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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The Marker Hotel Dublin

Get Your Sleep On – The Marker Hotel (Dublin, Ireland)

My husband and I decided to stay at The Marker Hotel in Dublin, Ireland for 2 nights this winter on a whim when stopping back through Dublin during New Year’s week after a family wedding in Donegal. It is seriously the nicest, most comfortable, most friendly modern luxury hotel we have ever stayed in (and we are hotel snobs, if you didn’t already realize).  It is clear why this property is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.  The hotel just celebrated its second birthday this April, and is as spotless as if it just opened yesterday.

The Location

The Marker Hotel Dublin

Grand Canal Dock

The hotel is situated in the sort-of-recently gentrified and renovated Grand Canal Dock, right next to the Bord Gáis theatre, the largest theatre in Ireland. For a listing of what’s on at the theatre, you can click right here.  There are Dublin Bike stations right near the hotel and little cafés and restaurants within a 2 minute walk, including the popular pizza chain Milano.  Temple Bar is about a 10-15 minute walk down the quays and the beautiful, modern Samuel Beckett Bridge is just a short 2 minute stroll, too.

The Room

The room was beautiful, HUGE, and Continue reading

Get Your Sleep On – Hotel Josef (Prague, Czech Republic)

While on a quieter side-street in Old Town, Prague’s Hotel Josef has it all.

Luke and I stayed here during my “Bar Trip” during September 2010.  For those of you wondering exactly what a “Bar Trip” is, it’s an American law school tradition of taking a big trip after you take the bar exam and before you start working.

Stellar location, amazingly comfortable beds, really neat rooms, and a great staff made our stay so enjoyable, we wouldn’t consider staying anywhere else next time we find ourselves in this storybook city.

Hotel Josef

Garden courtyard at the Hotel Josef

We were cheerfully greeted by the reception, who were eager to help us with whatever we needed, and offered help with bringing our bags to our room, which is becoming more and more rare in even the nicer hotels in Europe, I’ve found. We took the elevator from the super-modern lobby to our 3rd floor room in the Pink House, to find a really quiet hallway leading to our room. Everything in this hotel has a hint of design and thoughtfulness, even the room numbers. Continue reading

Get Your Sleep On – Altarocca Wine Resort (Orvieto, Italy)

Altarocca Wine Resort is a fantastic retreat for those who want to get away from it all, but also who want to visit the nearby town of Orvieto during their stay. We stayed here for 2 nights in the middle of our Honeymoon, on our way to a longer stay in Tuscany and on the Italian Riviera.

We actually added this hotel and stop to our itinerary after, while I was doing my research, I noticed that a friend of mine from the UK had just stayed here and had posted some photos on Facebook of his stay. I had to find out where this place was. Luckily, my friend answered my frantic FB chats almost immediately and gave me some info and his full recommendation.

Full disclosure: I formerly worked for a company in Argentina that has built and now operates a wine resort and spa in Mendoza, and I really wanted to see Altarocca Wine Resort especially due to my love of wine and curiosity!

We arrived just before dusk, which was unfortunate because the views from the resort are simply amazing.

Altarocca Wine Resort

One of the views from Altarocca Wine Resort

You really feel like Continue reading

Ora D’Aria – Michelin star dining in Florence

My husband and I went to Ora D’Aria on our honeymoon in October and we were really looking forward to our meal there based on reading about the chef and the place in general. However, we were a little disappointed with our meal and I think that, for the money, we had better meals elsewhere at a better price.

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THE FOOD

We did the Tuscan autumn tasting menu and each course was good, but not great.

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I think the amuse bouche was actually tastier than the actual courses, which was really unfortunate because I think it set us up for disappointment.  It consisted of a pint-sized portion of steak tartare with caviar and truffle oil, tempura fresh cherry tomato and prosciutto “sandwich”. Continue reading

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