Top 15 Reasons to Love Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland is one of my favorite cities in the world. There are several reasons for this. And, without further ado – here are my…

top 15 reasons to love Dublin, Ireland

  1. Its Size

    Population-wise, Dublin has about 527,000 inhabitants, and covers an area of about 44.4 square miles. Much of what a tourist wants to see and do is packed into only a few square miles in the city center and this results in a very accessible, walkable town.

     

    Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin, Ireland

    View of the Millennium Spire through the Samuel Beckett Bridge

    I’ve spent a day walking one end to the other – starting around the Grand Canal Dock at Samuel Beckett Bridge and strolling along the Liffey all the way to Phoenix Park and Kilmainham Gaol. It takes a few hours if you stop here and there to see the sights, and it may not be great if you have older folks in your group, but it’s a definite plus that you can see most of the sights on foot if you want.

  2. Ease of public transportation

    You can take public transport all around the city and skip taxi cabs all together if you like. Take the DART from the outer neighborhoods to Tara Street and you’re smack in the middle of Temple Bar, for example. Or, take the DART out of the city to Malahide or Howth and take in the beautiful sea views.

    The Luas, a relatively newer light rail system, hits the city’s shopping streets north of the river, but it doesn’t go many other places that a tourist would want to visit.  Nevertheless, DART and Luas tickets are cheap and are a great option for travelers who are solo or are in small groups (when splitting a taxi doesn’t make sense).

  3. Direct flights to Dublin from many cities

    Dublin’s status as the capitol of Ireland and a tourist destination means that it’s easy to get to from many world cities. There are direct flights daily from the U.S. cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Orlando, for example.  The best airlines to get you there would be Ireland’s own Aer Lingus, or the other major carriers like Delta, American Airlines/US  Air, and even Emirates. I love Aer Lingus personally because you start getting the hospitality and flavor of Ireland the minute you step foot on the airplane.
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In Vino Veritas – Casa Bleve (Rome, Italy)

If you find yourself in Rome doing the whole tourist thing near the Pantheon, and have some cash to burn and a hankerin’ for some vino, strut your fabulous butt over to Casa Bleve and enter perhaps the most luxurious wine bar and restaurant that you’ve ever been to.

I had Casa Bleve on my list of “must-sees” in Rome after scouring the boards over at Chowhound to find the best wine bars in Rome. After a careful selection process (which was pretty much just figuring out what was close to stuff that we wanted to do – and that people could agree was a good place), Casa Bleve was “it”.

And “it” did not disappoint.

A mini Versailles dedicated to the tasting of delicious, gourmet Italian food and appreciation of wine, the nectar of the gods, the downright opulent surroundings made Frank Sinatra look like a hobo. But, now that you’ve read this post, you’ll dress nicely before you go. Unlike us…We felt like Continue reading

Lobster Joint (Brooklyn, New York)

I have an unhealthy addiction to lobster rolls – especially the lobster rolls from the aptly-named Lobster Joint in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

I’ve tried other lobster rolls and they just haven’t delivered the same way that these do. (Sorry, Luke’s Lobster and Urban Lobster Shack – Lobster Joint has my heart here. Not that you’re not great in your own right, but… Lobster Joint). They’re fresh, not overly mayo’d if you opt for the New England version rather than the butter-based Connecticut iteration, full of quality meaty pieces of sweet, juicy lobster and not overdone. Sometimes, simple is best. And these….well, these are the best.

Lobster Joint - clam strips and lobster claw bloody mary

Fried clam strips and lobster claw Bloody Mary

The real delight , though, for me is the Continue reading

Hilton Malta - Pool

Get Your Sleep On – Hilton Malta (St. Julian’s, Malta)

My husband and I spent the first leg of our honeymoon at the Hilton Malta, a luxury property situated in St. Julian’s Bay, Malta, and I could not be more pleased with our decision to stay here! We had looked at several other hotels on Malta and, after reading reviews, decided to cancel another reservation and book here instead. While the other property we were looking at was very nice, I think it’s the best decision we could have made.
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Pro-Tip: Get a room in the newer part of the hotel and upgrade to Executive Level. It’s worth it.

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Apart from a beautiful Executive King room in the new part of the hotel (Room #1158), what made our stay so special was Continue reading

Casa Enrique (LIC, NY)

Among the recent recipients of the coveted Michelin star in New York, Casa Enrique is a deliciously unpretentious spot to get your interior Mexican fix in Long Island City without breaking the budget.  The average dinner for two here, with 2 or 3 drinks each, an appetizer, entrees and sides is under $100. That’s a steal by New York standards, and especially by Michelin star-winner standards.

Like a hipster, I’ll just go ahead and say it. We’ve been coming here long before it was a Michelin star winner. It’s just nice to know that other folks agree with me – it is seriously good. Also amazing is their sister restaurant, Café Henri, a French bistro just across the street from the 7 train stop on Vernon-Jackson.

A friendly host or hostess greets you as you walk in and, after you indicate whether you’d like a table inside or outside, you’re whisked to your table. The minimalist décor – white on white, concrete floors, votives and a small vase of understated flowers on each table, is refreshing.

The drinks at Casa Enrique are delicious. Try the Michelada or the Aguachile Margarita if you like spice. If not, there are a ton of fruit-flavored margs and mojitos to choose from.

Michelada with Pacifico Beer at Casa Enrique

Michelada with Pacifico Beer

 

Casa Enrique - Pork puffs

Delicious pork puffs greet you upon arrival. Cannot remember their name!

The service is excellent.

Service here has always been good, but I think maybe the receipt of the star has encouraged the staff to up their game. There just seem to be more servers in general now. That being said, the service is fantastic and friendly, not in-your-face and you’re not stuck craning your neck, looking for someone – anyone – to ask for what you need.

PRO-TIP #1: Eat at the Bar if there’s a long wait to be seated.

The actual restaurant space is pretty small, so if it’s crowded Continue reading

Rockaway Brewing Company (LIC, NY)

Weekend afternoons in Long Island City would not be complete without a visit to the Rockaway Brewing Company brewery and Growler Room. Located conveniently across the street from the LIC Flea & Food, this craft brewery delivers fresh beer of all different kinds – to stay and enjoy or to take away in growlers – all with a smile. AND free bags of Cape Cod potato chips. What’s not to love?  Flint, who was on hand filling glasses and answering questions, quipped “I have 1,200 more bags, so just let me know if you want some more!”

Local brewing is experiencing a boom in Queens: Big ALICe Brewing, Fifth Hammer Brewing, LIC Beer Project are just a few of the other breweries new to the scene. But, Rockaway Brewing Company was the first.  And there’s something about the first that’s special in itself.  Not only are they the first, but they have been delivering fresh beer for a few years now and have been growing exponentially.

On tap are 10 different rotating brews, ranging from their flagship English Style ale  (the Original ESB) to saisons, cream ales, stouts, cask ales, nitro stout and pale ales.

The Growler Room at Rockaway Brewing Company

Bar and Menu, and Flint!

We couldn’t decide, so we started out (by kidding ourselves that we were only going to have a taste) with Continue reading