Is there anything more important to a student than coffee? Alexis Kilroy, our Canadian and IT Carlow Ambassador gives us the lowdown on the best spots to get caffeinated in Carlow…
Coffee is essential in most students’ lives and is something that I have had in my morning routine for the past five years. So, needless to say, when travelling to Ireland I was overjoyed with the fact that there was amazing coffee being served in my little town of Carlow!
To give you a little background, coffee is a growing phenomenon in Ireland and is taking over from the loyal tea drinkers (Barry’s and Lyons tea are a staple of Irish culture). Dublin even hosted the World of Coffee Conference in 2016, which is an event that is attended by baristas and coffee enthusiasts from over 100 nations.
When arriving in IT Carlow to begin my studies I was delighted that there was a thing called “tea time”–or in my case “coffee time”. Every day at 11am the whole school has a 15 minute break to enjoy a beverage–the perfect time for a caffeine pick me up. Now even though my own school at IT Carlow has a nice little Starbucks, in this blog I am going to highlight some of my all-time favourite cafes. As an international student it is a must to explore and find the little gems that are scattered around Irish towns–here’s the inside scoop on Carlow…
Brooks in located dead in the centre of town in a building called the Dinn Ri Hotel which has a secret underground tunnel! It has classy atmosphere–from the chandeliers all the way down to the beautiful candle lanterns on the tables. It has always been a place where I could grab a cappuccino and do some homework for the afternoon. I always get the cappuccino here and they give just right amount of chocolate on top which makes it taste all that much better. The great thing about Brooks Café is that they are open the earliest and latest–and on Sundays from 8am (which is a rarity in Carlow) so, if you are in desperate need of caffeine it’s definitely the place to go in a pinch.
Cibo is one of my local favourites. It’s owned by an Italian family and heavily influenced by Italian culture (meaning great coffee and yummy food). The café itself is very homely and gives you an immediate sense of comfort when entering. Personally this is my top spot for coffee as they give you a giant cup of coffee and it always comes with a nice little smiley face of chocolate dusting on top. It is located again in the town centre and is always bustling with locals enjoying their food (especially pizza) which can been seen through their huge store front windows, enticing you to come in to try a cup of joe.
Neighbourhood Espresso was a late discovery for me but one not to miss. This café is really just like its namesake and gives a feeling like you are really a part of the Carlow community. This is one of my top choices because of the service and coffee. The second you enter the café the owner Brian welcomes you and makes you feel as you have known him for years, which when travelling abroad for school is a really nice feeling. On top of great service the coffee is top notch, they actually import differently coffee beans weekly so you get a chance to try coffee beans from different places around the world. This is also a great place to go with a group of people as they have bench seating for larger groups.
Last but definitely not least is the Bake Café. My first discovery in Carlow, and one that is close to my heart. Again this café’s staff is absolutely amazing and they will remember your name from the first time you enter the doors. And for my non-coffee lovers this is actually my favourite spot for hot chocolate. If you have a sweet tooth then this place is for you–this award-winning café bakes mouthwatering treats daily. This café also has a very appeasing décor and is the perfect place to go with a friend for coffee and lunch to catch up.
So these are my top picks for coffee in Carlow, but I can definitely say that it’s just not Carlow that has great coffee but all of Ireland is becoming a coffee nation. But if any future students are coming to IT Carlow don’t worry your coffee needs will be covered!