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Char Guide to Dun Laoghaire

Words: Shamim de Brún
Photography: George Voronov

With Ireland gradually entering a post-covid era, a shift has raised the collective aspirations of localised culinary culture and turned suburbs into must-go destinations. Empowering small businesses has been Square’s mission for many years, offering an all-in-one solution to help people run their business and accept payment easily and securely. With that in mind, we’ve decided to come together with Square to celebrate our local businesses and bring you this new Char Guide to the neighbourhoods of Dublin.

Together Square and Char will bring you a new guide with our top pics for each neighbourhood every fortnight. This week: Dun Laoghaire.

Dun Laoghaire is the original picturesque fishing village. It had a few hard recessionary years but recently it has come into its own as a destination. Conveniently located on the Dart line and famously at the peak of the 46A, Dun Laoghaire is an approachable destination for almost anyone with a leap card. We’re not gonna bother with the spots you and anyone who has ever googled Dun Laoghaire knows. Each spot on this list is worth the trek could be a destination in and of itself.

Kick It Off With Coffee

Shoe Lane

The best coffee in Dun Laoghaire is Shoe Lane. Shoe Lane are a dog-friendly spot with vintage surroundings, friendly service and feel-good tunes. Perfectly pitched at the centre of Dun Laoghaire village beside the shopping centre and bus stops, they’ve got the destination coffee market covered. The Irish owned and operated artisanal coffee shop was inspired and influenced by the Dublin of the 1800s and is the perfect way to start your day by the sea.

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Coffee wise, they offer the well-knowns as well as V60 filter coffees, overnight cold brew, all made with a varied selection of the best single-origin coffees stocked by Full Circle – a formidable local coffee roaster. Their vegan ice cream sandwiches are icing on an incredibly well-made cake.

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Do Something You Can’t Do Anywhere Else

Big Style

Dun Laoghaire is a seaside town, so you really can’t be a guide to it without including some seaside specific fun. Big Style is a stand-up paddleboarding school, complete with changing rooms, clothes and equipment storage, direct access to the water, and all the disarming charm of a prince. Located at the slipway to the Coal Harbour – the oldest part of DunLaoghaire’s historic port. It also happens to be the most sheltered part of the harbour and the perfect place to take your first spin on a SUP. Everything is included in the price – board, paddle, wetsuit, buoyancy aid and even wetsuit booties if you need them – so all you have to bring is shorts and a towel. Whether you’re a seasoned water–dweller or a landlubber, Big Style is worth going out of your way to visit.

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Located at the slipway to the Coal Harbour – the oldest and most sheltered part of DunLaoghaire’s historic port. The space has a bo-ho rustic feel with a surf shop and a simple coffee shop constructed from two renovated shipping containers and a decking area for outside seating. The building is as sustainable as they get with solar panels, a water harvester, and 12v power. It’s very affordable and there are no hidden charges – so all you have to bring is shorts and a towel. Now that the weather is heating up it is the perfect way to while away an afternoon. It might even make you feel like a vibrant sea siren.

Eat Where the Locals Do

Soup Ramen

Soup is a big, bright, unpretentious ramen bar that opened on Dun Laoghaire’s George’s Street Lower in June 2018. They’ve since become a local favourite known for their delicious deep-fried kimchi. Coated in panko crumb, this deep-fried fermented cabbage is better than any fish and chips you had as a child. Their classic ramen is heart cockles warming and substantially hearty. Perfect for anyone visiting Dun Laoghaire post-swim. Order from a range of delectable vodka spritzes or any of their increasingly diverse cocktails and kick start an evening of uproarious fun. Hook the haloumi spice bags up to your veins, and you can’t go wrong.

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Top it Off

The Lighthouse

Since it opened Lighthouse has been a stalwart favourite of the Dun Laoghaire locals. Just far from the pier and obscure enough looking to hide in plain sight. This former old man pub is a crowning jewel in Dun Laoghaire’s crown. There are pictures of Irish footballers, all the essential board games, a cheerful menu, and the music is a nostalgic mix of alternative bangers from the 90s and contemporary slappers, depending on who’s behind the bar.

The food is baller with Nice Burger in residence slinging some cracking classics. Drinks-wise the menu offers a range of highballs from the canon, the Moscow Mule, and the Dark’n’Stormy being write home worthy. They have a decent range of beer, including local brews, collaborations and a couple of nimble imports so any craft beer nerd will be happy. They also serve a murderous pint of plain. Which is a requirement. This is the kind of place where you can reserve a table, play Street Fighter 2, and have a pizza, but you can also watch the match and have a rake of pints.

So if you’re spending a day in Dun Laoghaire check out these more alternative crackers. Each is as beloved a part of the locality as Teddy’s ice cream.

We’ve come together with Square to celebrate our local businesses and bring you this new Char Guide to the neighbourhoods of Dublin. Learn how Square can help your business – square.com.

Elsewhere on District: One of Everything: Happy Endings

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