Words: Shamim de Brún
Images: Smithfield Christmas Tree Image: William Murphy/Flickr
The perfect winter’s day out is much harder in Ireland than in most countries because rain is a genuine and ever-present threat to the craic. There is, however, something quite magical about visiting Smithfield in December.
This Christmas, CHAR and Jameson Distillery Bow St. have come together to guide you through the perfect winter’s day in Smithfield.
The local has an inherently Christmassy atmosphere. There’s an array of seasonal lights and decorations. There’s also a Christmas market, almost too many places to eat and drink, and a city’s cultural hub.
Click here to check out all the amazing experiences Jameson’s Distillery this festive season.
The perfect way to get to Smithfield is by Luas. It drops you right in the middle of all the action. It even announces the stop name when you get there. If you’re not redline adjacent, then the 145 stops on the quays right near it. As does the 37 and 39s of the world. So essentially, it’s pretty easy to get to by public transport. Which is what you want for the Christmas season, as parking is an expensive nightmare.
Collins Barracks is right there! It is, in some ways, Dublin’s most overlooked or forgotten museum, but it’s also one of its most splendid. Also called The National Museum, this gem is filled with historical arts and political, economic, military and social history exhibitions. There is legitimately something for every taste. If that doesn’t sound like the era you’re in, Currabini recently moved there, and they do a killer coffee. You can grab a snack from James Kavanagh and William Murphy’s baby while wandering around the Collins Barracks grounds pretending you are Richard Gilmore, wondering how much the insurance deductibles are.
Bonus points their Christmas decorations are on the opulent level of decadent. Perfect for the family group chat. How much more cultured can you get?
Innumerable places to eat in the Smithfield/Stoneybatter corner of Dublin 7. It’s legitimately like our Brooklyn. A destination worth eating your way through.
If you like an early lunch of a day out, MadYolks is the spot for you. Their egg-based menu is as attractive as their staff. They cover all bases, from delicate to gluttonous. With a decent gluten-free option and nachos on the menu, indulging in lunch here will set you up for the day.
Grano debuted to an already crowded Italian food scene and took the proverbial cake. It was immediately a must-hit spot for the pasta connoisseurs of the city. If you are in that group, this is the lunch to grab. It serves regional Calabrian food and joy in spades, so it’s perfect for a lively lunch full of friendly staff, expressive gesticulations and slurpy pasta.
L. Mulligan Grocer tops the list of Dublin gastro pubs over and over. Their food is top-notch and worth a stop always, especially if you’re in the area. They emphasise local Irish produce, even incorporating vegetables from their own allotment into dishes such as their raw Irish cheese bonbons. So if you’re looking for comforting, modern Irish food at lunchtime, this is the Dublin 7 spot.
Smithfield made its name on its markets back in the day, and Christmas these days is no different, with their big Christmas market taking place on Sunday, December 13, from 12:00 till 19:00. Grab a post-lunch slump coffee to perk you up from Proper Order and give it a peruse. With the sun setting around 16:00 these days, you’ll also get to take in the majesty of Smithfield’s Christmas Lights at their finest as you potter around hot beverage in hand.
It’s perfect to pop to The Generator Dublin in Smithfield Square after lunch to nose through the festive fun favourites and gifts galore. There will also be music, yoga, hot chocolates and many other wonders.
Fair warning this is only on specific dates.
If shopping is not what you enjoy on a day out (and at this time of year, I don’t blame you), you can pop to Jameson Distillery Bow Street and do one of their tours, or more excitingly, one of their classes. They have two classes you can book in for, by yourself, with friends or as a group. The Shakers class, where you learn how to make Jameson signature cocktails for all tastes, and the Jameson Black Barrell Blenders class, where you get to blend your own bottle of Jameson Black Barrell and live out your dreams of being a master blender like Billy Leighton. Great fun for adult children and their parents as well as a gang of your mates.
If you don’t fancy learning about Irish whiskey heritage or role-playing as a distillery legend, you can pop in for drive-by cocktails and take in the atmosphere. The Bow Street distillery serves a Christmas atmosphere like Bella Hadid serves looks; iconically. Most people don’t realise that you can pop in for a quick drink and don’t have to do the tour or book in advance.
It’s also such an ample space that you’re almost guaranteed a seat even when all the other pubs are shoulder-to-shoulder level jammed. It’s also a truth universally acknowledged in the industry that distilleries make the best Irish coffees. So it’s definitely worth spinning into, especially with their Christmas decorations in full swing. I will fight you for one of their Christmas jumpers. They are cosy.
Click here to get tickets to all these amazing events with Jameson’s Distillery.
If you want to finish this day as culturally as you started it, then the lighthouse cinema is your finisher. They show arthouse movies, Irish bangers, mainstream cinema, and Christmas Classics. If you pick your day correctly, you’ll get to swing into their Naughty or Nice Christmas Season. They’ll be showing The Muppets Christmas Carroll, It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone 2, Home Alone, and of course, my personal favourite – Elf. Along with, many more. Christmas joy at its most nostalgic.
If you want to grab a pint after, sure, who would blame you, you can choose between Frank Ryans or Cobblestone. Both culturally significant spaces serve banging pints with either homemade pizza or sambos to wash ‘em down with, The perfect end to a Christmasy day in Dublin 7.
Please drink Jameson responsibly
Visit drinkaware.ie for more info
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