Experience authentic Georgian elegance is this large bright studio apartment, overlooking park. Accommodates two in cosy sleeping loft. Light a fire, cook dinner in the designer kitchen, and then head out to enjoy the attractions of the city.
Come and have an authentic experience in one of Dublin's special Georgian apartments, situated on Mountjoy Square, in the heart of Dublin's North Georgian core, and just minutes from O'Connell Street.
This large studio apartment is on the first floor of a beautiful redbrick townhouse, built in 1792. Both house and apartment retain all their original features, combined with modern comforts.
The apartment has three full-length windows overlooking the gardens of Mountjoy Square. It has a working Georgian grey marble fireplace with a spectacular gilt over-mantle mirror. The fully equipped kitchen has a granite worktop, a gas hob, electric oven, dishwasher and microwave.
The rest of the apartment is comfortably furnished with period furniture, including a square Georgian dining table and four matching chairs, a comfortable Victorian antique Chesterfield sofa, TV & DVD player along with an iPod/iPhone dock for music. there are pashminas and Kashmir hand-loomed wool wraps, for cosy evenings in front of the fire.
The bedroom is upstairs and overlooks the apartment. It has a comfortable double mattress, goose down duvet and pillows, and pure cotton sheets. Read in comfort with vintage Anglepoise reading lights. Please note there is restricted headroom in the sleeping loft- 5'10-1/2", and consequently the bed is low.
The bathroom has a high-pressure shower and loads of storage space.
A single, contract-quality foldaway bed, or a single, memory-foam mattress, and extra linens are available for a third guest. Please see photos.
A surcharge of €10, to cover the cost of the extra laundry, applies for the use of the apartment as a twin. This will be collected in cash upon arrival.
• You will receive a welcome pack of the basics- quality tea, coffee, home-made granola and preserves, fruit, yoghurt, juice, milk and free-range eggs.
• 100% cotton bed linen and towels are provided
• Local tourist information and guide books available
• Free wi-fi
• Large flat-screen TV and DVD player, with selection of Irish themed DVD's
• IPod/Iphone dock for music and charging
• Library of Irish-themed books
• Playing cards and board games
• Hair dryer
• Fuel, at cost price, is available for the fire, if required.
• Washing machine and dryer are available in the building- €10:00 charge
CHECK-IN IS FROM 3pm, and CHECK-OUT IS BY 11am, please. We are happy to take in your luggage earlier. Please let us have your flight/arrival details, so that we can plan our day around being here to greet you.
The house is perfectly located for exploring the city; all of the city's cultural institutions are within walking distance and the transport connections are excellent.
Airport bus (41) passes door, 8 min. walk to LUAS Red line, DART, (Connolly and Tara) and city busses. Dublin Bikes stand opposite house.
KARIN'S GUIDE TO THE CITY
LOCAL GROCERY SHOPPING, SERVICES AND BREAKFAST OPTIONS
In general, shopping hours are 9.30-6pm, with late-night shopping till 8pm on Thursdays. Sunday opening is from noon.
The Kingfisher Café, a Dublin institution, on the corner of Parnell Square and Parnell Street West is great for a 'Full Irish Breakfast', and numerous variations, including porridge. Everything is cooked to order and the sraff are professional and friendly. Breakfast served 9am-12:30, 7 days a week. Later in the day they have excellent fish and chips.
Koffee and Kale, on the corner of Hill Street and Gardiner Place, two blocks away has great coffee and pastries, and soup/salad/sandwiches at lunchtime.
LOCAL GROCERY SHOPPING
Tops in Pops, just down the street to the right, for fresh local produce and basic groceries, 8.30am to 6pm Monday to Saturday. They are a fourth-generation local business, who have been trading on the site since 1931. The Londis corner store next door opens 8am to 10pm, but charge for privilege. There is an ATM machine at the back, right hand side of the store.
Dunne's Stores, is the indigenous supermarket and department store chain, and has branches in every sizeable town throughout the country. There are two local branches. In North Earl Street, opposite O’Connell Street’s Spire, the Off-Licence (liquor store) is in a separate premises, a few doors apart - look for the James Joyce statue. You will find a bigger branch in the ILAC Shopping Centre, flanked by Henry Street, Moore Street and Parnell Street West .
There is Metro Tesco on Parnell Street West, just past the Rotunda Hospital. A main branch is to be found in the basement of the Jervis Centre, off Henry Street.
Carney’s Butchers, is another multi-generational local family business, which prides itself on the quality of its meat. In keeping with local tradition, they sell fresh fish on Friday’s.
F.X. Buckley’s Butchers have two local branches; Moore Street and Talbot Street. This is a very old Dublin business and they have everything; free-range pork, beef and lamb from their own herds, poultry, game in season and fish, and, in the Moore Street branch, a deli counter for cooked meats next door. They are very obliging, and the lads have a great line in smart (sassy) chat.
Foley's Pharmacy on Parnell Street East is a 100+ year-old family business; they are very helpful. Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 9am 6pm. Michael recently (May 2017) won the National 'Community Pharmacist of the Year' award, and a nicer, kinder, or more helpful man you will never meet....
There is a late-night pharmacy, Hickey’s at 55 Lower O’Connell Street, (west side, within the block closest to the river). Opening hours: 8am -10pm M-F, 8.30am-10pm Saturday. 10am 10pm Sunday. Web: (EMAIL HIDDEN)
Nearest Post Office is Parnell Street East, at corner of Marlborough Street, but much nicer is the GPO, O’Connell Street. 1828 façade, but badly damaged in the 1916 Rising, and largely rebuilt in 1928. The main hall is beautiful, with its entire original, 1928, fittings intact. It also contains the iconic statue, by Oliver Shepherd, The Dying Cuchullin. You will find a booklet with postal rates in the black folder.
Allied Irish Bank has a branch on O’Connell Street, at the SW junction with Parnell Street, opposite the Rotunda Hospital. ATM in the wall.
Bank of Ireland has a branch at Lower O’Connell Street, on the east side of the street, between Middle Abbey Street and Ashton Quay. ATM inside, opens
MEDICAL AND DENTAL PRACTICES
Mountjoy Medical Practice, Dr. Gerry Roebuck, Dr. Holly Porter (female) Dr. Colm Killeen. 2-3 Baker’s Yard, Portland Street North. Tel (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN).
Opening hours 9-1.30 and 3.30-5.30. You can just drop in. €50 per visit. (Five blocks away, going North East)
Frederick Dental Clinic, North Frederick Street.
The dentist is happy to see people on an emergency basis. Call for appointment.
Tel:(PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN) blocks away, going West)
'The Cobalt Cafe', in a beautiful Georgian house on North Great Georges Street, which doubles as a gallery, is great for lunch. Parnell Street, Dublin's emerging 'Chinatown' is just a half a block to the south.
Newly opened, on Parnell Square West is 'Mr Fox', serving modern Irish food in a smart and comfortable setting, by the same team who operate Dublin's much lauded 'The Pig's Ear' on Nassau Street, overlooking the Trinity College playing fields..
'147 Cafe' at 147, Parnell Street East, opp the Marlborough Street junction, serve good Illy coffee, and great sandwiches, daytime hours.
Nearer the river, 'Le Bon Crubeen' (crubeen=pig's trotter- it's a modern Franco-Irish restaurant) is on Talbot Street, as is the venerable and immensely popular 'Talbot 101'. It is packed to the gunnels with locals between 5.54 and 7.15, enjoying their pre-theatre supper before the Abbey curtains rise at 7.30, when they relinquish their seats for the rest of us!
On the riverfront, I love Panem, facing the Millennium Bridge, for a quick coffee and a delicious Sicilian almond biscuit, baked on the premises. A few doors down, you'll find a cluster of Italian bars, cafes and restaurants serving good quality food. Half a block to the east is the trendy 'Winding Stairs' restaurant, with its book-lined walls (relics of a former second-hand bookshop-cum-cafe of the same name); The woollen Mills on the corner of Liffey street does great casual food, including excellent brunch. Back on Capel Street, locals rave about Brother Hubbard, and the Soup Dragon, for lunch.
Blas cafe in the Chocolate Factory, on Kings Inn Street, off Parnell Street West has an interesting, casual menu, in a bright, spacious and funky former factory (daytime).
LOCAL PUBS include the 'Hill 16' just opposite the house, on Gardiner Street - very popular with the GAA crowd on match days (the Gaelic Athletic Association Stadium, Croke Park, is just 3 blocks to the east), they pull a superb 'pint'.
‘The Heritage Parnell’, on Parnell Street West, just around the corner from O’Connell Street, does 'pub grub'.
'The Flowing Tide', on the corner of Marlborough Street, opposite the Abbey Theatre, is one of my favorites - after the curtain goes down in the Abbey, half the cast are likely to be at the bar.
A few doors closer to O’Connell Street is Mulligan’s, another very nice pub, dating from the Edwardian era.
'The Church' on Mary Street, in a converted 1720's church, is another fine place for a drink; the former owner won many accolades for the high quality of the restoration.
Capel Street has many typical local pubs, which have the added benefit of serving a largely local population. They include 'O’Neill’s' and 'Slattery's which is good for music. 'The Black Sheep' has the local craft beers covered, and does good bar food, (as does its sister pub, ‘The Brew Dock’, on Store Street, at the bottom of Gardiner Street.
The north side traditional music 'musician’s' bar is 'The Cobblestone', at the top of Smithfield, and is suitably grungy.
DEPARTMENT STORES AND FASHION
Henry Street, off O’Connell Street, at the SPIRE, is the premier shopping street on the north side of the river. Here you will find Arnott’s the local department store, which highlights Irish fashion and design, throughout the store, and has several nice cafes. Henry Street also contains large branches of Debenhams and Marks&Spencers, as well as branches of most of the high street fashion chains. There are two large shopping centres, the Jervis, with a large branch of Tesco’s in the Basement, and the ILAC, which has a Dunne's Department Store, with a Food Hall in the basement. (You can shop for fresh produce on adjacent Moore Street, Dublin's oldest street market, now also home to a thriving cluster of ethnic food markets and restaurants.)
NORTHSIDE CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS
The North side of Parnell Square is home to the city's Hugh Lane Gallery of Modern Art; we share a significant collection of Impressionist painting with the Tate Gallery in London, part of the Hugh Lane Bequest, which is rotated in seven-year cycles. (The cafe, overlooking an interior garden, is called 'Hatch'; the original is in the basement of the 'Little Museum of Dublin' on St. Stevens Green). Next door is the Writer's Centre, and next door again, is the Writer's Museum, with a Michelin-starred restaurant in the basement, the amazing Chapter One.
Down on the East side of Parnell Square is the beautiful jewel-box that is the Gate Theatre - part of the 18th-century entertainment complex established by the entrepreneurial Dr. Bartholomew, to help support his new Rotunda Maternity Hospital (the oldest purpose-built such hospital in the world, and still delivering babies on a daily basis, 270 years later (9000 in 2012).
You could be seated in either the Abbey or Gate Theatres within 10 minutes of leaving the house, and the James Joyce Cultural Centre is even closer, on North Great Georges Street (don't forget to check out the Cobalt Cafe, opposite).
Hop on the Luas Red Line, going west, in Abbey Street, halfway between Mountjoy Square and the river, and alight ‘Museum’ stop. The National Museum, Collins Barracks, housed in an old military barracks, dating from 1702, contains the Decorative Arts Collections, (basically, everything post 1700). Descend at the next stop, ‘Heuston’ for IMMA, Ireland's National Museum of Modern Art, housed in the old Kilmainham Hospital, built in the1660’s. It pre-dates its more famous sibling, the Chelsea Hospital, in London by several years.
Not to be missed is the Old Jameson Distillery, in Smithfield. Jameson was distilled here until 1971, when three historic distilleries amalgamated, and centralized distilling in Midleton, Co. Cork. The Museum is very well presented; one is guided around the distilling floor, among the huge old pot stills before retiring to the Bar to sample the goods.
Nearby is one of the oldest churches in Dublin, St.Michan’s, on Church Street, dating from the mid-11thC. There are several mummified bodies in the basement, thought to be Crusaders. When I was a child, one was allowed to shake their hands…..
In the south city centre, the RESTAURANT HUB is in the pedestrian streets to either side of Grafton Street, and in Temple Bar. Particular favourites of mine include:
* The Pig's Ear, Nassau Street
* Nede, Temple Bar Square
* Eden Bar and Grill, South William Street
* The Green Hen, Wicklow Street
* Fallon and Byrne, Exchequer Street, basement wine-bar, full service restaurant first- floor, and coffee bar within the food-hall on the ground floor.
* Fade Street Social, Fade Street, tapas bar and full-service restaurant.
* The Rustic Stone, Exchequer Street, upmarket, sophisticated and healthy ‘fast food’.
* Cornucopia, Wicklow Street- vegetarian café day, full service by evening.
* The Port House, South William Street, wine bar and tapas.
* Stanley's, St. Andrew Street, off Wicklow Street- wine bar and full service
* Pinxto, Crowe Street, Temple Bar, as above, same management.
* Cleaver East, Clarence Hotel - chef Oliver Dunne had a Michelin star in the parent restaurant, Bon Appetit, Malahide village, until he decided to hand it back and get a life
Southside city-centre TRADITIONAL PUBS we like are:
* Mulligan's, Poolbeg Street
* Neary's, Chatham Street
* Grogan’s, South William Street
* International Bar, Wicklow Street
* O'Neill's, Suffolk Street
* The Dawson Lounge, Dawson Street
* The Stag's Head, Connaught Court
* The Long Hall, South Great Georges Street
* Doheny and Nesbitt’s, Merrion Row
* Kehoe’s, South Anne Street
* The Duke, Duke Street
Fronting the river, TEMPLE BAR, with its vibrant mix of independent shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs, markets and cultural institutions occupies an area three blocks deep and ten blocks long. At the western end, look out for the two branches of the Queen of Tarts- a wonderful tea shop that offers really good home baking and teas and coffees, all served on mismatched antique china (Lord Edward Street and Cow's Lane). Piglet Wine Bar, on the same pedestrian street had a lovely wine selection and great tapas, at good prices.
TEMPLE BAR FARMERS MARKET, is held every Saturday in Meeting House Square, 9-4.30, now has a smart new tensile roof for wet days, and is a good place to rub shoulders with the locals, whilst sampling local food culture. Don’t miss the Oyster Stall, , or David Llewyllan’s fantastic ‘Double L’ local cider- 100% apple (not even water), and the two local cheese stalls, among others. Don’t’ forget to check out the overflow stalls on Curved Street, where Rossa Crowe’s fantastic bread is on offer- Rossa took himself off to France for two years to train, and now produces slow fermented breads, made with the very best organic flours.
SOUTHSIDE CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS
TRINITY COLLEGE is a good orientation point; from here it is easy to find the mediaeval core, the cultural/political hub of the country around Kildare Street, and the Grafton Street fashion hub.
The campus occupies a 40-acre (16ha.) site, and is over 400 years old, though what one sees today are mainly beautiful eighteenth-century buildings. It is worth a wander around, after a visit to spectacular Long Library, to see the Book of Kells and other illustrated Celtic manuscripts.
From Front Gate, look south to Grafton Street or west up College Green and Dame Street, which lead to the mediaeval core. At the brow of the hill you will find:
* Dublin Castle (visit the State Apartments, the Chester Beatty Library and the lovely garden in front (which is actually the helicopter-landing pad for the Castle).
* The City Hall with its 'Museum of the Capital' in the basement is worth a look- the Hall is free, and there is a nominal charge for the Museum.
* Christchurch Cathedral
* Dublinia-in the Christchurch Chapterhouse (Viking Exhibition).
* Old Saint Audeon's Church, built almost into the city wall.
* St Patrick's Cathedral, and historic park beside.
* Marshe's Library-the oldest public library in these islands, 1701.
* Francis Street- the Antiques Quarter.
* Thomas Street/Meath Street, for a touch of 'Old Dublin'.
* The Guinness Storehouse.
* Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, (IMMA) Ireland's National Gallery of Modern Art, with its wonderful, recently restored formal garden.
KILMINHAM GAOL is worth a visit, and tells the story of Irish Nationalism. It can be reached via the grounds of IMMA, passing Bully’s Acre, and old graveyard, where Brian Boru was reputedly rested on his way to his final burial place in Armagh.
Alternatively, exit onto Nassau Street, with its cluster of high-quality shops showcasing the best of Irish crafts - fashion, knitwear, weaving, glassware, ceramics and contemporary jewellery - the Kilkenny Shop has a great cafe upstairs, with views over College Park. The Pig's Ear restaurant is one of my all-time favourites.
Continue along the College Park railings till you reach Kildare Street, the cultural-institutional hub of the country. All of our national cultural institutions have free admission. Here you will find the National Library, and the National Museum, facing each other over the forecourt of Leinster House, home to the Oireachtas, our National Parliament. The National Library has a lovely exhibit on the poet, W.B. Yeats, and the Treasury, in the National Museum houses both the Bronze Age and Early Christian collections.
On the opposite side of the block, on Merrion Street/Merrion Square, you will find the National Gallery, and the Natural History Museum (known to Dubliner's of my father's generation, as 'The Dead Zoo’. This is a very refreshing look to the past, with absolutely no interpretation, and nothing, not even a postcard, to buy).
The National Gallery is almost through a four-year renovation programme; in the meantime, the Millennium Wing, on Clare Street, has a ‘highlights of’ exhibition, and the Café and Gift Shop are also accessed via the Clare Street Entrance.
Two operators offer Hop-On/Hop-Off tours:
They both offer a 2-day ticket, and cost roughly the same price - check them out online before you make up your mind.
One can buy an integrated LEAP card in most newsagents, at train stations, and in the Dublin Bus Head Office at 42 O’Connell Street (on the west side of the street, just north of the Spire). This can be used on the LUAS, DART, some suburban mainline trains, and on Dublin Bus routes.
There is also a 3-day tourist pass, the Freedom Ticket, which provides good value. €28 will give you 72 hours transport, starting at the Airport; Airlink from the airport, the Hop-On-Hop –Off tourist bus and all local bus routes. Web: (URL HIDDEN)
•The DART, the local electric commuter train, runs north/south along the coast. The north-side city centre station is Connolly, on Amiens Street, facing Talbot Street, but I usually suggest people use Tara Street, as Connolly is also a mainline station, and is very big, and a bit confusing. Tara is purely a commuter station, and is about the same distance. It is on George’s Quay, just south of the Custom House. The other south-side city centre station is Pearse, on Westland Row, at the south end of the Trinity campus.
•The LUAS Red Line runs east-west through the north side of the city, as far east as the docks, and serves both Connolly and Heuston mainline stations. The nearest stop to Mountjoy Square is Abbey, on Middle Abbey Street, opposite the Abbey Theatre. The LUAS Green Line serves the south suburbs; Ranelagh, Dundrum, Leopardstown Racecourse, and on out to Cherrywood, on the county boundary with Wicklow.
•Main cross-city bus routes run north-south through O’Connell Street. The No.7 terminates on Mountjoy Square North, and there is a ‘shopper’s fare’ of 50c, to Grafton Street- alight at Trinity. On the return journey it skirts the Trinity campus and comes along Pearse, to the east of the campus - catch it on Clare Street, at the Millennium wing of the National Gallery.
•DUBLIN BIKES are free to use for the first half hour, and have a stand on Mountjoy Square West, but one needs to go to the Princes Street stand (to the right hand side of the General Post Office (GPO)), to purchase a short term card. It costs €2, and is only available to credit card holders.
SHOPPING WITH A DIFFERENCE
Those interested in the local fashion, art and design scene should look out for the following addresses (in no particular order):
•Designist, South Great George's Street (stock chosen for good design)
•Irish Design Store, Drury Street
•Article, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre (housewares)
•Irish Designer Store, Top floor Powerscourt Townhouse Centre
•Cow's Lane Gallery, Temple Bar (artist’s collective)
•The Jam Factory, Nicholas Street (artist’s collective)
•Avoca, Suffolk Street
•Kilkenny Shop, Nassau Street
•Designyard, South Frederick Street (jewellery)
•Louise Kennedy, couturier, Merrion Square, and Tipperary Crystal
•Gallery Zozimus, Francis Street (art gallery and carefully chosen crafts)
•Graphic Studio Gallery, Temple Bar (artist-printmaker’s gallery)
•Malthouse Design Centre and Shop, Distillery Court, 537 North Circular
•Magee's of Donegal, Wicklow Street, and,
•Kevin and Howlin, Nassau Street have hand-woven tweeds covered.
•Dubarry's, College Green produce wonderful, country-style outerwear, including the most perfect alternative to sweaty, waterproof Wellington boots…
•Monaghan's, Hibernian Way, the House of Ireland on Nassau Street and the Sweater Shops on Wicklow Street and Nassau Street has the best selections of traditional knitwear. Monaghan's specialise in cashmere.
•The Cloth Shop, St. William Street, for interesting designer fabric, including a good selection of Irish Linen, and Liberty of London
INDEPENDENT BOOKSHOPS and MUSIC STORES
Eason’s, O’Connell Street, is a Dublin institution for over 100 years. It encompasses a large stationery department, a branch of Tower Records on the top floor, academic books in the basement, a nice café and two floors of general books. It is a good place to browse books of Irish interest, and they have a really good Information Desk.
Chapters, Parnell Street West is my ‘local’. John Gannon is one of the best booksellers in the business, and his staff are hand-picked enthusiastic bibliophiles, one and all. Stock is a mixture of the latest releases, and carefully chosen remaindered books. Their ordering service is superlative, and they ALWAYS know exactly what one is talking about, even with just the vaguest, half-remembered clues from a newspaper review. Very strong on contemporary fiction, natural history, non-fiction and books of Irish interest. Extensive second-hand section upstairs.
The Secret Bookstore, Wicklow Street is another favourite. It’s tucked away down a passage, near the L’Occitane shop and often throws up gems among its large second-hand stock. An eclectic music store occupies the rear of the shop.
Cathach Rare Books, Duke Street, specializes in Irish first editions, and have an interesting selection of Irish maps and prints.
Stokes Books is another interesting antiquarian/secondhand shop, specializing in books of Irish interest. You’ll find it in Georges Street Arcade.
Claddagh Records, Cecelia Street, Temple Bar, is primarily a music publisher, but they have a retail outlet in Temple Bar, which is the oldest independent music shop in Dublin, and specializes in traditional Irish music, with some interesting World Music additions.
PLACES OF WORSHIP:
Many Catholic churches have Mass on Saturday evening, in addition to morning Masses.
•St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church, Upper Gardiner Street. Gospel Mass, 7.30pm Sundays, September to mid June.
•St. Mary's Metropolitan Church - the Pro-Cathedral, Marlborough. Sung Mass, 11am, Sundays, with the Palestrina Choir.
•St. Joseph’s Church, Berkeley Road, Dublin 7.
•St. Teresa’s Church, Clarendon Street Church, choir sings at 11 o’clock Mass, Sunday’s
•St. Peter’s Church, Phibsborough, Dublin 7, has wonderful Harry Clarke ((PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN)) stained glass windows.
•Whitefriars Street Church, Aungier Street, church has relics of St. Valentine.
Church of Ireland:
•Christchurch Cathedral, Christchurch Place, sung Services Sundays,
•St. Patrick's Cathedral, Nicholas Street, sung Services Sundays.
•St. Anne’s Church, Dawson Street, Dublin 2
Dublin Hebrew Congregation
Daily services in Synagogue at 32a Rathfarnham Road,
Buses: (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN).
Get off at Terenure Cross (road). Walk up Rathfarnham Road, pass AIB Bank and one row of terraced houses; shul is next building, with wooden/metal security gates. Across the street is a shop called Window Fashions.
Dublin Jewish Progressive Congregation (DJPC)
Website: (URL HIDDEN)
Email: (EMAIL HIDDEN)
Postal: PO Box 3059, Dublin 6
President: Mrs. Hilary Abrahamson
Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI)
19 Roebuck Road, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14,
Tel: (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN)
Islamic Foundation of Ireland (IFI)
163 South Circular Road, Dublin 8.
Tel: +(PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN)
Moore Street, Dublin 1.
SHORT TRIPS OUTSIDE THE CITY BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Catch the No.46A bus, (heading north on O'Connell Street to the Phoenix Park- the largest enclosed urban park in the world, 1750 acres behind a seven-mile-long stone wall. Ashtown Castle Interpretive Centre, with its wonderful walled garden and café is a good place to orient oneself. From here, on Saturdays, it is possible to visit Aras an Uachtarian, the official residence of our President. One can also visit Farmliegh, the Official State Guesthouse, a former Guinness mansion. Among it’s attractions are an art gallery, café, occasional free concerts, and regular weekend Farmer’s Markets. The Park also houses the Dublin Zoo, (1827, the second-oldest Zoo in the world, after London’s Regent Park Zoo). Several herd of Fallow Deer roam at liberty.
Many sports are catered for; there is Polo ground, a cricket club, and lots soccer pitches. The Duke of Wellington is commemorated by a marvellous Sobelisk, and the Forty Acres affords superb views over the city, with the Royal Hospital and Guinness Brewery in the foreground, along the south side of the River Liffey. Phoenix Park can also be reached via the LUAS Red Line, direction Tallagh, heading west. Alight at 'Museum' and take a detour into the National Museum-Collins Barracks, which houses the Decorative Arts, post-1700, wonderful collections of silver, furniture, glass and other artifacts.
Just up the road, in Glasnevin, there are three worthwhile attractions: Glasnevin Cemetary, was founded by Daniel O’Connell as one of his first initiatives, post Catholic Emancipation in 1829, to provide a dignified place for Catholic burial. The Glasnevin Museum is new, and has superlative displays of Nationalist history. They also have a very good Geneology Department.
The National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, date from the end of 18thC. Though relatively small, they contain an internationally-aclaimed collection of plants and three iconic Glasshouses, by Turner of Dublin, which have all been restored in the recent past. There is a nice café in the Gardens, and entry is free. The Gravedigger’s Pub, over-looking a Green, is not to be missed. It acquired its name from the fact that there used to be a hatch in the rear wall, through which the gravediggers were served. They do nice simple pub food, and one can sit outside on sunny days. Walk back into town, and stop at either the The Botanic Bar at Harte’s Corner or the Brian Boru, typicl local bars. The Whitworth, at Cross Guns Bridge, with nice food, is on the corner of the Royal Canal. Take a stroll east down the canal bank, and you will see swans, and moor-hens going about their business. At the next bridge, at Dorset Street, look out for the lifesize bronze statue of Brendan Behan, a local author. From here is just a few minute’s stroll up Belvidere Place, with its charming stepped terraces of tall Georgian houses, to Mountjoy Square.
Another favourite is the Marino Casino, in Fairview/Clontarf, an early 18th century pleasure house, built to the design of Sir William Chambers, for Lord Charlemont, purely for entertaining, also just a few miles by bus, north of the city centre.
Catch the DART, the coastal commuter train, heading north, at Tara Street Station, on the South Liffey quays, at Butt Bridge, and take a short ride. You have the choice of Howth (a working fishing village) or Malahide.
Howth Demesne or Howth Head, behind the village will both afford walks with great views; the Harbour has a dozen restaurants along the quay- ranging from take-out fish and chips to the very upmarket. Book an early-evening window table at Aqua, and be astonished by the sunset over the coast, looking north-west. Another favourite of mine is Deep, midway along the quay (and do watch out for the local tame and greedy Harbour Seal, who begs shamelessly from the trawler men, who tie up alongside).
Malahide is a charming village, with some of the most expensive urban residential properties in the country. Good food and good shopping are to be had here. On the edge of the village you will find Malahide Castle and Demesne, open to the public, which includes a renowned private Arboretum, as Milo de Malahide, the last of his family, (who had occupied the castle continuously since Norman times, in the 10th-12th centuries) was a significant plants-man. The Castle contains the National Portrait Collection, as was as magnificent furniture and other contents. There is a smart new branch of the AVOCA Shop and Café in the Courtyard. Oliver Dunne's restaurant, Bon Appetit, on St. James Terrace, has superb food in elegant, relaxed surroundings.(This restaurant had a Michelin star for years, but the chef/patron decided to return it, and simplify his life - a case of 'been there-done that'.)
South of the city you will find Rathfarnham Castle, and its Berkeley Costume and Toy Collection (No. 16 bus). Marley Park is a little further, just at the foot of the Dublin Mountains. It has wonderful parkland with easy walks, and a magnificent walled garden with a nice cafe. The No.16 bus, from O’Connell Street will leave you close by.
Powerscourt is at the edge of Enniskerry, its associated estate village, at the end of the No.44 bus route, which winds its way through the south side suburbs, into Wicklow, through the Scalp, a deep and picturesque glacial valley. The 19th century gardens are fabulous, and make great use of the 'borrowed landscape' beyond. The terrace and Nepture fountain are centred on the Sugarloaf mountain, which marks the beginning of the Wicklow Mountains. The Powerscourt Waterfall, part of the same estate, is a few miles further on, and there are beautiful, way-marked, woodland and moorland walks in the hills nearby. Do be mindful; these ‘mountains’ can be deceptive- while not high, they can be treacherous, as weather conditions can change in minutes. Stick to the way-marked paths, and do keep an eye on the weather.
Take the DART south to Bray and Greystones - via Dun Loughaire, Dalkey and Killiney - all interesting villages, with many cafes and restaurants.
Killiney Hill, with its eighteenth century obelisk at the summit, is a short climb that results in amazing views over Dublin Bay, and down into the Wicklow Mountains beyond. There is a nice pub in in the ‘village’- ‘The Druid’s Chair’.
Dalkey is a charming village with old-fashioned shops and lots of nice pubs, cafes and restaurants. The local Dalkey Castle Heritage Centre, is worth checking out, and in the summer run a theatre programme, and walking tours.
Bray Esplanade is a classic Victorian seaside amenity, sturdily built from local granite - the perfect place to enjoy an ice-cream. Campo di Fiori, either the Restaurant or the Café, both near the train station and the north end of the Promenade, are particular favourites of mine.
If one is feeling energetic, one could contemplate the Cliff Walk from Bray to Greystones - 4miles/6km along the rough cliff path. Lots of nice pubs for a pint of Guinness at the other end, The Hungry Pear is my favourite café, among many. The DART will take you straight back into the city. But.. make sure to do it in the morning, as by mid-day the path is in shade, and it can be windy and cold.
Travelling into the rich plains of Kildare, by the No. 67 bus route, you will come to the historic village of Celbridge, just twelve miles from the city centre. Castletown House is Ireland's finest Palladian mansion, and was saved from destruction by Desmond Guinness, in the early 1960's. He purchased it from the construction company who had acquired it. They intended to demolish it, to make way for a vast suburban housing estate. The Irish Georgian Society, founded by Desmond Guinness, restored the house and furnished it with the help of many volunteers and sponsors, and opened it to the public, a heroic task for a small membership conservation society. Today, it is in State ownership, and it is the flagship Georgian heritage property of Ireland. It is beautifully presented, and the parklands are undergoing restoration.
A local bus, or the commuter train from Connolly Station in Amiens Street, will take one to Maynooth, a charming University town, with another magnificent Palladian mansion, Carton House, now operating as a very upmarket hotel and golf club.
Lots of companies offer day-long coach tours. Some involve very long days, i.e, Cliffs of Moher in Clare and the Giant’s Causeway on the Antrim coast. Two more local, and very worthwhile ones are either:
The Boyne Valley Tour (Newgrange Neolithic ( 5000 yr old World Heritage Site) / Mellifont Cistercian ruins- (12thC.)/ Monasterboice Early Christian (6th-8thC.)
The Wicklow-Glendalough Tour (Powerscourt / Wicklow Mountains National Park and Glendalough (Glen of the Two Lakes) a 6thC. Early Christian site, in beautiful wooded valley.
Details of both of these trips, and others, are available in the big black folder in the apartment.
A beautiful, historic residential square, built in 1790's, within 5-10 minutes walk of the city centre. Elegance and convenience combined with a bit of inner city grittiness. I have loved it all, since 1978!
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Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland