Ruth Negga’s Dublin
Visiting the city through the eyes of a local.
Ruth Negga is an award-winning Ethiopian-Irish actress who spent her childhood in both Addis Ababa and Limerick, Ireland, before graduating from Trinity College, Dublin (B.A., acting studies). Her numerous on-stage and on-screen productions include Hamlet at the National Theatre London, World War Z and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series. Here, she shares her tips for making the most of a trip to Ireland’s capital.
Where to eat:
Coppinger Row serves “French-Mediterranean” fare that I always seem to gravitate toward when I’m in Dublin; a thoughtful, creative menu and great cocktails in an artful, buzzy space. Also, The Canal Bank Cafe was a Sunday staple when I lived in the city, especially for their naughty chicken wings. Afterward, take a stroll down the nearby Raglan Road of the [Patrick] Kavanagh poem, by way of his statue along the canal. The Del Rio’s Cafe is a superlative greasy spoon directly opposite the Abbey Theatre — making it a theatrical institution.
A Dublin-born-and-bred friend of mine introduced me to “coddle,” a traditional hearty stew native to the city. It’s super tasty, though the boiled sausages make it a little unsettling to look at. My favorite Irish dish would be boiled cabbage and ham with parsley sauce, but sadly no one cooks it like my Granny did!
Where to shop:
Cow’s Lane in Temple Bar for arts, crafts and boutique shops. The Harlequin and Jenny Vander sell amazing vintage finds — some of my most beloved items are from these shops. My very favorite, though, is Ulysses Rare Books — an antiquarian bookseller that you can lose yourself in.
I’m really fond of the Chester Beatty Library, which is situated in the lovely surroundings of Dublin Castle. It’s a unique, elegant, understated place that belies a wealth of treasures, and it also houses an awesome cafe, The Silk Road.
Dublin’s greatest hidden gem:
Swimming at the Forty Foot [a promontory point of Dublin Bay] in Sandycove — right next to Sandycove’s Martello tower, which houses the James Joyce Museum and is immortalized in Ulysses — the ultimate Dublin guidebook.
If you could only return to Dublin for a single day, where would you insist on going?
I’d go straight to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells [an illuminated manuscript of the New Testament’s four Gospels, combined with various texts and tables; widely regarded as Ireland’s greatest national treasure]. To my shame, in all my time at Trinity, I never made it into the library to see it. I recently spent time on the island of Iona, which houses a monastery founded by the exiled Irish monk Columba. It is thought that part of the Book of Kells was written there before being taken to Ireland, to ensure its safety after countless Viking raids. I’d also take a wander around Trinity — it’s just so, so beautiful. I feel so privileged to have spent my college years here at the Samuel Beckett Centre.