Carrie Burns is a Study Abroad student at the University of Limerick from Minssesota, USA. Here, she gives a detailed run down of her favourite Limerick City coffee shops, complete with gorgeous pictures that will have you hankering for a coffee fix.
The planning process of moving to another country for a few months is an incredibly busy and overwhelming one. Between worrying about getting all your government documents in order, organizing the details of where you’ll be living, and hashing out everything related to academics and fun places to go while abroad, it’s very easy for other minor details to fall off our radar. Once we finally do realize something’s been forgotten, that minor detail suddenly feels much more major- especially when our energy and mood takes a serious hit as a result.
What could possibly cause such a dramatic change in our well-being so quickly? The answer to that, my friend, is caffeine intake. As someone who’s an aficionado of coffee and usually consumes a minimum of 2 mugs a day, my casual overlooking of this important issue gave me a startling wakeup call to find some solid shops to feed my addiction, and stat.
Knowledge is power, and so it is this power I now bestow upon you to aid in making sure you, too, don’t succumb to the temporary coffee-less darkness I experienced for a short while. I spent the past month not only getting a feel for the city of Limerick, but also scoping out their coffee culture. Though I myself am a shameless sucker for a good old PSL from Starbucks, I also always try to do my best and branch out to support local businesses; not only does your patronage usually directly support the actual owners rather than a mega-corporation, but 90% of the time the coffee is actually better, and the atmosphere much cozier.
Below, I’ve listed my personal Top 5 Coffee Shops for you to check out in Limerick.
Bonus: I also dutifully photographed for your benefit.
Aroma Coffee House
43 Roches Street
My friend Anna and I stumbled across this gem one drizzly Sunday morning. Situated on the street’s corner, the shop had both indoor and outdoor seating to choose from, with windows overlooking a relatively calm section of the city filled with pretty pastel buildings to look at. Though it wasn’t very busy when we originally walked in, by the time we were ready to go it was steadily beginning to fill- something I took as a positive testament to the place.
We grabbed a cozy table in the corner and placed our order with the barista. Anna ordered a mocha, me following suit and adding a raspberry muffin as well. I found this to be an excellent decision.
I personally really enjoyed my mocha- with the dominant body of flavor being coffee, it had the perfect accent of chocolate added to the mix. Bonus points should also be given for how frothy it was. The muffin was its own small miracle- perfectly warm, it was served with whipped cream and thus my nutritionally-balanced breakfast was complete. Needless to say, it was gone pretty fast.
Anna takes her mochas pretty seriously (as you’ll quickly learn), and deduced it wasn’t as rich or sweet which is something she usually prefers. Overall, she thought it was very good and rated it a 7; a score that’s actually pretty decent on her own specific scale.
Chez Le Fab
Discovered this particular place on my way to a rugby game on, again, another Sunday morning. Located in a really cool all-glass circular building that I’m pretty sure used to be the tourism center, Chez Le Fab is a combination vintage clothing coffee shop, the first I personally have ever stumbled across! So it’s super easy to grab a coffee and do some browsing through the pretty clothing, or admire some of the displayed jewelry made by local artists for sale.
If you’re not in the mood to shop, there’s also some cute re-upholstered armchairs to occupy and enjoy your beverage in while admiring the high ceilings and unique decorations dotting the room.
Since in a bit of a hurry to get to the game, I wasn’t too adventurous in playing around with the drink choice and ended up ordering my classic fallback, a vanilla latte. Similar to the mocha at the Aroma Coffee House, I really enjoyed it because the main body of the drink was still obviously coffee; what with mostly being a tea-drinking culture here, sometimes any coffee drinks can come out kind of watery and overly sugared. To top it off, the vanilla aspect of the latte was very subtle but definitely still present, with the flavor not at all tasting chemically as can sometimes happen.
Petit Paris Café
21 Henry St
Out of all five coffee shops, Petit Paris holds a special place in my heart and is definitely my favorite. This could be for a number of reasons, but I could make a strong case the immediate curb appeal to the shop is probably what immediately primed me- located on the corner of Henry Street, ivy clings up the side of the brick exterior, with the most adorable little flower boxes accenting the white windows.
The inside, believe or not, is even more so. Obviously an older building, the place is split-level; the right side of the café hosts the register behind a display filled with pastries and some tables close by, additional seating available to the left and up the stairs. Natural sunlight filters in, reflecting off the elegant chandelier hovering over the center of the room.
I’d found this place when visiting the city center to pick up my visa one morning, as the café is right across the street from the Garda station. Once again, Anna accompanied me on this particular journey. Grabbing one of the tables upstairs, after placing our orders with the waitress our drinks quickly came.
Anna’s signature mocha is at the top, served all pretty with whipped cream and cocoa powder, which she accurately attests “makes all the difference” in a quality mocha. Overall she found her drink to be a good balanced flavor, but in her opinion was not rich enough. It got an 8 on the Anna Mocha Scale.
I myself ordered the caramel macchiato that’s in the lower corner and really, really liked it. One thing I’m not usually used to but appreciated was the extra pitcher of steamed milk right next to it that the waitress brought out, so I could make the macchiato as strong or weak as I wanted. There was also the perfect amount of foam to balance out the drink as a whole.
I should add that Petit Paris serves breakfast too, which we ordered along with our drinks and simply forgot to photograph. There’s a wide variety of options to choose from- I ended up getting a bagel with lox and cream cheese, which was also a strong 10/10.
In conclusion for this particular review, if you’re only going to choose one of the five recommended cafes to stop by, go here! I’m definitely going to make sure to visit once more before December comes.
Hook and Ladder
7 Sarsfield St
To begin: Sincerest apologies to the lady above clearly not having me photographing the room.
So full disclosure, Hook and Ladder has more than one location- I’m not sure if that then automatically qualifies it as a corporation I originally promised to steer you clear from, but if so I’m sorry for lying. This place needs to be on the list!
These photographs specifically are actually from the Castletroy location, which is the suburb the University of Limerick is technically located in; however, I have the Sarsfield address jotted above, which is the café in downtown Limerick, and I’d highly recommend going to that location as their décor is especially cute.
Like Petit Paris, Hook and Ladder also serves some really good food if you’d like a little something extra to go with your drink. On this particular visit I was in a bit of a hurry to get back to campus for class, so I just ordered a takeaway vanilla latte and lemon-poppy seed blueberry muffin.
I’m a big fan of their lattes- smooth, and again tasting like genuine vanilla rather than a sugary syrup, it’s the perfect blend of coffee and dairy with the milk especially creamy. Paired with the muffin, the two are a perfect combination as a late morning pick me up, and in no way can steer you wrong.
13 Thomas Street
Last but not least! I present to you Carlton Coffee, a centrally located shop splashed in a bright orange color that practically dares you to not come in and take a look around. A smaller place, there’s lots of bar seating up against the tall windows to do some prime people watching, especially on busy Saturdays when the streets are filled with families all going to the milk market.
What I especially liked about the place was how friendly the baristas were, and that there was some really good patio seating that Anna and I took advantage of after picking up our drinks.
It being the weekend, I celebrated by ordering a mocha. As you can see in the picture extra care was obviously taken in making sure the drink qualified as such, with whipped cream and an extra cocoa drizzle added to the top. Though I think I favored my mocha from Aroma Coffee House a bit more, it was definitely still good- fluffy and sweet, which is exactly what makes it enjoyable.
Anna rated hers as a solid 8, the one critique being that both the coffee and chocolate/milk combo could have been a bit stronger.
Looking back at each review where she actually assigned a score, it seems 8 appears to be both the average and highest award allowed- is there such a thing as an elusive perfect ‘10’ mocha on her scale? I have about a month and a half to find out, but will dutifully update if such a comforting beverage is encountered.