By Anton Constantinou
Welcome to Dublin: home of great castles, top pubs and, of course, Guinness. Anyone who’s ever visited Ireland’s capital will tell you what a great place it is. It’s pretty, friendly, arty, easy to get to and not exactly short of a celebrity. Famous Dubliners include the novelist, Samuel Beckett, poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde and singer, Sinead O’Connor. Not that you’ll run into any of them there.
Three of our colleagues who’ve recently been to Dublin had plenty of great things to say about it. Their combined accounts bring together some of the best places to eat, drink and stay in the city, whether you’re travelling for business, or simply for pleasure. Included are some top sightseeing spots and cultural landmarks.
For a city break
Caroline Saunders – Group Head of Marketing
I was whisked away to Dublin on a weekend break, and would definitely visit again. What struck me about the city is how well connected it is. We had trains, trams and buses on our doorstep and booking an Uber was just as easy.
We stayed at Premier Suites Dublin Ballsbridge. I absolutely loved this property. It’s situated just outside the city centre, which makes for a quiet escape. Our one bedroom apartment was bright, well lit, and made me feel right at home. Its cheery, candy coloured decor instantly makes you think of summer. Two bedroom suites are also available at this property.
To our delight, we were greeted with a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine on arrival. We also had a Nespresso coffee machine in our apartment, ideal for a morning pick-me-up. Given how keen we were to get out and about exploring, a sit-down breakfast didn’t seem overly appealing. Thankfully there was a grab and go option of pastries and yoghurts available.
The property’s location couldn’t have been more ideal. There’s a whole host of exceptional bars, pubs and restaurants right on the doorstep. We popped in for a drink at the tastefully furnished, The Bridge 1859, which is just a 5 minute amble down the road. Dublin is famously the home of Guinness, but the Bridge is home to Pilsner Urquell’s revolutionary tank beer system that allows them to serve fresh unpasteurised beer. It’s certainly worth popping in and giving it a try. We’d also been told great things about Roly’s Bistro, which is just next door, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to sample their award-winning menu.
We were a twenty minute drive away from Temple Bar, Dublin’s cultural quarter, and a twelve minute walk from the Aviva Stadium. An Uber ride to Temple Bar only cost us €20, but we could easily have taken a train or bus as well. Sandymount railway station, for example, is walking distance from Premier Suites Dublin Ballsbridge, and takes you straight to Temple Bar via Tara Street Station. A regular bus service is also available, and stops right outside the property. That being said, our driver was super helpful. Without being prompted, he recommended lots of things for us to do. Dublin’s a friendly place, so we weren’t too surprised. As for the Aviva stadium, it’s a must-visit, being the home of Irish rugby and all. We didn’t take in a game, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do so on your next trip.
Temple Bar is where you’ll find a lot of Dublin’s best attractions like The National Wax Museum Plus, the Gallery of Photography and the Jam Art Factory. It’s located on the River Liffey, close to central Dublin, and is full of great pubs and restaurants.
Venturing over to the beautiful St Stephen’s Green city park, we went for dinner at L’Ecrivain: a Michelin-starred French restaurant with great interiors, and equally impressive cuisine. Here you’ll find classic Irish dishes with a gourmet twist, and a no-nonsense drinks list of cocktails and craft beers. We opted for the Dinner Tasting Menu, which was delicious.
For our second night we dined at a local eatery called Rustic Stone. Keeping things simple, this restaurant prides itself on seasonally-sourced ingredients. Guests are invited to cook their own food on a hot volcanic stone, which adds a nice touch of theatre to the overall dining experience. This method apparently harks back to an old Spanish cooking technique. I ordered a steak, and can safely say it’s one of the best I’ve ever had.
The Guinness Storehouse was easily one of the trip’s main highlights. This brewery experience tells the story of Ireland’s most famous beer and includes some excellent tastings. During the tour we learnt how Guinness is made, the history behind it, and also tried various different varieties of Guinness.
From a marketing standpoint, I was simply blown away by the insight you get into the Guinness brand itself. Some of the creative strategies behind it are genius.
The storehouse is set over seven floors, with a rooftop bar at the top. Getting there is fairly straightforward. It’s located in St James’s Gate, just off the south quays of Dublin, and roughly a twenty minute drive from where we stayed.
Given the opportunity, we would also have visited the Dublin Mountains. These historic hills are excellent for hiking, and provide a tranquil break from the hustle and the bustle of the city. Visitors are led across a long distance trail called Dublin Mountains Way, which begins in the village of Shankill. The views are spectacular, as is the landscape you encounter along the way. The mountains can be visited as part of a day trip which takes you all the way from Dublin to Wicklow National Park. Ireland’s famous for its countryside, so you’d be foolish not to take some of it in on foot.
For a business trip
Kurtis Murphy – Senior Partner Account Manager
I recently flew to Dublin on a business trip. My stay was centred on the accommodation itself – moving between apartment buildings, I got a keen sense of what the city’s like from a corporate living standpoint. My stay included visits to two Premier Suites properties and a further Staycity one.
First up on my list was Premier Suites Dublin Sandyford. This property is ideal for anyone working in the Sandyford Business Park, given how close it is. Conveniently, it’s also a twenty minute tram ride from the city centre.
While I didn’t have a car, I took comfort in knowing that this property provides on-site parking. There are one, two and three bedroom apartments available, all of which are modern and include a fully equipped kitchen and living area. There’s nothing worse than a gloomy apartment. Thankfully this property sees a lot of light, due to its floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests also have the luxury of balcony access.
Keen for a bit of a wander, I came across a rather nice coffee house nearby called the Barista’s Café. It’s nothing flash or pretentious, but definitely does the trick if you’re after a good brew en-route to a meeting or conference.
Next up on list was Premier Suites Plus Dublin Leeson Street. This property offers corporate serviced accommodation in Saint Kevin’s, close to the Harcourt tram stop. Getting there by tram from Sandyford is easy. All you need to do is walk to Stillorgan station, hop on a tram to Harcourt, and continue on foot to Leeson Street. It may sound complicated, but the total journey time is less than half an hour.
What I liked most about the Lesson Street property is the balance you get between modern and traditional. Although purpose-built, it finds a home within a Georgian-style apartment building. All rooms are immaculately furnished and use just the right amount of low key lighting. In my kitchenette I had a microwave, oven and dishwasher. Sadly I didn’t do much cooking. I did however make great use of the free Wi-Fi provided, catching up on emails and what have you. Similarly to Premier Suites Dublin Sandyford, this property also features on-site parking.
In the immediate vicinity of Leeson Street are some beautiful green spaces. Iveagh Gardens, for example, dates back to the Victorian times and backs onto The National Concert Hall. Its landscaped grounds make for an inspiring walk. St. Stephen’s Green is equally as pretty. It includes an ornamental lake, waterfall and children’s playground.
With the Premier Suites viewings out the way, it was time to head to Staycity Dublin Saint Augustine Street: an excellently located Staycity property in Smithfield. Business travellers will have no problem in getting there from Dublin International Airport, given that it’s only 14 miles away. A regular bus service also runs along the river. The 24-hour reception at Saint Augustine is a big bonus, as is the on-site parking.
Guests have a choice of one, two and three bedroom apartments containing zip and link beds and fully equipped kitchens. Zip and link beds are a great option for children or large groups who don’t feel comfortable sleeping together. As an added extra, the living areas also feature sofa beds.
For a special occasion
Alison Makosz – Group Head of Partner Relationships
My birthday trip to Dublin in 2016 was so much fun. My husband and I did loads, even though we were only there for a short period of time.
As far as restaurants go, Jo’Burger was a big winner in my books. It’s in Castle Market, next to Temple Bar, and is definitely worth checking out. The burger I ate was one of the best I’ve ever had. As I recall, I went for the phiri burger, which contained red onion marmalade and rocket. You get to choose your bread, which is great. Being the gym goer that I am, I took mine half nude – in other words, with a single bun.
Ordering it was the fun part. The menu is basically an old Encyclopaedia Britannica, with the dishes tucked away inside. I remember using an Encyclopaedia as a child, so the experience was all very nostalgic. I washed my burger down with an awesome homemade hibiscus and ginger lemonade, while my husband ordered a beer.
With our stomachs lined, it was time to hit the theatre. We had tickets booked to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. I love the film, so was very excited for the production. Bob, the cat who appears in the story, was easily the star of the show. He never put a “paw” wrong.
Nearby by the theatre is a great restaurant called the HQ Gastrobar. This place is as trendy as they come. Its leather sofas, wooden shelving units and wall art provide a smart yet cosy ambience. The cocktails we ordered were awesome.
High up on my list of things to see in Dublin was the Jameson Factory. This distillery turned tourist attraction is every whiskey connoisseur’s dream. We learnt loads during the course of our 40 minute tasting tour, even if we were a little tipsy by end. At €18.00 per head, the tour is great value for money. If you do decide to go, don’t leave without visiting the gift shop. It was there that my husband and I managed to get our hands on an amazing personalised bottle of Jameson 12 Year Old Distillery, made out in my name. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present.
I could talk all day about the joys of Temple Bar. In a nutshell, it’s where the action is going down. There are nightclubs, bars, pubs and restaurants all in walking distance of each other, meaning it’s great for birthdays or large group gatherings. For a true flavour of the area, you’re best off visiting the Temple Bar itself. This legendary venue is as Irish as they come. It’s lively, old fashioned and has live music playing all day. It isn’t huge, but that only makes it more intimate.
Dublin exceeded my expectations, for sure. I have no hesitation in returning, and would highly recommend it anyone looking for a great city to escape to.