In the summer of 2016, I moved to Ireland for a year-long graduate program. I settled into a small townhouse in Dublin with my roommates, I began attending classes and spending long hours in the library, and after depending on the dining hall and ramen throughout my undergraduate years, I was now responsible for cooking all of my own meals.
After a while, I began learning more about sustainable diets, and I decided to stop eating meat. I already had been avoiding pork and beef for several years, so giving up chicken and turkey didn’t feel like a huge sacrifice. But within a few months of eating a vegetarian diet (with plenty of cheese and eggs), myself and one of my roommates decided to give veganism a try.
While going vegetarian was easy, I was worried about feeling like the odd hippie out in a city like Dublin. Some countries are naturally vegan-friendly, but the words “plant-based” really don’t apply to traditional Irish dishes. However, the vegan movement is finally starting to take off in Ireland, and in cities like Dublin, avoiding any animal products is only getting easier. And now, even Guinness is 100% vegan!
During my final semester in Dublin, I spent most of my time working on my thesis and discovering delicious vegan options at restaurants around the city. Here are a few of my favorites!
Veginity is an award-winning vegan food company that started off as a pop-up food truck. Now, they also have a brick-and-mortar restaurant. I checked them out at Eatyard, a collection of pop-up shops in the funky Rathmines neighborhood. Their vegan cheesesteak made with soy protein was a tasty twist on a Philly classic, and I finished off the meal with a chocolate and kahlua donut! They are known for changing their menu every week and experimenting with recipes inspired by popular dishes around the world.
Speaking of donuts, let’s just say that Dublin is known for sweet treats, and it was hard to resist all the vegan goodies available. The Rolling Donut is a Dublin favorite, with five locations around the city. They are known for their fresh sourdough donuts, and they now have several vegan flavors, including coffee and walnut, raspberry jam, and lemon poppy seed. I chose the chocolate coconut flavor, and I wanted to go back for seconds!
The cupcakes from Buttercream Dream really are a vegan’s dream come true. This is Dublin’s only vegan cake pop-up shop (you can also find them at Eatyard), and they sell their cupcakes in grocery stores such as SuperValu, too. One day, my friends and I lucked out and actually got a huge box of free samples of their cupcakes, including lemon blueberry, strawberry hibiscus, lavender earl gray, and lemon matcha. The cupcakes in this box barely lasted 24 hours in our house!
Firehouse Pizza has two locations in Dublin, and they also have a wide delivery radius and a mix of vegan and non-vegan options. This made them a favorite for movie nights with friends. My usual order? A personal pizza with vegan mozzarella, caramelized red onion, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and the spicy fajita sauce base. And if I was feeling really hungry, their vegan nachos with jalapeños were always my favorite side! They also have fantastic customer service, and if you have any dietary restrictions, they will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Happy Food Yoga Hub is a plant-based cafe attached to a yoga studio. They are located in a cute neighborhood called Camden, where you can also find lots of thrift shops, quirky coffee shops, and bookstores. Happy Food serves breakfast and lunch, as well as tea, coffee, and snacks. They have a nice outdoor patio where you can enjoy your meal, so if you get a sunny day in Dublin, take advantage of it! I loved their chickpea wrap with avocado, veggies, and greens—simple, healthy, and filling!
6. Cafe Java
Dublin is full of coffee shops—whenever you need a caffeine fix, just walk a few steps and you’re sure to stumble across one. One of my roommates worked at a chain called Cafe Java, so I knew I could always count on this coffee shop for a good vegan latte. This pumpkin spice latte with soy milk and extra cacao flakes was perfect for a September afternoon. Now that more coffee shops in Dublin are stocking up on plant milks, you should have no problem getting soy or almond milk in your coffee, and some places even have oat milk and coconut milk on hand.
Have you been to Dublin? What vegan joints do you recommend?
Get more like this—Subscribe to our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Photos: Jane Harkness