Dublin: Why you should visit the Republic of Ireland’s beautiful capital city

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle - Credit: Archant

It’s easy to be dazzled by the sights and sounds of Dublin, the capital of the Emerald Isle. Rebecca Underwood finds herself charmed by this city

Ha'penny Bridge

Ha'penny Bridge - Credit: Archant

Dublin is an enchanting city where the locals charm visitors with their infectious zest for life.

My mother and I were instantly captivated. We explored Temple Bar, crammed with galleries, restaurants, cafes, bars and shops, and wandered into one of the many lively pubs where there was no shortage of charismatic characters.

Should you need to clear your head, stroll along Batchelor’s Walk where we embarked on a 45-minute cruise on board the Dublin Discovered boat. We sailed sedately on the Liffey and were admiring the scenes when the charming Ha’penny Bridge came into view. Built in 1816, it is known as the Ha’penny due to the half-penny fee once payable for crossing it.

Dublin Zoo, located in Phoenix Park, opened in 1831, and is another popular attraction. The animal feeding times attract children and grown ups alike and many were squealing in delight at the antics of the sea lions and penguins. And while dining at the zoo’s Meerkat’s Restaurant, we became aware of an adorable family of inquisitive meerkats and a lasting mutual fascination ensued.

Dublin offers a wide range of hotels, but for those seeking the highest standards of comfort and service, the luxurious Merrion Hotel, birth place of the 1st Duke of Wellington, is ideal. The property, which consists of four inter-connected Georgian townhouses, is located on Upper Merrion Street. We were accommodated in a spacious and stylish superior garden wing room, which offers a view of the landscaped 18th century-style gardens. This elegant property reflects Dublin’s Georgian heritage perfectly and is a tranquil retreat where guests are welcome to relax in the grand drawing rooms adorned with Belgian tapestries, sparkling chandeliers and priceless works of Irish art. Facilities include an indoor infinity swimming pool, steam room and a spa. For an outstanding dining experience, the hotel’s Cellar Restaurant presents modern Irish cuisine, which includes a delicious succulent Irish stew served with aplomb.

Should you wish to go a little further afield, Hugo’s restaurant is a short stroll away on Merrion Row. The slow braised South Glenn beef, served with white onion, herb mash and a Guinness purée is scrumptious. For those who wish to stay in the centre of all the action, the Westbury Hotel, located on Grafton Street, is just the ticket. Treat yourself and opt for a luxury suite, which measures a generous 603 m² and includes a sumptuously furnished separate living area featuring original art works and sculptures.

Guinness storehouse

Guinness storehouse - Credit: Archant

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For a tasty meal, visit the East side Tavern’s upstairs dining room, on Leeson Street. Order the beer battered cod and select a tipple of whiskey from over 200 varieties. Then raise your glass high in solidarity to James Augustine Aloysius Joyce, who once said ‘When I die, Dublin will be written in my heart’.

Travel Tip

Aer Lingus offers a swift check in procedure, comfortable seats and good on board service. Flights depart daily from London Heathrow or Gatwick to Dublin. For more information visit aerlingus.com

PICTURE CREDIT: Images provided courtesy of Fáilte Ireland