If you’re looking for a city break, where you can let your hair down and trip the light fantastic, indulge in some luxury, and be treated as warmly as a local, Dublin’s your kind of town.
It’s got it all in bucket loads; from ancient buildings to a pub culture that’s the envy of other world capitals, there is something for everyone.
Grab your bags and let’s go. There is so much to discover about this Viking stronghold.
The sustenance of life
In a city where the craic never stops, Dublin’s bar and restaurant scene is every bit as exciting as its clubs and gigs. Temple Bar (templebar.ie) remains the party district of the city, and if you’re there, you have to give Elephant and Castle a try (elephantandcastle.ie). This diner has a justified reputation for serving the best chicken wings in the city (some think in the world) and it attracts locals as well as visitors in droves. You’re most likely to wait for a table (reservations can be made for tables of six or more) and you’re spoilt for choice to while away a twenty-minute wait in one of the numerous pubs in very close proximity.
For those who like exploring, Wexford Street in Dublin 2 is fast gaining a reputation as the location with an underground restaurant scene. Pubs, bars and restaurants on this street are all of a high standard and plugged into Dublin’s vibe, and the standout star is Las tapas de Lola (lastapasdelola.com/). No adjective will do justice to the D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. authentic Spanish tapas this small restaurant turns out. Eat there once and the bar will be set forevermore on how you rate tapas.
Let the music play
Ireland might be a small… island… of four million people, but it is the largest consumer of live music in the world. You’ll have your pick of gigs, from headline acts that pack stadiums to pub gigs that showcase the best up and coming student bands. Dublin also showcases traditional Irish music in some of the most atmospheric pubs you could wish for. A traditional music festival is held in the city every year (templebartrad.com/).
Dublin punches way above its weight with its spas, and most are built with men and women in mind. Treatments making use of the latest cosmetic science as well as massages by highly trained therapists are on offer and many spas come with a heated swimming pool and sauna facilities. For a real treat, The Spa at The Shelbourne (shelbournespa.ie/), located within one of Dublin’s oldest five star hotels, is an indulgence you won’t soon forget. On a more modest budget, relaxation and pampering can still be yours if you wonder off the beaten track down one of Temple Bar’s cobbled side streets. Melt (meltonline.com/) offers a full menu of treatments and is a real sanctuary for visitors looking to take a break from the city’s pace.
Stars of the stage
It might not rival the size of The West End or Broadway, but Dublin’s theatre scene is in rude health. The large musicals regularly tour through the city and are on stage at Bord Gais Energy Theatre bordgaisenergytheatre.ie/) but the city’s thespians really come into their own when staging works from esteemed playwrights, of all nationalities, which can be seen at The Gate (gatetheatre.ie/). The Abbey Theatre (abbeytheatre.ie/) has a particular interest in bringing new Irish artists to the stage, both writers and actors. For experimental theatre, music and dance, Project Arts is the venue to head to (projectartscentre.ie/). The Gaiety Theatre (gaietytheatre.ie/) is just off of Grafton Street and has a full program throughout the year. Visit over the festive season, and you can watch Dublin’s pantomime staged here.
If you have a spare million… or two
One of Dublin’s great pleasures is that you can move between the city and the countryside in jig time. About half an hour from the city centre, not in Dublin anymore but in the county of Kildare instead, is The Irish National Stud (irishnationalstud.ie/). The love affair between Ireland and horses is well-known and The National Stud runs tours that bring this love affair to life. It’s a working breeding farm too, so lots of little foals could be on show. With a spare million or two, you could purchase the next Grand National winner! The grounds are also home to a beautifully maintained Japanese garden and photo opportunities abound here.
Pop over. One thing’s for sure; once you’ve been to Dublin, you’ll always come back!