We Want Your Help!

pic from www.missesclean.ca

pic from www.missesclean.ca

We aim to be different, to be daring and to give passengers something they could never experience anywhere else. I mean, afternoon tea on board a vintage bus is pretty unique would you not agree? But we want to give you more..  

We want our experience to be one of a kind but we need your help! We would love to hear your Dublin stories.

We want the gossip, to hear about the infamous characters that make Dublin the place it is today. We want the stories you won’t find in the history books and that no one else is telling. Talk to your mammy, your grandad, your great aunt, your neighbour!

We want to hear it all! Think Bang Bang, Johnny 40 Coats and all the other brilliant characters and stories that make Dublin fascinating! No story is too big or too small!

Each person who emails or messages us privately on FB will be entered into a draw to win an afternoon tea for 2. The winner will be contacted on Feb 5th. Please email ciara@vintageteatours.ie or PM us on FB Messenger with your Dublin story.

Airport Transfers

Dublin airport is a hive of activity; from teary goodbyes to even more teary reunions. Romantic weekend flyaways to a flurry of parties which have started on the plane. But we have some questions? Why pause the party? Why wait until Dublin city to start the activities?! Why not begin right as you step off the plane!?

Last year we began airport transfers. Transporting people from the plane to the city as well as picking up groups at their hotel in the morning for a last spin around Dublin before their flight home. With our airport transfers we offer not only our afternoon tea food option but also a continental breakfast spread for those early AM flights!

dublin-airport-transfers

If you’re looking for something different for your group, whether you’re a hen party from the UK or a large group of tourists seeking the fresh air of Ireland, why not get in touch and see what we can do for you. For more information email us on info@vintageteatours.ie

airport-transfers-dublin-bus

Our Girls

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Our team is comprised of men and women from all ages, with backgrounds in property, theatre, transport and retail. We are a diverse bunch hailing from all around Ireland with different hobbies and interests. We are each unique in our own way and bring our own spark and flair to the business but there are two real stars of the show without whom none of this would be achievable. Born in the 1960s and having worked for years throughout the streets of London they are of course our two vintage buses; Pauline & Kitty.

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Pauline and Kitty are two fully restored Routemaster buses. These front engine double decker buses were designed by and for London Transport. Our two buses are from the 1960s. Pauline from 1961 and Kitty from 1964.

Pauline and Kitty are both named after Karen’s grandmothers as, like us at Vintage Tea Tours, they welcomed everyone into their home for tea and cakes whether you were the postman or the Pope. It was this sense of nostalgia, the door always open, chatting and gossiping over tea that Karen wanted to recreate for everyone who came on board.

vintage-afternoon-tea

Pauline was the first bus to join our fleet. She belonged to David Shephard who was a wildlife artist and who used the bus as his studio. We installed tables and cushioned chairs and transformed her into the bus you see today.

Kitty was next to join our fleet and the same fit out, though with some minor changes, was done to her. Her interior is green leather while Pauline’s is cream and pale blue.

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Kitty has vintage style bunting and Pauline has floral garlands. Both buses are half cabs but only Kitty has the open back. Each bus, according to our drivers, has their own personality and requires different care and attention while driving her.

With the buses transformed the dream of having afternoon tea while roaming around Dublin became a reality. We can’t wait to see what’s next in store... We’re always looking to expand our fleet!

2018 : Year in Review

Two buses, two years and one big idea. This year has been a big one for us here at VTT. We survived the beast from the east, the long hot summer, watched as our team grew and evolved and welcomed passengers from over 32 different countries.

We’ve rounded together some of our highlights from the year and looking back on them makes us super excited for 2019… But that’s not the only reason why we’re excited… We have not one but TWO BIG pieces of news coming in the new year, so sorry to tease but, you’ll just have to watch this space!

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Beast from the East 

What a wild way to start 2018! Throughout the madness of it all though we managed to snap this serenely beautiful picture of Kitty in the Phoenix Park. One thing we learned from it though? Always keep a sliced pan in the freezer!

vintage-tea-tour-dublin-phoenixpark

Meitheal & WTM

 We were delighted to attend Meitheal; Failte Ireland’s annual event where delegates from all around the world come to speed date (literally) the Irish tourism sector… We’re still not recovered from the event but already looking forward to April 2019. We also flew over to the World Travel Market in London in November to meet with vendors from the globe and see what trends are predicted for 2019!

Dream Team

We doubled the size of our team this year bringing on an extra host in the form of the lovely Shane, Ciara our sales and marketing executive, Ash our operations executive and Mark our transport manager. They say team work makes the dream work and they’re not wrong!

Second Birthday 

We turned two in September and you can see how we celebrated here. One rule we made though, there’ll be no terrible twos in 2019!

vintage-tea-tours-afternoon-tea

Top 10 on TripAdvisor

 We made the top 10 on TripAdvisor for Food & Drink Tours. To say we were over the moon would be an understatement. Thank you to everyone who has ever taken the time out to write us a 5* review. It honestly means the world to us!

Collaborations 

This year we collaborated with some of the biggest brands out there. We teamed up with Galaxy Chocolate and Aimee Connolly’s Sculpted by Aimee. It’s always an honor to be asked to be a part of brand launches and events and we can’t wait to see what collaborations 2019 brings. (left pic by Brian McEvoy)

Our Passengers

While reaching top 10s, attending trade events and collaborating with innovative and exciting brands is amazing there’s one thing that trumps it all. And that’s you! Our wonderful passengers who have made our dream into a reality with all your love and support. Seeing couples, families, friends and colleagues coming together to share their special moment on board with us makes us incredibly happy and proud. Hearing your stories and learning why you decided to come on board makes everything we do so much easier. It’s your stories that we remember and cherish.

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Sean and James who chose to spend some of their wedding day on board with us. We picked them up in town and took the coast road to Howth before going back and dropping them to the Dean Hotel. The love and laughter that filled the bus that day will never be forgotten.

Joan was a very special guest who chose to have her 70th birthday on board with us. What made it extra special? Well, Joan was the very first female double deck bus driver in Ireland. She told us all her stories about driving around Dublin and believe it or not she actually had to make her own uniform!! 

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“My self and my mam brought by 91 yr old granda on the vintage tea tours few weeks back as a surprise. He was a bus conductor with CIE for 40 odd years so it was a real treat for him to be back on the bus he once worked on. I cant thank the lads enough for all they did for him. They made it really special and indulged my granda in listening to his work stories. They couldn’t do enough for us. But they were just as attentive to all the guests. The tea and sandwiches were delish and the deserts were yum! And the real treat was that you get to keep your cup at the end! Which we were all delighted about. Even after the trip was over they let us take several photos with granda and with the bus. Truly was the best day out we've had in a long time.” - Jen Mangan, Dublin.

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The lovely Dolores who came all the way from Listowel, Co.Kerry to celebrate her 79th birthday with us. We had such a laugh with her.. She really made our day and I'd love to think we made hers.

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The gorgeous Lauren who had her hen party on board. We wish you a lifetime of happiness.

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The lovely ladies of Kenilworth Bowling Club. We took them on a customised tour of Dublin along the coast. We loved hearing their stories and memories about jumping on the back of buses like Kitty when they were younger. They even gave us some bowling tips on how best to play the game.


Thank you to everyone who came on board, waved from the streets as we drove by, raised a cup of tea in celebrations, sang with us, liked, shared and commented on our pictures and who shared their own stories with us we our forever grateful. Here’s to 2019. May it be a great one!!

All our love, the VTT team x

Dublinia

dublinia-vintage-tea-tours

The Dublinia museum right next to Christ Church can be explained in three words; fun, interactive and entertaining. It’s a perfect pit stop for everyone but especially those with children. As a history nut who is also creepily obsessed with A Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings a Viking Esque, Medieval, interactive exhibition was right up my street.

As mentioned this is a perfect place for families and those with small children. Unlike other exhibitions in the city there is plenty to keep them occupied; from dressing up as a Viking to writing names in Norse and even a touch of potty humour this museum will keep them (and you) entertained from start to finish.

dublinia-vintage-tea-tours-things-to-do-dublin

It begins with the Viking age and brings you right through to the Battle of Clontarf, Medieval Dublin, the Black Death and all the way up to the infamous excavations at Wood Quay in the 1970s. Along the journey there are opportunities to enter a Viking house, walk through a cramped Medieval Dublin street, dress up as a Viking warrior and even play games at the fair.

At the end of the tour there’s a chance to climb the stairs to St. Michael’s tower and see beautiful views of Dublin as far Wellington Monument and the Poolbeg Chimneys. The exit brings you into the grounds of Christ Church cathedral through the famous arch walkway which connects the two. If you’re also planning on visiting Christ Church a cheaper ticket can be bought allowing you entry to both Christ Church and Dublinia.

I thoroughly recommend a visit, children or no children. It’s a great way of getting to grasps with Dublin’s history while also having a right old laugh.




All in a weeks work

We’re fond of throwing a party for a product launch as well as hosting recruiters alongside Failte Ireland and we’re always looking to expand our reach globally so when opportunities to involve ourselves in all three of these came about we immediately jumped to it, even if it was all in the one week!

The week began hosting Aimee Connolly’s latest product launch for her makeup brand Sculpted by Aimee. Aimee is a makeup artist turned entrepreneur and is taking the beauty world by storm. Our bus Pauline hosted a group of beauty bloggers and influencers driving them around Dublin while Aimee showed off her new product. Her MUA skills were really put to the test while contouring on a vintage moving bus. We were thrilled to be a part of her big day.

aimee-connolly-vintage-tea-tours

Tuesday began with a drive to University Limerick campus where Kitty, our other bus, was hosting members of the UL faculty in a bid for winning international conferences. The campus was stunning in all it’s autumnal glow and the two lunches for the members went spectacularly. It was an honour to be invited down and Kitty definitely made an impact when driving around the campus grounds!

vintage-tea-tours-afternoon-tea

Wednesday was an early start with a flight over to London to the annual World Travel Market. The world is a huge and richly diverse place so it was no surprise that the scale of this event has to be seen to be believed. The colours and charms of all countries from Korea to Greece, Costa Rica to Iceland and (literally) everything in between was beautiful and as an avid traveller I felt like a kid in a candy shop. It was a great opportunity to meet new contacts and network with leaders in the travel industry. We will definitely be back next year!

world-travel-market-london-afternoon-tea

It was a crazy, amazing, diverse week at Vintage Tea Tours and all we can say is, thank god for coffee!


If you’d like Vintage Tea Tours to host your event please email ciara@vintageteatours.ie

GPO Witness History

GPO-Witness-History-Vintage-Tea-Tours

If there’s one year that resonates with Irish people all around the globe it’s the year 1916. Many think this was the year we got our independence from Britain but that’s wrong. Instead, 1916 was the year of the Easter Rising, a rebellion staged mainly in Dublin where we proclaimed ourselves a Republic and began the long, arduous fight to independence which would come six years later.

Two years ago we celebrated the centenary of this momentous event. There was a sense of pride in the air; proud at what we’d achieved and proud at being Irish. This was also the year that the GPO opened a new exhibit; GPO Witness History.

GPO-Dublin-Aftenoon-Tea-Tour

The GPO was the HQ of the rising. It’s where Padraig Pearse read aloud the proclamation, where the Irish flag was flown from the roof and where many of the signatories of the proclamation escaped onto Moore Street, only later to surrender.

It’s incredibly fitting that this building, steeped in history and still showing remnants of the fighting (bullet holes in the pillars) should be the home to this exhibit.

The museum is small but packed with tons of information. From booths with screens playing interviews with some of Ireland's famous historians, to immersive exhibits detailing historical posters, weapons and uniforms to boards packed with information there is something for everyone.

It’s a self guided tour which complements the huge amount of information available as you can take in what you want and go at your own pace without feeling overwhelmed.

GPO-Vintage-Tea-Tours

In the centre of the space is a semi circle cinematic experience showing a dramatic retelling of what occurred during the days of the rising. It’s well done and offers museum goers a chance to step back in time and see events that occurred first hand.

This exhibit is well worth a visit if you love history or want to find out more about the Rising and our long journey to Independence.











Vaults Live

Dublin’s history is full of amazing stories, literary figures, iconic characters and has a history that is so rich and diverse, nowhere else in the world rivals it.

vaults-live-vintage-tea-tours

There are so many places in Dublin you can go to learn about this rich and diverse history but there is only one place that *literally* brings this history to life.

Step in Vaults Live; a brand spanking new attraction that has just opened in Dublin. I don’t want to give too much away as I think everyone needs to go and experience it for themselves. I had no idea what to expect and was totally blown away by the sheer production and professionalism of the experience.

We pride ourselves on being a unique attraction the likes you can’t do anywhere else in Dublin (afternoon tea on a vintage bus is pretty damn unique, if I do say so myself) and the Vaults is definitely different with no one else in Dublin offering what they do.  

Go and be amazed and remember… follow the hare!



Irish Mammies

Ireland is home to creatures such as fairies, leprechauns and banshees but of these quintessentially Irish beings none is more feared or revered than the Irish Mammy! Her remedies include flat 7up and a cup of tea to heal you through a head cold while her wooden spoon ensures nobody steps out of line.


For those of you who have never encountered an Irish Mammy we’ll show you what to look out for as well as examples of some of our favourite Irish Mammies.

Favourite Sayings:

1. “Close the door, you weren’t born in a barn” - Word to the wise; do not respond with “no but I was born in a hospital with swinging doors” unless you want to see the wooden spoon!

2. “A Letter came for you in the post. Will I open it” - Don’t bother answering.. The letter has already been opened and read twice over!


3. “Those biscuits are for the visitors” - It’s Rich Tea and Digestives until there’s visitors and out of nowhere appears a beautiful box of USA Biscuits usually only bought at Christmas.

Mrs. Brown

Mrs. Brown

4. “Well the Lord appeared and arose to many” - A particular favourite of my own mother who loves to use it after I’ve had a particularly late night and saunter downstairs late the next afternoon with a sore head.

Our Favourite Irish Mammies:

Mrs. Brown

Probably the most famous and recognisable Irish Mammy. Agnes Brown (brainchild of comedian Brendan O’Carroll) is hilarious with an infectious laugh and dirty mind. The show is going from strength to strength and it’s easy to see why.

Mrs-Doyle-Tea

Mrs. Doyle

While not technically a mammy she does embody all that Irish Mammies hold dear. Her love and care for Father Ted, Dougal and Jack and her constant tea making make her in our eyes, an Irish Mammy.

Fron

As Fron is mother to Instagram star James Patrice it means we get up close action of an Irish Mammy. Like David Attenborough captures the beauty of the wild so to does James capture the elusiveness of Irish Mammies, at home, in their own habitat. It makes for belly laughs and if you’re not following him already go, go, go!

pic from www.irishtimes.com

pic from www.irishtimes.com

Nancy Ashmawy

Strength, bravery and her love for her son Baz ensured that Nancy made this list. For those of you who don’t know Nancy is the star of Sky One’s show “50 Ways to Kill your Mammy”. Yep you read that right and yep it’s exactly what it says on the tin. The show follows the pair as they skydive, swim with sharks and wrestle crocodiles all with the wit, humour and one liners you’d expect only from an Irish Mammy





A cup of tea can help, even just a little

pic from www.concerngroup.org

pic from www.concerngroup.org

Today, Wednesday 10th October, is World Mental Health day. A day where the world recognises health issues that are not physical but that toil and trouble so many of us daily.

The idea for Vintage Tea Tours came from Karen’s granny, Pauline (of whom one of our buses is named after). She always welcomed everyone into her house for tea, cakes and chats whether you were the postman or the pope. Karen knew that importance and strength of these simple moments which is why she set up Vintage Tea Tours, so anyone could take a step back in time and escape realities.

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I think I speak for everyone when I say nothing beats tea and chats whether at home or on our vintage bus. From discussing last nights antics with your best friend the morning after to planning that road trip you and your friends always wanted to take there’s something soothing and comforting about a warm cup between your hands while sharing stories, planning adventures and laughing.

A harder chat to have though is asking for help. Talking to someone you know and trust about difficult things you may be feeling is so important. Remember you are not alone and it’s ok not to feel ok. We know that tea doesn’t cure mental illnesses but having that initial chat where you let someone in and ask for help is a start, and a cup of tea will help, even just a little. Take it from us, we’re the tea experts and so know all of it’s secret powers.



Vintage Tea Tours Turn Two

fab-food-trail-vintage-tea-tours

You know the saying that a Sunday well spent brings a week of content. Well I can assure you that is most certainly the case. This September we turned 2 years old and to celebrate we did what we do best - ate and drank our way around Dublin City Centre.

The whole team gathered together and we did the Fab Food Trail. If you haven’t heard of FFT they’re a company that organise walking tours of Dublin stopping in little restaurants and cafes sampling food, wine and even whiskey while taking in facts and tidbits of information not only about our lovely city but also about the establishments visited.


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Aside from sampling all the delicious food listening to the personal stories from the owners and workers of the places we visited was my favourite. For example I didn’t know that the Swan pub has the oldest taps in Dublin or that the Pepper Pot Cafe bake all their own bread and pastries fresh every morning. I didn’t know that sea salt ice cream existed or that you can buy stonebaked pizza from a window on Aungier Street.


loose-canon-vintage-tea-tours

The route took us from Temple Bar to the Creative Quarter to a busy shopping street to a corner pub. We visited the well established Fallon & Byrne and the newly opened Loose Canon. We started with wine, had ice cream before pizza and topped it all of with whiskey in a pub over 350 years old!


It was a great way to discover Dublin and eat and learn about the foodie culture that is booming throughout this small city. If you’re looking for something to do we can’t recommend this enough. The route changes but the full list of places that we visited were Piglet, Fallon & Byrne, Loose Canon Cheese & Wine, The Pepper Pot Cafe, Murphy’s Ice Cream, Dublin Pizza Company and The Swan bar.

Find out more about Fab Food Trail at www.fabfoodtrails.ie

World Tourism Day 27/9/18

vintage-tea-tours-dublin-tourist

We’ve all been one. It’s a disguise we put on and fit into like a second skin. I for one love being one whether at home or abroad. Today we celebrate them, we celebrate us, we celebrate being a tourist!

Being a tourist especially in a new land is exciting and feels adventurous, from hiking to the top of a mountain to soak in the views, queuing for an hour to try the best pastries from a tiny bakery or joining a free walking tour to get to grips with a new city it’s an activity everyone does and everyone loves doing.

When not being a tourist we here at Vintage Tea Tours love nothing more than talking to tourists on board. Hearing their stories and learning their culture is a total perk of the job. The stories they tell and their kind words about being a tourist with us in Dublin are so amazing that we thought today on World Tourism Day we would share these stories with you.


Kate travelled from the US and brought her mother and aunt on board with her. Her mother and aunt remembered the old buses and loved the feeling of nostalgia it brought to them. "My mother and my aunt were giggling like school girls running up the stairs...We loved that the buses were named Pauline and  Kitty (same as my Gran) and that it was from 1964 (the year my Mam got married) so as weird as it sounds, we connected with the bus and felt at home instantly." - Kate, USA

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Doing tourist activities can be a bit daunting when alone. These kind words about Jack were so lovely to hear.  “I went solo, as my husband was occupied with business, and though I was concerned about feeling awkward among the couples and ladies' groups on board, my worries were quickly forgotten when, much to my delight, I was joined at my table by one of the tour guides - my new friend Jack! He was so informative and kind - I felt like I got my own private tour of the city. He customised his information to accommodate my every curiosity about the city - so much so that I'll have to return again and again to be able to see and do everything he suggested for me!” Therese, USA

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Something we take for granted is our own home town. Being a tourist in your own city opens up a whole world of stories and tales that were right under your nose. We especially loved this one which came after Caitlin our guide gave the fact about the Phoenix Park, Parkgate Street entrance gates being missing since 1932 “I was on the VTT bus on Sunday and I told our guide Caitlin that I had part of the Phoenix Park gate in our garden. The story is that the original owner of my house retired as a park ranger and received the slightly damaged capping stone as a leaving present and put it to great use as our current flower bed - what a privilege!”  Fiona & Lily, Dublin 15

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Teresa visited us from California. She was over visiting her daughter who works here. She fell in love with Dublin and I just had to share her kind words on our city. They chose to do our tour as they are “huge Jane Austen fans, and we’re into all this old school teas and history and everything. I mean there are new tour busses all over, what is fun about that? Nothing. Your city and country have so much history it is awe inspiring, you live in such an amazing place and it is so nice that your country is so solid and everyone is so kind.” Teresa, USA

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We would love to hear your stories from your time on board with us. Whether you travelled from overseas or a born and bred Dub we want to hear your stories. Please email your stories to ciara@vintageteatours.ie

Best Bars for a Pint of Guinness

pic from Insta @paperireland

pic from Insta @paperireland

Kehoes

Tucked away off busy, bustling Grafton Street stands Kehoes an iconic Dublin pub known for their Guinness. It’s a small bar reminiscent of a pub you’d find in the depths of Connemara rather than a city centre. However, this adds to the charm of the place and on a sunny evening there’s no place better than outside Kehoes for a pint of the black stuff.

pic from www.dublinpubs.com

pic from www.dublinpubs.com

Gravediggers

A recommendation I always give to anyone coming to Dublin from abroad is the Glasnevin Cemetery tour. While out that way it would be a crime not to stop for a pint of the black stuff in John Kavanagh’s, or what it’s more commonly called, The Gravediggers. The name derives due to its close proximity to the cemetery. It’s arguably one of the best pints of Guinness in Dublin run by the Kavanagh family now into their 6th generation.

pic from Insta @stags_head_dublin

pic from Insta @stags_head_dublin

The Stag’s Head

Situated in Dame Lane is this quaint Dublin pub that is loved and adored by Dubliners and tourists alike. In the winter grab a chair by the big open fire or in summer sit outside in the sun and enjoy the sounds of Dublin. The interior is incredibly charming and feels like sitting in someone’s sitting room rather than a pub.

pic from www.mulligans.ie

pic from www.mulligans.ie

Mulligans

If there’s one thing that goes well with a pint of Guinness it’s a good story and there’s no better place for that than Mulligans on Poolbeg Street. It’s a no nonsense, frills free pub with customers like JF Kennedy, Judy Garland and James Joyce. Loved by Dubliners for the charm and the black stuff we cannot recommend it enough if you want to get a chance to experience the real auld Dublin.

Guinness-Storehouse-Vintage-Tea-Tours

Guinness Storehouse

Pouring Guinness is an art. It’s all about the angle, the waiting the smooth creamy top so it’s no surprise that the Guinness Storehouse is on this list. After traipsing through the exhibition and learning about the history, art and legacy of Guinness there’s one thing needed at the end and that’s a pint. It’s poured to perfection and the views are spectacular which allows you to drink in the sights of Dublin.

Read our take on the Guinness Storehouse exhibition here.


What we can do for your comapny

Think we’re just a tour activity for tourists coming to Dublin? Think again… These past few months we’ve broadened our offerings to include private hires for groups and companies of all shapes and sizes.

Kenilworth Ladies Bowling Club

Kenilworth Ladies Bowling Club

Recently we’ve had LinkedIn and Glanbia on board while they had delegates over from the US and also the Kenilworth Ladies Bowling Club where the oldest member was 97.

These tours can be customised for your group. Rather take the coastal route instead of the city? Or want us to collect you from your offices and take you to your hotel? No problem! You can also choose a full afternoon tea or just tea/coffee and a scone or our infamous brownie if you so choose.

Glanbia Plc

Glanbia Plc

It’s a different way to spend a day with your colleagues or visitors. Treat them to the charm of Dublin on board a fully restored 1960s Routemaster bus. Whether to impress your visitors or just some team bonding email us at info@vintageteatours.ie to see what we can do for you.

Head over to our Reviews page to see what they had to say about us.

Christ Church Cathedral

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On the top of the hill as you enter the heart of the city stands a structure so iconic and recognisable to the people of Dublin that many pass by without even a glance. I often wonder do Parisians pass by the Notre Dame without gazing up or do Romans ignore the Colosseum on their daily commute? The building I’m referring to is of course Christ Church Cathedral. Built in 1030, rebuilt again in the 12th and 13th Century and restored in 1870s after a roof collapse it stands as tall and imposing today as it ever did.

 

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As there is so much to learn and see in Christ Church I opted for the guided tour. My guide Adriana was brilliant, knowledgeable and so so friendly. Having visited cathedrals such as Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and The Duomo in Florence it made Christ Church Cathedral feel a bit smaller and not as impressive but on reflection I think it adds to the embodiment of Dublin character to the cathedral and actually compliments it’s surroundings.

 

Christ Church is home to weird and wacky items such as Strongbows (but not actually his) tomb, Laurence O’Toole’s heart, which was stolen six years ago but recovered in April, and the cat and the rat who were found mummified inside an organ pipe! See, I told you! Weird, wacky but also strangely wonderful, just like people from Dublin!

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The highlight of the guided tour for me was getting up on the walkway in and among the roof and spires of the cathedral and then being brought to the belfry through winding, steep steps. The cherry on top though was being allowed to fulfill a childhood dream of mine to become like my Disney hero, no, not a princess stuck in a tower, but Quasimodo the bell ringer of Notre Dame! Of the nineteen bells in the belfry (highest number of bells available for ringing in the world) there are three that you’re (a visitor) are allowed to ring. And ring them I did!

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The tour ends with the crypt. Here you’ll find the stocks dating from the 1670s, costumes from the series The Tudors and of course, the infamous cat and the rat. The story goes that while doing repairs on the organ pipes (as they sounded out of tune) a cat and rat were found mummified mid-chase. Their remains hang in the Crypt and were made immortal by James Joyce in Finnegan’s Wake when he stated that someone was “as stuck as that cat to that mouse in that tube of that Christchurch organ.”

Origins of Tea

pic from www.mai-ko.com

pic from www.mai-ko.com

Tea is a drink steeped in tradition and meaning. It can be bought and drank all around the globe. Many countries have their own traditions surrounding tea; from the tea ceremony in Japan practised in small rooms with a tatami floor to the more recognisable tea and biscuits served with a splash of milk that us Irish know all too well. But why do we add milk and sugar? And where did tea actually come from? And why is it so special and comforting to us?


Tea originated in China and is dated back to the 3rd century although there are myths and legends dating it even further back. It was first used as a medicinal drink although some could argue it still is today. Nothing beats a hot cup of tea when you’re suffering from a head cold or just feeling a little under the weather.

It spread from China to Korea, Vietnam and Japan and is still widely popular in these areas. Each with their own customs and cultures surrounding the practise of tea drinking.  

pic from www.tea.co.uk

pic from www.tea.co.uk

While many people view tea as quintessentially British the habit and custom of drinking it in England is actually credited to Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza wife of King Charles II. It was still quite an expensive product so was only drank by those of nobility who could afford it.

It wasn’t until the 1720s when the cheaper alternative to green tea, which was black tea, overtook green tea in popularity that milk and sugar was added into it. It’s popularity was such that soon everybody began drinking it and it became the British National drink replacing ale.

pic from www.quora.com

pic from www.quora.com

 

 

The story goes that the name Builder’s Tea (the tea we drink) came to be due to the fact that construction workers would take their tea break and would add milk and lots of sugar to their tea in order to give them energy to continue on with the work.

Tea is incredibly important part of Irish life. Secrets and stories are told over cups of teas, laughter shared and tears shed. Nobody refuses a cup of tea and if they do they are met with Mrs Doyle’s iconic line “go on, go on, go on, go on”. The only thing we Irish can’t settle when it comes to tea is which is superior: Barrys or Lyons? What do you think?

Our Favourite Brunch Spots in Dublin

pic from Instagram @fia_cafe

pic from Instagram @fia_cafe

I doubt you’ll find a list of the best brunch spots in Dublin that doesn't include Fia in Ranelagh. It’s a small spot with a small menu but don’t let that put you off. There are plenty of extras to add in if you so choose! Their eggs and greens are famous, head on out to the suburbs and try yourself. If you have to queue I promise it will be worth the wait and remember hunger is good sauce!

155b, Rathgar Rd, Dublin 6, D06 R924

 

 

pic from Instagram @angelinasdublin

pic from Instagram @angelinasdublin

 

 

Angelinas

Angelina's is a favourite brunch spot for Dubliners which sits on the banks of the Grand Canal. They have an extensive menu coupled with cosy, cushy seating and sophisticated interiors. On a nice day sit on the terrace overlooking one of Ireland’s most famous poet’s, Patrick Kavanagh, favourite spot, the canal. Afterwards walk down the canal and see Kavanagh’s statue commemorated on a “canal-bank seat for the passer-by”.

55 Percy Place, Dublin 4

 

pic from Instagram @robertasdublin

pic from Instagram @robertasdublin

 

 

Robertas

In the heart of Temple Bar sits Robertas, a fairly new establishment that has very rightfully climbed to the top of the Dublin dining scene. Prepare to be wowed at the glass ceiling towering over their bar. The light, bright, airy atmosphere is exactly the tonic needed for a Sunday morning brunch.

1 Essex Street East, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

pic from Instagram @brother_hubbard_south

pic from Instagram @brother_hubbard_south

 

 

 

 

Brother Hubbard

With two locations in Dublin (North & South) and their own cookbook it’s easy to see why Brother Hubbard may do the best brunch in Dublin. The North cafe is located in the heart of Dublin City Centre while South is on the fringes of the city tucked away in the leafy suburb of Portobello. I frequently have dreams about their Spiced Pork Rarebit open sandwich!! In their own words “This is the café you’ve been looking for.”

 

 

46 Harrington St, Saint Kevin's, Dublin 8 & 153 Capel St, North City, Dublin 1

pic from Instagram @dillingersdublin @terrymcdonagh

pic from Instagram @dillingersdublin @terrymcdonagh

 

 

 

 

Dillingers

Outside the city in one of Dublin’s gorgeous neighbourhoods, Ranelagh, sits Dillinger’s an American style diner serving up delicious American/Mexican style food. It’s been one of the most stable and iconic brunch spots for Dubliners and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down any time soon. If you want a break from the city centre eateries, this one's for you!

47 Ranelagh, Dublin 6

Book of Kells

trinity-college-vintage-tea-tours

 

 

 

In the heart of Dublin City Centre you’ll find Ireland’s most famous book no, not Ulysses, a book far far older than that. It is housed in Ireland’s oldest University and tells the story of the four Gospels.

The Book of Kells is of course the book of which we are speaking and can be found in Trinity College. The book dates back to the 9th century and is lavishly decorated with beautiful imagery and lettering which remains incredibly vivid even after 1200 years.

 

book-of-kells-afternoon-tea-tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The museum itself is small with quite a lot of information to take in (I recommend having a big coffee before hand). While it’s not the most child friendly of spots there is no denying the sheer magnitude of a book this old being on display for all to see.

Each day a new page is turned so that if you visited the book every day you would in fact have read the whole book, albeit in Latin and it would cost you quite a bit but you get the idea.

 

 

 

long-room-trinity-vintage-tea-tours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To get a good glimpse of the book I would recommend going early morning as it does become quite packed with everyone squeezing in for a glimpse.

Heading upstairs you can hear the oohs and ahhhs of those ahead entering the long room. It’s a feast for the senses with the smell of old books in the air and bounds and bounds of leather backed books filling cases and shelves for almost 65 metres in front of you.

 

 

 

 

trinity-college-dublin-vintage-tea-tours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the kind of library you see in fairytales with moving ladders so as to reach books on the highest of shelves (think Belle in the bookstore in Beauty and the Beast) unfortunately these ladders are not available for visitors do their best Belle impression and to be honest, in terms of health and safety, that’s probably a good thing.

Our Favourite Cocktail Bars in Dublin

pic from Instagram @perukeperiwig

pic from Instagram @perukeperiwig

 

Peruke & Periwig

Like the baking world has Mary Berry so too has the cocktail world the magicians that work at Peruke & Periwig. Stepping into this small bar on Dawson Street is like stepping back in time. It oozes charm alongside a real respect for the art of cocktail making. I had my first ever Espresso Martini here and it was love at first taste!

31 Dawson St, Dublin 2

pic from Instagram @pygmaliondublin

pic from Instagram @pygmaliondublin

 

 

 

PYG

Don’t go to PYG and expect exceptionally made, handcrafted, unique cocktails. Instead this place offers 2 for 1 cocktails (probably the cheapest you’ll find in the city centre). It also offers buckets and buckets of atmosphere with young people flocking there every Sunday evening when the little lane becomes a street party with a DJ, dancing and yep you guessed the infamous 2 for 1 cocktails! Grab a seat outside and watch the madness unfold!

     59 South William Street, Dublin 2

pic from Instagram @vintagecocktailclub

pic from Instagram @vintagecocktailclub

 

 

 

 

 

Vintage Cocktail Club

VCC is Dublin’s worst kept secret! Not somewhere you’ll easily stumble across no, no, no this bar is very subtly located in Temple Bar. The entrance is just a black door with the letters VCC on the front. Ring the bell, climb the stairs and be transported to a 1920s speakeasy bar you could only ever have imagined in your dreams!

15 Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

pic from Instagram @nonamebardublin

pic from Instagram @nonamebardublin

 

 

 

 

 

Bar With No Name

For when you want a cocktail but he wants a pint. This bar is the place to go! Situated on Dublin’s Fade street this bar has one of the best outdoor areas in Dublin. It’s simple, unassuming character adds to laid back chilled vibe. I recommend sitting outside or up by the window taking in the beauty of the old red brick buildings across the street.

3 Fade St, Dublin 2

 

 

Drury Buildings

Located in the heart of Dublin’s Creative Quarter amongst a tonne of quirky boutiques and vintage thrift stores stands the stylish and sophisticated Drury Buildings. This place is an Instagram lovers dream; from their colourful bold exterior to the teal and rose gold interiors. With delicious cocktails to match this is the perfect place to stop after a spot of shopping.

55 Drury St, Dublin 2

drury-buildings-vintage-tea-tours

History of Afternoon Tea

vintage-tea-tours

 

 

Afternoon Tea has become quite mainstream in popular culture with pictures and posts flooding our feeds; from fancy hotels, teapots filled with gin and of course our own vintage buses. The opportunities for afternoon tea are endless.

 

But where did the whole tradition start? And why is it such a fancy occasion?

 

pic from afternoon tea.co.uk

pic from afternoon tea.co.uk

 

The story goes that Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, complained of “having that sinking feeling” between lunch and dinner. These days, she would have been given a protein bar and cup of coffee and be sent on her way but times were different in 1840 and she was, of course, a duchess. So instead a tray of tea, bread and butter and a selection of small cakes were brought to her in her boudoir.

 

Such was the spectacle of the whole thing that she began inviting friends around and before she knew it “afternoon tea” became the thing to do for upper class and society women. I suppose the Duchess was what we’d nowadays call an influencer!

pic from britainandbritishness.com

pic from britainandbritishness.com

 

By the 1880s Afternoon Tea was so popular that women would dress up specifically for it. They also began serving it in the drawing room of their houses rather than bedrooms.

 

Today afternoon tea is an occasion, an excuse to get dressed up and meet old friends, celebrate a mother’s birthday or just to treat yourself and those you love.

vintage-tea-tours-afternoon-tea-dublin

 

 

If you want afternoon tea with a difference we’d love to welcome you on board our vintage Routemaster bus and take you on a tour like no other.