THE FLYING NUNN
Places to Hang Your Hat in Ireland
Sun. November 3, 2019 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn
Aer Lingus has direct flights from Chicago to Dublin, Ireland. After the quick flight, the challenge can be finding a place to stay that is worth the price.
The centrally located Iveagh Garden Hotel can be found at 72/74 Harcourt St. Guests will feel right at home just steps from Grafton Street. There are plenty of stores for shopping nearby and the bar scene is literally right outside your door. While the students can be loud on the street at night, the property is completely quiet otherwise.
The hotel restaurant Elle's Bistro uses local ingredients and has an outdoor space with great lighting for all of those Instagram food shots. The 8 ounce Hereford Burger will surely satisfy any traveler, just expect the meat to be cooked well done in most restaurants in this European country.
The extra bed in some of the rooms is not for leprechauns, instead it's called a triple where a smaller bed is offered in the same room. In my case, it became a place to throw my clothes about! Visit IveaghGardenHotel.ie for more information.
A two hour train ride from Dublin will land you in Northern Ireland and Belfast. The Grand Central Hotel is so incredibly tall that it can be seen from the train station and the surrounding area. It's a beacon that acclimates the traveler to the city and just a short walk from the train stop or a bus system is even offered for free with the train ticket.
Hit the St. George Market or the Grand Opera House for local things to do. The Windsor House was built in 1974 and recently tranformed into this massive property by Hastings Hotels.
Don't forget to schedule an afternoon tea served daily in The Observatory complete with finger sandwiches and breathtaking views. Book one of their 300 bedrooms at GrandCentralHotelBelfast.com
For a true getaway head to The Johnstown Estate in Enfield. This is just about 30 minutes away from Dublin and has turned into quite the wedding venue. There are suites with six beds and multiple showers that welcome this. Fortunately, I was kept away from the wedding party on the night I stayed, but seeing their parade of hats as they checked in was quite entertaining.
The spa had the complete experience from relaxation rooms to a sauna. Hot tubs were located both inside and out with a pool that requires a hairnet. Watch out for kiddies everywhere and group swim classes. Go early to avoid the crowds. The gym facilities were excellent with lots of tattooed Irish lads sweating to the high energy music.
There are two restaurants in the hotel, a more casual one with The Coach House Bar and Fire & Salt which was more upscale. They were both fine in their own way. Fire & Salt was outstanding with service and menu offerings. The pan fried fillet of seabream is a must try item with gnocchi, asparagus and tomato tartar. The seafood found in Ireland was impressive along with the chefs who create such dishes. Finish off the meal with the popcorn chocolate bar as it is unique and pairs well with coffee.
Click over to TheJohnstownEstate.com for reservations and plan in advance with all of the wedding parties that tend to overrun the hotel.
All three hotels had delicious breakfast buffets that helped start off the day, so plan on waking early to take advantage of some fuel for your excursions.
The concierge service was top notch and reflected the friendly attitude that everyone seemed to have in this lavish green country. Tell Maggie at The Johnstown Estate that a Nunn sent you. She's the best!
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