Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! Are you looking forward to Halloween? It’s a favorite holiday for many, especially families with young children. I recall how exhausting the day was with young kiddos, but I adore the photos we have which remind me of the fun costumes they wore for school and trick-or-treating.
Now that my children are older, my thoughts turn to a city in Europe that celebrates Halloween in their own unique way. That city is Dublin, Ireland, and Ireland is one of my favorite countries in Europe! I spent a week+ there most recently in fall 2021, and like all of my clients who have been, I can’t wait to return. If you’ve never been, I encourage you to make the trip a priority for next year; if you’ve been before, it’s a great time to explore the rest of the country as only a small part can be experienced in one week.
Read on for the scoop focusing on Dublin, Ireland during Halloween and any time of year…
A Long Halloween History
Halloween is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Dublin, Ireland with a rich history of Halloween traditions that date back to ancient Celtic Ireland’s festival of Samhain (pronounced Sow-an), when the summer ‘goes to rest’ and before the darkness of winter sets in. Today, the city has updated traditions for all ages.
The four-day-long Bram Stoker Festival honors Bram Stoker, the Irish author of Dracula who was born in northern Dublin in early November 1847. His literary impact is celebrated annually in Dublin with parades, parties, and all things Halloween-themed. A highlight is the torchlight parade called Macnas which is just back this year after the pandemic.
There are plenty of other events for Halloween revelers of all ages and tastes, so you can spend four days experiencing all Dublin has to offer in celebration of this favorite holiday.
💎Hidden Gem Tip: It’s important to plan your trip to Ireland well in advance (at least 3 months). Like much of Europe, tourism is at an all-time high, and the best properties and experiences book up far in advance for peak season. I encourage you to make your way to Ireland outside of peak season and holidays, if at all possible.
Watch and Learn
If you can’t get to Dublin for Halloween, it’s a fantastic city to visit any time of year. I was last there in November 2021 and while you’d think the weather might be poor, it was actually perfect. And the leaves were gorgeous (scroll down for a photo).
You can read about my trip in past newsletters which are posted on my website: www.hiddengemtravelconsulting.com/blog.
If you prefer to watch a few videos about Dublin, here is a selection that will give you an idea of what the city has to offer: https://inspires.to/s/70raSxGG/dublin-revealed-a-closer-look-at-irelands-capital
Dublin has fantastic food!
You will eat well in Dublin and all of Ireland! The food is delicious and fresh. One of my local partners in Ireland shares a bit of culinary knowledge to prepare you for your trip:
You will be sure to find fresh Oysters everywhere in the country, but the most famous will certainly be fresh from Galway Bay. Try pairing your oysters with Guinness for the ultimate Irish flavor.
Nothing is more comforting than Irish stew, a real stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal. Mutton is usually used, as well as potatoes, onions, and carrots round out the meal. A special offshoot of Irish stew is coddle – a one-pot stew made with bacon, sausage, barley, and vegetables. Originally a pauper’s dish, it is being elevated in the culinary world looking to celebrate local flavors.
No food is more quintessentially Irish as the potato. Boxty is a potato pancake dish, combining grated and mashed potatoes. While it’s a very traditional dish, local Irish chefs are bringing boxty back into the mainstream by serving it tapas-style, grilled, baked, or even as boxty French fries.
Irish Soda bread can be found in every shop, house, and restaurant in the country. It’s a dense bread, made with just a few ingredients. Lather it in creamy Irish butter and dip it in your thick Irish vegetable soup – you’ll feel right at home.
Dairy (cheese and butter)
Irish butter has a reputation for being the tastiest and creamiest butter, and the same can be said for Irish cheese. Irish butter and cheese are famous around the world especially in the US where Kerrygold butter is widely available.
Wondering about the nightlife and adult beverages? Dublin has an incredible pub culture – it’s world-famous for its conviviality, live music, and festive atmosphere.
Some of the local pours you’ll encounter include:
This Irish form of Moonshine was traditionally produced in small batches in rural areas to avoid detection by the law. While you can purchase legal versions of it today, most Irish households will have a sneaky bottle of “the good stuff” hidden somewhere.
The most iconic alcoholic beverage in the world – the “Black Stuff.” Guinness has been produced in St. James’s Gate since 1759. It’s certainly an acquired taste but well worth a try at the panoramic bar at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. Many clients take the Guinness Storehouse tour when in Ireland.
Ireland is renowned for its whiskey – not to be confused with Scotch Whisky, without the “e.” The word whiskey comes from the old Irish uisce beatha, which means water of life. There are over 25 distilleries on the island. Irish whiskey is served neat, on the rocks, or in an Irish coffee. I had a super fun experience at the old Jameson Distillery (which is now a tourist attraction) making whiskey-based cocktails above their Dublin showroom (see the photo above of my set up)!
There are many Irish cream liqueurs, but none more popular than Baileys. Flavored with Irish whiskey, cream, and cocoa, Baileys is enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in a fancy coffee with whipped cream.
💎Hidden Gem Tip: If a trip to Dublin or anywhere in Ireland is on your travel bucket list, let’s talk about the best itinerary for you.
Wishing you unforgettable travel adventures,
Make your own Wanderlist for 2024! As a reminder, Wanderlist is an online portal where you can research, explore, and create shareable lists of destinations and experiences. Share your list with me so I can make it happen for you. Check it out here: https://bit.ly/wanderlisthgtc