Dublin is a great city. So good, that every other year I make sure I go back for a weekend – and I did so recently for various reasons: I wanted some whiskey, some shopping, great food and fun, under an hour from London and, of course, Lady Gaga. Here’s how my weekend in Dublin went.
Yes, I know I have an Irish surname, but Mr. O is as British as it gets. But he can surely put on a mean Irish accent, which, in my opinion, is the sexiest native English accent.
Our flight with BA took under an hour and we landed just in time for dinner at Roly’s, one of Mr. O’s favourite places in Ballsbridge. A bit of fine dining never hurt anyone and, as usual, it didn’t disappoint either. Starting with the delicious soda bread, I quickly moved on to the Dublin prawns and one of my favourite desserts in the world.
From the restaurant, we headed back to the hotel, as it was late. In Dublin, we always stay at the Westin. Why? Lovely building, perfect location, not huge and I love the classic style. This time, I also loved the Oscar Wilde suite! I also love the themed nights at its Mint Bar. Sadly we missed Gin & Jazz (on Thursdays), but nothing prepared us for the Latin night. It has been ages since I had seen people dancing so well and such a good music selection. It was quite hard to believe I was in Ireland – almost felt strange to order a whisky!
Mrs. O was a good girl and even made it to breakfast at the hotel – after a good night’s sleep, there was lots to do! A minute away, we had a little peak around Trinity College – I still have not seen the Book of Kells, which simply means I have to go back again.
At this stage, I could feel the excitement – I wasn’t far from Grafton Street. We went to say hello to Molly Malone and before I knew it, we were there. You may have heard that I like to buy shoes and things, but I have never mentioned the best department store in the world. The place where I pretty much like everything they have to sell – and don’t get me wrong, I am spoiled for choice in England and when we travel. But this place is something else.
To prove that great things come in small packages, one wouldn’t be impressed by the size of Brown Thomas, also known as Mrs. O’s spiritual home. This Irish department store is, without a doubt, my favourite in the whole world. It is not massive, quite compact actually, but its buyers seem to know me very well. It’s very sleek and modern, the service is lovely and I love the carrier bags. And the handbag and shoe collection – pretty much all of it, which *almost* never happens. So if you and I are in Dublin at the same time, I can be found somewhere there. Promise.
From here, we explored all the little side streets and eventually found Powerscourt Centre, not your usual shopping centre. I liked it as it was a bit quirky and had lots of unique shops and boutiques. And also because the lovely Fiona Hilliard, a Dublin native who I was to meet later that day told me to go there, when she shared her favourite places in Dublin with me.
A lazy lunch followed at Olesya’s wine bar, a place we found on our last trip, and promised to go back. It has one of Ireland’s most interesting wine lists – apparently 400 different wines, with over 100 by the glass, which I found quite interesting. The cheese and charcuterie sharing platters were delicious and perfect for what awaited us – a private visit to the Old Jameson Distillery.
The visit to Jameson was one of the most awaited moments of this trip. Firstly, because I got to finally meet Fiona, who I have been “interacting” on twitter since early this year and enjoying her great blog, but also, because Jameson’s & soda happens to be my after-dinner drink of choice.
But first things first, we had to get acquainted, so a little Irish Coffee seemed perfectly adequate!
I had been to Jameson a few times before, but interestingly, this time was different – I had Mr. O, my super BFF and her husband and two new Irish friends. We weren’t in a rush to go anywhere, no queues and was lovely to go back. What I found super interesting? A video where people from around the world shared how they liked their Jameson. (You may not know, but in Southern Europe, whisky competes with vodka and gin for airtime, and it is enjoyed just like those two drinks). As I said before, I have always been a Jameson & Soda girl – not so keen on mixing it with coke, but never crossed my mind that people would mix it with other things.. and that I would even like it! Two very popular combinations were Jameson with Ginger Ale or with Cranberry. And I must say – although shockingly surprising, they were absolutely delicious.
After the whisky tasting lesson – where we compared Jameson (which is triple-distilled) to Scotch and Bourbon, we were almost ready for Lady Gaga. But first, we had to stop at a Dublin institution, Mulligan’s for a bit of food. I loved its quirkiness, food and attention to detail (the menus were brilliant). Absolutely worth a visit.
Our evening was spent with Lady Gaga and some of our closest 50,000 Irish friends. I had seen her previously in Lisbon and really wanted to see her on the current tour. Unable to get tickets for the London show, we were surprised that we were able to buy the best seats and a flight for less than one ticket in London. I really don’t understand how this is possible – but pretty sure that I had a lot more fun and a great weekend in Dublin. I shall investigate further opportunities… it would be rude not to!
Our Sunday was a lazy one – just the way I like it. We walked around other parts of town – I love how compact Dublin is, and how perfect it is for a weekend break.
I even found out that Mr. O had a little side business going on in Dublin and conveniently forgot to tell me… coincidence?
But our friend Derek was keen to get us out of the city – he mentioned seaside, delicious fish and an easy transfer to the airport. He had me at sea. We hopped on the DART and in around 25 minutes, we arrived at Howth, a pretty fishing village.
We had a wonderful lunch at Deep. where we tasted some of the best seafood I ever had – from oysters, to crab, to lobster. And to end it in style, I couldn’t say no to another Irish coffee.
We had a brilliant weekend in Dublin – I loved the people, the accent and the food. Oh and the shopping isn’t bad either. Maybe it’s time I go finding my “O’Reilly” roots and explore a bit more of this beautiful country. Ireland, I will be back!