travel

{take me away № 23 | dublin, ireland}

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As you glide along in the sky, gazing out the window, just before landing, there is a pivotal moment of being lost, lost in the spell of Ireland; the spell of the patchwork of
lush and picturesque land—a land that measures from warm, golden yellow hues to indescribably rich shades of jade, malachite, and emerald.

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But beyond the land, the wondrous Irish landscape is surrounded by almost architectural, asperous cliffs, offset by soft beaches, kissed by sparkling waters.

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The third-largest island in Europe, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. The lush vegetation of this ‘Emerald Isle‘, as it is poetically known, is attributed to the mild but changeable oceanic climate; the land is made up of low-lying mountains surrounding a central plain and several rivers running inland . . .

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When you arrive, you may wish to book a car, for ease of travel from village to village and city to city—exploring as you might, the landmarks sprinkled throughout the countryside, for you never know what you may discover. Turn a corner, and you might be surprised by the most incredible, medieval castle, almost like a fairytale, surrounded by incredible grounds; or a stone wall that stretches up, over and beyond the rolling hills, weathered by seasons; or the most quaint little cottage, surrounded by a herd of sheep; or perhaps, still, a breathtaking waterfall, on an afternoon walk.

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Above, the famous Trinity College Library

And whether you land, in the capital city or elsewhere, you will find yourself immersed in the perfect intermingling of history and culture, of countryside and cityscape, joined together to define that which is known as Ireland.

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Amoungst the favorite cities is the capital of this emerald isle: Dublin. And just in time for St.Patrick’s day, the city comes alive with carnivals, festivals, and pageantry each March, drawing large crowds and the very best in Irish and international talent, all in celebration. During this time, one might also explore wonderful landmarks and places—some recognized worldwide, and some, local secrets.

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In the city, you will find The Liffey River that divides the north and south—with lovely bridges to cross, and both sides offering wonderful sounds, sights, tastes. One may spend the morning walking through the popular Grafton street, with famous shops such as Brown Thomas, mingling amoungst unique antique shops, irresistible cafés and such.


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Above, Kylemore Abbey, Co. Galway

You might also wish to visit the Guinness Brewery, rooted in history, as well as some of the world-renowned galleries, The Liffey River, Grand Canal Theatre, Christchurch Cathedral, parks, and gardens. The Trinity College Library, once attended by Oscar Wilde, calls many to visit, for it is the largest in Ireland—with its volumes upon volumes in leather and wood, alongside new works—both wonderfully overwhelming and awe-inspiring.

And so today, come along with us, as we take a look at some of the most incredible views, lovely places to stay, restaurants, and more . . .

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Above, Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Ireland

where-to-stay

01 | Number 31

An ivy-clad and discreet Georgia-style townhouse beckons guests to enter this welcoming [and award-winning] boutique bed & breakfast. Designed by the famous architect, Sam Stephenson, there are twenty-one rooms with a clever mixture of contemporary furnishings, velvet drapes, luxurious Hastens beds, with pillows, duvets, and bed linens from Matteo, awaiting. After a refreshing sleep, guests are invited fora a beautiful ‘Full Irish’ breakfast, rumoured to be one of the best in the country—with all items on the menu cooked to order, offering seasonal and organic [with some grown on site] delicacies. While staying, one can relax by the fire, in the cozy, stone walled, sunken lounge area—open to all guests to stop in for a tea and lovely conversation—or perhaps to read [there are stacks of things to choose from if you did not bring something], and enjoy some quiet time after a full day of sigh-seeing.

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02 | The Westbury

Located just off of Grafton Street, one of the two main shopping streets in Dublin, The Westbury Hotel is literally in the city center, just steps away from Trinity College, the National Gallery, and many other cultural attractions. There are markets and cheese mongers, and The Loft Market, a collective of local artisans. Better still, it is also on Dublin Bay, along the strand, and near main railway stations, as well as the Dun Laoghaire Ferry Port; there is also Dublin Bikes, for an afternoon ride along the water. The hotel itself is a study in contemporary, understated luxury, and with fresh fruit and flowers in your room on arrival, and freshly baked cookies as part of the turndown service, you’ll be right at home . . .

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03 | The Shelbourne Dublin

Perhaps the most grand of all hotels in in the city, the Shelbourne Dublin is also located in the heart of the city’s centre, and overlooking the beautiful St. Stephen’s Green. Exquisite, historical charm can be found in this beautiful, grand hotel—from its ornate exterior, copious decorative touches, complete with pillars, to the sparkling chandeliers and soaring ceilings. As you enter, beautiful surroundings await—from the ornately railed staircase, to the Louis le Brocquy Tapestry and golden panels of drapery in the dining area. there are 265 available, complete with luxurious feather beds and marble bathrooms. Truly a landmark.

* a special note about the hotel : The Irish constitution was drafted at The Shelbourne in 1922 by Michael Collins, and 1 of only 2 original copies can be found in the hotel


04 | The Merrion

The Merrion is considered “Dublin’s most sumptuous retreat” and one of the very best of 5-star hotels located in the heart of the city, just opposite the Government Buildings. Incredibly elegant in design, this award-winning hotel is comprised of four carefully restored Georgian townhouses, dating back to 1760, with two classically composed gardens, designed by the famed Irish landscape artist, Jim Reynolds. In the Summer, guests can enjoy a lovely tea out on the Garden Terrace, or year round, can read and relax in the Drawing Rooms, by wonderful open log fires. Or, for a treatment, visitors may book an appointment at the famed Tethra Spa. There are 142 rooms at The Merrion in total, all finished with lovely white and gilt furniture, framed prints of Irish scenes, luxurious Italian linens, spacious marble bathrooms, and many more extravagantly delightful features. Many guests have noted the exceptional and attentive service, abundant conveniences, and luxurious details.

* a special note about the hotel : many know The Merrion as the birthplace of the first Duke of Wellington


[NOTE : for places to rent in dublin, ireland, visit : abode /// my home /// authentic ireland]

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Above, a March wedding in Ireland

where-to-eat

01 | Chapter One

Famed for its excellent food, helpful, attentive and well-informed staff, Chapter One draws visitors and locals alike. Located in the basement of the Dublin Writers Museum, [on Parnell Square in Dublin’s city centre] this award-winning, Michelin star restaurant focuses on local and seasonal produce, creating an array of modern dishes to enjoy. Chapter One offers a lovely selection, including : a pre-theatre menu, a tasting menu, a four-course menu, a vegetarian menu, and more—all well-presented in an artistic manner. The environment is a mix of warm tradition and contemporary touches, with stone walls, and an easy, elegant approach. Tom Doorly, of the Irish Times, says : “Chapter One is not just about truly brilliant food. It’s also about the very essence of Irish hospitality”.
ashford2Above, Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Ireland

02 | Eden Restaurant

Eden restaurant, acclaimed and award-winning, prides itself on its contemporary food, with a distinctive Irish flavour. The restaurant is located in the heart of Dublin’s Temple Bar, and offers a unique blend of fine dining and great service in a refreshing, casual setting. The brunch menu alone is worth a visit, as they offer a delectable array of choices, such as buttermilk pancakes, served with with apple compote & cinnamon crumble or Caramelised banana & maple syrup. On a lovely day, the outdoor patio calls guests to linger a little longer over lunch.

[note: they also have a cookbook available for purchase]
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03 | Sabor Brazil

Sabor Brazil is a lovely and romantic formal dining Brazilian Restaurant located in Dublin City. Baroque in style, the restaurant is decorating with bouquets of beautiful roses, golden wallpaper, candles, ornate furnishings and art. Quite intimate in the layout of space and settings, Sabor Brazil is a lovely option for couples and/or small groups of guests. Beyond the setting, the restaurant is famed for its “Tutu De Feijão”, “Pão De Queijo” and its irresistible handmade chocolate truffles. Additionally, the menu caters to vegetarians, and those with coeliac / celiac disease. A favorite among many, not only for its food, but for its service and attention to detail. In fact, Sabor Brazil is continuously voted as one [if not the number one] of Dublin’s treasured restaurants to dine at while staying in the city.


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what-to-pack

Just as Ireland is known for its lush green landscape, it is also known for its rain throughout the year. You needn’t fret, though—a chic pair of boots, light layers and your favorite trenchicon will serve you well, whether you are wandering from shop to museum, or taking a walk in the rolling hills of the countryside. We suggest lovely, cozy things for daytime exploration . . .

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classic trench coat /// metallic silver birdcage umbrella /// space-dyed cardigan in bordeaux /// leather portfolio clutch with metal tip /// buongiorno dolcezza silk-georgette and chantilly lace camisole /// blanca lace shorts /// by terry rose balm /// marni for h&m necklace /// original tall wellies in cafe latte {p.s.} these would be lovely as well /// stargazer perfume oil /// nora calf hair ballet flats

A few additional links & things you might enjoy : cooking classes for fun /// stop by T.Clifford Antiques, but be prepared to fall in love with the antiques /// stop in at Blarney for signature high quality linens, as Ireland is famed for /// for evening cocktails, head to Ice Lounge /// and lastly, while you visit, do explore the neighbourhoods and enjoy the brightly colored doors of homes

[image sources & credits : photography edna cavanagh /// photography by 夏先生 on flickr ///via eclecchic ///photography by manyfires on flickr /// photography by kiel bryant on flickr /// scan by sarah klassen, photography by amy neunsinger for the shabby chic home by rachel ashwell /// hello i'm edward /// enda cavanagh photography, via p /// ashford castle, via luxury culture /// martha stewart, from a previous post ///phombo /// scan by sarah klassen, photography by susie cushner forvictoria magazine, march 2002 /// ashford castle, vialuxury culture///shine on /// photography by turnernyc on flickr]

Sarah Klassen
Contributor, Vancouver

Even as a girl, Sarah spent hours curling up with her mother in their home library, exploring fashion and décor magazines, reading Jane Austen novels, and looking through beautiful books. Educated in design and marketing, Sarah has a great deal of experience in the realm of design, decorating and retail. She enjoys writing, travel, bike riding, boutique shopping, and exploring her beautiful city with her soul mate. Considered approachable and warm, if you meet her on the street, she’s likely to engage you in lively conversation.
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