Hi, my name’s Chris, I’m a craic addict.
Have been all my adult life. And a bit before, truth be told. There, I admit it.
To be cordially invited, then, to Craic Central was a fix no lust for lifer could refuse. And this top trip duly delivered, proving a heady cocktail of culture and ceilidh.
In with the Dublin crowd, we warmed amid summer sunshine to this fair city, where the girls are so pretty and, moreover, gulls are pretty raucous.
Where better to start our 48-hour whet your whistle-stop tour than Liffey liquid shrine that is the Guinness Storehouse.
Plant tours include such eye-opening delights as wonderwall fall of water, among the key ingredients in the time-honoured traditional brewing process, secret of success of pint, each of which contains a mind-blowing 30 million bubbles.
Our VIP visit didn’t disappoint on any level – magnificent seven of them, topped by the sky-scraping Gravity Bar, affording unparalleled panoramic views offering 360 degrees of intoxicating vistas.
St James’s Gate girls and boys from the black stuff serve the perfect pots of free finest product, perfectly poured at an optimum 45 degree angle for all who make it to such heady heights.
Lunch at 1837 Bar & Brasserie sees each course carefully crafted with distinctive brews. Another floor confirms stag and hen party planners can indeed organise a party – other familiar phrases are available – in a brewery, often enlivened by shamrock ‘n’ roll strains that also soundtrack regular weddings. Guides, educational and entertaining in equal measure, steered us safely through the new Brewing Floor – Holy Grail of ale – awash with experimental potions aplenty, before travelling back 250-plus years to view iconic marketing that made Guinness a field leader.
I could trademark harp on about this stout institution’s merits ad infinitum. Suffice to say, this is a must-see visitor attraction, is as black and white as the heady burnt barley brew itself.
How to travel:
Shy of an hour from take-off to touch-down, Leeds Bradford Airport to Dublin ‘s swift flight is shorter than many work commutes. For more information or to book visit the aerlingus.com website.
Where to stay:
Brooks Hotel offers a prime position for pleasure seekers to spend some well-earned time and hard-earned cash around the fashionable Grafton Street stores. The four star boutique bolthole boasts a “haven of peace” complete with Francesca’s restaurant cuisine and Jasmine Bar hospitality, as well as a fitness centre with sauna, and even on-site cinema. Publicity claims accommodation “caters to guests who value difference and for whom ambiance, décor and quality of service are important”.
Where to dine:
Dub grub doesn’t get any more fine dining than Fade Street Social.
The gastro bar’s mantra echoes local wit Oscar Wilde’s assertion “to get into the best society nowadays, one has either to amuse people, shock people or feed people – that is all”. So was born a sharing concept showcasing a simple and seasonal innovation in tapas style servings, all under the expert stewardship of Dylan McGrath, lauded with Michelin stars. Avoca’s Suffolk Street café, among a local company’s dozen such sites, spins its own special magic in a mini-department store, an Aladdin’s Cave hailed by Vogue UK as among the top 100 outlets outside London.
The award-winning eatery’s recipe for success centres on sourcing excellent ingredients to bring out fresh flavours.
What else to see:
Passport to pleasure, exploring the city at your own pace, is Dublin Pass easily opening doors to attractions that are literally EPIC in the shape of the Irish Emigration Museum, and offer an oasis of verdant tranquility with St Stephen’s Green and Phoenix Park.
Hop on, hop off buses are a true transport of delight, Trip Advisor’s top tour DoDublin a capital idea to explore the beating heart of Leinster’s east coast province, traversing famed arterial river across O’Connell Bridge, Europe’s only such structure whose width equals its length, to best enjoy sights and sounds of Ireland’s biggest city.
Cultural diversions include Trinity College’s latest world-first tourist space age attraction. Europe’s best museum, according to Lonely Planet experts, is Chester Beatty Library.