Arriving early on Friday afternoon permits you the opportunity to settle into your accommodations, get the lay of the land and slip out to your immediate or preferred environs to take in Dublin’s vaunted pub scene. Besides finding that the Guinness tastes better here than back home, you might also appreciate that Dublin is a place where you can learn plenty of the city’s history and culture in pubs. Take a risk with pub grub that might not sound familiar – there will be ample time later for cuisine.
Saturday morning, you’ll want to get an early start visiting the primary must-see sites of Dublin. Use a map to plan the most effective course to the various sites. The Dublin Bus Tour, Green Bus, is a good option to visit a number of sites efficiently. You’ll find plenty of information about it and other tours at your hotel. You’ll definitely want to take the tour of The Old Jameson Distillery and the romantic past of Irish whiskey; the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin’s No. 1 attraction; and stop to see The Book of Kells, a world famous illuminated manuscript of the Gospels from the Bible written in Latin. It was painstakingly hand-written and illustrated by monks around 800 A.D. and accentuates Ireland’s historic past. Take a break at Temple Bar for grog and grub – it’s Dublin’s most famous, albeit touristy pub. Walk it off in the afternoon having a look at some of the city’s historic and architectural treasures, such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral (where Jonathan Swift’s remains rest), Christ Church Cathedral, the National Botanical Gardens and the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology. You’ll be plenty hungry for dinner, and maybe for a little more culture, too. Consider an Evening of Food, Folklore & Fairies offered by Irish Folk Tours (www.irishfolktours.com) or fine dining at Arch Bistro or the exceptional Chapter One.
Sunday morning, take your breakfast at Mayfield Deli & Eatery or at the Queen of Tarts, and then walk it off either at beautiful Phoenix Park or St. Stephen’s Green, the beautiful urban park made famous by James Joyce’s Ulysses. Alternately, stroll the Dublin Zoo or shop along Grafton Street, the city’s main shopping boulevard, complete with the shops of trendy Irish designers. George’s Street Arcade, roughly comparable to Bond Street, is another good choice, as is taking in more historic sites, such as Trinity College and Dublin Castle, for 700 years the seat of British power in Ireland. Finish your evening with ethnic dining at either the acclaimed Sabor Brazil or Rasam Restaurant, and you’ll find yourself celebrating a very successful trip to the Emerald Isle.
The Merrion Hotel deliciously combines Old World and New, from pleasant doormen always with an umbrella handy to acclaimed modern art exhibited throughout; and from fire-warmed parlors ideal for taking one’s tea to a handy business center and free internet connection. Relaxed grandeur abounds at this five-star centrally located hotel. Two landscaped period gardens, décor and ambiance combine to offer a distinct Irish experience in a luxurious environment. www.merrionhotel.com
The Four Seasons Hotel Dublin has high standards to meet given the Four Seasons flag flying over it, yet it meets and exceeds those expectations. All of the amenities one would expect of a Four Seasons can be found here, including all the tech necessities favored by business travelers, international satellite TV and high-speed internet. But the spacious and luxurious hotel never lets guests forget where they are – with rooms and suites looking out over leafy cityscapes and lush, landscaped parks. Service is also typically exceptional. www.fourseasons.com/Dublin
The Westbury Hotel is one of The Leading Hotels of the World, and rejuvenated by a multi-million euro refurbishment, it is an urban retreat with Dublin city on its doorstep. Located in the heart of Dublin, this stylish, 5-star hotel provides easy access to the city’s best entertainment and business districts. All rooms have been refurbished to offer the best of both modern technology and convenience and intrinsic Irish charm in the form of linens, décor and furnishings. www.doylecollection.com