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48 Hours In Dublin

Storied. Wagish. Resilient. Intimate. Dublin is a city like no other.

Constantly in motion, Dublin’s fair city weds heritage and hedonism with aplomb. Spanning Georgian sites to the Silicon Docks (where Google, Facebook, and co now call home), there’s much to delight you whilst in town.

In recent years, Sally Rooney’s Normal People has drawn readers in their droves to the Irish capital, eager to retrace the footsteps of Connell and Marianne. With endless literary hotspots (historical and contemporary) to explore, plus a medley of swish hotels, restaurants, and bars, there’s much to see and do in Dublin town (even in as little as 48 hours).



STAY

The Merrion

All chintz and Rococo plasterwork (courtesy of master stuccodore Robert West), The Merrion is a supremely smart place to stay whilst in town. Located in the heart of Georgian Dublin, the hotel (which spans four Georgian townhouses) faces right onto Leinster House. Vis-à-vis room recommendations, we suggest you check into a suite in the Main House; thoughtfully decorated with period-style furniture and quality Irish fabrics which lend to a swish, 18th-century townhouse vibe, your all but guaranteed a blissful nights sleep here. Guests can expect old-school touches – from monogrammed towels to a traditional turndown service – throughout, with mod-cons spanning tech ports to track lighting in the bathroom, for nighttime ease.

Downstairs, enjoy the Drawing Rooms for afternoon tea – the ‘Art Tea’ at The Merrion provides a slice of 19th- or 20th-century art by way of miniature sweet creations inspired by the work of J.B. Yeats, William Scott, Louis Le Brocquy, and others – or head to The Garden Room, presided over by Executive Head Chef, Ed Cooney, for more substantial fare. Serving modern Irish food, using the best local and seasonal ingredients, to really maximise on the experience opt for a seat overlooking the gardens, if available. Also, do visit No. 23, the hotel’s intimate cocktail bar, for a pre- or post-dinner drink.

The Mayson

In the heart of Dublin’s docklands, this boutique hotel stands out from the crowd. Near the 3Arena – a great option if you’re in town for a gig – The Mayson comprises of some 94 rooms. Our favourite: room 3, ‘Shanley’. Pretty as can be, its whitewashed finishes and use of romantic fabrics and colours, not to mention the freestanding copper tub, makes Shanley a real winner. Other in-room amenities include Netflix-enabled smart TVs, as well as SMEG fridges and munchies trays (to accompany your Netflix and chill ritual, ofc). Guests are granted pool and gym access for the duration of their stay – the former, though a little small, is certainly worth a look. In the morning, grab an espresso from the Dime Coffee Bar in the lobby – or enjoy a heartier breakfast of homemade granola, French vanilla toast, and/or Eggs Royale upstairs. Come evening, head to The Bottle Boy for a drink by the fire before venturing to the sixth floor for dinner at Ryleigh’s Rooftop Steakhouse. Take in views of Dublin Bay as you munch on a hearty steak (note: portions are quite large) topped with butterfly jumbo prawns and chorizo or (for vegetarians) grilled rosemary portobello mushrooms. Add some Jameson pepper sauce for a real kick. For something a little lighter, the white bean casserole is a lovely option – pair with duck confit chunky chips to avoid feeling to virtuous.

 

Photography by Barry Murphy

Photography by Barry Murphy

The Shelbourne

Plotted on the edge of St. Stephen’s Green, The Shelbourne cuts and imposing shape. Enter the swish lobby through rotating doors, heading towards the rear of the building to reach check in. If you can, opt for a suite (ideally one with a park view), which offers separate sleeping and seating areas (particularly useful if you’re travelling for business) individually decorated is pastel hues. Boasting impressive marble bathrooms (stocked with Elemis amenities) a soak in the tub here is a must. Other luxuries include 300 thread count Egyptian cotton bedding, LED flat screen TV, and iPhone/iPad docking station. Beyond your own personal quarters there’s much to explore. Dabble in a little whisky tasting at The Horseshoe Bar, the legendary watering hole of many of Ireland’s most distinguished authors, poets, and playwrights, including Brendan Behan, Brian Friel, and Seamus Heaney. Alternatively, head to the residents bar, 1824 Bar. Hidden away from all the bustle, enjoy some top-shelf whisky, or premium cocktails while you ID Paul Skate’s tongue-in-cheek illustrations of Bono, JFK, and more which scale the walls. Come dinner, head to The Saddle Room – with a lavish menu inspired by the classics and old-school Irish service, it has all the makings of a perfect evening.


EAT + DRINK

The Grayson

This ivy-covered Georgian building at No. 41 St. Stephen’s Green serves lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, and afternoon tea – in short, it’s a rather chic catchall. Pre-dinner, head to the Atrium & Terrace for a punchy drink (try the Rhubarb Spritz), before heading to upstairs restaurant for your main meal. Surrounded by rich hues, beautiful art, and vintage Art-Deco touches, the dining spaces are as scrumptious as the menu. And so to the menu… Really, it’s all pretty yummy but the goat cheese with beetroot, pistachio, and peach salsa, paired with the fried padron peppers (topped with crispy shallots and hazelnut) makes for a strong start. Follow this with the Chicken Supreme – a lip-smacking plate that combines black garlic aioli, corn veloute, carrot, and tarragon vinaigrette to create a truly memorable main. You also can’t go wrong with the pan-seared salmon, which is accompanied by a decadent lemon and caper butter sauce. As for sides, the nduja and parmesan fries are decadent and delicious.

Uno Mas

From the team behind the ever-popular Etto, this Spanish venture is a real winner. Translating as “One More”, here the menu is so tempting, you’re likely to apply this approach to your ordering. For a snack (‘para picar’) opt for the jamón Ibérico and some sourdough bread and Picual olive oil. Next, try the potato and onion tortilla – vegetarians will love the beetroot, ajo blanco, dill, grape, and green olives plate. For mains, you can’t go wrong with the hake a la plancha; just make sure you leave room for some flan de queso – it’s one of the best we’ve tasted. A simple and satisfying dining spot.

Chapter One

Descending to the Georgian basement of Chapter One, diners are met by exposed brick and stone walls flanked with modern and contemporary art. The Michelin-starred restaurant in North Dublin promises a sophisticated and elegant meal, with the general consensus being: its hard to eat better elsewhere in the city. Expect an unusual medley of Irish ingredients – think line-caught sea bass, roasted yeast tapioca, maitake, and bonito butter, alongside hand-dived scallops with cucumber, elderflower, and jalapeño bouillon – over the course of your evening (Chapter One is also open for lunch). Our advice: try the dinner tasting menu (priced at €150) which spans eight courses, and pair with matching wines for an additional fee of €105.


DO

The Long Room

Located in Trinity’s Old Library building, which is home to the Book of Kells and over 200,000 of Trinity’s oldest books and manuscripts, The Long Room is one of the most unique spaces in Dublin. On entering the 65-metre long barrel-vaulted archive, you’ll be “struck by the scent of the ancient leather-bound books, and other priceless artefacts” – like the 48 marble busts of eminent writers and philosophers. The Long Room operates the same opening hours as those for The Book of Kells and admission covers both.

The Stella Theatre

Adopting a 20s aesthetic – with references paid to Soho House’s Electric Cinema Portobello – The Stella Theatre is the perfect place to kickback on an (inevitable) rainy afternoon in Dublin. Located in Rathmines, the simplest way to reach the arthouse cinema from the city centre is via bus. Once here, recline in sumptuous leather chairs, stocking up on popcorn and pick ‘n mix from the lobby bar. If you’re feeling particularly peckish, more substantial dishes can be ordered right to your seat. After the screening, venture upstairs to the The Stella Cocktail Club for some A-grade mixes.

Hugh Lane Gallery

In 1998, a group of archaeologists and conservationists removed over 7,000 items from Ireland-born Francis Bacon’s London studio and transported them to the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, where they were placed identically to how they had been found. Catalogued in an exhaustive database, which holds a picture and factual description for each item, even particles of dust were brought over from the original studio. Today, visitors can closely study the brilliant artist’s conserved chaotic working space – which comprises photographic materials, slashed canvases, and two thousand plus samples of Bacon’s painting materials.

*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information.

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