On Saturday I marched with thousands of women and men (and children and grandmas and families) to say that we will not be silent for the next four years. It was the first time since I voted for Hillary Clinton that I felt proud of […]
This week I got the chance to go out to Boulder, Colorado and visit my dad and stepmom who are in the process of moving out there. I’ve been hearing about Boulder for years and I finally get what all the hubbub is about – beautiful scenery, great downtown filled with restaurants and shops, and you’re never further than 10 minutes from an amazing hike. Although it was a relatively short visit, it was so fun to see what they’re up to and let me say, it certainly doesn’t suck. I’m back in Chicago now and here’s a little bit more about my week…
What I Did This Week
1. Before I left for Colorado, I spent an excellent Saturday afternoon with my family at the Lagunitas Brewing Company’s Tap Room here in Chicago. Crisp beer, decadent nachos, and a band with a washboard player made for a pretty awesome day. It was a little bit impossible to find (hint: the entrance is next to the parking lot – go figure), but the trek made the beer taste that much better. Fun for both the brewery inclined and the professional beer drinker 🙂
2. On my first day in Colorado, my dad drove us out to Denver for the Dweezil Zappa concert. Him and my brother are huge fans and even though I didn’t know much of the music, it was clear that these guys are unreal musicians. Fun, weird, and filled with hippie dads, the whole thing was certainly an experience. Plus, you can’t go wrong when the tour is named “Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants”.
3. Yesterday was my beautiful mom’s birthday. We spent the day brunching, drinking mimosas, shopping, and eating – so just another average day, right? We even got a dose of lacrosse in there seeing my brother’s team make it into the championship finals game! We had appetizers and drinks and a glorious steak dinner at Wildfire before heading back into the city. Cheers to you, mama! I love you!
1. I picked up this book by my favorite Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, at the spiritual bookstore in Boulder (because of course they have one of those). This time in my life is bringing a lot of change and, along with that, a lot of uncertainty and fear. I have so many of his books already, but I felt like it was time to read this one – will let you know how it goes!
2. Visited the Saks Off 5th store on State Street in Chicago this week and oh man is it good. I highly recommend it for investment pieces like cashmere sweaters and winter coats because they seem to carry a lot of those right now. I walked out with this cashmere sweater in navy for half off and these cole haan sneakers for 50 bucks!
3. Late night Maddie + trolling Twitter = me buying Repeal the 8th art for my future apartment. Bought this beautiful print through the Someone You Love campaign and cannot wait to frame it and put it up for all eternity. I’ve been looking for a piece of art from Ireland forever, but nothing felt personal until I saw this baby. Feminist, colorful, and I think it will compliment my other pieces beautifully. Definitely check out the rest of the pieces in their online shop – a great gift for the Irish feminist in your life!
4. Speaking of other things I don’t need for an apartment I don’t have, my mom gifted me the most amazing salt and pepper shaker on this earth. Guys, I’m completely obsessed. It’s beautiful, hilarious, and practical! I also think this totally shows my priorities – art and kitschy home goods over furniture and kitchen ware. I like this about myself.
Coming Up Next
1. I’ve got BIG news coming up this week! I’m waiting till everything is finalized, but I’ll definitely be sharing a huge life update very soon!
2. I’ll be sharing some photos and journals from my trip out west – think snowy mountains, yellow and red leaves, and some wildlife up close and personal. I’ll also let you know what my favorite spots out in Boulder were and things I was super thankful I packed.
3. I’m on the prowl for some new fall boots (both over the knee and booties) so I’ll be sharing a round up of the ones I’ve been eyeing. It also seems like there are a million sales going on right now so I’ll be sure to include some discounted options. Till then!
So I love to travel and living in Dublin has been one of the coolest things I’ve done in my life. But as we all know, traveling can get expensive so even just pinching a few pennies here and there can really help. As part of my quest to be more cost-conscious, here is my (by no means comprehensive) guide to ballin’ on a budget here in Dublin:
Places to Eat
The Buttery – Tucked away on Trinity College’s front square is a little spot called the Buttery (just to the left of the Campanile if you enter from the front gate). You can get a hearty lunch of thick stew or fish & chips for about 5 euro. The Buttery (as well as the Arts Block Cafe) also has sandwiches and coffee for the cheapest I’ve seen – 3.65 & 1.15, respectively.
KC Peaches – Although not as good a value as The Buttery, KC Peaches makes up for its prices in portions. For less than a tenner you can get a large salad box, which you can stuff as much food in as possible since it’s a set price, not priced by weight. Available in cold (salad, pasta, chicken) or hot (shepherd’s pie, curried veggies, baked potatoes). And they have a 10% student discount with a student card.
Mama’s Revenge – Another solid student card deal, get a basic burrito (essentially all the fixins minus pica de gallo and gauc) for 5 euro. Or a veggie with gauc again for 5. I literally just ate one and may never eat again.
Lemon – Looking for brunch that won’t break the bank? Lemon on both Dawson and South William Street will be your cheapest option. Coffee and a crepe or hearty breakfast sandwich for under a tenner is hard to beat.
Places to Drink
Pygmalion – If you’re visiting Dublin during the week and want to get a good buzz on, check out Pyg’s 2-for-1 cocktail menu. I believe they’re 13 quid so basically 6.50 a pop for whiskey sours, espresso martinis, and more. And you certainly can’t beat the energy of a night at Pyg with DJs most nights and people spilling out into the street.
The Shakespeare – A great pub (and Korean restaurant) on Parnell Street. The Shakespeare has Guinness for 4.20 and you can get a loyalty card, which I’ve literally never heard of anywhere else. Something like 6 pints and you get one free – challenge accepted.
The Pav – Located on Trinity’s campus, The Pav is generally the student bar, but they serve a solid pint on the cheap. The real pro tip here, though, is if you’re around on a particularly nice day and everyone is sitting outside on the grass (as pictured below) go to the Centra across the street from campus and buy 4 cans of Prazsky for 5 euro. Come back to the pav and enjoy the atmosphere at half the price. Just make sure it’s a brand of beer they serve at the Pav (like Prazsky) or else they’ll know you’re BYOB.
Note: Across the board, Foster’s will be the cheapest pint you can get at around 3.50, depending on where you are. Guinness will also be quite cheap since it’s local. Most places also do a Zaconey (a bourbon based spirit) and coke deal for 5, which is decent too if you’re not a beer fan.
Dicey’s – If you’re looking for a night out on the cheap, the infamous Dicey’s will have you handled. On Mondays and Thursdays, they have a 10 euro cover but pints are 2.50 or cheaper all night so you’ll be set for a night of drinking. Pints are also 2.50 every night before 10, if you’re looking to turn up early. (Just beware this is PINTS only, not shots or cocktails, which will be crazy overpriced. Trust me, I have made this dire mistake. Don’t be me – drink your beer.)
Xico – On Monday night, Xico is the place to be – half price drinks! That’s 2 euro tequila shots and 2.50 pints. Once again, Xico has a cover but it’s worth it if you buy like 2 drinks. And they’re music selection is one of better spots in the city.
Workman’s – With no cover and lots of loud music every night, Workman’s is a solid choice if you’re looking to save a few bucks. They usually have a 5 euro cocktail special and reasonably priced pints.
Temple Bar – The famous bar scene comes alive in Dublin essentially after noon with lots of places having traditional music at night, if that’s something you’re after. For the price of a pint and the hassle of finding a seat, you can settle in for a night of live music and fantastic people watching. Whelan’s on Camden Street also has great (arguably better) music, a lot of which is free as well.
A general tip for shopping in Dublin, if you’re a student or recent graduate, is that most shops in the city centre have some sort of student discount. Levi’s, Office, TopShop, and a lot of other brand name places do 10-20% discounts for showing a student card.
Harlequin Vintage – If you’re looking for something a bit more unique than Zara or H&M, Harlequin Vintage is a great spot to find some treasure. The upstairs is a big sale section and I’ve found gems like AllSaints dresses and an Escada sweater for 10 euro. (Another great spot is Lucy’s Lounge in Temple Bar, check out their enormous basement!)
Penneys – If you’re a bargain queen then you must check out Penneys (the Irish version of Primark). It’s like target on crack. Of course the quality isn’t spectacular, but I’ve found adorable shoes for like 12 euro, as well as cute home goods and trendy clothes for huge discounts. It’s bomb.
The nice thing about Dublin is that it really is a walking-around-and-drinking sort of city so you won’t miss out on much if you skip the tourist sites. The biggest trap by far is Guinness, but if you are gonna go use the card machines to the right of the long line inside and get a student ticket (over 18) regardless of whether or not you are, they don’t check and you’ll save a couple quid.
Kilmainham Gaol – One of the more interesting historical tours in Dublin and definitely the cheapest: students are 3 euro and regular adults are 7. Just flash an old student card and you’re set.
National Botanic Gardens & Glasnevin Cemetery – These two spots are literally connected to each other and are both entirely free and open to the public. I’ve done a couple of posts (here and here) on them and why they’re my favorite spots in the area. The Botanic Gardens, especially, are totally amazing. Bus fare will run you about 5 euro round trip or make an afternoon of it and walk.
Science Gallery – On the far end of Trinity’s campus there is a little museum that merges the science and art worlds together. With some of the most interesting exhibits I’ve seen anywhere, the (entirely free) Science Gallery is definitely worth checking out.
The National Gallery of Ireland – A small but mighty art museum, the collection has pieces by Caravaggio, Monet, and Picasso and often houses interesting smaller exhibits throughout the year. And it’s completely free.
National Museum of Ireland, Archeology – Home to the famed ‘bog people’, this museum on Kildare Street is a tour through time in the form of decorative objects, craft art, and incredibly preserved dead people. And once again, admission is free.
Other free outdoors spots to check out, if the weather is good, are St. Stephen’s Green, Merrion Square, Trinity’s Rose Garden, and Iveagh Gardens. All great spots to sit outside for lunch or spend an afternoon reading. Just bring an umbrella because, well, you’re still in Ireland.
This is by no means the be-all-end-all guide to cheap things in Dublin, but when I’m tight on cash or have people come into town who want to stay on a budget these are the things I recommend. As you can tell, most of my suggestions are in the city center because that’s where I live, but, generally, if you get out of the busy parts of Dublin you’re likely to find a lot of cheaper pubs and shops. Moral of the story: if you’re considering coming to Dublin but the price is stopping you, know that there are plenty of ways to enjoy the city on a budget without feeling like you half-assed your trip.
I’ll also be putting together a guide of my favorite spots in Dublin regardless of price, since I get a lot of (real) adults and relatives who ask me for suggestions who aren’t necessarily on a tight budget and probably wouldn’t want to end up at Dicey’s on a Monday night… So keep your eyes peeled for that!
And if you have any other specific questions about things to do or life in Ireland, please let me know! I can be an anxious traveler myself so I totally understand how helpful it can be to get all of my random and seemingly useless questions answered. Plus I totally love talking about my time here, so fire away! And if you’re from the area and I’ve missed something in this post, definitely let me know! I’m always on the prowl for a good bargain myself.
Last night, I had the extreme pleasure of going to see Lindy West speak with Irish author Louise O’Neill here in Dublin. The event was part of Lindy’s book tour promoting her memoir, Shrill, but they also talked about body positivity, the #shoutyourabortion campaign, and Lindy’s ideal internet troll.
In their discussion of internet trolling, Lindy’s story for This American Life came up. I immediately remembered the harrowing tale of an internet troll who created a false online account of Lindy’s own father, who had recently passed away, saying horrible things about his ‘daughter’. The story has stuck with me since I heard it over a year ago, but I (dumbly) didn’t even realize that this was the same woman until that moment. Now seeing her in person and watching her light up the entire room, the depth of that story hit me all over again – How could something so horrible happen to someone so vivacious and warm? Are some people truly that threatened by other people’s happiness?
But what makes Lindy incredible is that she did not simply accept this troll and let him continue (although she did talk about when that is totally okay to do too), she actually confronted him and spoke to him for several hours about his own life and how he came to troll her for the last several years. Who confronts and forgives their horrible online trolls?! Lindy West, people. What a badass.
The two went on to discuss Lindy’s new book (which I’m totally picking up now so bravo at successful marketing), where she shares stories of her journey from quiet human to loud and proud fat woman and feminist. Just hearing her speak for that hour, I can tell that her voice is thoughtful, funny, and fierce and I’m excited to see how this translates into her writing. I’ll keep you posted!
The whole night was actually a fantastic reminder that the feminist world is a rather small one and is full of women who want to help each other out. Because I’m on my own quite a bit, it’s easy to think that maybe I’m the only person thinking about this stuff, maybe I’m the only one feeling this pressure. Especially after leaving Bryn Mawr, where everyone talked about feminism constantly, the real world has seemed so barren in terms of these kinds of conversation. But being in that room with women (and men) who wanted to talk about these issues and share their real stories felt so good – someone even commented that they wanted to bottle up this feeling and carry it with them all the time. And I think that’s the challenge for feminists everywhere: how do we live our values every day in a world that tries to tear them down? To that, I don’t think there is one right answer, but last night definitely reminded me that solidarity is essential in making equality happen and allowing diminished voices to become amplified.
A huge thank you to Louise O’Neill and Lindy West for an incredible evening and a huge boost in my feminist confidence! Also shout out to Irish Tatler for the wine, mini hamburgers, and for sponsoring our sweet selfie – always appreciated!
So in honor of trying to get into a more regular blogging schedule, I’m recapping my week and sharing some of my favorite linkages from around the interwebs. Highlight: Definitely the highlight of my week was seeing Margaret Atwood speak to The Philosophical Society at […]