I thought Dublin would be different to the rest of the Ireland that I’d dreamed of exploring. Giant’s Causeway, the vibrant green countryside and rough shoreline plus the friendly people with their soft rolling accents seemed too far away from a main city to be similar. I always have preconceptions before I visit a place and Dublin I thought to be similar to London but on a smaller scale.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. For starters, I hadn’t thought that it hugged the coastline and I definitely wasn’t expecting the town to be so rich in independent retailers and quaint little streets.
We checked into our hotel; the beautiful Westbury Hotel, ready to explore the city. The Westbury Hotel is part of one of my favourite family owned hotel groups – the Doyle Collection – that also happen to include Dalloway Terrace in their portfolio.
Fuelling up on a fabulous lunch in the ground floor Balfes (I went for veal – it was perfect) the atmosphere is surprisingly light and friendly. Not at all the pretentious affair that is usually associated with 5 star establishments. We all chatted away until a fabulous looking lady called Deirdre (Fashion Editor of the Irish Times) joined us to whisk us around the city.
We flitted between stores while Deirdre effortlessly introduced us to each owner, recounting what they did and produced and why she had brought us.
Between the handmade scarves and homeware shop, Sheridans Cheese Shop, Anthony Peto hats, Perfumerija, Paula Rowans beautiful leather gloves and the gorgeous Loulerie jewellery boutique she would pause to chat to a friend in the street, clearly knowing half the city. Her energy was both effortless and infectious so that, by the end of the tour, we felt we knew the city and the people as well as she did.
With an hour or so to spare before cocktails in The Sidecar (the fabulous hotel bar complete with gold cocktail shakers) we had some of the champagne and delicious pastries that had been left for us then accidentally took a nap in our huge four poster bed.
You can’t help but feel a little glam in the Westbury, for years the rich, famous and occasions have been coming here to celebrate everything or nothing at all. Each area is carefully molded into the activity it reflects and it blends together seamlessly.
As we waltzed through the lobby and The Gallery, you can’t help but get the beautiful fragrance of the many fresh flowers throughout The Westbury. What’s utterly charming is that the Ruth Monahan who provides the flowers to the hotel every week is none other than a member of the Doyle family.
The barman mixed us up a couple of signature cocktails that we sipped in the conservatory of The Sidecar.
With cocktails in hand, our table in Wilde was ready. The most beautiful restaurant reminiscent of it’s sister Dalloway Terrace in London with vines growing up the walls and distressed mirrors reflecting the evening light throughout the restaurant.
We ordered all the sides on the menu as well as a main each washed down with Prosecco. Then gorged ourselves on the gluttony of how heavenly each dish was. Needless to say we all slept extremely well that night.
The next morning we all met for breakfast at Balfes, with the majority of us forgetting the gluttony of the night before and ordering pancakes.
With full tummies, we each head out into the city to explore in our pairs. Ben and I had fallen in love with the little streets of the day before so made a beeline for them with their vintage boutiques and sparkling jewellers.
I found Ben outside, he’d found an incredible mural along a restaurant wall that I had to see. It also made for a perfect impromptu photo-shoot backdrop.
We also made a stop by Apassionata flowers to gaze at the stunning blooms.
P.s. did you know post boxes are green in Ireland?!
Noticing the time, we realised we needed to get back for the grand finale, an unbelievable Afternoon Tea. One of my favourite things, and the Doyle Group do them very well. Topped off with the Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque and washed down with our choice of tea. Full to the brim, we took the rest of our cakes to go and made the short journey to the airport.
I can’t wait to come back and discover more of beautiful Ireland.