What do you get for the lady who has everything, and wants nothing? That was the dilemma I faced in December with my mum’s birthday looming. Luckily Ryanair’s Black Friday flight sale came at just the right time and it was decided: as a surprise we’d go for a whistlestop overnight stay in Dublin.
The city is famous for being loud, brash city, with plenty of pubs serving up Guinness by the pintload – but my mum doesn’t drink and I’m very much still in my January health kick, so we set about finding a few more healthy things to do! Thankfully, like most big cities, health and fitness is a big trend in Dublin right now, so there was plenty to do – and we still managed to treat ourselves along the way…
Healthy Things To Eat In Dublin
There is so much choice for healthy food in Dublin.. SO much choice! Sure, there’s a lot of chain restaurants, but with a little research it’s easy to find healthy grub, and you’ll even just chance upon it too.
A quick Twitter poll gave me more suggestions than I could possibly get to in just two days, but one of the suggestions was Yogism, photo above. It’s hidden away at the end of a small market, and we weren’t looking for it – I just saw a sign for “healthy pancakes” and I was straight in there! The pancakes are super thick and fluffy and come in three options: buckwheat, protein, and vegan. I went for protein which came with loads of Greek yoghurt, almond butter, pecans, berries, and cacao nibs. I don’t know how they managed to get the pancakes so thick yet still cooked on the inside without being burned on the outside.. It could only be a touch of Irish magic.
Brunch the next day was coffee, green juice and “free from everything” granola from Sprout & Co, just off the main shopping street, Grafton Street. I’d seen Sprout on Instagram, as their juices are quite famous, but I believe their actual cafe is quite new. My granola was delicious – full to bursting of different flavours – and my Americano with almond milk was the best coffee I had during my time in Dublin.
It was around 11am when we went in for brunch and it was still busy with people popping in for takeaway salads, juices and coffees, so it’s definitely a popular place with local workers.
My final healthy meal in Dublin was rare beef and kale from Alchemy, which is inside BT2, a cool version of Dublin’s premiere department store, Brown Thomas. This place gets top marks for location and also for its interior – lots of bright white and neon light – but the meal left a lot to be desired (too sweet with way too much kale in the ratio), plus both the soup and the broth advertised online weren’t available, so my mum was left hungrily munching an apple whilst she watched me eat! Still, it’s a good place to pop into for a fresh, nutritious juice if you’ve gone to Dublin particularly for the shopping.
A special shout-out has to go to the Spar shops in Dublin… Yes, I’m serious! The above stand full of healthy treats and protein-packed goodies was in the tiniest of Spar shops, in which I also found a bottled green juice. Healthy food and drink seems more like normal life in Dublin than here in Manchester.
Other places recommended to me that I didn’t get a chance to go to were Chopped, Blazing Salads, Govindas vegetarian restaurant, and Brother Hubbard. You’re not going to go hungry whatever your dietary requirements!
Healthy Things To Do In Dublin
The number one healthy thing to do in Dublin? Walk. It’s such a small city that you can walk everywhere and explore its nooks and crannies easily. It seems to be about the same size as Manchester, though it has more of a feel of a European city, with excellent little side streets to nosy down and buildings to admire.
We walked east to west on our first day, taking in everything from Dublin Castle (which housed the fantastic carpet, above) to the Guinness Storehouse (more on that later), and on our second day went from north to south, walking around the grounds of Trinity College and ending up at St Stephen’s Green. The best, more historic parts of the city appear to be south of the River Liffey – the only thing we did north of the river was the National Leprechaun Museum! Everyone laughed when we said we were going there, but it’s a lovely little place and you hear some fantastic stories.
FYI, on the first day I did 18,000 steps, and on the second I did a massive 25,000! I absolutely blasted my step target both days.
I love a spot of box tourism when I’m away somewhere, so I went to meet Aimee of Primal Piggy at her box, CrossFit Ronin. It was a 25 minute walk out of town, so as well as getting a good training session in (we did a power clean/front squat complex, along with a metcon of double unders and wallballs) I got to see a more residential part of Dublin and meet some new people. Whenever I go somewhere new I like to get off the beaten track and see what life is really like, and imagine myself living there – this little trip out of the centre did the trick!
If you’d rather stay in the city centre there’s also CrossFit Perpetua that’s right on the River Liffey. From wandering around the city, I also spotted a run club at Run Logic in Temple Bar, with lots of yoga studios peppered around – in fact there was Samadhi Yoga Studio just around the corner from Run Logic – so there’s ways to get a good workout in whatever you’re into.
I’m definitely bordering on a tenuous healthy link here, but it’s well worth spending half a day at the Guinness Storehouse. When Guinness was first released it was marketed as being good for you – this is because drinking a pint made you feel better, which is most likely because it contained alcohol! A pint of the black stuff won’t exactly do any harm, though: it contains 2g of protein, 1mg of iron and all B vitamins except B12, and no, it doesn’t have as many calories as a roast dinner. Just 210, in fact.
Aside from that, it’s a great attraction, with lots of interesting things to see and do. Its crowning glory is the top floor bar, where you can see a 360 degree view of Dublin, with your free-with-ticket pint of Guinness in-hand.
Overall, I highly recommend a short trip to Dublin, whether you’re with your parents, friends, or partner – there’s something for everyone, especially so if you’re into health and fitness. It may be famous for being lairy, loud, and full of drinkers, but it’s easy to explore this beautiful city in a manner that is rather more healthy than you’d expect.
Just don’t be too healthy to enjoy a cold pint of Guinness in its home city!