15 of the Best Cafés in Ireland for an Indulgent Pitstop

Something us Irish adore is a good cup of tea. We love nothing more than starting the day with a nice, warm brew complimented with a cake, scone, croissant or a full Irish breakfast. But as the years have moved on, so has our love for coffee.

As a result, all over the Emerald Isle are cafés that like to offer their clientele that little bit extra to separate them from their competitors. Here are 15 of them.

1Shells Café and Little Shop, Sea Side, Strandhill, Co. Sligo

Shells Cafe, Strandhill

Run by an Irish-South African couple, Shells Café is well known by all those who visit Sligo’s famous seaside and surfing town of Strandhill. As all their produce is sourced locally, their bread is baked in-house, and their coffee is organic, everything here is of the highest quality.

2Le Petit Parisien Café, 17 Wicklow Street, Dublin

Specialising in French fare but dabbling in traditional Irish dishes too, this café in the centre of Dublin is genuinely like a little piece of Paris in the Irish capital. Pop in for a warm croissant at breakfast or a Croque Monsieur at lunchtime for a unique dining experience while on a trip to Dublin.

3Cupán Tae, 8 Quay Lane, Galway City

Cupán Tae, Galway

Every time I go to Galway (which is once a year in case you were wondering) I go to Cupán Tae, a traditional tea shop in the centre of the city’s Latin Quarter. I return for the delicious homemade cakes, the well-priced afternoon tea, the friendly service and the relaxed atmosphere.

4The Wren’s Nest Coffee House and Garden, Dykegate Lane, Dingle, Co. Kerry

The Wren's Nest, Dingle

Tucked away off Dingle’s main streets is where you will find The Wren’s Nest – a coffee shop boasting friendly, efficient service reasonably priced food, good sized portions and lots to choose from. If you've time to spare you might even get to read a chapter of one of the eclectic books sitting on the shelves here.

5The Happy Pear, Main Street, Greystones, Co. Wicklow

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Twins Dave and Steve Flynn had a very clear vision when opening The Happy Pear. Just like Gandhi said, they wanted to be the change they wanted to see in the world, and this is what they strive to do. As well as enjoying their organic food which comes straight from their farm, they operate healthy eating courses and more.

6Cork Coffee Roasters, 2 Bridge Street, Cork City

Cork Coffee Roasters

If you’re a coffee snob, which more and more people are these days, then this is where to go for coffee when in Cork. Master Roaster John Gowan takes his coffee seriously, only roasting coffee in small batches and only using traditional machines.

7Zest! At the Market, Market Place, Ennis, Co. Clare

Zest! At the Market, Ennis

Since opening their Ennis store in June 2010, the people at Zest! have enjoyed a loyal trade who return to enjoy the communal dining spaces, the vibrant colours, and the fresh food. Bread, cakes, salads and soups are all made by hand making it the perfect place for a meal or a snack.

8Kalbo’s, 26 North Street, Skibbereen, Co. Cork

Kalbo's, Cork

Don’t be mislead by the size of this café – the food packs a punch. You've got homemade desserts and hearty stews to choose from, all produced from local food. After eating there, you’ll know why it’s award-winning.

9Nan’s Café and Cakery, Coast Road, Laytown, Co. Meath

Nans Cafe, Meath

Another small café with food that would knock you out is Nan’s Café on the east coast of Ireland. Located right beside the sea, it’s the perfect place to pop in before or after a stroll on Laytown Beach. Food is fresh, extremely good value and cakes are to die for. Before ordering from the menu make sure to ask what the specials are.

10Fern House Café, Avoca Kilmacanogue, Co. Wicklow

Fern House, Avoca, Wicklow

Part of Ireland’s celebrated Avoca brand, Fern House Café is an award-winning café built in the style of a Victorian fern house. It’s spacious, there’s a delightful courtyard to dine in during the summer months, and the menu offers modern, café-style dining.

11Chapter 1 Café, Unit 1, Convent Building, Main Street, Cavan Town

Specialising in New York-style bagels due to the proprietor’s years spent in NYC, Chapter 1 Café is a busy spot among Cavan Town’s locals, particularly around lunch hour. But go later in the evening, and you might even be treated to some live music.

12Airfield Café, Overend, Dundrum, Dublin 14

Airfield, Dundrum

This café is part of a larger estate that’s home to a farm, woodlands, garden, heritage home, and garage. Located in in the old stable yard behind the family home, it presents you with one of the country’s more unique dining experiences. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Friday and Saturday; the lunchtime salads are particularly mouth-watering.

13Tí Linn Café, Sliabh League Cultural Centre, Teelin, Carrick, Co. Donegal

Ti Linn, Donegal

Boasting a spectacular location along the only route to one of Ireland’s most spectacular vantage points, the food here is fresh, gluten free and made by owners Paddy Clarke and his wife, Siobhan Gordon. Think quiches, Donegal smoked salmon, lemon and lime muffins and more.

14Manning’s Emporium, Gortagarry, Ballylicky, Co. Cork

Manning's Emporium, Co. Cork

A gourmet food shop, deli and café, Manning’s Emporium has been managed by the family of the same name for over 70 years. Evolving from post office to convenient store to what it is today, it’s a popular spot in the mornings and lunchtime. The homemade sausage and red onion rolls are particularly tasty.

15The Stormy Teacup, Fox’s Bow, Limerick City

The Stormy Teacup, Limerick

The Stormy Teacup is a teashop that wears its quirky handmade heart on its sleeve. Home to over 50 types of loose teas, it is also a craft shop and a second-hand bookstore. Aside from the food, they host interesting events in the evenings like documentary nights, book club meetings, chillout DJ sessions and more.

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