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Lucire: Volante
ireland


Lucire 2012
Lucire 2012
The K-Club Irish elegance at its finest.

The golden road to the Emerald (Isle) City

Elyse Glickman explores Dublin, Ireland and neighbouring County Kildare, finding a gold mine of delights that harmoniously unite tradition and transition
PHOTOGRAPHED BY THE AUTHOR

 



Above St Stephen’s Green, and two beautifully designed doors.

 

WHEN IT COMES TO FINDING the perfect balance of town and country, tradition and technology, sport and culture, and classic and cutting edge, no European city does that dance quite as nimbly as Dublin, Ireland.

Though the “Celtic tiger” decade (1998–2008) brought major changes and lifestyle upgrades to Dublin—including snazzy boutique hotels and world-class dining—Ireland’s steadfast hold on its literary and historic legacies ensures its appeal will endure beyond whatever upscale destination trends are afoot. The imprint of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, William Butler Yeats and others are intricately woven into the fabric of Dublin’s increasingly international and cosmopolitan expanse. Even with that, it is one of the world’s most walkable cities, especially given that many of its finest museums, shopping, landmarks and libraries are within walking distance of St Stephen’s Green (the city’s physical and literal centrepiece), Dublin Castle and Trinity College.

Though the economic tiger may be in hibernation for now (economically speaking), continued expansions and improvements were being made to many of the city’s most visited cultural institutions at press time, including the National Museum of Ireland and the National Library of Ireland. Boutique museums, such as the Irish Jewish Museum, are undertaking ambitious fundraising programmes to broaden their exhibit displays and potential to serve a greater number of locals and visitors. According to curator Yvonne O’Connor, who took over for original visionary Raphael Siev (who passed away in 2009), a significant amount of effort will be put forth in 2012 to reach out to Jewish and Catholic communities in the US and Canada.

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Above left Driver Hugh McCormack has an encyclopædic knowledge of Dublin.

 

Some travellers may want to consider investing in a chauffeur service, where the driver is not just in the know, but also filled with colourful stories and an iron-clad affection for the city. This is certainly the case with Hugh McCormack (mcchauffeur@eircom.net), whose company offers everything from airport transfers to guided city and country tours to full-service programmes for executives looking to get the most out of their stay. McCormack himself is a walking encyclopædia when it comes to Ireland’s history, literature, the hippest neighbourhoods and even the best fish and chips to “take away” and enjoy al fresco at St Stephen’s Green.

That said, travellers can also take in culturally significant landmarks on foot or via public bike rentals by tour-basing in grand hotels with historic notoriety (i.e. the Shelbourne Hotel, where Michael Collins signed the Irish Republic’s constitution a century ago) or centrally located, service-driven business boutique hotels with elegantly quirky décor and cuisine such as the Brooks Hotel and the Fitzwilliam Hotel. Like McCormack, staff at both properties will move heaven and earth to ensure your stay in Dublin will be either as Ulysses epic or as streamlined as you want it to be.

Though pints and whisky shots keep Dublin top-of-mind among foodies, with Guinness Storehouse ranked as its top tourist attraction and the Old Jameson Distillery close behind, Ireland’s overall culinary evolution elevates these tried and true must-dos to sublime new levels of service and style. The dishes that come out of the Storehouse-based Gilroy’s kitchen, for example, are artfully prepared with or paired alongside variations of the legendary ale.

It also goes without saying that Dublin’s culinary scene has expanded far beyond the bottle (exemplified by such restaurants as l’Écrivain, Chapter One and Dunne & Crescenzi, stores like Sheridans Cheese Mongers, and tasting tours offered by Fabulous Food Trails. Though you can get those coveted takeaway fish and chips at institutions like Leo Burdock’s or Beshoff, hearty burgers at Bobo, heavenly ice cream at Anthony Bourdain-anointed Murphy’s and flawless bagels at the Bretzel Bakery, one enduring trend that rushed in with the Celtic tiger was the demand for fresh artisanal foodstuffs and produce.

‘What I find most fascinating about the aspect of cheese in Ireland’s cuisine, for example, is that it symbolizes that Ireland is becoming an inclusive society, where as a couple of decades back, we were an insular society, and for that reason in part the food was very poor,’ reflects chef–restaurateur Eileen Dunne. ‘When the economy boomed, people demanded and embraced locally produced foods and a higher quality diet. People could support local producers because they could afford it. Now that we’ve got the global recession, restaurateurs and shop owners want to continue to perpetuate the message that buying local is best because it creates jobs and keeps the local producers.’

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Elyse Glickman is US west coast editor of Lucire.

 

Below Dublin sights, along the river and other locales, including the Ha’penny Bridge (bottom).


Though pints and whisky shots keep Dublin top-of-mind among foodies, with Guinness Storehouse ranked as its top tourist attraction and the Old Jameson Distillery close behind, Ireland’s overall culinary evolution elevates these tried and true must-dos to sublime new levels of service and style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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