Breathtaking scenery, friendly locals and iconic pubs are just some of the things the small island-country has to offer. Below, we give you the scoop on how to make the most of your next Irish vacation.
WHERE TO STAY
The Ashford Hotel
Nestled in the lush forests of Ireland's County Mayo and surrounded by nature, you'll find the stunning Ashford Castle. The medieval castle turned five-star hotel is located on the shores of the serene Lake Corrib. Every corner of the legendary castle is covered by history's invisible patina. The gleaming halls and corridors, and exquisite rooms and suites have been carefully restored to their former glory, keeping intact significant historic details. The rooms take us to a world of refinement and elegance, seamlessly combining antique pieces with modern conveniences. Most of the spacious suites are located in the oldest parts of the property, built between the 13th and 17th centuries. All feature king-size beds with canopies and retain the original fireplaces. From each of the suites, guests can revel in contemplation with breathtaking views of the lake. However, it is not only the splendid interiors and classic architecture that make Ashford Castle a mandatory destination while in Ireland. Its imperturbable rural environment opens a wide range of options for the visitor's delight: afternoons at the spa, golf course, horseback riding, fishing and water-skiing are among the amenities offered in and around the hotel.
WHERE TO EAT
Patrick Guilbaud Restaurant
Patrick Guilbaud, a temple of haute cuisine, is the only restaurant with two Michelin stars in Ireland. Located in the Irish capital, Dublin, it is housed in a beautiful 18th century Georgian manor next to the prestigious Merrion Hotel. The fine eatery also features an impressive collection of Irish art. The restaurant is owned by Patrick Guilbaud, a Parisian chef with a notorious passion for gastronomy. French chef Guillaume Lebrun--trained in the prestigious Lenôtre Traiteur--is in charge of the operation. Lebrun creates delicious dishes using top quality seasonal products while the manager and head waiter, Stéphane Robin, runs the magnificent menu and extensive wine list with great skill and experience. Patrick Guilbaud restaurant is famous for its contemporary cuisine rooted in Irish cooking. Guests will be treated to select dishes such as Pan Roasted Duck Foie Gras or the delicious Half a Dozen Carlingford Oysters with shallots, ginger, Asian dressing, coriander and lime salad.
WHERE TO ENJOY THE BEST IRISH BEERS OR WHISKEYS
Located in Dublin's cultural quarter, famous for its lively nightlife, The Temple Bar is perhaps one of the most visited pubs in the city for its excellent live musical shows. The pub and its surroundings are a tribute to Sir William Temple (1555-1627), a renowned teacher and philosopher who was provost of Dublin’s respected Trinity College. Opened in 1840, The Temple Bar stands out for its bright red brick facade. Considered the center of Dublin nightlife, its distinctive open courtyard and bar are ideal to take in the best Irish beers. It also has a large selection of European beers, including Belgian abbey beers, highly appreciated by the discerning clientele that regularly visits the famous pub.
37 Dawson Street Pub
Located on Dublin's vibrant and always fashionable Dawson Street, this elegant and sophisticated pub is decorated in a very eclectic style. A welcoming gathering place, the 37 Dawson Street Pub is memorable for its cocktails and luxurious Victorian bar. Here, you can sample some of the best Irish whiskeys in a relaxed atmosphere. Sunday lunch features smoked salmon, beef tenderloin, Cashel blue cheese or typical Irish potato fritters, among other delights. ■
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