A Local's Guide To Rathmines, Dublin's Trendy Neighborhood

By Ekemena Ogodo A local university student who knows the outskirts of Dublin like the palm of her hand.

Edited by Elodi Troskie

Rathmines is the ‘underdog’ to Dublin’s popular city center. As one of the coolest neighborhoods in Dublin, you could say it’s shame that Rathmines is so undiscovered - but for the locals who know and love it, we’re fairly happy it’s relatively under the radar. So for travelers who want to explore Dublin off the beaten path, this is ideal. Rathmines is the trendy hangout spot for Dublin’s younger crowds - like myself and my friends. So if you’re planning a trip to Dublin, don’t miss out on everything this gem has to offer! Here is my guide to all the best things to do in this trendy neighborhood. 

An overview of Rathmines

Rathmines is placed about 3 kilometers south of Dublin’s city center. It’s easily accessible by public transport or you can opt for the half an hour’s leisurely stroll to get here if the weather is nice. Rathmines has something for everything, from shopping and eating to clubbing and cultural entertainment. The nightlife in Rathmines is incredible. This area is the playground for Dublin’s students and creatives, giving it an edgy, youthful feel. If you want to avoid the tourist crowds in the city center, you’ll love this neighborhood. The public buses and trams make it very easy to get around Rathmines, and the rest of Dublin. I suggest downloading the bus app to stay up to date with schedules, routes and fares. The taxis are more expensive than other forms of public transport, but it’s often faster and more convenient. It’s especially great if you get a local taxi driver since they’re such a good source of interesting information about the city. Let’s move on to the best things to do in Rathmines!

Blackbird

Blackbird is my favorite pub in Dublin. For my friends and I, Blackbird has become ‘our’ spot in this neighborhood, and it’s always our first stop on a night out in Rathmines. The interior is kind of broody and mysterious; all dark except for red candles and antique lights to light up the place. I love this bar because it’s so laid-back and chilled. There’s a pool table, board games and the perfect Friday night playlist to keep you entertained, plus drinks and food are really affordable. There’s a special deal where you can get a pizza and a pint for 12 Euros – the perfect combo! This is a really popular hangout spot for the locals, especially students and the younger crowds, so it gets pretty busy. Get there early enough to get a good seat and to get your hands on the set of Jenga before the place gets too crowded! Blackbird is open every day from 16:00 until midnight, and until 01:00 over weekends.

Copán

Copán is a slightly fancier place than Blackbird, more suited for the nights you feel like dressing up and having cocktails. This bar is modern and elegant is located right in the heart of Rathmines. This is a good option if you want to have dinner (and be able to talk to your dinner guests!). Copán is well-known for its unique design features, drawing inspiration from historical Mayan hieroglyphics and art. During the week, the restaurant is open from 16:00 until midnight, and until the early morning hours over weekends. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are the best time to visit Copán, when a DJ comes in to get everyone on their feet with an exotic cocktail in hand. It’s best to book a table, especially during the peak summer season.

Stella Theater

The Stella Theater is one of Rathmines most precious institutions. Originally opened in 1923, this cinema is a cultural landmark in Dublin. It was recently renovated and restored to bring back the glamorous feel of the 1920’s. For a long time, The Stella was the biggest cinema in Ireland, featuring a massive ballroom on the first floor. The architecture and design of this building is a piece of theater in itself, but apart from that, the cinema is still in full use. The rolling films are listed on their website and tickets can be booked online. A highlight of visiting the theater is the Stella Cocktail Club upstairs, taking the place of the original ballroom. The bar offers a beautiful view of Rathmines below as well as a romantic little terrace to enjoy your cocktails on. Both the theater and the cocktail bar are open every day.

Camile Thai

If you’re looking for Thai food, this is the best place to go in Dublin. Camile Thai brings the best of Thailand’s cuisine to Rathmines using high-quality ingredients and very talented wok chefs. Their mission is to bring people together in true Thai style, and they do this by making sure there is something on the menu for everyone – dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan dishes to keep everyone happy and well-fed! The chefs only use grass-fed beef and pork, their seasonal vegetables are locally sourced, no MSG is added to the food and the restaurant overall has a big focus on sustainability, making it a great business to support. Camile has branches all over Dublin, and the one in Rathmines is a personal favorite. Opening hours are from 11:00 until 23:00.

ICS charity shop

The Irish Cancer Society’s (ICS) vintage charity shop is one of the best-kept secrets in Rathmines. Very few people know about this store, and it’s a shame because they have so many pre-loved treasures! The shop sells a big variety of vintage goods including clothes, household items and even art pieces. Not only can you find amazing souvenirs from your trip to Dublin at bargain prices, but you’ll also be supporting a very good cause. The ICS is a group of charities operating shops all across Ireland to raise funds for their different causes supporting refugees and the homeless. They also have clothing donation banks in multiple locations in Dublin, where you can donate any clothes you don’t want to take back home! The store in Rathmines is open from 10:00 until 17:00 (and until 20:00 on Thursdays) every day except Sundays.

Mother Reilly’s Bar

Another bar that has to make it to the list of best places in Rathmines is Mother Reilly’s, which forms part of the boutique Uppercross House Hotel. This is a really cool venue if you’re looking for something a little different to do at night. There is always some kind of event going on here – pub quizzes, stand-up comedy, live music performances, live-streamed sport games, open mic nights… Never a dull moment! The bar is stocked with a variety of local beers and wines and the restaurant has great light meals to snack on while enjoying the entertainment of the night. Dublin Sessions will keep you updated on all the upcoming events hosted at Mother Reilly’s, so be sure to keep an eye on their website so you don’t miss out on the fun!

Dundrum

Dundrum is the ultimate shopping destination in Dublin. Dundrum actually forms a suburb of its own, but it’s so close to Rathmines that you can consider it part of this neighborhood. This is a massive shopping center that is home to more than 100 shops, a multitude of restaurants and cafes, 12 cinema screens, a bar, nightclubs and a theater – endless hours of entertainment. If the weather doesn’t allow for city exploring and you’re looking for indoor activities, Dundrum will keep you busy all day. The center won the award for Ireland’s Most Family Friendly Shopping Center for the past three years, so families traveling with kids can rejoice in all the child-friendly entertainment Dundrum offers. Shops are open every day 10:00 until 19:00, and the food court is open until 21:00.

Two Fifty Square

To change the scenery from the long list of Irish pubs to visit in Dublin, a cool spot to grab a coffee is the industrial warehouse-style coffee shop Two Fifty Square. The interior is super Insta-worthy with its stripped back elements of bleaches wood, metal and Scandinavian-inspired color scheme. What makes this place so cool is that they roast their own coffee beans on-site, so you can only imagine how good it smells! Tucked away just off Rathmines’ main road, Two Fifty Square is hidden away from the rush, making it the perfect spot to kick back with a hot cup of specialty coffee, or to get some work done for the digital nomads looking for their office for the day. They also have a dog-friendly seating area outside, which is a big plus for the dog-lovers! The café is open from 08:00 until 18:00 every day.

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