We asked David McNally, Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Dublin to gather the savviest suggestions he could find—not just his own, but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some he works with every day at the Hotel. A historic city brimming as much with culture as it is with great heritage and authentic old-time bars, Dublin offers a metropolitan experience with the charm of a small town.
History and Heritage
For anyone interested in Irish heritage and genealogy, a visit to Glasnevin Museum and Cemetery is a must. Located on Dublin’s Northside, about 4 miles (6 kilometres) from the Hotel, this modern, interactive attraction offers an introduction to the wealth of Ireland’s history. Unless you’re familiar with the city centre traffic lanes and routes, we’d advise taking a taxi. While you’re in the area, try a tipple (or two) in one of Dublin’s most noted Victorian pubs, John Kavanagh’s Gravediggers at 1 Prospect Square.
Ireland is rightly acclaimed for its literary talents, and Dublin is no lightweight when it comes to showcasing them. Ireland’s National Theatre, also known as the Abbey Theatre, is dedicated to the preservation and production of plays by Irish authors past and present. For a more international programme, visit the Gate Theatre, where productions of classic and contemporary European works are a constant. For dance, musicals and other productions, check out what’s on in the Gaiety Theatre and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. Each has an ongoing schedule of shows.
Come evening time, music and laughter fill the air in and around the neighbourhood pubs. You’ll find offerings of Guinness and Irish whiskies almost anywhere, of course, but a short walk from the Hotel are three not-to-miss pubs and restaurants. Drop into Toners for a quiet pre-dinner drink; stay awhile and admire the lovely Victorian interiors at Doheny & Nesbits; and cap off your evening with traditional Irish music at O’Donoghues.
Though rich in tradition and local fare, Dublin’s culinary community offers global appeal. For some of the city’s best dining (and smartest interiors), get to the St. Stephen’s Green area, where Thornton’s Restaurant, Cliff Townhouse and Shanahan’s on the Green each serve fresh, contemporary Irish dishes. If you’d rather dine on lighter fare closer to the Hotel, then The French Paradox wine bar is virtually at your doorstep. With its broad range of French tapas and a dizzying array of European wines, this place is—très chic.
Brown soda bread, made with wholemeal flour and buttermilk, has been a staple of Irish cuisine for centuries. The addition of Guinness stout to the dough before baking makes for a darker loaf with a richer flavour. This bread, along with traditional blood sausage known as black pudding, appears at breakfast tables throughout the country. A great place to sample these and other traditional Irish foods is the Winding Stair restaurant overlooking the river Liffey in the city centre.
Ireland is home to some of the world’s most beautiful—and most challenging—golf courses. The wayward winds of the links courses on Ireland’s coast entice experienced players, but novices can enjoy a round, too. Old Course Portmarnock, some 15 miles (24 kilometres) north of the Hotel, is ranked among the top courses in the world, while the top-ranked European Course, just 30 miles (48 kilometres) south of the Hotel at Brittas Bay, offers the exceptional scenery of County Wicklow’s landscapes.