Skerries, the County Dublin port-village-turned-resort-town, is a microcosm of what makes Ireland… well, Irish. It’s the perfect encapsulation of great food, great views and great vibes. It’s the ultimate day-out destination for returning revellers walking their dogs and intrepid first-timers too. Less than 30 minutes by car from Dublin Airport and minutes from the M1 motorway, this seaside enclave is far enough from the City Centre to fully-disconnect from the grind but close enough for a day trip or pitstop for a refuel on a spin along North Dublin’s coast. Doing my civic duty by eating my way around Ireland and beyond, I’ve donned my tourist cap, rainproof gear and a hungry curiosity, in every sense. Here are the best cafés, stays and restaurants in Skerries.
The weather can’t be guaranteed but panoramic sea views, fresh air and stellar dishes across a plethora of cuisines and budgets are definitely on the cards. Like any self-respecting Irish hamlet, village or indeed rural roadside with room for a horsebox-turned-kiosk, decent coffee isn’t hard to find here either.
At the top of Harbour Road sits Goat in the Boat, a buzzy, vibrant café and homeware shop that serves bakes, sandwiches and homemade gelato available by the scoop and in premade sharing tubs. Their brew game is particularly strong, served by talented yet equally-friendly baristas.
Catchy names continue across the street with Storm in a Teacup. A tiny landmark on Skerries’ pier, this dinky, pastel-framed cottage can’t be missed. With additional outposts in Mullingar and Blackrock, Co. Louth, they serve up award-winning homemade ice cream with fresh milk from their own dairy, waffles, crêpes and hand-warming hot drinks fit for coastal walks.
In addition to Harbour Road, Strand Street is also home to many of Skerries’ bars, restaurants and cafés. Operating from the front of The Bus Bar (more about this spot later) is The 33 Café. Serving sleepy commuters from 7:15am every day, small batches of hand-roasted beans cover the caffeine fix while GOATS overnight oats and wood-fired sandwiches have satiety sorted.
Another gem on Strand Street is Olive Deli. As well as a jam-packed array of specialist ingredients, foodie hampers and covetable condiments, they serve up fresh pastries, breakfast and a very reasonable all-day menu, perfect for brunch and beyond.
Molly’s is also ideal for kicking off a day’s exploration or for breaking fast after a morning walk and coffee. It’s a locally-favoured, no-frills, great value “caff” on Thomas Hand Street, where they’ve mastered the art of breakfast items encased in carbs. Be it a wrap, bagel or muffin, Molly’s have it and they know how to pack it. Check out their smoked salmon eggs royale and benedict with bacon and avocado which, like most of their menu, is available to-go.
At this stage of our epicurean adventure, it’s clear that you won’t leave Skerries hungry with so many high-quality, varied eateries to choose from. Rome wasn’t built in a day and 24 hours won’t cut it here either but it’s a great excuse to return. If there’s still some room left after a day of galavanting, here’s a few more highlights from a non-exhaustive list of wonderful restaurants in Skerries to wine and dine.
Skerries cuisine hasn’t deviated too far from tradition or coastal position so naturally, seafood is the keystone of many menus here. At Blue Bar, it’s no different but if this institution is already on your radar, it’s likely for their famed chicken wings. Blue Bar, not Wing Bar is a maritime-themed beacon, docked along Skerries harbour but stroll past its streetside terrace and the chances are, there’ll be a jenga-esque arrangement of squeaky-clean chicken bones with an abandoned celery stick peeking out of a bowl. Not to be neglected (unlike the lonely celery), their fishy fayre is fresh, varied and delicious too. Starters and sides begin at €4.50 and mains ranging from burgers to steaks and seafood, are anywhere from €15 to just under €40.
A few doors down, the team at 5 Rock are on hand with small plates like crab tostada, pan-seared scallops, amped-up sides (parmesan truffle fries, I see you) and charcoal oven-cooked mains like dry-rubbed chicken, ribs and chargrilled cauliflower. Small plates and sides are between €6 and €16.50 and mains are from €14.50 upwards.
A real treat for gourmands, Potager, the Michelin Guide neighbourhood restaurant, sits within the opulently refurbished walls of the old Munster and Leinster Bank. Led by former Chapter One head chef, Cathal Leonard and partner, Sarah Ryan, this must-visit restaurant offers a seasonally-rotating tasting menu for €80, drink pairings and a set Sunday lunch menu for €55.
Remember The Bus Bar? We’ve done a full loop of the harbour and surrounding streets. It’s high tide and high time we stopped for a drink and a post-day-out analysis. Aswell as being home to the aforementioned coffee stop, The 33, this hard-working building also houses Little Richards, a wood-fired pizza joint with jaw-dropping cannolis and pizzas from €9.50. Food and coffee aside, craft beer, cocktails, live music, bingo and weekly quizzes are on the agenda too.
Back on Harbour Road, Stoop Your Head serves up a proper pint with crowd-pleasers including chowder, mussels and seafood-laden brown bread sandwiches priced around €20. One of the more traditionally Irish outposts in the town, this is definitely a place to take those visiting cousins or friends from afar who seek a taste of the Emerald Isle.
The sun’s out… Form an orderly queue. pic.twitter.com/V6dOGbCO2t— 🏊♀️Outdoorswimming.ie🏳️🌈 (@OutdoorswimIRL) April 25, 2021
If walking, eating, drinking and repeating isn’t exerting enough, lap up the seaside ions and take a dip. The Springers is a sea swimming spot with purpose-built entry points and somewhere to leave your clothes. It’s just north of the sandy and relatively-sheltered South Beach which makes for another glorious and budget-friendly day out in itself.
As old as the hills (well, the 12th century), Skerries Mills is another landmark worth investigating. It’s a collection of mills, wetlands and gardens with an onsite café/bakery and craft shop. Over the road and debatably between Skerries and neighbouring Balbriggan, the 18th century Ardgillan Castle and Demesne includes a dog-friendly park with walking routes, a playground, walled gardens and a café too.
The heart and harbour of Skerries is quite condensed and compact. As one side of the town centre is flanked by the Irish sea and considering that it became a resort town in later years, there’s not really the spare square footage for larger, centrally-located hotels as one would expect to find in Irish seaside towns. However, minutes by car, Balbriggan has The Bracken Court Hotel and the quirky and cosy, music-themed Bedford House Boutique Accommodation on its roster. Rooms in both properties are priced from €99 upwards.
What Skerries lacks in large hotels (which honestly only adds to its charm), it makes up for in abundance with private AirBnB listings, including garden cabins and guest rooms. However, a very happy medium on the perimeter of Skerries’ North Strand is The White Cottages, an award-winning B&B that’s also available to rent exclusively on a catered or self-catered basis. Bed and breakfast rates start from €60 per person sharing and €80 for single room occupancy.
It’s time to pack but don’t forget your big coat and wellies. Regardless of the rain, hail or shine, Skerries is one for the to-do, to-see and to-eat-your-way-around list. See you there!
Prices listed are accurate as of April 2023 but are subject to change.
Hazel Byrne is a lifestyle, travel and food writer and editor. Originally from Ireland, she’s just returned home after almost a decade of eating and drinking her way around London. Over four of those years were spent at Condé Nast, where she worked across editorial and branded content on titles including British Vogue, Vanity Fair,GQ, Glamour and Condé Nast Traveller. From reviewing the world’s finest luxury experiences to producing celebrity shoots and events, she has a story or two to tell. When she’s not eating, drinking or talking about doing both, she’s plotting her next adventure.
The Taste Guide: The Best Cafés, Stays and Restaurants in Skerries