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Twenty years ago, the Irish capital was little visited – today, it’s one of Europe’s great city-break destinations. Get the inside track on how to make the most of Dublin
Saturday 17 June 2006
Whatever your accommodation needs, you can probably satisfy them at (1) The Townhouse at 47-48 Lower Gardiner Street (00 353 1 878 8808; www.townhouseofdublin.com), which consists of adjoining Georgian houses. Part of the space is given over to the Globe trottersTourist Hostel, which has dormitory accommodation at low prices. Most of the rooms in The Townhouse are en suites, costing €102-€125 a night (around £70-£85) for a double, including breakfast.
The most impressive sight in town is the (2) Book of Kells, a lavishly decorated collection of the four gospels, written in the ninth century. It’s the highlight of the superbly presented exhibition at Trinity College Library Dublin (00 353 1 608 1661; www.tcd.ie/Library), which is open from 9.30am-5pm daily (Sundays to 4.30pm; from October to April, Sunday opening is at noon). Admission is €8 (about £5.50).
Breakfast on the Mezzanine at Bewley’s cafe on Grafton Street is an excellent way to start the day. On Saturdays, (3) the Temple Bar Food Market in Meeting House Square is a great place to stock up on picnic goodies for lunch. For dinner, Ouzo’s is a brilliant seafood restaurant, off the beaten track at 1 Sandford Road, Ranelagh (00 353 1 491 2253). Enjoy good crab and lobster dishes there at low prices.
For high fashion, head for (4) Brown Thomas, a large department store on Grafton Street. Around the corner, (5) the Powerscourt Centre has antique shops and fashion by local designers, among other things. If you want to push the boat out, go to 56 Merrion Square, where you’ll find the grand Georgian premises of designer Louise Kennedy, who sells her own clothes and crystal designs, plus those of others.
After all that, you deserve a drink. And, as long as you don’t smoke, you’re spoiled for choice for pubs in Dublin. A good way to combine a number of them – and still pretend you’re being cultural – is to take the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl (00 353 1 6705602; www.dublinpubcrawl.com). This starts at 7.30pm each evening in summer (and noon on Sundays) at (6) The Duke in Duke Street and costs €12 (about £8). Brendan Enright, the concierge at The Westbury hotel, says (7) Mulligan’s on Poolbeg Street has the best pint of Guinness in town. Past customers include John F Kennedy.
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