Where to stay in Dublin

Stay in an old and historically important hotel in the heart of Dublin or lounge around in quirky, Gaudiesque surroundings situated away from the hustle and bustle.

The Shelbourne

What's so special

This ancient Irish institution has been welcoming guests for over 200 years. It was where Michael Collins drafted the Irish Constitution in 1922. These days it is counted as one of Dublin's very best hotels. It is also ideally located in the centre of town, so most tourist spots are just a short walk away.

How they rate it

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After "several unhappy changes in ownership, the Marriott Group has given the hotel a much-needed facelift", says Francesca Syz in The Daily Telegraph. It has retained the hotel's best bits, including the "atmospheric" Horseshoe Bar and the Lord Mayor's Lounge. Some great new amenities have been added, such as the Saddle Room Restaurant and Oyster Bar. There is also a "quirky new service": a genealogy butler' to help guests track their Irish ancestors.

The menu

The Saddle Room restaurant is fabulously opulent with gold-cushioned booths. The cuisine is international, with dishes including chicken and forest mushroom rillette, or rabbit wrapped in smoked streaky bacon.

The cost

A double room costs from €199 per night. For more information, visit www.theshelbourne.ie, or call 00 353 1 663 4500.



What's so special

This hotel has two big things going for it. Firstly, it's the only owner-managed hotel in Dublin, so it offers a personal touch many of the others don't manage. Secondly, it is situated away from the hustle and bustle down a quiet residential street, but is still only a 15-minute stroll from the main sights.

How they rate it

This is "one of the most stylish" hotels in the city, with "modern, decadent, boudoir-like interiors that don't take themselves too seriously", says Francesca Syz in The Daily Telegraph. It has fantastic, "verging-on-the-Gaudi-esque, playful design elements everywhere", says The Sunday Times Travel Magazine. From the "gigantic Moroccan lanterns clustered about the porch like props from Through The Looking Glass" to the "unrepentant" colour scheme, this is a quirky hotel. "If you've the stomach for such attention-seeking environs, you'll find this place the perfect upbeat launch pad" for a fun weekend in Dublin. It's worth noting the bedrooms offer a more muted colour scheme, so you can snooze in calmer surroundings.

The menu

The restaurant serves inventive Irish dishes, such as beef fillet with braised beef shin, foie gras, spinach and fondant potato or paupiettes of lemon sole. It also has one of the best wine lists in Ireland.

The cost

Doubles start from €165. Find out more at www.dylan.ie, or call 00 353 1 660 3000.

What the travel writers are saying

Ireland is famous for its coastal pubs. Here are seven worth visiting, says Jasper Winn in The Guardian.


The Jolly Roger can be found on the island "paradise" of Sherkin Island in Co Cork. "Ramble the fuchsia-lined lanes, swim from Silver Strand or visit the ruins of the old abbey," then head to the pub for a drink. There are regular gigs on and, with its "crosswords, games and fire", the pub is just as worthy of a visit in winter.

The Fullerton Arms in Ballintoy, Co Antrim is by the Giant's Causeway (above) and the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge. The pub is just above the "picture-perfect harbour, which on a sunny day feels like a tiny Mediterranean cove". There is live music most evenings.

Howth in Dublin Bay is a rather posh part of town, once home to WB Yeats. The Bloody Stream is a "welcoming pub" right next to Dart station. It has flagstone floors, an open fire and great seafood dishes.

Dick Mack's in Dingle, Co Kerry, is a "shop-bar", although it is "barely a leather-work workshop nowadays", even if some of the tools are still there. It is the best place for "wildly creative talk about local myths". Don't miss the handprints of famous visitors pressed into the pavement at the door.

Rockett's of The Metal Man in Westown, Co Waterford, specialises in traditional dishes, including crubeens and boiled pigs' trotters.