Showing posts with label Dublin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dublin. Show all posts

Thursday, October 8, 2020

DUBLIN CAN BE HEAVEN. Conrad Dublin offers respite to our Fair City Dwellers during county lockdown


Conrad Dublin offers respite to our Fair City Dwellers during county lockdown

Enjoy your Capital city during the county lockdown and stay in style at Conrad Dublin

Conrad Dublin is inviting Dublin residents to come and explore the city and enjoy a luxury overnight experience that includes a guaranteed room up-grade, welcome signature cocktail on arrival, delicious three course dinner from their select menu, breakfast the following morning, early check-in, late check-out plus complimentary onsite car parking from €259 per double room per night.

For those looking to workout during their stay, hotel guests also have access to the hotel gymnasium and also are in easy reach of Dublin’s green spaces including the gorgeous Iveagh Gardens and iconic St. Stephen’s Green.  With many shops and department stores open, it is also an ideal opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping!

Last month, Conrad Dublin launched a brand new concept – The Terrace Kitchen & Social House complementing the Pantry & Café that had opened a few weeks prior.  Open 7 days a week for breakfast/brunch, lunch, Afternoon Tea & dinner the vibe is very much chilled out with cool tunes by secret DJ, stripped back service, marble tables and soft leather chairs inside. The heated outdoor terrace is an amazing spot to enjoy the views of the gardens and sip a glass of champagne whilst watching the world pass by.

Conrad Dublin operates under strict Covid-19 policies and procedures 

Thursday, June 18, 2020



Enjoy a break to the Capital and stay in style at Conrad Dublin

The lobby at the Conrad

Conrad Dublin is inviting guests to come and explore the city with friends and family and enjoy a Dream Away experience. The hotel will re-open under strict Covid-19 policies and procedures

The Dream Away booking experience affords guests the freedom to adjust their travel plans during these uncertain times. With an impressive array of advantages on offer including; Late Check Out/Early Check In (subject to availability), Waived Early Departure Fees, 24HR cancellation policy, No deposit required, Complimentary car parking, 10% off Flexible rates and an additional 10% off for Hilton Honors members (total discount 20%) there’s no better time to book your perfect escape.

“We are so looking forward to welcoming our guests back to Conrad Dublin. Our team have worked hard to ensure a safe and welcoming environment and we are implementing the “Hilton CleanStay” initiative developed globally by Hilton offering a new standard of hotel cleanliness and disinfection to ensure our guests enjoy an even cleaner and safer stay: Hilton CleanStay with Lysol protection. The program has been developed with experts from RB, maker of Lysol and Dettol, brands trusted for safely disinfecting surfaces. In addition, experts from the Infection Prevention and Control team at Mayo Clinic will advise and assist in enhancing Hilton’s cleaning disinfection protocols at all Hilton properties, which includes Conrad Dublin” said Martin Mangan, General Manager

To celebrate the re-opening Conrad Dublin is offering some bespoke experiences including a fabulous Picnic package where guests can experience the beauty of Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens and spend an afternoon grazing with a delicious Conrad Dublin picnic hamper filled with your personally chosen treats and finest champagne. From €190 for two to include luxury picnic.

For the culture vultures, why not book the Literary Tour at Conrad Dublin where you will get to experience the James Joyce’s Dublin Walking Tour and a private Jameson Masters Whiskey tasting on return to the hotel at the Conrad Terrace. From €190 for two to include James Joyce Walking Tour and private Jameson Masters Whiskey Tasting.

Discover the beauty of Dublin City by Horse Drawn Carriage. Immerse yourself in the history of Georgian Dublin on this tailor made tour and enjoy champagne on the Conrad Terrace on your return. From €280 for up to four guests to include horse drawn carriage ride and champagne.

Why not treat the clan and book the new Conrad Family Room? The brand new Conrad Family Room has large interconnecting King and Twin bedrooms affording you the luxury of space as a family. The Conrad Family Room can accommodate up to 2 adults and 2 children and includes all the essential comforts of home, a cosy sanctuary after a busy day seeing the sights. Enjoy a movie on the 48-inch TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi within the comfort of your room. Younger guests will enjoy a welcome amenity in their room on arrival. For our smallest guests, cots are available upon request, as well as a baby bathtub and more including in-room “Baby kit” (upon request) with amenities such as a bottle warmer, baby bathtub and the famous Conrad bear. The interconnecting family room from: €350 per night for 2 adults and 2 children under 12 years of age.

Explore Dublin culture at your leisure, taking in some of the sights and experiences of our iconic fair city. Just a two-minute walk from St Stephen’s Green, the luxury hotel is ideally located in the centre of Dublin’s culturally rich city. With secure on-site parking, an overnight at Conrad Dublin is an easy experience to navigate plus an ideal city base for exploring the city.

To learn more about or connect with Conrad Dublin, please visit, call +353 1 6028900 or follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Press release

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Thinking of visiting Dublin as it opens up? 36 Hours in the Capital. A Hotel with Pawsonality! On Spuds and Stroganoff. Wine & Whiskey.

Thinking of visiting Dublin as it opens up?
36 Hours in the Capital. A Hotel with Pawsonality!
On Spuds and Stroganoff. Wine & Whiskey.
Oscar Wilde, on his own little mont

It is just after lunchtime when we arrive at Heuston Station on a short visit to Dublin (in March last). First we have to get rid of the suitcase and so we hop on the Luas and then walk over to the Mont Hotel to check in. 

The first person, well not a person, we see is Monty the resident dog, a very calm and sociable French Bulldog. This is a dog friendly hotel and four of the 96 rooms are set up for you and your four-legged friend. The bad news is that they don’t allow big dogs!
The Mont Hotel

The 2019 hotel, part of the O’Callaghan group (they two other hotels in close proximity, the Davenport and the Alex), is quite central: Merrion Square Park (2 minutes), The National Gallery of Ireland (5); Grafton Street (10). Our room wasn’t the biggest but was well equipped and very comfortable. 

The bar has quite a bit of craft beer in bottle, a corner for dining, and three big screens if you want to catch the football. They also have an Italian themed menu in the restaurant (where you also have your breakfast - no Full Irish though as the buffet doesn’t have any pudding, black or white).
Braised Lamb Boxty Dumplings

After sampling some of the wines at the Liberty Portfolio tasting,  later that afternoon, we headed out to Temple Bar for dinner. Our choice was the Boxty House. Just as well we had a reservation as it was very busy on a Monday night. 

It is all about the humble spud here and only here will you find the original and authentic Boxty wrap.They serve the 3 types of Boxty found in the border counties of Leitrim, Cavan and Fermanagh.

My main course, a very flavoursome one indeed, was the Braised Lamb Boxty Dumplings. Delicious tender spiced lamb, marinated with chilli, soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic and ginger, sautéed with Boxty Dumplings and served with cooling Tzatziki Sauce.

Portions are large enough here as we found out with our other mains: the Corned Beef Boxty (tender slow-cooked Corned Beef with Sautéed Cabbage and Kale in a parsley sauce in a Boxty Pancake). Terrific flavour on the plate as well.

Lunch at the Kemp Sisters IMMA
Believe it or not, they also do Boxty Crisps and you can taste those with the Mushroom and Chickpea Pate served with a sweet onion chutney and those crisps. 

The Boxty Crostini Trio starter gives you a great idea of what you are in for. Here, they serve three pieces of Toasted Boxty Loaf with different toppings: Irish Brie and Red Onion, Smoked Salmon and Chive Sour Cream and St Tola Goats Cheese with Tomato Sauce. I enjoyed that very much indeed.

And don’t miss out on their own Jack Smyth beers, brewed locally. You can try all four on a tasting tray for a tenner. I choose a pint of the IPA, all the beers are on draught, and enjoyed it very much with the dinner. Excellent friendly service here.

James McKenna's 'Ferdia at the Ford'
Following a visit to Kilmainham Gaol  on the following morning, we headed back to the Kemp Sisters café in the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The sisters are well-known for their colourful flavoursome dishes and we enjoyed a couple here in the large basement restaurant. 

My pick was a pepper, onion and brie Quiche with two salads, one apple and beetroot, the other couscous based and that boosted the energy levels for the short walk to the nearby Roe Distillery. And a shot or two of whiskey powered the longer walk back to College Green and then on to The Mont and Monty.

Something different that night with a visit to Olesya’s Wine Bar and Bistro in Exchequer Street. Some 400 wines on the list here so quite a bit of reading. Many are available by the glass with a  choice of sizes, the smaller at 100ml, the large 190ml. So we tried and enjoyed a few.

The wines come from all over the world and, with Olesya originally from Russia, there are a few Russian dishes on the menu. Naturally enough, I picked a couple! A couple of excellent ones, I might add.
Solyanka Soup

One was the delicious Solyanka Soup. This rich soup came in a large bowl with a variety of very finely shredded smoked meats, ham, and sausages, also olives, a slice of lemon and a dollop of creme fraiche. And a generous amount of delicious bread, nicely heated. Great stuff on a cold and windy night on the streets of Dublin. Eating and drinking in it!

I must admit I didn’t realise that Stroganoff is a dish of Russian origin but here they insist it is. In any event, their Classic Beef Stroganoff version is superb. Back to the Sin Bin, the bar at The Mont, for a bottle of Porterhouse Pale Ale.

The following day, we strolled up to the adjacent park to see Oscar Wilde, before heading off to Heuston to catch the mid-morning train to Cork.

For the latest on the Mont Hotel's reopening, please click here .

Also on this trip:
Hands On Fun during Roe and Co Whiskey Tour

Some Previous Dublin visits

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Kilmainham Gaol 1796-1924. So Many Tales. So Many Tears.

Kilmainham Gaol 1796-1924.
So Many Tales. So Many Tears.
The (more modern) East Wing

I am looking at a pair of spoons in a case with a glass cover. Just two spoons, a little bit bigger than tea spoons. They look, in the dim light, as if they are made of plastic, maybe (but more unlikely) of bone.There is a caption alongside. It explains that they were once used by inmates of the gaol, that they were made with horn so that they could not be sharpened and used as weapons or tools in an escape.

I am in the museum rooms of Kilmainham Gaol (opened in 1796, two years later Henry Joy McCracken became its first political prisoner). There is quite a lot to see here (over 10,000 objects have been donated). Quite a lot to read also. We have just completed the mid-morning prison tour. I must be thinking about lunch because, instead of reading all the details, I find myself selecting items to do with food.
Here, Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford married

One inmate is quoted: ‘One thing that struck me in Kilmainham was the semi-starved aspect which all the convicted prisoners presented. They seemed to be utterly dejected and weak, and unable to undergo any amount of physical fatigue… I do not think that we are entitled to enfeeble the bodies of prisoners in order to reform their minds.”

The quote is from none other than Charles Stewart Parnell. He was in fact a prisoner here but a first class one. He was treated very well indeed because he was an elected politician.

In the 1916 corridor
For many years, the jailers benefitted from the extraction of fees through the sale of food and drink. It was one of the perks of the job. You read much the same about some South American prisons today. By the late 1830s, the arbitrary regime under which the rich prisoner could dine in relative style while his penniless fellow inmate starved in miserable conditions was finally eliminated. Yet, Parnell was imprisoned in 1882 and lived in some style, even able to interact with visitors.

The Great Famine (1845-49) saw an explosion in the prison population. One reason was the introduction of the Vagrancy Act in 1847. Intended to clear the streets of the unsightly poor, its effect was to swamp the prisons with those found begging in the streets. At least in prison you had the “luxury” of a meagre but life-saving prison diet but there was a downside, the chance that you’d succumb to the disease ridden overcrowded conditions.

And then there’s that box of chocolate. In March 1921, a Black and Tan officer presented death row prisoner Thomas Whelan with the treat. In the hours before his execution (14th March 1921), Whelan sent the box to a young girl Alicia Mann (8) with a message that if he were reprieved they could eat them together, if not she could eat them herself. Alicia never opened the box.

A poignant story indeed. And this is one of the saddest tours. Very popular though and, even in off season, you will need to book. Our guide was Erin and she did a great job taking a bunch of multi-national visitors through the old gaol. Men, women and babies, even young children on their own (5-year old Matthew Rossiter, for example), were imprisoned here for often trivial offences.

It was only in the latter stages of its existence as a functioning prison that Kilmainham began to hold political prisoners in large numbers, those from the rising, from the War of Independence and then from the Civil War. One of the first places you visit is the chapel, the scene of the eleventh-hour wedding of Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford in May 1916.  Plunkett was executed just hours later and Grace would be back in a few years as a Civil War prisoner.
Here James Connolly died

The Stonebreakers’ Yard where the leaders of 1916 were shot is visited later. A cross marks the spot where most of them fell. But the already seriously injured James Connolly could not make the walk across the yard and so he was shot by the opposite wall. Tears are never far away here.

The most bitter tears though are reserved for the deaths of the Civil War, inflicted by Irishman on Irishman, not just in Kilmainham (which closed in 1924) but throughout the country. If you visit, make sure you read Peter Cassidy’s final letter to his mother. He and three 19 year olds were the first executions of the Civil War. Many more would follow.

Grace Gifford's Cell
While it may be tough going at times, a visit is highly recommended. There are some light notes too from our excellent guide, including at the end when she tells us with some relish that we are "free to go". Also, did you know that films such as The Italian Job, In the Name of the Father, and Michael Collins, were partly filmed here, also RTÉ’s Rebellion drama series, along with a U2 video?

Just a tip, if you are walking. If you come from Heuston Station, follow the signs for the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Go through the IMMA entrance and courtyard and then walk the avenue through the grounds and, when you exit through the castellated gates, you’ll find the gaol directly across the road. Go back the same way and you’ll find the excellent Kemp Sisters café in the basement of the IMMA where I enjoyed a lovely lunch!

If you are intending to go, even if you are unable to go, then you will benefit hugely from visiting the excellent website here

Also on this trip
Hands On Fun during Roe and Co Whiskey Tour

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Happy Tapas Time at Lola’s

Crema Catalana

Happy Tapas Time at Lola’s

As you round the corner and see the lively queue outside and note too through the glass the tightly packed tables at the front, you guess this visit to Las Tapas de Lola in Dublin’s Wexford Street is going to be a good one. And that feeling gets better with the warm unhurried greeting and chat at the door. And it just gets better and better as the evening goes on.

We are soon seated in the main part of the restaurant, taking in the buzz and the decor in the interior where there is a little more space between the tables. The menus are already on the table. We have about fifty tapas to choose from. Just as well we had done a little homework online.

Another little chat as we settle in and a welcome complimentary drink of lemon, red wine and ice. Cheers! Lots of drinks to choose from, wines (Spanish of course), Spanish beers too but we start with the Sangria!

We order four tapas, for a start. The first is soon delivered. The Chicharrones is Marinated pork belly, slow-cooked and flash-fried until crispy. And delicious.

The next three more or less arrive together. Very impressed with the Chorizo frito y morcilla (Chorizo & Spanish black pudding). Albondigas is the Spanish for Meatballs which arrive in their rich house tomato sauce. Completing the “awesome threesome” is Higado al ajillo (Sautéed lamb liver with garlic & parsley).
Chorizo & Spanish black pudding

So it is half-time and what will we have for the second half? We do change from the Sangria to their Estrella beer, available on tap. About time we had some fish (the menu is divided into sections) and spot “a creamy Gratin of scallops & white fish” called Vieiras gratinadas. It is creamy for sure and excellent.

Something healthy perhaps? Why not Traditional Catalan grilled vegetables? Our server says this is served cold. No problem, we say. And it’s not, the Escalivada is different and again delicious.

We are about to hit the wall here, so settle on a shared dessert - well we’ve been sharing everything else in the round terracotta plates. The Crema Catalana is the perfect finish. 

If you intend to visit Las Tapas de Lola, do check the menu online before you go. Not alone will you see what is on offer but you can also find background information on how they came to select it and even where you can get the very best of that particular tapa in and around Barcelona. 

Take the popular Churros for instance. Did you know that tradition dictates that churros are eaten early morning either on the way home from a night out or for breakfast? Check out the menus and opening times here

Service had been friendly and efficient all through, always time for a quick chat, and the send-off was just as warm as the welcome. Very Highly Recommended.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Dublin's Café en Seine. Palate Pleasing. Eye-catching.

Dublin's Café en Seine.
Palate Pleasing. Eye-catching. 

The reimagined Café en Seine in Dublin’s Dawson Street is spectacular. Highlight perhaps is the Paris style Street Garden with its retractable roof and a capacity of 250 guests standing and 80 guests seated. Trees rise from the pavement up over the bar and the shopfronts and the scene is eye-catching both in detail and in its entirety.

Great place for people spotting, they say. And we did meet a Californian billionaire who told us he gives away millions every day. Unfortunately, he had finishedispensing them for the day and we couldn't be bothered coming back the next!

Our main purpose was to try out the food in their new 50 seater restaurant at Café en Seine, this the main feature at very front of the  building and also decorated in eye-catching style.

Here, head chef Stephen Gibson and his team, using Irish suppliers, “have brought a new dining experience to Dublin and have created a menu that reflects the ever changing tastes of Irish palates”.

We enjoyed the experience (including the music, (jazz, soul and rock 'n roll) from start to finish, including the enjoyable banter with our servers. They would get much busier later on but still had time to check back with us every now and then. You may read the menus here yourself. They also do lunch.

Starters are grouped under a Sharing Plates heading and these may be had in other parts of the building as well. They have after all no less than five bars, including two upstairs.

We had been  tipped off about their Crispy duck wings (12.00), served with chilli miso and sesame, and they were outstanding, almost led to a bit of scrap as you get three! Our other starter was the Salt Baked Beetroot (with goats cheese, pickled cherries, pistachio), completely different to the duck but totally delicious (7.00).

And no danger at all of scrapping during the main event, the generous Moroccan Lamb Shoulder (€50.00), especially for sharing. Indeed they do a few of these. Once we had chosen it, our server was more than pleased. He seemed to know a lot about this style of dish and said they do it well here. He was spot-on! 

The other server make a little show of presenting the large platter and it came with side dishes of couscous, yoghurt, smoked aubergine, harissa, flat breads. This was excellent and lots of meat too. And our red wine, the Les Oliviers blend of Merlot and Mourvedre (Pays D’Oc), fruity, supple and rich, was a more or less perfect match (32.00).

Time for dessert then and again we shared the lovely Crême Brulée (7.00). Off to stretch the legs now with a walk among the buzzing downstairs bars; this was early in the week and the two upstairs bars open only at the weekend.
Back to the garden

So we took two of the very comfortable bar stools at the first bar we came to and ordered some Liberties Ale (€5.90 a pint). Our eyes were wandering all over the colourful decor, even the magnificent displays of drinks behind the bar. It was then we spotted the tall trees further down and drifted along to the Street Garden to finish off the evening. Very enjoyable all told, even that late night chat with the Californian and his companion.
Choice is yours!
also on this Dublin trip:
The Little Museum of Dublin

Pearse Lyons Distillery
The Silk Road Café & Chester Beatty Library

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Eastern flavours and culture at Silk Road Café in Chester Beatty Library

Eastern flavours and culture at Silk Road Café
 and Chester Beatty Library

During one of the first Culture Nights in Cork, the Kay Harte of the Farm Gate Café had Abraham Phelan down from Dublin as guest chef and the queues were long. You can still find Abraham’s food in Dublin, at The Silk Road Café, a mecca for students, artists, other gallery visitors and more, in the Chester Beatty Library.

Here, the dishes served reflect the global reach of the collections - with Middle Eastern, North African, Mediterranean, vegetarian and coeliac friendly dishes served on a daily basis. No shortage of choice here when lunch begins at noon as they have about a dozen different offerings. Earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon, they serve teas and coffees and lots of good things, including baklava.
Quite a dining room at The Silk Road;
the kitchen and other rooms are to the right.

We had been taking a look in the Library itself and came down to the café, splendidly situated in the atrium, at noon. There is no written menu but the staff are very helpful here and soon we were sorted.

Breakfast had been generous and there was a big dinner on the horizon so nothing too much was required and we picked a three pronged small salad (8.20) and a vegetarian moussaka with salads (11.50).

Their selection of 12 dishes changes daily and all are served with rice and vegetables or with two of twelve vegetarian salads. 

The main courses could include a lamb moussaka as well as the vegetarian one. You’ll find a fish dish and a number of chicken offerings including curry. There may also be a pie and freshly made falafels. 
All cakes, biscuits and breads are homemade and you will find mixed berry scones shoulder to shoulder with chocolate brownies, fruit tarts, fig cake and baklava. 

To finish up, we ordered tea and the good value here was underlined with a pot (of at least two cups) for two euro.

We were fit for more walking after that and went back up the stairs to the museum. Entry is free but donations of a fiver are suggested.

You may have seen something of the current major exhibition “Gift of a Lifetime: Treasures from the Chester Beatty’s Collection” on TV. 

It includes folios from the Beatty Rosarium (a collection of devotions to the Blessed Virgin) consisting of 8 amazing miniatures. There’s an equally impressive late 12th century Deluxe Gospel Book from the pinnacle of the Byzantine period and also a 13th century Gospel Book, also from Turkey and one of the most important copies of the Qur’an in existence.

On this floor, you’ll also find the Art of the Book, everything from tiny snuff containers to large Dragon Robes but mainly displaying fascinating manuscripts, books, schools and bindings.
A summertime view from the roof garden of the Chester Beatty

Another floor up and you’ll wander through the Sacred Traditions Gallery, all about the world’s major religions, most of them from the east, including of course Christianity and Islam. The library reaches out to young and old with, among other things, lectures, tours and workshops. You may also explore some of the collections online. Check it all out here.

And don’t forget to visit the rooftop garden. The views are restricted, probably for safety and security reasons, but you do get a good look out over the area, including Dublin Castle to your left.

That Abraham Phelan visit to Cork was in 2011 (how time has flown!) and among the tasty bits he was busy serving up were Spanah Fatayer, Fil Fil Mahshy, Musken, Dagaj Bil Lemon and Patingan Mahshy.  (Hope those spellings are correct!).

While going through the info at the Silk Road website, I saw they do an Afternoon tea with a twist. There are no finger sandwiches or any scones but sweet and savoury treats from more than 15 countries. Sushi, chicken shawarma parcels, small bowls with paella are mixed with Persian love cakes, date truffles and Indian burfi. Click here for the Menu.

also on this Dublin trip:
The Little Museum of Dublin

Pearse Lyons Distillery
Café en Seine

Heading east