As an international Fresher arriving in Dublin for the first time last autumn, I was certain I had missed crucial aspects of Dublin’s social and cultural scene. This year has been characterised by irregularity; between fluctuating cancellations, the transfer of in-person classes to Zoom for some and a desperation to sit in a pub for others, it can be difficult to get a real sense of Dublin’s culture. With that said, one semblance of consistency has emerged out of this chaos: donuts.
Donuts are not new to Dublin – this craze has been taking over Dublin since at least 2017. Since then, the obsession has only grown. Though the monotony of lockdown has certainly set in and restrictions don’t seem to be lifting anytime soon, we can still rely on meeting up outside with someone from another household for the purpose of exercise. While a donut and a walk may seem like low intensity activity, it is a surefire way to get yourself out of the house and get a snack in at the same time. As many of us are feeling isolated and overwhelmed, it can be a good idea to get out, even for an hour, and talk to someone who might also be struggling. Plus, doesn’t any exercise sound more appealing when baked goods are involved?
“While a donut and a walk may seem like low intensity activity, it is a surefire way to get yourself out of the house and get a snack in at the same time.“
The title of “Best Donuts in Dublin” is apparently a highly contested one; with so many great spots in the city to pick up this doughy treat, any and all preferences are catered to. A personal favourite of mine is Offbeat Donuts. They offer classic donuts such as those of the glazed, jam-filled, or sprinkle-topped variety, and also cater to more adventurous tastes with donuts that verge more on patisserie-treat than the traditional doughnut. The visually stunning Lemon Meringue donut from Offbeat certainly fits this description with toasted meringue topping shaped into a floral design. Offbeat Donuts competes with The Rolling Donut, an older business derived from a small, but incredibly popular, kiosk on O’Connell Street that expanded to locations across the city centre. It offers an arguably similar experience to Offbeat with donuts paralleling in flavour: Offbeat’s Biscoff-inspired Caramel Crumble and The Rolling Donut’s The Lotus Biscoff are obvious examples. For the vegan doughnut enthusiast, however, The Rolling Donut is an obvious winner. It offers a broad selection of nine different vegan donuts in comparison to Offbeat’s meagre range of three. However, both have their advantages, as Offbeat is located just a five minute walk from college and offers a 10% student discount. The Rolling Donut, on the other hand, is not only on O’Connell Street, but there is also another next to St. Stephen’s Green, a perfect spot for walking around while sinking your teeth into a ganache-topped treat.
While the allure of Krispy Kreme still prevails with plans to open up a new store in Central Plaza, supporting Irish businesses still tastes sweeter. The Hot Donut joins the league of Irish donut shops in the city centre. Though small, this place is certainly mighty. Located on O’Connell Street, this is the go-to place for fruity and floral flavours. Think the sophistication of flavours like Rose, Mango and Passionfruit, or Sour Cherry. Of course, The Hot Donut also covers other bases flavour-wise with adventurous choices like their selection of Cheesecake donuts, the Strawberry Bailey’s donut, and the Bacon and Cheese donut particularly standing out. Adam Hussey, a first year student, commented on the range of donuts available; he was particularly pleased with the Jaffa Cake donut. If not for want of a delicious treat, The Hot Donut is worth a try just for the exciting flavours. This shop also has the widest selection of vegan donuts I’ve seen thus far. With both savoury and sweet donuts on offer, you really can’t go wrong with this place, not to mention their 10% off student discount, too.
“For the vegan doughnut enthusiast, however, The Rolling Donut is an obvious winner.”
Krüst, the first company in Ireland to give us the Cronut, is another gem and is rumoured to have some of the best coffee in Dublin. It has become part of any donut fan’s trip around the donut shops of Dublin and is typically home to delicious breads, sandwiches and other pastries.
While the Dublin-centric specialized donut shops really give you the proper experience of what has become such a staple food in the city, there are many other donut options. The famed Dame Street Spar, open 24/7, can be relied upon for a late night donut from their Boston Donut stand. If you are passing a Londis, popping in for a Boomerang donut can be great for a quick sweet treat. Whether you’re on the hunt for a recreational donut or an emergency one, Dublin is certainly the place to be. If you’re thinking of awkwardly texting a classmate – who you’ve only seen in pixels so far – to see if they would like to meet up for a socially distanced chat, maybe going for a delicious donut could ease the process. With an array of options and newly-added vegan alternatives, Dublin Donut Shops are a foolproof snack destination. Regardless of your preference, this city has what it takes. And who knows? With restrictions likely to ease in the coming months, Dublin’s donut shops won’t be the only place packed with customers.