Girl About Town: Eat, Drink and Sleep Dublin Guide

I constructed this post on the basis that there are two long weekends on their way (thank god!) and you lovely ladies might be looking for an idea for a weekend break.

I made a trip to Dublin in December to visit my cousin Jo, who is currently residing (and occasionally studying) at Trinity College. We managed to pack a lot in to three and a half days but I thought I’d make a suggestion for a place to stay, a place to drink, a place to dine and an activity and then open the floor (what is the blog equivalent in that saying? Keyboard?) for your suggestions as I’m sure there are many of you that know the city well.

So let’s kick off with Where we stayed:

We chose the Trinity Capital Hotel as it was directly opposite Trinity College where my cousin lives. We originally booked it, on recommendation, for logistical ease but it turned out to be a great choice.

The styling is eccentric and it felt like a cross between an early 20th century safari lodge, a Lewis Carroll book and, well, I can’t find any other word for it than imaginarium, really. The lobby and reception areas are filled with (faux) animal skins, gigantic chaise longes, racks of vintage luggage and super-sized arms chairs in sumptuous jewel-coloured velvets. The deep purple walls are adorned with beautiful maps, old and new, every pillar and alcove glitters with tiny mosaic tiles and gilded frames.

Matching black and white baby grand pianos sit in the middle of the lounge, huge mirrors invite you to walk down corridors that don’t exist, gargoyles of what looked like the cast of The Life of Pi perched on the roof outside my window and life-sized camel statues were waiting patiently for the summer to return so they have some company in the central courtyard.

It was one quirky hotel and I loved it! Such a great choice and I’ll definitely be going back. For a twin room in December it was approximately €150 per night, it’s walking distance to all the main areas of the city and, if you catch the bus from the airport to the city centre, it’s a stone’s throw case drag from the bus stop. We paid €12 per person per day for the breakfast buffet and I feel that it was worth the money for the selection and convenience.

We drank quite a few pre-drinks and nightcaps in the hotel as well, as the lounge sofas were just so squashy and inviting. The list isn’t extensive but the cocktails were reasonable for a city centre hotel bar and were tasty.

It’s also worth noting that my aunt, upon check in, was upgraded to a suite. Apparently the check in system picked her at random that day (they do one a day as standard), so that’s one to hope for, if you visit!

Another recommendation was La Stampa, but it was a bit out of my budget for that weekend. Has anyone stayed there? Was it worth a visit?

Where we ate

On our last night, after a trip to the theatre, we followed a recommendation to try The Pig’s Ear and we weren’t disappointed. We arrived at the hot pink door under a black and white striped canopy (how much did I love?) quite late in the evening but the staff were more than accommodating in finding us a table and talking us through the daily offering.

The menu was short but full of tasty dishes served in inventive ways and it was such a cosy setting it almost felt like we were eating at an old friend’s house. The best bit however was when I ordered a cup of tea at the end of the meal. I didn’t think there was a way to be inventive when serving tea. I was wrong! Too cute…

Where we drank:

Jo used the months leading up to our visit to trial a number of bars to take us to, one of which was 37 Dawson Street. This was by far my favourite drinking establishment of the trip. In the same style as the hotel, it was full of quirky artefacts with bemusing drawings and crazy taxidermy adorning the walls, vintage furniture upholstered in a patchwork of clashing colours and a neon sign proclaiming that “All is not what it seems”.

It seems that there is now a cocktail list available but when we visited, they were operating on the basis of “tell us what you like and we’ll make you something you love”. They were however more than happy to make us some classics as well. We drank our concoctions by a heart shaped fireplace, watched over by a giant moose head (that was wearing a giant red nose in honour of the festive season when we visited) before heading to the theatre and it was a fabulous way to start the evening.

We tried to book in for brunch the following day but sadly they didn’t start serving until after our flight check in time. So I suppose there’s another reason to go back. I hear they do an excellent breakfast martini…

What we did

I already mentioned in a previous post that we caught a train from Dublin to Belfast to visit the Titanic: Belfast exhibition, and of course as it was my first time in the city, I just had to pay a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, even if just for the free samples, the advertising display and the views of the city.

However, I think my favourite tourist activity was the walking tour. We try to book one whenever we’re in a city for the first time, and we normally use Sandeman but this time we signed up with a local company that my aunt had used on previous trips. Historical Walking Tours are led by local history graduates and they demonstrate a real passion and knowledge for their subject. I’m ashamed to say I know little to nothing of Irish history so the three hours we spent walking the city were fascinating and went some way to alleviating my ignorance. The tours start at the Trinity College front gates and take in all the major sights including the old Parliament House, Temple Bar, City Hall, Dublin Castle and Christ Church Cathedral.

Next time I visit I hope to see Kilmainham Gaol and there may have been mention of a Leprechaun Museum... hmmmm.

So Findettes – are any of you planning a weekend break in May? If so, let us know where and it may be our fellow readers have some recommendations.

Victoria
x

PS! Find Victoria over on her blog Sugar Plum Slipper or on twitter @VictoriaHale.

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9 thoughts on “Girl About Town: Eat, Drink and Sleep Dublin Guide

  1. I have been to Dublin before, it was a long time ago but I definitely would go back. This post reminded me how much I loved this city and what a great time I had! There was no mention of a pint of Guinness in this post though… when in Rome 🙂

  2. This couldn’t be better timed. I got back from a second trip to Dublin yesterday!
    We stayed in some self-catering apartments sandwiched between the Liffy and Christchurch Cathedral- http://www.staydublin.com. Although they won’t win any prizes for luxury. They were cheap (£60 each for 2 nights, based on four people sharing), clean and central. We also used their secure car park (14 euros a day) which was seriously handy in a city.
    On our first night we went to eat at an Indonesian/Dutch fusion restaurant called The Chameleon (http://chameleonrestaurant.com/). We had been once before and swore we would go back. The food is AMAZING! It’s like Indonesian tapas, you order lots of little dishes and share them. It’s also in the heart of Temple Bar, so easy for a night of bar hopping.
    During the day we did the obligatory trip to The Guiness Storehouse as well as a trip to the Jameson Distillery. I enjoyed both but for different reasons. Guiness is vast and you do feel like you are immersing yourself in something very important. Jameson is much much smaller, but it does teach you the art of making Irish Whiskey. It also felt a bit more personal and less of a conveyor belt. My advice with the Storehouse would be to get there early (as soon as it opens!) it gets busy quickly and lots of people rush to get to the Gravity bar. There are also lots of school parties which can be annoying.
    I would apply the same advice to Trinity College and the Book of Kells. We went mid-afternoon and it was heaving! The book itself isn’t really anything to write home about, but the long room (library) above is stunning and well worth a visit.
    On our last afternoon we walked out to St Stephens Green (an Oasis in a sea of city) and the National Museum. I love a good old Victorian museum and the Natural History part didn’t let me down. It’s nickname is the Dead Zoo and it’s easy to see why. It is stuffed full (literally) of dead animals. It’s creepy and fascinating in equal measure.. It’s also free.
    Shopping wise, Brown Thomas on Grafton Street is a must and I adore Avoca on Suffolk Street (It’s like an Irish Cath Kidston).
    Finally if you are looking for somewhere for a drink, we had a few at The Merchants Arch next to the Ha’Penny bridge. It’s a beautiful old Guildhall that hosts live music every night. The drinks prices where fairly good (Dublin is very expensive!) and the food (traditional pub grub) was pretty good too.
    I would love to go back again. There is so much to see you really need at least four days.
    Hope my suggestions are helpful 🙂
    A xxx

  3. Oh this is such great timing for me! We’re planning a couple of days in Dublin at some point over the next few months so it’s lovely to have some recommendations for when we are there. I’m bookmarking this, so when I come to book a hotel and places to eat I’ll know where to come.

    Thanks so much Victoria x

  4. That hotel sounds/looks like so much fun! I’ve been to Dublin, but only for a few hours- I now definitely want to go back and stay there for a while longer. x

  5. Dublin is an old haunt of mine but it’s been a while since I’ve done some ‘toursity’ things there. I’m doing a stop-over there in the summer on the way to America and I’ve never been to the Gaol so I might try that. Apparently you can do a Literary Pubs Crawl – err, sounds perfect!

    http://www.dublinpubcrawl.com/

  6. oooo catching up on my fave blogs (has been a busy week) this post is perfect timing we have just booked to go to Dublin for Mr H’s birthday 🙂

    Your reader’s tips are invaluable I found myself unexpectedly in Glasgow just before our wedding and visited the butterfly and pig thanks to a fab recommendation from one of your readers – it did not disappoint here is a sneaky peek of the fab afternoon tea on offer http://gwensbridalbazaar.com/dress-disaster-to-glamorous-gown-in-glasgow/

    Thanks to the findette who recommended it

    Helen xx

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