Visiting Ireland

As my previous posts might have suggested, after I got back from Amsterdam I flew out to Ireland for a couple of days away with Alice. It is impressive just how cheaply you can fly to Ireland for now – even if you do have to put up with the sickeningly yellow interior of Ryanair planes.

And who can do Ireland without a Guinness, anyway?

So what did I do while I was there? .. Relax, mainly. We spent a day or two wandering around Dublin, visited the Guinness Storehouse and the Old Jameson Distillery, ate great steak and enjoyed hotel room service (for the first time!). Also visited Temple Bar, Liffey Valley shopping centre and had a fantastic Irish Coffee (of course!)

Ireland struck me as a very relaxed, friendly place – somewhere I’d like to spend more time (and if I win this Guinness competition then maybe I will!). Our hotel wasn’t too bad and the flights over were surprisingly good (for what they cost) so the whole trip worked out pretty well.

If you are lucky enough to travel to Ireland, I would definitely recommend visiting Temple Bar, the Guinness Storehouse and also just walking along the River Liffey – the bridges that stretch up and down it are beautiful. I hear Cork is very pretty too, maybe next time!

Review: Clarion Hotel, Dublin Liffey Valley – Ireland

This is a review of the Clarion Hotel – Liffey Valley, which is where I stayed on my recent trip to Ireland

When I booked our stay at the Clarion Hotel in Liffey Valley, the signs were promising. A 4-star hotel for €40-50 a night – granted a fair way outside Dublin, but thanks to the excellent bus service and a bit of GPS help, that wasn’t a problem.

The room was great too – as you can see from the pictures, plenty of space and the beds were very comfortable. The room had everything you would expect – tea/coffee facilities, a TV, safe and complimentary toiletries, everything you would expect from a four star hotel.

Unfortunately, then the troubles began. Our shower wouldn’t heat up and the in-room internet (wired) didn’t work – and the reception staff were none too helpful about it. We had to wait until the following day to have our shower repaired, and the internet didn’t work for the duration of the stay (despite a somewhat half-assed fix after I explained the problem). The other staff we dealt with, including the maids and room service people, were fantastic and extremely friendly – it was only the reception we had any trouble with.

That aside, though, everything was more or less as you would expect from a four star hotel, and there was WiFi in all the communal areas meaning that I wasn’t completely without internet (even if I did look a bit silly sitting in the reception with my laptop!). The Clarion Hotel was great, and would have been fantastic for the price paid, had the staff been a little more polite and helpful.

Guinness Storehouse – Dublin, Ireland

I spend the last weekend in Ireland, and while I was there visited the Guinness Storehouse – a self guided tour around the Guinness production process, at a facility which actively produces over three million pints of Guinness a day.

The Storehouse tour starts by the 9000 year lease famously signed by Arthur Guinness for the facility, and walks you through the stages and the ages of production, shipping and advertising – through five levels of the worlds largest pint glass – which could, if filled, hold more than ten million pints.

Once the tour is complete, there is a floor with Guinness-based eateries, including Arthur’s Bar – in which we had one of the nicest stews (Beef and Guinness) I think I have ever had.

Even the bread had Guinness in it – and it was fantastic too!

I really enjoyed learning about the Guinness production process, and experiencing the factory – and think it’s an experience thoroughly worth the cost and the time if you visit Dublin.

The Guinness Storehouse is located in Dublin city centre, an easy walk from O’Connell Bridge (where most of the buses pick up and drop off) and costs between €12-18 (I love student prices!) which includes a pint of Guinness in their Gravity Bar, with fantastic 360 degree views of the city. Cheers!