I recently moved to the area and never knew this place existed. Well, technically it didn't a few years ago when I was last living in Dublin. But wow, what a great spot? The view is lovely and the surrounding restaurants, pubs, and other shops here are amazing. A great spot for a night out or if you are just going to grab a little lunch.
Having recently moved into the area, I feel I have to give it 5 stars!
Ok, like any area, its got its issues : some "colorful" locals, litter here and there, the odd bit of graffiti.
However, I have to say, I love it. Bars, cafes, restaurants, groceries, hotels, buses, trains ... everything on my doorstep. 15-20 min stroll into town, or cross the river for another selection of bars and cafes.
Why didn't I move here sooner???
Grand Canal Dock has seen some change. This strip of reclaimed land has previously housed public hangings (hence 'Misery Lane'), gas works and other such less than desirable 'attractions'. But my, my, those days are gone.
Overlooking the placid waters now stands an almost-finished National Theatre, complete avec 'red carpet' style strip reaching out into the square and huge, red flashing sticks (nu-rave architecture, anyone?). The super-modern area is increasingly awash with suits sipping lattes, Canon-wielding tourists and, on a sunny day, ruffian kids from Ringsend jumping off the bridge to escape the clutches of aggravated Gardai (who aren't too willing to dive in and catch them). Nevertheless, the site is an incredibly pleasant area to sit and relax: plenty of benches, the occasional swan or duck to share your crusts with, and the crisp sea air....not to mention U2's recording studio.
There's several options for grabbing a coffee or bite to eat: the Italian bakery on the corner makes superb coffee as well as delicious fresh bread and cakes, whilst Fresh has a good selection of salads, sandwiches, etc (if you don't mind the never-diminishing queue). If its a refreshing pint you're after, the Ocean Bar is pricey enough, but on a sunny day its well worth it if you can grab a seat outside. Dip your feet in the water, close your eyes, forget about the recession and imagine you're on the Côte d'Azur...
With its own DART stop, the new 'Samuel Beckett Bridge' poised for installation and close proximity to the city centre (about 15 minutes on foot from Trinity College) its the perfect tranquil getaway from the hussle and bussle of town.