Don’t miss out on Dublin’s wealth of attractions and adventures
THE SHELBOURNE HOTEL
This grand red brick edifice has seen almost two centuries of Irish history saunter through its corridors, and remains the epitome of Dublin luxury.
A traditional haunt for the literati, the hotel was a favorite of William Thackeray and Elizabeth Bowen, and many a famous wordsmith has reposed on its sofas since. The Constitution of the Irish Free State was drafted in a Shelbourne suite in 1922 and to this day political heavyweights sojourn here for matters of state or just a pint and a chat. The hotel stands on St. Stephen’s Green, a lush inner city park fringed with handsome Georgian buildings, and a recent renovation has added several international awards to the Shelbourne’s ever-stellar reputation.
At a capacity of over 82,000, Croke Park is the fourth biggest sports stadium in Europe and home to Ireland’s two most unique and popular sports.
The Celtic games of hurling and Gaelic football go back centuries and in the last hundred years have enjoyed a massive revival. Played on a vast grass pitch at a breakneck pace, they both involve hitting a ball through the opposing team’s net, with some bone-shaking clashes along the way. Both are easy to follow for the uninitiated—Gaelic football has echoes of rugby, while the small ball and sticks of hurling recall field hockey and lacrosse. The symbolic significance of Croke Park is hard to overstate. As the site of the infamous Bloody Sunday killings in 1920, the stadium has become intertwined with Irish identity and to watch a match here is to share in a dearly-held national ritual. Every section of society comes to ‘Croker’ and the upper echelons are well indulged in the stylish corporate suites.
JOHNNIE FOX’S PUB
For an evening of good Irish merry-making, Johnnie Fox’s shouldn’t be missed.
Sat on a wild hillside outside Dublin, the pub claims to be the highest in Ireland and is certainly one of the most fun. Every night of the week traditional musicians gather, often with dancers, and perform boisterous ditties to the delight of a loving crowd. The regular ‘Hooley Nights’ are the real crowd pleaser. These nights begin with a fine, hearty meal followed by a performance from the country’s leading Irish bands and the classically trained Johnnie Fox’s Dancers. All this takes place in a cozy former farmhouse, a beautifully humble haunt for visiting heads of state and Hollywood heartthrobs. For an extra bit of magic, head to the pub by helicopter and marvel at the heather-dotted hills on your descent.