This last weekend has been nothing short of a blast! Trails of Ireland has taken me to counties far flung and I’ve seen amazing things and I’ve had a ball! This time however, our great Irish journey brings me home! To my adopted hometown of Dublin City and probably my favourite place in the world!
The trip started right next to my doorstep in the Gibson Hotel,a place I often pop into for breakfast or a fancy dinner! This time I had myself a lovely hot chocolate and three freshly baked mini croissants while planning the activities of the day ahead! I really like the Gibson as it is a beautiful structure with a spectacular view of the Docklands from the tongue twistingly named ‘hemi demi semi quaver’ restaurant on the third floor! There is also a beautiful piece painted by Findac of Bono and The Edge on a mezzanine level!
Our next stop (myself and Laura Kavanagh) was Teeling’s Whiskey, new distillery in Newmarket, a place I’ve been hoping to visit for quite a while now! The distillery is the only functional whiskey distillery in the city and I have to say that it is a work of art in itself! It still has that new building smell and the décor just works! There is a lovely café downstairs that has an inviting smell, but I’ll be honest, I’m here for the whiskey!
The distillery offers a brilliant tour that shows off the proud history of the Teeling Whiskey family as well as explains the distilling process from the grain to the bottle. One of the highlights (among many) on the tour is the three massive copper pot stills that are named Rebecca, Alison and Natalie after Jack Teeling’s daughters!
There is a rich history bursting through the walls here for such a new place and that is evident in the whisky tasting at the very end! The tour guide on the day, Conor was ever so good and he knows his stuff when it comes to whiskey!
Next stop was Croke Park for the Etihad Skyline Tour! Another thing I’ve wanted to do for so long! I’ve been to Croke Park only once previously and that was almost a decade ago, so I had forgotten just how massive the structure is (the fourth largest stadium in Europe!). The tour starts in one of the famous dressing rooms and then proceeds through access tunnels and up to the very top of Croke Park!
“We’re in the nosebleed seats now” I hear someone cry as we walk out of the lift and walk up the highest of the seats! We are greeted with a spectacular 360 degree view when we get to the top that has to be seen to believed; all the best bits of Dublin are visible from this one spot and as you walk around the perimeter of Croke Park, the guide (we had Adam) talks you through some of the well-known monuments and buildings. There is even a part where you can get cabled up and peer over the lip and onto the hallowed turf! The Skyline tour is definitely worth a visit!
They say time flies when you are having fun and the day was no exception! It was already half 4 when I got to Wax Museum plus on Dame Street. I’ve always wanted to visit a wax museum, I know they can be cheesy sometimes but they are a great way to learn about history while feeling like the people from the times (living or dead) are right in the room with you.
Wax Museum plus,has something for everyone; you start in the basement where you can view Ireland through the middle ages right through to independence with each room narrating the stories of the time. One of the highlights here is definitely the house of horrors; even though I knew it was there, I still jumped when Frankenstein’s monster jumped out at me!
There’s a great floor for the kids and I’m not ashamed to say I crawled right through the kiddies tunnel… The science gallery is worth a visit for any science buffs also!
Not too far away in Temple Bar is one of my favourite places in the city; Jam Art Factory sell a beautiful range of art in all forms from Irish artists. Run by brothers Mark and John, there is so much love here and a beautiful appreciation of the work that they sell on behalf of Irish artists and designers.
Some of my favourite artists in the country sell their work from here and every time I pop in I learn something new about an artist or find a new artist to be obsessed with! Pop in for souvenirs, stay for the chats with the lads!
Right next door, I decided to cap off the day with dinner in The Pieman Café; with ‘Look into My Pies’ as their cheeky slogan, how could you not pop in for some grub? I’ve been coming to The Pieman since they first opened about three years ago and I love just how authentic the food is here and how simple and easy the operation is (I use easy figuratively of course!)
You’ll find Cillian at his team at festivals round the country but their permanent home is this beautiful café adorned with fantastic artwork and event posters for local bands. On this occasion I had a chicken and stuffing pie, with some mash on the side and a heavy dose of gravy poured over the top… It was just superb as I expected and a great way to end day one in Dublin!
I ended up staying in the Pieman for longer than I thought I would and it was lovely to see so many people pop in and out as it is a meeting place for all kind of people in the city; tourists and locals both!
With that, I went home (instead of a hotel as usual) to get ready for day two! Stay tuned!
You can experience all of what ‘our capital’ has to offer from as little as €10 return?