Review: Dublin and The Trinity City Hotel
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In Dublin's fair city, Where the girls are so pretty I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone, As she wheeled her wheel-barrow, Through streets broad and narrow, Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"
So goes the ancient and unofficial anthem of Dublin.
In fact the song cannot be traced further back than 1883 and though theories propose that it was based on an earlier folk song, it's origins cannot be proved.
Just like the elusive Molly herself, she is a fictional character though later folk legend has her based on a 17th century fishmonger and supposed lady of the night, though this too cannot be established. It all adds to her mystery.
Nevertheless, she is an iconic symbol of Dublin and her statue, complete with barrow can be seen in Suffolk Street, outside the T.I.C. This is a temporary home due to tram track works and it is expected that she will be returned to her original spot in Grafton Street in 2017.
Did you know that in Gaelic Dubh Linn actually means Black Pool? We never saw any illuminations, though after a night in Temple Bar, I can't be too sure.
But where to stay and be molly-coddled in this fascinating city?
Having done some research, I chose the Trinity City Hotel (formerly Trinity Capital Hotel), a four star 'luxury boutique' hotel right in the city centre.
The building is Georgian and has a grey stone and red-brick façade. It has been renovated and refurbished to a high standard and has undergone a dramatic internal makeover in a Moroccan / Moorish style.
The concierge area is all dark, rich colours with massive sofas and a huge gilt mirror. The theme continues throughout the hotel and the reception area is no less impressive. Large ornate chandeliers predominate whilst gilt mirrors, plush rich purple and red soft furnishings all add to the effect. Despite arriving six hours before booking-in time, we were immediately given access to our room without fuss.
There is a choice of style and price in the rooms, varying from Superior, Deluxe, Executive, Family, Executive Suites and Georgian Suites. Some of these are very spacious and grand indeed. Our Deluxe room was enormous with pale yellow walls and burgundy woodwork.
The room had dual aspect cityscape views from the windows. The bed was Super-king sized and we had the benefit of Bewley's tea and coffee.
There was a large, wall mounted television to make use of, whilst the white tiled en-suite bathroom had The White Company's 'Noir' toiletries. Everything was spotlessly clean and very comfortable, having easy chairs and two desks.
Exploring the hotel further, the bar and separate restaurant continued the exotic theme in colours and style. The comfortable, self contained outdoor Courtyard even had life sized camels, whilst overlooking it were other life sized models of tigers, crocodiles etc. There is nothing bland or utilitarian about THIS hotel. Such a refreshing change from the identikit norm. It appealed to my quirky side.
Whilst we did not take an evening meal here, there is an early bird menu from 6 to 7.30pm, with a la carte menus from then on. We did take breakfast in the restaurant. This is buffet style with everything you could wish for, from continental selections to fresh fruit or the full Irish. Everything was fresh and delicious and of good quality.
There is a small outdoor terrace to the front of the hotel, though this is next to a busy road.
All staff encountered were friendly and approachable. There is a concierge service and a free baggage room service for late departures, giving more time to explore the city.
There is free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
The hotel is centrally located for many of the attractions, being across the road from Trinity College, Ireland's oldest university. This was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1 and is set in lovely grounds. It houses the magnificently illustrated Book of Kells. This manuscript was written by Irish monks around 800 A.D. and has Latin texts of the four gospels. It is open for public viewing.
The world famous Temple Bar area is but a two minute walk away (and a ten minute stagger back!). The many old style Irish pubs and live music venues have to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. There's many a tune etc.
May I recommend the hop-on, hop-off bus tours around the city as a start point for your explorations. The tours have live commentary by the wonderfully witty drivers so each one is different and very entertaining. Some drivers recited poetry, others told stories and even treated us to a song. All were very informative and friendly. There are two separate routes, both worth a ride. We hopped on and off several times.
As a top tip, buy an Airlink 747 bus ticket combined with the Dublin Bus Tour hop-on, hop-off ticket at the Travel Information Office AT THE AIRPORT. This will save you money. It includes return trips from the airport to the city centre and unlimited tours over 2 days.
All of the below attractions and many others are on the route of the hop-on, hop-off service and discounts can be obtained by using the discount map and guide issued with your tickets.
You cannot really visit Dublin without taking trips to The Guinness Storehouse and Jameson's Distillery, both near the centre. The Storehouse was founded in 1759 and is seven storeys high with the most recent addition being the building which resembles a giant pint. You can pull your own pint of Guinness on the 4th floor and get a proficiency certificate. At the top is the Gravity Bar, where you can sample the product and have a 360 degree view of the city below through floor to ceiling windows. Don't miss the superb Guinness Beef stew with mash in the restaurant. It's fabulous.
This plant covers 55 acres and produces an amazing 3 million pints of the black stuff per DAY!
Jameson's distilled their famous product from 1780 to 1971 in Dublin and the old premises has a guided tour taking you through the whiskey (Irish spelling) making process and all guests can sample and compare the product against Scottish and American whiskies. There are further free samples to enjoy. There is also a quality restaurant on site.
Other must-visit venues in the city are any of the Butler's Chocolate Cafes, or the architecturally and gastronomically fabulous Bewley's Oriental Café on Grafton Street. (This branch closes at the end of February 2015 for refurbishment for six months). See the original grandeur in all it's stained glass glory while you can.
The main shopping streets are Grafton Street and Henry Street.
Latterly, on my flying two day visit, could I commend Phoenix Park, which, at 1752 acres is one of Europe's largest urban parks and which celebrated it's 350th anniversary in 2012. It is also home to Dublin Zoo, which is a day out in itself.
So, get some molly-coddling, to be sure.
You won't find a more quirky and exotic place to stay in Dublin and that IS for sure.
125 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.