Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
If you, like me, are a great lover of tea, the miraculous hot drink, especially in such a cold and dark season (global warming definitely involved!), then this article is for you. That’s why we thought that in order to make this winter less difficult, it would be appropriate to suggest some of the best tea rooms in Ireland for lovers of these sacred leaves and the solace they create in our bodies.
Whether it’s on its own, with a big slice of carrot cake, or a delicious scone with jam and butter, a cup of tea is always a great opportunity to discover the traditions and customs of an English-speaking country like Ireland. The Emerald Isle is teeming with Victorian-style tea rooms with kitsch china tea-sets, some of them looking like they might have come out of your grandmother’s cupboard or others from Alice in Wonderland’s book. Here are some of the best tea rooms in Ireland scattered among the vibrant little towns and green countryside.
Queen of tarts, Dublin
Let’s kick off our excursion throughout the tea rooms universe in Ireland by stopping in the capital. Dublin, being as vibrant as it is, has a certain confidence with iconic “tarts” (hope Molly Malone wouldn’t take personally!). The Queen of Tarts is a cosy and quite central establishment, established in 1998 in the core of the multicultural capital. With its extremely high selection of delicious tarts, cakes, scones and brownies, your sweet tooth will be more than satisfied. Have a seat and enter into the rabbit’s hole. Sip a hot cuppa while enjoying the friendly atmosphere and colourful environment. Unmissable: the delicious and mouth-watering apple crumble, made with Irish apples only.
Where: Cows Lane, Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
When: Mon-Wed 8am-6pm, Thurs-Fri 8am-7pm, Sat 8.30am-7pm, Sun 9am-7pm
Tara’s Tea Room, Cork
If you find yourself in Cork and fancy a very nice cup of reassuring hot tea, you can’t miss Tara’s Tea Room. Located in the Victorian Quarter around McCurtain Street, this lovely tea room is a lighthouse in the stormy weather for any local or tourist. If you’re passing by and willing to try some homemade and delicious cakes and a wide selection of black and green teas, cross the lilac threshold of its doors and enjoy the magic. The vintage decor manages to be kitsch yet charming and with that shabby chic vibe, Tara’s Tea Room can be considered one of the cutest tea rooms in Ireland.
Where: 45 McCurtain Street, Cork, Ireland
When: Every day from 9am-6pm
Cupán Tae, Galway
If you ever wondered what the Mad Hatter and his companion the Hare’s tea room looked like, let’s say that this place definitely gets close to any representation. With their tables set out with the best linen and lace, and a cornucopia of teas and coffees to try from only the best china with the most flighty decorations, Cupán Tae is a dream beyond dreams. This small place in Galway’s Latin Quarter is the largest in-house provider of loose leaf tea in the West of Ireland, stocking more than fifty types and offering you great quality tea. And, nothing goes along with tea more than a piece of cake or a delicious cupcake. Therefore, don’t waste more time: just go in, have a seat and enjoy the magic atmosphere and heartening ambience.
NB: If you happen to be very far away from Galway and this tea room, do not despair, Cupán Tae has another branch in Westport too. Not to mention their website, in case you loved their teas so much, has the option to purchase some via internet.
Where: 8 Quay Lane, Galway City, Ireland
When: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm
This tea room is probably the most unusual one. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less worth trying. Oasis Tea Room is found in the hidden but colourful village of Cobh, in County Cork. And most importantly, it’s all run by nuns. In fact, it’s located in the Convent of St Benedict, where everything is handmade and served with more than love. Once you cross the threshold of its gate, you’ll be teleported into your own personal sanctuary. Its tranquil surroundings are perfectly favourable to forgetting any troubles. Plus its calming and peaceful atmosphere makes you feel completely relaxed. Have a seat, sip your tea calmly and…breathe.The friendly staff make for a fantastic atmosphere in a lovely setting where you can enjoy a chat with a friend over several teas and delicious handmade cakes and freshly baked scones.
Where: St. Benedict’s Priory, The Mount, Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland
When: Mon-Fri 9am-4pm, Weekends 12pm-4pm
The Vintage Teapot, Dublin
Going back to the big smoke, Dublin is a very multicultural spot in Europe, welcoming people from all over. The Vintage Teapot is, in fact, the perfect example of cultural integration. This original Chinese tearoom aims to bring the millenary tea tradition to Ireland too. In this lovely spot, it is possible to find more than 50 selections of tea leaves, from the “Pu’er” tea, original from the Yun Nan province to the most common flavour. Yet in order to include possible hints from Irish culture, the Vintage Teapot also offers a great selection of homemade cakes and delicious savoury bites, if the sweet tooth is not your cup of tea. In the commercial heart of the city of Dublin, it’s a must. Even for the less than tea enthusiasts.
Where: 8 Cathedral St, North City, Dublin 1
When: Every day from 8am-8pm
The Boathouse, Dublin
Strolling around one of the biggest parks in Europe on a sunny day in the middle of January, eventually requires a break. Overlooking the ornamental lake within stunning urban park that is The Phoenix Park, Farmleigh House boasts many marvellous secret places and one of those is definitely this tea room. Immersed in the park, The Boathouse is the perfect place to sip a fine cup of tea (their collection of leaves is quite remarkable) while admiring the natural surroundings or sunbathe over that pallid sun of January.
Where: Farmleigh House and Estate, Phoenix Park, Dublin
When: Mon-Sun 10am-5.30pm
Miss Marples Tea Rooms– Limerick
Nothing screams “tea room” more than Miss Marples and a reference to Agatha Christie. Limerick hides this sweet and cosy tea room that offers a real cornucopia of cakes and sweet treats for your afternoon tea or just sudden sugary desire. Miss Marples is a vintage tea room where you can go to relax in the charming, nostalgic surroundings and enjoy the finest foods, served on their beautiful antique china set of cups and plates. The homemade treats are a joy for your mouth, made with love by the owner of the tea room.
Where:13 Racefield Centre, Father Russell Road, Limerick, Ireland
When: Mon-Friday 9am-5pm, Sat 10am-5pm
Maryville House– Belfast
Our last suggestion is the welcoming and sweet Maryville House, in the Northern part of this amazing country. Afternoon tea at Maryville House consists of a choice of freshly prepared delicacies and finger sandwiches. The sweet selection is based on an exquisite explosion of homemade choices: scones with fresh cream and jam and a mouth-watering selection of miniature patisserie treats. All of their food is freshly prepared and served on a three-tier cake stand with fine china. To quench your thirst, you can enjoy their vast selection of loose leaf teas. They offer more than 20 different types of prime quality loose leaf teas. You only need to take your pick! Maryville House is a proper example of a Victorian Gentleman’s residence transformed into a Bed & Breakfast and tearooms. It offers modern facilities in a traditional period setting with a convenient location. It’s a time travel with your eyes wide open!
When: Mon-Fri 8.00am-5.30pm, Sat 8.00am-6.00pm, Sun 8.30am-4.00pm
Indeed, the best tea is the one you drink at your cosy house, wrapped in a very comfy blanket. But somehow, with their love and hearty locations, these tea rooms are quite likely to help you feel at home, outside.
So, here you have some of the best tea rooms in Ireland worth visiting for a warm chat with a friend or a relaxing afternoon with a book. Even for some juicy gossip date with a mate. Let us know what you think about this selection and if you happen to know more, please do not hesitate to suggest them! And that’s the tea!