Unusual Hotels Ireland
Friendly, arty, welcoming, beautiful, atmospheric. The epithets applied to Dublin are familiar. (And while we're on the subject of Dublinish words, lets get the word craic out of the way. It can be good there, as you know). Dublin has a reputation for welcoming folk in, so there's no shortage of choice when it comes to the best places to stay in Dublin, and there's plenty of great options across the price brackets.
Despite being a capital city, Dublin feels compact and more village-y than most European capitals. It's got some beautiful architecture - from its medieval castle and cathedrals to the Georgian splendour of some of its houses - but it's also got some corkers, and it's the miss-matched effect which really gives Dublin its great character.
Dublin also has a wonderful mix of strong local traditions and cosmopolitan forward thinking. There are a thousand pubs to choose from, but there are also restaurants serving food from all over the world. If you're looking for pub suggestions try Kehoes in South Anne Street, which is authentic and quirky, and has a country pub type atmosphere, or the The Long Hall on South St George's Street.
Known for being a great place to have a good time, Dublin's live music scene plays a big part. It's easy to find out what's on, but if you're not sure what kind of thing you'll enjoy maybe try The Cobblestone at Smithfield, or O'Donohhoe's on Merrion Row. If you're after traditional Irish music try the Brian Brou on Prospect Road or The Bleeding Horse on Upper Camden Street.
As well as the pubs, the people and the music, Dublin's appeals include its museums and galleries. The Irish Museum of Modern Art houses a good collection of modern and contemporary art and has frequent visiting exhibitions. The Hugh Lane Gallery has a collection of contemporary art and includes a reconstruction of the studio of Francis Bacon, relocated lock, stock and barrel from London. Or try a lesser-known permanent exhibition in the Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle: Sacred Exhibitions, a display of sacred texts and icons from many world religions.
The Book of Kells in the Old Library of Trinity College is a highlight for many. Ancient, and staggeringly intricate, this book of gospels was created by monks around 800AD.
Another great attraction for lovers of history is Kilmainham Jail, one of the biggest unoccupied jails in Europe. Inside is an interesting and affecting exhibition charting Ireland's journey towards independence.
For a completely authentic sporting experience, the best places to stay in Dublin will point you in the direction of a hurling match at Croke Park which is excellent. Like a cross between the most hotly contested rugby match you can imagine and polo (without horses), it is fast and furious.