A concierge’s guide to: Dublin

Dublin Castle

Concierge of Dublin’s prestigious Merrion Hotel, Sean Lally, gives us his 10-point guide to Dublin, from tranquil green spaces to traditional pubs.

1. What local restaurant would you suggest to get a really good introduction to Irish food?

The Pig’s Ear on Nassau Street offers wonderful traditional cuisine with a contemporary twist. The Cellar Bar in The Merrion is also a great spot for some Irish cuisine.

2. Is there any etiquette around dining, tipping and service that I should definitely know before eating out in Dublin?

Restaurants in Dublin are thriving at the moment, with great new bars and restaurants opening all the time. I would always recommend making a reservation early to avoid disappointment. People ask about tipping in restaurants and I always say there are no hard and fast rules about tipping in restaurants in Ireland. Generally speaking, if you were very happy with your experience 10 - 15% is considered to be an international guideline.

Powerscourt Townhouse Centre
Powerscourt Townhouse Centre

3. I only have 24 hours in the city, what three things are must-sees?

There are countless things to see and do for people – the ones I recommend as must-sees are The Book of Kells in Trinity College, Kilmainham Gaol and the National Museum of Ireland on Kildare Street – here you'll find fascinating archaeology displayed over seven galleries.

4. Which are the city's nicest and most tranquil green spaces?  

St Stephen’s Green and Merrion Square are both beautiful green spots in Dublin. The Helen Dillon Garden [in Ranelagh] is also a peaceful haven away from the commotion of the city.

5. Is there a walking or cycling tour that you'd recommend?

Dublin City Bike Tours offers private tours of Dublin by bicycle – you can even take a picnic to enjoy during the day. If a walking tour is your preference, Georgian walking tours are a favorite of our guests.

6. What are Dublin's hidden treasures, places the tourists don't normally see?  

The Glasnevin Cemetery is a real hidden gem and well worth visiting. Equally, the Skyline Tour of Croke Park is breathtaking.

7. What about authentic Irish crafts and design, where should I shop?

You’ll find everything you need in the Kilkenny Shop and Avoca, both in the center of Dublin. 

8. Which old traditional pubs will give me a real sense of Dublin pub life?

There is a “Golden Mile” of bars and restaurants on Baggot Street and Merrion Row, which happens to be right on The Merrion’s doorstep. Try O’Donoghue’s and Doheny & Nesbitt for a traditional experience.

9. If you had to recommend the best day trip out of the city, what would it be?

Day trips to County Wicklow – the Garden of Ireland – are very popular with our guests. It's close to Dublin but you really get a sense of Ireland’s beautiful countryside.

10. What is your own very favorite thing about Dublin?

It would have to be the people – Dubliners are so warm and friendly with a great “gift of the gab” – they make visitors to the city feel like they are in a home away from home.

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