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Dublin Travelogue with Restaurant Reviews
At great expense we, the four ladies visited Dublin's fair city to discover the delights of dining there. We thought it time to find out, on your behalf, why this has become such a popular destination! Our first recommendation... Don't go on a weekend! We went midweek & even then everywhere was packed. A busy, buzzy, city full of young people where all the oldies are young at heart tourists like us!

We stayed at the Royal Dublin Hotel. It is 3 star & cost us roughly £33 a night each for twin bedded rooms & a full Irish breakfast. Breakfast was excellent, rooms had seen better days but apparently they are due for a refurb. The bar was ever open! Found drinks, both G&T's & our usual choice of house wine very expensive everywhere.

Discovered Temple Bar on our first night, it's the area to head for for bars & restaurants. Because of the offer of Traditional Irish food decided to try The Boxty House. Food not very good but certainly different! Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake which is cooked on a griddle & served with various fillings, i.e. corned beef & cabbage! We were all starving as it was late and really looking forward to our choices but apart from Atlantic Mussels, CV's starter choice, they were all a bit mushy & glutinous. I had Clonakilty Puddings (black & white pudding wrapped in bacon, garnished with Boxty & home made apple calvados sauce). SM had Pan fried Potato Cake stuffed with Irish cheese, onion & sun dried tomato, & SA had Mollie Mor (an age old fish stew recipe: salmon, cockles & mussels cooked with fresh vegetables, cream & tomatoes). SM had Mollie Mor as a main course & the rest of us decided we had to try Gallagher's Traditional Irish Stew (Tender chunks of Irish lamb cooked with potatoes, carrots & parsley). It was sadly lacking in lamb! Most dishes can be ordered as starters or main. Cost €25 a head including 2 bottles of house wine. 6/10, but do try it, it's certainly different!

The next morning as the sun was shining (and continued to do so for the rest of our trip, because we are so righteous) we took a Dublin Bus Tour to the coast South of Dublin. Visited Dun Laoghaire and had a far too short stop at Avoca Hand Weavers at Kilmacanogue. The snack lunch from the cafe there was outstanding and we ate it outside in the beautiful gardens. Perhaps it's just as well we were only there for an hour or the credit card may have taken a hammering in the shop which was packed with many desirable & unusual items! Really recommend the bus tours, we did the hop on, hop off, city one the next day, as the drivers are both funny & informative and they sing! Hilarious.

We came to the Arlington Hotel to see the Irish dancing and were not disappointed. 2 young women and in particular a young man were amazing. It was great to see their incredible foot work at such close quarters. Michael Flatley should be very worried! Also had a band with a po faced singer who looked very weary of belting out traditional Irish songs but it was all good fun. Again the food best forgotten, 5/10, a set menu with various choices for €18.50 a head. House white €18. Not going to bother to type the menu, but it is worth coming here for the entertainment! Check out the web site, location wise, it would be a good hotel to stay in.

After our city tour and highly recommended visit to the Guinness Storehouse, we were attracted to O'Neill's because of its traditional look and also because it is very near the start of Grafton St, our afternoon's shopping destination! I had a Brie & Pastrami baguette with loads of salad €5.25, very yummy, SA & CV had carvery at €9.95 each, could have had loaded plates if they'd wanted them. SM had a Greek salad, all very pleased. Convivial atmosphere. Still moaning about cost of G&T's €5.10 each! 8/10

We came across Ar Vicoletto, this old fashioned looking tiny Italian Bistro in Temple Bar by chance, is not easy to find but it is SO worth the effort! Gorgeous food, service and waiters. We shared one starter Cozze au Gratin (mussels with a cheese topping) £6.95 (said it was old fashioned, they still had the prices in £'s). 2 of us chose Saltimbocca alla Romana (veal with sage & Parma ham in white wine sauce) £13.95 & 2 had Sogliola Duffen (fillet of sole stuffed with prawns) £15.95. All food very freshly cooked & very yummy! Shared Tiramisu, coffees, 2 bottles of wine, Total Cost €173. Highly recommended. 9/10

We finished our evening in a pub called The Auld Dublin to listen to traditional Irish folk singer... he played hey Jude & American Pie before packing up for the night! Enjoyed meeting Kevin, a fellow Sotonian.

Our last day was spent wondering around the shops and then we had a very late lunch before heading for the airport. Ironic that we had to come to Dublin to find the 2 best Italian Restaurants we have eaten in for years! Spacos, 3,South Anne St. Dublin 2 (off Grafton St.) being very trendy it couldn't be more different in appearance than Ar Vicoletto but the food was equally fresh & delicious. Our choices, Penne Cacciatora (pasta with bacon, chicken, onion, mushrooms & garlic in a red wine sauce) €11.95, Cannelloni Fiorentina (with spinach & ricotta cheese topped with tomato & mozzarella) €11.50, Risotto con Pollo e Funghi (risotto with mushrooms & chicken in a white wine sauce) €12.95 & Pollo Vesuvio (pan fried supreme of chicken stuffed with Palma ham, basil & mozzarella in a white wine & cream sauce) €16.95. Then we really pigged out on scrumptious home made Amaretto Ice Cream & Strawberry Cheesecake! Wonderful! Obviously we had wine so total bill €92. Again highly recommended. 9/10

To sum up would recommend Dublin for a hectic couple of days. Would then be nice to be able to move on to somewhere more peaceful & rural for recuperation! It was not cheap but then it is a capital city & also the locals told us prices have risen since the introduction of the Euro. A sign of things to come over here?
About the Author
Four ladies provide unbiased reviews of restaurants, pubs, wine bars and other eateries mainly within Hampshire, England, UK. Please visit their site for more reviews: Ladies Who Lunch In Hampshire.
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