Dublin 2023 Dublin, Ireland MSMU Travels

Fish & Chips & Books

Hello everyone!

As you may or may not know, fish and chips are a staple in Ireland. Seafood is popular here because of Ireland’s prominent fishing industry along its coastal cities. Before traveling to Dublin, I accepted the fact that I wouldn’t be able to order takeaway at a chipper (colloquial term for fish and chip shop) and fulfill my own Derry Girls chip shop meltdown because of my Celiac disease diagnosis. That all changed on one of my first days getting acquainted with Dublin.

As I was walking along Dame Street, the Olympia Theater’s colorful stained glass arched entryway caught my eye, but what my eyes were drawn to shortly after was a gluten-free sign on the restaurant next door. Located directly next to the Olympia Theater is the chip shop Beshoff Bros, which offers an extensive gluten-free menu. I had the gluten-free fish and chips, tried the horseradish, and fully avoided the mushy peas. The fish tasted fresh, lightly battered, and flakey, and the chips were hot and crispy—everything one should expect from great fish and chips.

GF Fish & Chips with (ew) mushy peas 

Unfortunately for Celiacs, Beshoff Bros is BYOK (bring your own ketchup) because the ketchup they offer is not gluten-free. Most restaurants I’ve visited served the same ketchup packets that contain barley malt vinegar, which is unfortunate. Thankfully, taking from the one restaurant that uses Heinz, I’ve hoarded enough gluten-free ketchup to supply a national ballpark. With a total of five locations, four of which offer gluten-free options, Beshoff Bros is a safe way for everyone (even Celiacs like me) to experience Ireland’s top-quality fish and chips no matter where you are in Dublin. 

One thing about me is if there’s a bookstore within walking distance, I’m going to it. Thankfully, Dublin has no shortage of bookstores. I am determined to avoid Eason (the Barnes and Noble of Ireland) and check out the many unique bookstores around the city.

The first bookstore I checked out was Hodges Figgis, the oldest bookstore in Ireland and one of the oldest in the world. This bookstore spotlights old and new Irish writing of all genres. The majority of the first floor was dedicated to countless editions of work from the most well-known Irish authors (Wilde, Beckett, Joyce, Yeats, Heaney, Keane, etc.). Hodges and Figgis didn’t stop there, though: I spotted all kinds of Irish authors in the store, like Sally Rooney, Tanna French, and Maggie O’Farrell. 

Artwork of Joyce, Wilde, and Beckett

Shoutout to the map on each floor because I was this close to getting lost. The place spans three floors and multiple staircases filled with books, games, and stationery. At times I felt like a child trying to navigate the Chuck E. Cheese ball pit. 

Hodges and Figgis was like a never-ending playground for book lovers, especially those with a passion for Irish literature. The only thing missing from Hodges and Figgis was a resident cat, preferably named after a famous literary character, that greets its customers…but alas, maybe I’ll find a bookstore that has a cat or two before I head back to the US. 

Thanks for reading!

Tess

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