Bring an umbrella and always carry it with you. That is the best advice anyone can keep in mind when visiting Dublin. It’s a gorgeous city but the words of a taxi driver hold true: “I can tell you the weather report for the next 6 months… cloudy, with bouts of sunshine, the occasional rain shower and a gusty wind or two.” And how true it was!
The first place to look for availability must be Butler’s Townhouse (http://www.butlers-hotel.com/). It’s a bit out of the way – but an absolutely lovely walk in to town or the convention center – but the hominess of the townhouse is unrivaled in all of my travels. Cecilia, the lovely and accommodating manager was a literal breath of fresh air every day and went well out of her way to help in every way possible. In fact, upon leaving Butler’s Townhouse, I felt a pang of sadness as though I was leaving a friend.
If Butler’s is full, or you want to spend more money, check out Number 31 (http://www.number31.ie/) my second choice for a place to stay in Dublin. There are, of course, numerous chain hotels that you can frequent but none will give you the personal touch that either Butler’s or Number 31 can do.
Dublin has apparently really come in to its own in terms of the restaurant scene. In fact, they have a Michelin Starred restaurant, L’Ecrivain (http://www.lecrivain.com/) which I wasn’t able to get in to but next time.
Brasserie Sixty6 is a brilliant and lively restaurant with a fresh take on Irish cuisine (http://www.brasseriesixty6.com/ may be closed). The food was divine and the wine list really quite broad with a bit of something for everyone.
As anyone who reads my blog knows, I love farm to table restaurants and Dublin’s The Farm (http://www.thefarmrestaurant.ie/) hits the mark straight on the head! You must go: pleasing for both the vegetarian and the carnivore alike, the staff where fun and informed and the food absolutely divine. (The “beet me up” dinner was out of this world!)
The ely group has a number of restaurants around the city that I understand are some of the best in the city. I can personally recommend ely Gastropub (http://www.elywinebar.ie/) for their fantastic food, great beer, and fantastic staff. I can only assume that their other restaurants are equally as good.
If, after a lovely dinner, you are in the need for a evening drink, I would recommend either the Palace bar (http://www.thepalacebardublin.com/) and Bowes pub (http://www.dublinpubscene.com/thepubs/bowes.html), the latter proudly stating that they have 130 some odd types of whiskey (I only had 3). Of course there are lots of pubs and bars around so I just say, pop in and have a blast.
And lastly, and not exactly a “bite,” there is the Celtic Whiskey Shop (http://www.celticwhiskeyshop.com/). This is a must and if you can speak with Michael, do so: according to three different bar tenders that I spoke to, Michael is probably the most knowledgeable person in all of Dublin when it comes to Whiskey. (Suffice it to say that I left Dublin with two bottles of Yellow Spot, the big brother to the more typical Green Spot Whiskey!)
Regrettably, I didn’t have much of a chance to do much sightseeing but I can tell you that you must – must – visit the Book of Kels which is amazing but to this bibliophile, the library that is part of the tour is breathtaking and if they would have let me, I would have stood there for hours thinking about the books there, the people who used them daily, and the love that went in to their creation.
Christ Church is a must do when going to Dublin. I’ve honestly seen better cathedrals in the world, but given that it is the oldest church in Europe, a trip to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without paying homage.