- County Dublin,
- County Galway,
Well, I am attempting to go with my boyfriend. I plan to see as much of the landscape as I can. Giants Causeway, the Blarney Stone, the guiness brewery for sure. I plan to accomplish is to find a job, get a reasonable place to live or stay.
Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: 353 1 643 7000
Such was the demand for the Morgan hotel's 66 rooms, the Temple Bar property decided to expand in 2005, adding 40 new deluxe bedrooms, plus 15 long-stay apartments, in an annex called Home@The Morgan. The contrast does no favors to the old standard rooms, whose beechwood beds, yellow walls, and red carpeting are looking distinctly faded, though the original deluxes and junior suites still look spiffy—they're cream from floor to ceiling, with a single splash of color in the headboards of the Ligne Roset beds. That said, the new rooms are the ones to book: They add a little Baroque to the mix, with gilt-framed Louis XV headboards and closets clad in mirrors etched with flowers. In addition, the Morgan Bar, with its sprawling tan-leather couches and cherry red chairs, has grown, and there's a new tapas bar-restaurant. The expansion didn't run to a new spa, though guests can get in-room massages and aromatherapy treatments. For a hotel so central to Temple Bar, the double-glazing does a good job of dampening the noise, but as a package, the Morgan is mixed.—Gail Harrington; updated by Pól Ó Conghaile
Fitzwilliam Hotel, Ireland
Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: 353 1 478 7000
As chic as it is elite—designer Terence Conran wouldn't have it any other way—the 139-room Fitzwilliam hotel has a split personality in terms of view, so be clear what you'd prefer when booking. Out front, deluxe rooms look out onto the greenery, lake, and general tranquility (if you don't count quacking ducks) of St. Stephen's Green; out back, executive rooms flank a courtyard garden. Conran's design is baronial moderne, with a lobby defined by purple carpets, Barcelona sandstone, and a black-and-white tiled catwalk leading to a contemporary "keep" containing the hotel bar, the Inn on the Green. The style-fest continues here, with young execs and hotel guests shooting the breeze with friendly barmen over a lovely pewter counter, and in the laid-back Citron restaurant, a lively, lemon-and-lime-colored bistro on the mezzanine level (the fine dining option is Kevin Thornton's eponymous, Michelin-starred restaurant). Upstairs, the Fitzwilliam's bedrooms have been refurbished but remain the epitome of good taste. American walnut, Paul Smith fabrics, and purple satin headboards define a design environment in which everything is specced, right down to the apples in the hallways. For the big splurge, a slick two-bedroom penthouse is the city's most expensive suite, decorated with red leather furnishings, black wooden floors, and a grand piano (rock stars at Dublin's O2 venue are regular guests). A leather wall retracts to reveal an enormous plasma screen: Blofeld, eat your heart out.—Gail Harrington; updated by Pól Ó Conghaile
Cashel House Hotel, County Galway, Ireland
Tel: 353 95 31001
Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: 353 1 478 0766
Whelan's dates from 1772, so when the current owner bought the place in 1999, you could see why he vowed not to develop it into a tacky "superpub." For a time, too, the vow was kept. Whelan's boasts a magically intimate live venue (Nick Cave, the Fleet Foxes, and local heroes the Redneck Manifesto have all electrified audiences here), and an infamous lock-in was presided over by local musicians like Paddy Casey and recent Oscar-winner Glen Hansard. Then came the expansion, which opened up several extra rooms to drinkers. The pub retains its original 18th-century portal (replete with open fire, wooden bar, and, yes, wallpapered ceiling), and the venue is rockin' as ever, but let's be blunt. It's a superpub. An indie superpub, maybe, but a superpub nonetheless.
Doheny & Nesbitt, Ireland
Dublin 4, Ireland
Tel: 353 1 676 2945
Long-time regulars just call it Nesbitt's, and so should you. Dublin is full of pubs, but there's nothing like the character of this landmark watering hole, serving up drinks since 1867. It's the real deal, with carved timber, old wooden floors, and an ornate papier-mâché ceiling, plus snugs (tiny, semiprivate rooms just off the bar) and partitioned areas favored by politicians and economists. Nesbitt's is around the corner from the Dáil (Ireland's Parliament), and they say that decisions about the economy are made here on a daily basis. So, people-watch with wild expectations—Gorbachev, Bono, and Nobel Prize–winning poet Seamus Heaney have all tipped a pint here (although not together—yet). There's pretty good pub food on weekdays, including shepherd's pie, hearty soups, and tasty grilled-cheese sandwiches. Patrons have even coined their own noun: "Nesbittspeak."
Cherche Midi, Ireland
Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: 353 1 675 3974
Named after owner Frances O'Gorman's favorite shoe-shopping street in Paris, Cherche Midi will appeal to female shoe addicts who favor quirky colors and standout footwear from the likes of London designers Vivienne Westwood, Emma Hope, and Jane Brown, as well as Kate Spade, Sonia Rykiel, Givenchy, and Christian Lacroix (it's not all big bills, though—wellies are available from €25). Hats are a specialty, too, scattered as they are throughout the shoes, and the store's bright pink and black exterior advertises an unexpected, though completely logical, ancillary service: the nail parlor upstairs.Open Mondays through Wednesdays 10 am to 6 pm, Thursdays 10 am to 8 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm.
Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: 353 1 677 4215
In 1974, the Pratt family stepped in to save an 18th-century wool mill in Avoca, in County Wicklow, from being turned into a holiday complex. Thirty-five years later, they run Grand Central Station for yummy mummies. Avoca's Suffolk Street store is the only one in Dublin's city center, set on four floors rising from a basement food hall through areas devoted to clothing, kitchenware, accessories, and toys. Amanda Pratt's Anthology label marries rustic frills with free-flowing fashion; mohair scarves and rugs come from the original Wicklow mill; and other merchandise ranges from polka-dot luggage to kiddie gardening tools. It's pricey and overpopulated but remains a lovely place to be—particularly if you manage a hearty Irish lunch at Avoca Café on the top floor.
Open Mondays through Wednesdays 10 am to 6 pm, Thursdays 10 am to 8 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm, and Sundays 11 am to 6 pm.
See + Do
Meeting House Square, Ireland
Tel: 353 1 677 2255
There's almost always something happening in this Temple Bar square: live theater during lunchtime on weekdays, outdoor movies, and Irish music. Most events are free but require a ticket (limit of four). The website provides the current schedule and instructions on how to apply for tickets beforehand. Alternatively, arrive early and stand in the non-ticket-holder's line, to pick up any leftover spots after ticket-holders are seated. The square also has a great food market on Saturdays, with organic foods from small Irish growers and ready-to-eat treats including Atlantic oysters, burritos, and sushi.
See + Do
Guinness Storehouse, Ireland
Tel: 353 1 408 4800
Tour the laboratory to taste and smell the raw ingredients, and learn from the professional tasters. But everyone knows the real draw here: the complimentary pint of Guinness served with 360-degree views of Dublin from the 130-foot-high glassed-in Gravity Bar.
See + Do
Dublinia and the Viking World, Ireland
Tel: 353 1 679 4611
Do it for the kids, but don't be surprised if you enjoy Dublinia, too. This permanent exhibition depicts ancient Dublin with street reconstructions, artifacts like primitive tools and a female skeleton, and fascinating audio descriptions. Visitors can explore a merchant's shop, step aboard a medieval ship, and—in the interactive Viking World display—even try on Viking garb while learning about the lifestyle and influence of these seafaring warriors who settled in early Dublin.
See + Do
Abbey Theatre, Ireland
Tel: 353 1 878 7222
Opened by W. B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory in 1904, the Abbey—Ireland's national theater—was created to showcase Irish culture. Rebuilt in 1966, the 628-seat Abbey presents the plays of Ireland's most-famed and emerging playwrights, while the Peacock, a 157-seat venue downstairs, features newer, more experimental productions.
Chapter One, Ireland
Dublin 1, Ireland
Tel: 353 1 873 2266
Chapter One serves cutting-edge Irish cooking in the basement of what was once the home of John Jameson, the man behind Ireland's most famous whiskey, and is now Dublin's Writers Museum. Chef Ross Lewis is well known for his slow food philosophy, and dishes like hake with crushed Jerusalem artichoke, Morteau sausage, shellfish, lemon butter and tarragon emulsion, or slow-cooked spring lamb with organic parsnip puree, spring vegetables, capers, and mint, bear that out deliciously. Lewis's staunchly loyal clientele is proof of this place's well-deserved popularity. And while cutting-edge doesn't come cheap, there are excellent lunch and pre-theater options (served from 6 to 7:45 pm, from €30 for two courses).
Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 12:30 to 2 pm and 6 to 11 pm.