Victorian Fruit & Vegetable Market | Dublin

mary's lane

Last Friday, I paid a visit to the Dublin fruit and vegetable market. I wanted to see the ‘beast’ before it gets renovated later this year. I’m surprised that in the 6 years I’ve been living in Dublin I’ve not stumbled upon this imposing structure. Although I have to say I don’t think I ever ventured into the area between the charity-shop filled Capel Street and Smithfield square.

Currently, the building is inhabited by produce and flower wholesalers but by September 2015, the place will be remodelled after a continental-style market: half wholesalers, half retailers. Food counters will be available to the public: cheesemongers, butchers, greengrocers, … but also cafés and stalls serving food to eat on the premises.

victorian fruit and vegetable market + lettuce box
beetroot cases
joseph duffy + gerard dowling victorian market
washed rooster
turnip cases

The other reason why I wanted to visit the market was that it’s currently peony season. Idealist me was hoping for a sea of peonies at the resident wholesale florist. Sea of peonies, not as such, only two containers but they were surrounded by loads of other kind of pretty posies, which made me forget why I came there in the first place.

red peonies
pale pink peonies

After seeing the market last Friday, a part of me can’t help but feel a tad worried. While I think the renovation plan is an exciting idea, believe me I’ll be the first at the opening eating my way through all the food stalls, I wonder if the feeling I experienced of opening a ‘secret’ door to the old Dublin will disappear next year. I was watching some RTE archive footage of the market earlier and sure the machinery has evolved but the hustle and bustle seemed like it hasn’t changed one bit. I’m glad this beautiful building, dating back to 1892, is to be put on the map of the exciting things to do in Dublin but I hope it’s not at the cost of its authentic charm.

east entrance victorian market dublin

 Practical Information

Dublin Corporation Wholesale Markets 
St Michan’s Street
Smithfield, Dublin

Luas: Four Courts stop
Bus: 25, 26, 27, 39, 51, 66, 67, 69, 70, 79, 83, 145

Opening Hours: 6am – 2.30pm (Mon, Wed-Fri) / 6am – 12.30pm (Tue) / 7am-11am (Sat)

VIDEO: Dublin blooms

bloom dublin

The garden festival Bloom is back this week so I thought I would reminisce with this little video I shot at last year’s event.
Located in Phoenix Park, Bloom makes for such a lovely day out. Whether you want to admire the outstanding garden designs, eat some delicious wholesome food or pick up gardening tips, I feel there is something for everyone. And don’t think you need to be a garden buff to enjoy the event, my gardening facilities extend to a windowsill and my non-existent green thumb murdered many a succulent; the gardening experts will gladly have a chat no matter what your level is. And well, if flowers and vegetables leave you indifferent, there’s always the food village. Loads of sampling action there! I may or may not be still dreaming about a pineapple chutney I tasted last year…

Also, super good news this year if you can’t make it to Phoenix Park, for the first time a pop-up version of the festival will come to the streets of Dublin! Bloom Fringe, as its name tells, will take place “on the edge” of Bloom with events all over Dublin such as tours to discover the city’s secret gardens, food trails, talks, pop-up green spaces, yoga classes,  etc… with the main Bloom Fringe garden on George Street. I personally look forward to the floral workshop in Powerscourt Centre the most but I’m also quite intrigued by the upcycling workshop, the herbal remedy class, the introduction to essential oils… and the seedbomb-making workshop sounds absolutely brilliant!

Take a look at the programme and see for yourself if something tickles your fancy.

Practical Information

Bloom 2014
From May 29th to June 2nd
Phoenix Park

Admission Fee: Adult 20€ /  Senior & Students  13€  / Children < 16yo Free
Tickets booked in advance are discounted – book online here (until 01/06)

Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm

Luas/Train: Heuston Stop; then hop on the free shuttle bus on Parkgate Street
Bloom Fringe 2014
May 31st
All over Dublin

Check programme for events’ location, prices & availability

Airfield House & Farm | Dublin

airfield house dundrum walled garden
lambs airfield
Last week saw the official re-opening of Airfield House & Farm in South Dublin. The estate was being renovated for the past 2 years, offering now to the public’s enjoyment a revamped farm, gardens, cafe and the stately home of the Overend family.
I hot-footed to Dundrum on Saturday, bursting with excitement at the hope of seeing lambs and calves.
I do love a beautiful walled garden, so it was a nice surprise to see the well-maintained space around the house, with stunning views of the Dublin mountains.
My curiosity was also piqued when I read about the Overend sisters (I couldn’t help linking them in my mind with the Mitford sisters – an old obsession of mine – and while their story has very little in common with the English socialites, there is just something fascinating and inspiring about independent women of their time).
walled garden airfield
cherry blossoms + beehive airfield
walled garden airfield dundrum
Their family home is now an interactive museum, where you’ll find correspondence and memorabilia displayed, attesting to their charity work and hobbies such as gardening, travelling and cooking. The guide lady was absolutely lovely and full of interesting facts about Naomi and Letitia’s lives. Like how they had to write letters to their deaf cook to organise the menus or how Letitia was quite the sight cruising in her Rolls Royce around the village.

vintage menu airfield houseairfield house memorabiliamirror on mantelpiece airfield houselilac airfield housevintage children books airfieldvintage dollhouse airfieldgardening memorabilia airfield houseview from the window airfield housepink lilac airfield house

Visiting the farm was a joyful experience, I discovered that lambs wag their fluffy tails when feeding, which is about the cutest thing I ever witnessed. I also petted a playful goat kid and fawn over sleeping calves. The Overends were also known for breeding Jersey cows which you can still see at Airfield. They are milked on the premises, so it’s a great lesson for city kids who think that milk comes from cartons (enquire at the entrance for feeding and milking time).

sheep lambs airfield
jersey cows airfield farm
peekaboo baby goat
tree cosy by Sandra McAllister airfield
view on dublin mountains airfield farm
The kitchen garden is still a bit barren, so I reckon it will be worth a trip back in the Summer when the fruit and veg start showing up. But I think I’ll actually come back sooner than that as the sow is expecting and her piglets are due this May. They won’t be the only ones squealing in Dundrum, that’s for sure!
airfield house dundrum

Practical information

Airfield House & Farm
Overend Way
Dublin 14

Check out the activity programme at

Luas: Balally
Bus: 11, 14, 14C, 44, 44B, 75, 116

Admission fee: Adults 10€ / Children 5€ / <3’s Free / Senior Citizens 9€ / Students 8€

Opening hours: 9.30am to 5pm (Sep-Apr) / 9.30am to 8pm (May-Aug)

Pieces from the Grand Budapest Hotel in Dublin

annie atkins exhibition grand budapest hotel lighthouse cinema
lighthouse cinema cafe

If you’re a fan of Wes Anderson’s cinematographic worlds, you really need to go the Light House Cinema in Smithfield ASAP. There is something quite special awaiting you at the back of the cinema’s little café. There, inside two glass displays lay beautiful props from The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson’s latest release. You will find the already iconic Mendl’s pastry boxes, a bottle of champagne and Madame D.’s last will among other treasures.

The Grand Budapest Hotel book cover wes anderson
telegram serge grand budapest hotel wes anderson
prison map grand budapest hotel wes anderson
romantic poetry book cover grand budapest hotel wes anderson
oberstdorf madame d grand budapest hotel wes anderson

They were born under the hand of Annie Atkins, who was the lead graphic designer on the film. She is Dublin-based and kindly loaned her own copies to the Light House cinema so Wes Anderson fans can marvel at the intricate details that brought the fictititious empire of Zubrowka to life. She was responsible for everything paper in the film (telegrams, correspondence, passports, maps, currency, books, labels, reports, etc) and created the very hotel signage that you can see on the film poster as well.
Under Wes Anderson’s precise supervision, she drew influences from Ernst Lubitsch’s films and 1930s Germany to shape up Grand Budapest’s pink world.

mendl's box grand budapest hotel wes anderson
madame d grand budapest hotel wes anderson
agatha visa grand budapest hotel wes anderson
zubrowka stamps grand budapest hotel wes anderson

If you needed any more proof that Wes Anderson is a firm believer of ‘God is in the details’, The exhibition ‘A Brief Survey of Graphic Design from the Empire of Zubrowka (1932-1968)’ is for you. Nothing is left half-done, to the point where Wes Anderson wrote himself the articles in the fictitious newspaper The Trans-Alpine Yodel, knowing that no one would even read them. Well that is not totally true, is it? As you can do so now in the Light House Cinema.

lighthouse cinema grand budapest hotel poster

Practical Information

Annie Atkins Exhibition, from the 7th to the 24th of March 2014 (edit 25/03/14: extended until 31 March)
Light House Cinema
Market Square
Dublin 7

Luas: Smithfield
Bus: 37, 39, 70, 83 
Entrance: Free

Showtimes for The Grand Budapest Hotel at the Light House Cinema

Dublin, home to Saint Valentine

carmelite church whitefriar street inside
saint valentine whitefriar street church 2

Did you know that the remains of Saint Valentine, the patron of lovers were resting in a church in Dublin? Yep, pretty surprising, right?! Here is what happened…

In 1835, Father John Spratt, responsible for the Carmelite church on Aungier Street, went to Rome. His reputation of a good preacher and the stories of his hard work with the poor people of Dublin preceded him. So much that the Pope at the time, Gregory XVI, decided to offer him the sacred body of Saint Valentine as well as a vessel tinged with his blood.
Father John Pratt brought his gift back to his church and this is how, still today, when you go inside this byzantine-looking church on Aungier Street, you will find under Saint Valentine’s statue, a box holding the saint’s reliquary.

carmelite church whitefriar street left aisle
saint valentine's relics
saint valentine's altar
church candles 2

Every Valentine’s day, the box is released and put on the high altar and couples flock to have their rings blessed under the benevolent gaze of the Saint’s statue.
Visitors are also welcome to write down their prayers and love wishes in a book placed on the shrine.

saint valentine whitefriar street church 3

Top tip: if you end up in Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church to pay a visit to Saint Valentine, don’t forget to also check out Our Lady of Dublin statue on your way out. This is a 16th century wooden sculpture, the only one left of its kind, representing the Black Madonna of Ireland.

carmelite church whitefriar street 2
mosaic church entrance

Practical Information

Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church (also known as Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel)
56, Aungier Street
Dublin 2

Special masses & blessings of the rings on Valentine’s day

Bus: 9, 16, 49, 65, 68, 83, 122

Opening hours:  7.30am-6pm Mon, Wed-Fri; 7.30am-9pm Tue; 8.30am-7pm Sat; 7.30am-7pm Sun

VIDEO: Chinese New Year Carnival | Dublin

chinese new year carnival dublin

Last Sunday, the Chinese New Year Carnival took place in the heart of Temple Bar. It was a bit cramped on the Meeting House Square, but it was good craic nonetheless. The Dublin Chinese New Year Festival had packed the day with beautiful performances to welcome the Year of the Horse in style. Lions, Dragons and pretty dancers filled the stage while demos were executed in the food tent.
If you missed the carnival but still want to celebrate the Year of the Horse while embracing the Chinese Culture, don’t worry as the DCN Festival is far from over! Plenty of events are scheduled over the next two weeks. Hop over their website to check out the programme,

Happy Year of the Horse!

Chinese New Year Festival | Dublin

melaka dragonYear of the Dragon in Malacca, Malaysia

This Friday January 31st, it will be time to ring in the Chinese New Year. It is under the sign of the Horse, which is apparently a good thing as it is a symbol of luck.
Dublin is celebrating this event with a festival for the 7th year, evidence that the Chinese Community holds a place close to the Capital’s heart. And as it is the year of the horse, it will also be the opportunity to reflect on the role this animal plays in Irish culture.
The festival will be held over a period of two weeks with a plethora of events such as lectures, storytelling, exhibitions, concerts, dumpling tastings, sport tournaments, workshops, etc…
The star of the show will undoubtedly be the carnival taking place in Temple Bar this Sunday, with traditional lion & dragon dances.
It will be my first time checking out the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival so I’m pretty pumped. I actually meant to go last year but it was raining cats and dogs, so let’s hope that the luck of the horse keeps the clouds away this week-end!

Practical Information

Chinese New Year Festival 2014
from January 31st to February 14th
For more information and the full schedule of events, check out the Festival website.

Chinese New Year Carnival
February 2nd, 12pm – 5pm,
Meeting House Square/Temple Bar 

New Year’s Eve 2013 | video

Dublin NYE 2013 Procession of Light
Dublin NYE 2013 Procession of Light

I’m not going to lie, I’m not usually one to go out of their way to join massive New Year’s Eve celebrations and strive on crowd connexion. Give me a cosy armchair, some nibbles, shit TV and I’m a happy camper. But I guess my glamourous lifestyle is not the stuff exciting posts are made of. So, just for you people of the Internet, I grabbed my camera and the weird shoulder contraption that goes with it, and headed to Dublin city centre where some cheerful happenings were due to ring the new year in.

Dublin NYE 2013 Procession of LightDublin NYE 2013 Procession of Light

Starting off the evening was the People’s Procession of Light marching on Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street. The parade was filled with contagiously cheerful people in beautiful colourful costumes, the infamous Dublin rickshaws and lots and lots of people who had been crafting pretty lanterns in the workshops organised specifically for the event.
I sneaked into the procession to film and my grumpy self couldn’t help but be contaminated by the kids’ cheers and the chants and the sparkles.

Dublin NYE 2013 Procession of Light

The procession finished on the Green where a beautiful aerial show started. It all ended in confetti and happy music. I took the cue to leave the place and headed to the seashore to witness the fireworks, where the sea was a bit tormented and no bus was in sight. Despite the cold and the lack of transport, I genuinely can say I had a lovely evening that was as worthy as the armchair and nibbles.

Check out for yourself!

Happy New Year!

Deck the Hell out of those Halls

christmas lights house dublin keeper rdchristmas decoration reindeers keeper rd dublin

Had I been shown these pictures a few years ago, I would have immediately thought ‘yes, definitely suburbian American town’. Little did I know that somewhere in Europe, X.C.D. (aka, XS Christmas Decorations – can I coin this acronym?) was also common practice. When I spent my first Christmas in Dublin, five years ago, I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought I had landed on the set of a cheesy Holiday comedy. Though, I think there has been a decrease in the all-out christmassy houses due to the recession, but you still can find some in working-class areas such as Crumlin and Drimnagh (South Dublin suburbs).
If you’re in Dublin for Christmas and have a car (or maybe you could ask a local taxi driver?), I can only recommend to drive around, it is such a sight, especially if, like me, you’ve been living vicariously through American television.

christmas decoration garden sandymount dublin
reindeers christmas decoration
christmas decoration house dublin keeper road
snowman christmas decoration dublin keeper rd
christmas decoration house palmerstown rd dublin
christmas decoration house sandymount dublin 2
snowmen garland christmas decoration
christmas decoration santa drimnagh dublin
christmas decoration house herberton rd dublin

Also do keep an eye out for donation boxes if you see one of those seasonal beacons in the night, as they sometimes raise money for charity. People tend to leave their Christmas decorations until the first week of January so there’s still plenty of time to take a tour!
On this note, I wish you all the happiest of Christmas!

Pictures were taken in Sandymount (Bath Avenue), Rathmines (Palmerstown Road), all around Drimnagh and Crumlin (Keeper Road and Herberton Road were particularly good spots).

The Holiday Season in Dublin

stephen's green shopping centre
georgian doors christmas dublin

Dublin is one of these cities that just suits the Christmas spirit, just like London or Vienna. The cobbled stones, the red-brick buildings, the Georgian doors, … it all looks a bit Dickensian this time of year. If you’re in Dublin during this Holiday season, there’s a ton of things to do and enjoy. That is if you can tear yourself from the warmth and cosiness of all the sparkly pubs. To make things easier for you, here’s a round-up of festive events I think you shouldn’t miss.

dublin house christmas decoration

The Christmas Markets

There are so many Christmas markets around the city that one can get dizzy at the prospect of making a choice. This weekend is your ultimate chance to visit the ones you have missed so far as Christmas is literally on our doorstep. Last-minute shoppers, this is for you!
If you’re a foodie, Farmleigh Christmas market should be your number one destination.
If you’re into your crafts, check out the markets in the Dame District, Trinity Bar & Venue, the Dublin Castle and Dun Laoghaire.
If you like your Christmas shopping mixed with a bit of funfair fun, The Docklands, Winterfest and Christmas Wonderland are calling your name.

georgian doors dublin christmas
christmas tree georgian dublin

Seasonal Fun

As mentioned above, the ultimate winter entertainment can be found at Christmas Wonderland, the Docklands and Winterfest where you can get a bit of ice-skating action and all the thrills of the attractions!
Also today is the Winter Solstice and Dublin is putting on a show to welcome the darkest day of the year in true Celtic spirit with parades and fire ceremonies (it starts at 6pm).

dublin georgian doors christmas

New Year’s Eve celebrations

Ha who needs the Time Square Ball drop when you can watch fireworks over the picturesque Dublin Bay?! They will be fired from Dun Laoghaire pier (at midnight, but also at 6pm on the 31st of December, so the young ones can also ooh and aah before their bedtime).
If you’re in the Dublin city centre, catch the People’s Procession of Lights. The parade will start at 6.30 from Stephen’s Green and make its way to South William Street and Grafton Street.

For more information, check out the visitdublin website and their nifty event grid. Many more events are listed such as pantomimes and choirs and other cheerful, seasonal happenings.