If you’re debating staying in the village of Portobello in Dublin, you’ve landed in the right place.
If you’ve read our guide on where to stay in Dublin, you’ll see us rave about Portobello – and for good reason.
It’s a stone’s throw from many of the best places to visit in Dublin and it’s home to heaps of great pubs and restaurants.
In the guide below, you’ll find everything from the history of the area to the various things to do in Portobello (plus where to eat, sleep and drink).
Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Portobello in Dublin
Although a visit to Portobello in Dublin is nice and straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Portobello is a wedge-shaped corner of Dublin that’s hemmed to the south by the Grand Canal, to the north is Kevin Street Upper, to the east Camden Street Lower, and Clanbrassil Street Lower to the west. The main thoroughfares are Portobello Road, and S Circular Road, with New Bridge Street/Heytesbury Street running through the middle.
2. ‘Hipster’ central
It’s no wonder that Portobello is popular with the young, and young-at-heart. With all the conveniences of city living, but the charm of quieter terraced streets, Portobello is both brimming with vibrant life and homely comforts. It’s a neighbourhood filled with museums, bars, parks and gardens, and great eateries for exploring.
3. A good base to explore the city
No matter how long you plan on staying in Dublin, Portobello is ideally situated for your time here. With all the amenities you’ll need, plus the sights you’ll want to see, it’s perfect for that city break adventure whilst on the doorstep of Dublin’s best known and loved historic sights.
Portobello, named in honour of Admiral Edward Vernon’s 1739 capture of Portobelo in Panama, is far older than most visitors realise. Whilst it’s a small suburb in Dublin, it’s had a mixed and sometimes poignant history.
The neighbourhood has seen much history but really came into its own during the 1700s when private estates were established on the rich farmland.
A more gentile life was enjoyed by the upper classes, but whilst these inhabitants enjoyed red-bricked grandeur, the working classes were subjected to cramped and terraced living quarters.
However, it was during the 19th century that the area took off. Portobello became home to arts and sciences, to politicians and those seeking to better the lives of others. It also became a refuge for those persecuted in Eastern Europe and was indeed known for a period as Little Jerusalem as there was a large Jewish community.
Things to do in Portobello (and nearby)
Although there’s only a handful of things to do in Portobello, the big draw of this town is its proximity to some of the best places to visit in Dublin.
Below, you’ll find some places to visit in the town along with heaps of things to do a stone’s throw away.
1. Irish Jewish Museum
Opened in 1985, the Irish Jewish Museum is home to Dublin’s Jewish community. Within its walls, you’ll find memorabilia, and related exhibits/cultural events, and educational memorials to the Holocaust.
Opened by Dr Chaim Herzog who grew up in Portobello and whose father was Ireland’s first Chief Rabbi, the museum is built to incorporate two former Jewish homes. These homes were where new arrivals from Russia in the 1880s would be welcomed into the Irish Jewish community.
2. Iveagh Gardens
The Iveagh Gardens are located a short walk across from St. Stephen’s Green and date back to the Middle Ages. With its current design by Ninian Niven in 1865, it was transformed from an earl’s lawn to host the Dublin Exhibition Palace.
Inside the park, you can enjoy the rosarium and fountains, try not get lost in the yew maze, and be wowed by the stunning floral displays – especially popular during summer. For good reason, Iveagh Gardens is also known as Dublin’s very own ‘Secret Garden’.
3. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral should not be missed on your visit to Dublin. The building is an active place of worship, as well as a major attraction.
For over 1500 years, the site has been considered holy. It was nearby that Saint Patrick is thought to have baptised converts, and the first buildings were constructed soon thereafter. The site is also filled with history and the burial site for well-known Irish artists.
4. St. Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green is a square-shaped garden and park with a stunning herbaceous border, William Sheppard designed the park and its current layout was opened in 1880 to the public.
Within the park are 3.5km of accessible paths, a waterfall and Pulham rockwork to the west, and an ornamental lake that’s ideal to picnic by.
There are 750 trees, and extensive shrubs planted throughout the garden, along with spring and summer flower bedding in Victorian styles. There is also a small shelter near the lakeside, or a Victorian Swiss shelter in the centre of the park if the weather turns.
5. Teeling Whiskey Distillery
Do things differently and stop for a tasting at the Teeling Whiskey Distillery. The roots of this distillery date back to 1782, and have been shaped by each generation and the city of Dublin itself.
Teeling also brews small-batch whiskey, and what they call an ‘unconventional collection’ of whiskies. There are also limited editions that you can take home to savour and enjoy with your memories of your time in Dublin. Remember to book ahead, as tours and tastings do sell out.
It’s at Dublinia that you’ll travel back in time, back to a time when Dublin was a Viking settlement in medieval Ireland. Within this attraction, you’ll be able to trace the footsteps of Vikings, discover their weapons and learn how to be a warrior.
Gain a new appreciation for now after trying on Viking clothing and wandering along busy and noisy streets before visiting a traditional Viking house.
From there, be transported to medieval Dublin, and uncover the sights, sounds and smells of a bustling city. It’s a history lesson you won’t soon forget!
Places to eat in Portobello
There are plenty of solid places to eat in Portobello (a couple of which are up there with the best restaurants in Dublin!) if you’re looking for a feed after a long day on the road. Below, you’ll find some of our favourites:
1. 31 Lennox
A contemporary Italian-style cafe/restaurant in the heart of Portobello, 31 Lennox is a relaxed, family-friendly, and comfortable place to linger over a meal, or just for a coffee. Be sure to check out their cocktails menu as well as their daily specials. The ‘All Day Brunch’ is super, and we’d recommend the Lennox bites menu; lamb polpettes, lemon and garlic chicken wings, or truffle mac and cheese, yum!
Open from brunch through to dinner, Richmond is a dining experience like no other in Portobello. With a dinner menu featuring dishes like hake and mussel Kiev, pork pressa, or celeriac and comté cheese pie, they’re sure to blow your mind. They also offer a special ‘Early-Bird menu’ if you’re looking for a pre-craic nosh, and there is also a set two or three-course option.
Light and airy with shades of hipster, Bastible is your go-to for the reinvented palate. Featuring dishes like poached oysters with elderflower and tomato dashi, or brown crab with courgette and Cais na Tire, you’ll be treated to a gastronomic surprise with every mouthful. They also do a fantastic Irish farmhouse cheese platter that shouldn’t be missed, which goes wonderfully with their range of wines and cocktails!
Pubs in Portobello
There’s a handful of brilliant pubs in Portobello for those of you itching to kick-back with a post adventure-tipple after a day of exploring. Here are our favourite spots:
1. The Landmark
Situated on Wexford Street, The Landmark has seen decades of Dublin life come and go. Recently renovated, the pub now imbues all of the glory of its former days. The three floors offer everything you could want or desire; private and comfortable corners, through to larger function rooms for grander gatherings.
Also known as Whelan’s, this live music venue has been a go-to spot for visitors and locals alike for decades. It has 5 spaces in one, with Bourke’s being the most popular bar of them all! Catch a band or two, have a drink or three, or maybe just stop in for a quick bite from their Asian street food menu, anything’s possible at Bourke’s!
3. Kavanagh’s Pub New Street
Kavanagh’s is a proper brick n mortar pub, there’s nothing posh about this place; it’s a pub, not a palace. But, if you’re looking for an honest meal, with a pint that’ll quench you, then Kavanaghs is the place to go! Come for a pint, and stay for the party, you won’t regret spending an even here.
Where to stay near Portobello
So, there’s a handful of places to stay a short distance from Portobello in Dublin, with something that’ll hopefully suit most budgets.
Note: if you book a hotel through one of the links below we may make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.
1. Maldron Hotel Kevin Street
A stay at the Maldron on Kevin Street will have you relaxing in one of Dublin’s newest and most comfortable hotels. With a convenient location near the heart of the city, Maldron offers accommodations with your comfort in mind. Rooms have individual climate control, air-conditioning, luxury toiletries, WiFi, and also range in budgets from Deluxe through to Executive.
2. Aloft Dublin City
Part of the Marriott family, and with contemporary chic-styling, Aloft is one of Portobello’s most acclaimed modern hotels. The hotel boasts urban inspiration in its decor and aesthetics, cityscape views, and with a convenient location, it’s the perfect choice.
3. Camden Court Hotel
Located near Iveagh Gardens, the Camden Court Hotel is your luxury hotel in the heart of Portobello. With rooms ranging from queen-size to executive, the decadence only increases. Plush bedding, armchairs that engulf and cocoon, and views that will have you mentally drifting away, there’s even a wellness centre with a gym, swimming pool, and hairdressing all by appointment.
FAQs about visiting Portobello in Dublin
Since mentioning the area in a guide on where to stay in Dublin that we published several years ago, we’ve had hundreds of emails asking various things about Portobello in Dublin.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best things to do in Portobello?
If you’re looking for things to do in Portobello and nearby, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Iveagh Gardens and the Irish Jewish Museum are worth checking out.
Is Portobello worth visiting?
Portobello makes a great base to explore Dublin from. However, we wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to visit.
Are there many pubs and restaurants in Portobello?
Pub wise, you’ve Kavanagh’s Pub New Street, Bourke’s and The Landmark. For food, Bastible, Richmond and 31 Lennox all pack a tasty punch.
Katherine is an food and travel writer with family-roots in Ireland. She enjoys hitting the road at every given opportunity, and can often be found with an atlas and notebook to hand planning the next big trip.