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.


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


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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






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.








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!





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!











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 is said that Emperor Shennong took a rest under a camellia tree. While there he boiled some water to drink. Leaves from the tree fell down into his cup and infused his water creating the first brew. It was then 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




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




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






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





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.










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.












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.













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





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


History of Afternoon Tea




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.




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.

Our Favourite Cafes in Dublin


Located in the heart of Dublin’s Creative Quarter Kaph offers what may be the best cup of coffee in Dublin. It’s a small, relaxed cafe with no airs or graces, just really good coffee! Our favourite spot to sit and relax is upstairs looking down on South William Street. Keep an eye for the simple yet striking artwork on their window.



Drinking coffee and people watching are two activities that go hand in hand. While Dublin isn't known for al fresco dining, the Metro Cafe is one place all Dubliners go to sit outside and watch the world go by. Established in 1996 this cafe is loved and adored by Dubliners and tourists alike. You may have to wait for an outdoor table but we guarantee you, it’s so so worth it.









Butlers is to Dublin what pasta and pizza is to Italy. It can be found in most areas of Dublin and never lets you down. Their hot chocolate is legendary and each hot drink purchase comes with a homemade chocolate of your choice. What more could you want?



pic from www.butlerschocolates.com




Coffee Angel


With four locations in Dublin this cafe is taking over. Personal favourite is the one nestled on Trinity Street. The beautiful old red brick building and stunning windows remains untouched giving a more authentic, homey and cosy vibe to the cafe.



pic from Instagram @coffeeangel










The beginnings of 3fe coffee is a fairytale love story between one man and coffee. This love and passion can be seen in the respect and attentiveness the baristas behind the counter have for the perfect cup of coffee. It never disappoints and is so popular and respected that it is supplied to numerous cafes around Dublin such as Fallon & Byrne and Kaph.


pic from www.3fe.com


Guinness Storehouse




When it comes to Ireland it doesn’t get more black and white then well… Guinness! It’s part of our heritage and I would wager there’s not a person over the age of 18 living in Ireland that hasn’t had, even just a sip, of the black stuff! Up until 2010 a pint of Guinness was even given to anyone who donated blood as it contains so much iron (you have to love the Irish, we’d have an excuse for anything).






On every tourists to do list when they come to Ireland is a trip to St. James Gate to see the famous Guinness brewery. It’s been at this location since 1759 when Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease!






It’s easy to see why this attraction is so popular. It’s a huge showcase exhibiting the history of the brewery, the making of Guinness, the marketing campaigns used by Guinness and even has a room where they teach you how to pull the perfect pint (believe me, it’s an artistry).





They’ve really pulled out all the stops from interactive exhibits, to a sensory room and numerous bars and restaurants. However, it's when you reach the top level, the gravity bar, that’s what really takes your breath away. Your free pint (or mineral) is poured and then it’s time to drink in the views. The Aviva stadium, Phoenix Park, Poolbeg chimneys and the Stiletto in the Ghetto, aka the Spire, are just some of the iconic landmarks visible from this bar.






The Guinness Storehouse is leading the way when to comes to Ireland’s tourism market and it’s easy to see why.


To read more of our blogs click here.

The Little Museum of Dublin



If there’s one thing us Dubs are good at it’s storytelling. We’re a proud country with a diverse, rich and sometimes wacky history. When tourists from around the world come to our fair isle they want to experience this and one place in particular that has got this art of storytelling down is The Little Museum of Dublin!




The Little Museum of Dublin is a small museum nestled on the edge of St. Stephen’s Green Park. It’s a charming museum located in a Georgian house which documents the last 100 years of Irish, and in particular Dublin’s, history. It houses over 5,000 artefacts all donated by the people of Ireland.








Among these artefacts is the music stand that John F. Kennedy used as a lectern while giving a speech in the Dail and one of the first ever copies of Ulysses ever published in the English language.




With so much to do in Dublin this little museum offers a short but informative 29 minute guided tour of one floor of the house (the other two are self guided). So much is jam packed into the tour I found myself wanting to take notes.


As a Dubliner, born and bred, I’ve been on many a tour and heard many a story. However, our guide Joan had stories and facts that I had never heard!! One in particular about the ducks in Stephen’s Green had my heart melted (I won’t spoil it for you, you’ll have to find out for yourself).





I can’t recommend a trip to the Little Museum of Dublin enough. With each wall plastered with memorabilia, posters and photos from a bygone era, it’s difficult not to feel a sense of pride and nostalgia of what our little country has accomplished.

More info on their tours can be found at www.littlemuseum.ie