St. Stephens Green, stroll in the park

Destination Overview: Dublin, Ireland

Irish flag at Kilmainham Jail

A wee bit o’ history about Dublin? Well, its name comes from the Gaelic name Dubhlinn, meaning “Black Pool,” a reference to the cities location by the Liffey River. Originally founded as a Viking settlement the area didn’t experience much population growth until around the 1600’s when exponential growth occurred. After Irish Independence in 1922 (resulting from the 1916 Easter Rising coupled with other efforts) Dublin quickly became the political, economic and cultural center of Ireland. As a major maritime trade port, Dublin’s role in import / export business has long bolstered the economy. However following the Celtic Tiger years (1994-2007) Ireland is experiencing significant economic strife. As a result, tourists can expect to pay quite high prices. For many of us, including Jane, whom call Ireland their “Motherland,” high prices for a trip of a lifetime aren’t enough of a deterrent to keep us away. So, we can talk economics, but really it is the love of the land, the people, the laughs, the food and let’s face it- the beer outweigh higher prices.


 Trip planner: Dublin, Ireland-all about town

St. Stephens Green, stroll in the parkPack your walking shoes, or “bróga” (Gaelic) because you’ll want to cover some ground! Getting yourself well situated in Dublin at the right hotel can be tricky. With over 900 hotels, we suggest you concentrate your trip around the Grafton Street/ St. Stephen’s Green (city center park) area excitement, specifically at The Fitzwilliam Hotel. In most searches you’ll find it in the top 20 of the cities hotels, but that is not why we love it. Beyond the happening location, you can expect quality, luxury and amazing service. Imagine the quintessential Irish lad, that’s who you’ll have for a doorman. Complete with dining and transportation suggestions, they add to the charm and excellence of the Fitzwilliam. Expect modest room sizes, which is common in large cities, but look forward to evening turndown service, duck down duvets and pillows (if you would prefer synthetic, just ask), and lovely robes. Oh, and fresh flowers in your guest room and bath! If you are a foodie or looking for the full experience at The Fitzwilliam, then splurge for dinner at their in house Michelin Star restaurant Thorton’s. Ever had 100 year old aged balsamic? Or quail with chanterelle mushrooms, quail eggs and potatoes? Then debate settled, it’s worth the money. Besides there are numerous activities that we recommend that are free! Into architecture? Tour around the perimeter of St. Stephen’s Green where there are a famous collection of traditional homes and businesses accented with Georgian doors. Into history? Visit Trinity College’s campus. (Email us for more “free” suggestions) Of course everyone will tell you to go to the Guinness Brewery, by no means do we disagree, but make sure you hit the Jameson’s Distillery. When you get to the tasting room they will ask for a volunteer, but aren’t clear what for, they want a taster at each table to sample each of the whiskeys including a couple of higher priced ones and they “tutor” you. If you like whiskey, then volunteer, it is a fun experience we missed out on.  We also highly recommend the National Museum of Ireland, and Kilmainham Gaol “Jail,” both are highly insightful though likely boring for wee ones. Perhaps after an afternoon at either or both, you’d like dinner and a warm cup of joe. Don’t miss Bewley’s on Grafton, it is one of our faves, we usually go every other night and stuff ourselves with scones and éclairs then enjoy the stroll down Grafton Street back to The Fitzwilliam Hotel.