the air is so dry that their residents have been mummified. Bram Stoker himself visited the crypts when he was a child and the mummies left such an impression, he drew inspiration from them when he wrote Dracula.
If you’re nice enough, your guide might let you stroke a 650 year old mummy’s hand. Apparently, it brings good luck!

More information on St Michan’s Church (Picture courtesy of St Michan’s Church’s website – photography not allowed inside)

Bram Stoker Festival Dracula's Bride
4. Bram Stoker Festival

This weekend, the Bram Stoker Festival returns in Dublin for the third year straight and it promises to be a bloody good one! Along the street performances, horror film marathon and numerous literary talks that we now expect of the festival, a zip-line has been installed across the city so we can pretend to be bats gliding over Dublin. Two other events worth noting in your diary are the gothic-themed ball in the Irish Modern Museum of Art as well as the Underground Gothic taking place in the secret train tunnel under Phoenix Park!

Find out more about the events taking place this week-end.
Watch my video of last year’s festival.

the cat and the rat
5. The Crypt at Christ Church Cathedral

If you go in the crypt below Christ Church Cathedral, you will encounter a creepy (if not slightly hilarious) pair. A mummified cat and rat, affectionately nicknamed by the locals ‘Tom & Jerry’. They were found stuck in one of the organ pipes during a service in the 1860s. Legend has it that they got trapped while chasing each other. Time and perfectly dry air preserved this perennial cat and mouse’s friendship.

More information on Christ Church Cathedral.

Mount Jerome Cemetery | Dublin

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

I thought it was about time to get this blog in the Halloween mood, and what better way than a visit to the cemetery. I personally love visiting them, especially during Autumn.
Mount Jerome is very much in the shadow of its big sister, Glasnevin Cemetery (Dublin’s biggest cemetery) but I think it deserves a bit of the spotlight. It’s a beautiful slice of Victorian Dublin. It’s often compared to Highgate Cemetery in London and Paris’Père Lachaise and rightly so, it gives off the same sort of moody derelict atmosphere.
It’s an impressive example of Victorian architecture and symbolism, it even features quite a few famous Dublin characters as well as a very spooky vault…

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

Mount Jerome was created in the early 19th century as an answer to the worryingly increase of deaths due to the cholera outbreaks of the time. Despite being non-denominational in its original plan, it quickly became the Protestant cemetery.
You see Mount Jerome was located right in the middle of a rich and affluent neighbourhood of Dublin. Walking through the cemetery’s old part today, you can admire the big vaults and tomb stones of the rich families of the time.

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

Mount Jerome had to wait until the 1920s and the establishment of the Irish Free State to see its first Catholic burial. Since then, beautiful Celtic crosses have stood alongside Victorian features (urns, angels, wreaths, obelisks and other Egyptian inspired structures). And if you look closely, you could even spot some masonic symbols (skulls and hands).
My favourite kind of memorials though are the ones that tell a little story about the deceased. On top of one of the structures stands a howling dog, it is said that the animal was found inconsolable on the shoreline where his master had drowned (see picture below). Or there is this vault which was fitted with a bell and a chain for a lady who had the phobia of being buried alive.

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

Mount Jerome has also quite a few famous residents. First off, keeping with the Halloween theme, there is Sheridan Le Fanu, a writer specialised in ghost stories. He is one of the founder of the genre and was a huge influence on his peers, most notably Bram Stoker, author of Dracula. You may have seen a google doodle dedicated to him recently as this year marks his bicentenary.
The cemetery counts also among its ranks playwright J.M. Synge, author of The Playboy of the Western World, the Guinness family vault and Oscar Wilde‘s father. You will find on Mount Jerome’s website handy maps (1 & 2) that will help you plan your visit and locate all the memorials that spike your interest.

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

Did you know that the real Mr Darcy was Irish? His name was Thomas Langlois Lefroy and he rests in a vault just next to the chapel in Mount Jerome. This member of the bar from Limerick had a few flirtatious encounters with Jane Austen. She was so deeply impacted that it is said she based Pride and Prejudice‘s brooding hero on her Irish suitor.

When I was a teenager, I used to have volleyball training just next to a cemetery. One evening my friend (hi Sandra, if you’re reading!) and I found out that there was a passage between the stadium and the cemetery and sneaked inside.
I may sound like the biggest chicken but walking in a graveyard at night is quite terrifying. We barely dared looking inside the vaults through the stained windows. I remember having to hold my breath while my eyes were getting accustomed to the darkness until I could discern the lines of a thankfully empty room.
Had I have to look into the Dycer vault in Mount Jerome then, I’m pretty sure my heart would have stopped on the spot. Even in clear daylight and knowing well what’s inside, I can’t help breaking into cold sweat when my eyes are met with those of a gawping skeleton with a twisted spine.
The vault belongs to Edward Dycer, a veterinarian surgeon from 19th century Dublin but apparently those bones are one of his relatives’.  The reason they are exposed is due to the fact that the coffin hadn’t been lined with lead.

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of this jewel of Victorian Dublin. What do you think of visiting cemeteries? Is that something you do on holidays when discovering a new place? Or do you find it too creepy? Or maybe disrespectful? I’d love to read what you think on the subject.

Mount Jerome Cemetery

Practical Information

Mount Jerome Cemetery – website
158 Harold’s Cross Road
Harold’s Cross

Bus: 9, 16, 49 54A

Opening Hours: 8.30am – 4pm (Mon-Sat) / 10am – 4pm (Sun & Bank Holidays)

Admission: Free

Dublin Garden Festival 2014

tree in the cathedral

This week-end, something really pretty is happening in Christ Church cathedral. The first Dublin Garden Festival has established its quarters there, “bringing the outside inside”. I actually never visited Christ Church before so when I saw the event’s programme, I thought what better time than now that the cathedral is all dolled up, filled to the brim with flowers, trees and shrubs.

The festival includes tips from gardening experts and personalities (Diarmuid Gavin will give a talk on Sunday), demos, awarded flower arrangement exhibitions, choirs and concerts. You can check the programme on the festival’s website for more information.

In the cathedral’s crypt, there is also an artisan market where I spotted beautiful wicker baskets (summer is always a good time to bring your inner Jane Birkin methinks) and luscious soy candles.

flower tree
flower basket
vegetable basket
flowery lady chapel christchurch
Garden Festival Christchurch Cathedral

On the cathedral grounds stand a food market (free access) with your standard homemade and organic products as well as flower stalls. Surprisingly, there are also birds of prey on exhibition. I don’t think I’ve ever been so close to an eagle or an owl before.

wicker baskets
lemon curd jars
goat kid

There is also a petting zoo with lambs, a goat kid, a turkey, a piglet, guinea pigs, ducklings and rabbits. My festival experience was topped by some quality time spent with my homies (as seen in the above picture). It is quite possible that a few nudges were exchanged in the process.

dublin garden festival christchurch cathedral

Practical Information

Dublin Garden Festival, 13-15 June 2014
Christ Church Cathedral
Christchurch Place
Dublin 8

Check out the programme at http://dublingardenfestival.ie

Admission Fee (Cathedral+Crypt): Adult 12€ / Seniors & Students 10€ / Children < 12yo Free / Passes

The access to the food market outside the cathedral is free.

Opening Hours: 9am – 9pm

Bus: 13, 27, 37, 39 40, 49, 51D, 54A, 69, 70 77, 79, 83, 123, 145