Dublin state of mind

May 2017

Ah Dublin….you are Grand! I meet you again after about two years. There is no stress travelling from London, and I find your people to be warm and friendly. This time I stayed at The Westbury hotel right by St Stephens Green, right in the centre of town.

What really struck me about this hotel was the beautiful period elevator. After all, I can’t remember the last time I saw a gilded elevator with a seating facility. Very civilised. Of course, it probably also helps if you are a down an extra pint or two of Guinness and tottering back to your room.

I was there for two days of meetings at your International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) that is eagerly waiting in the wings to catch the rich pickings from the fallout of Brexit in the UK, with a number of banks expected to move substantial operations to this growing financial hub.

The journey to and back from the IFSC was a great walk along your river Liffey, that flows right through the your centre. Now, not to be ungracious or anything, but can you speed up the construction work in the city centre? Its a huge blot, and all your taxi drivers I met had nothing good to say about the length of time it is taking to complete these works!

Well I will spare you the gory details from the meetings, and focus on the good bits. I really enjoyed running in St Stephens Green, early in the morning. Now if you could get your parks department to open the park at 6.00 am instead of a sedate 7.30 am, that would be terrific! Its a beautiful green square that you should be very proud of.

Now, onto food! The first night we went to a nice little Italian restaurant — The Unicorn. They say it was the first Italian restaurant in Dublin. This could be folklore, but it did not disappoint food wise. The “Agnello” is well worth the effort.

Folks then headed to some local bars that were, well, a bit meh…..so things packed up relatively quickly. That said, it gave me a chance to sample your Tullamore Dew. Well, I must say, jolly good!

Day 2 followed day 1 workwise, and when it came to the business end of the evening activities, Dublin, you did not disappoint! The Fire, with its grand ceilings and delectable steak, was well worth the effort.

And I’ve saved the best for last. The Dublin Bar Academy. Yes indeed. If you have that urge to become a bartender, no better place to learn the skills of the trade. We had a short lesson in making a couple of cocktails, followed by the professional staff offering a sampling of a few of their specials. The revelation — The espresso martini! We all got a sip of each (which is on the whole better than it being a “bar attack”) and the espresso martini stood head and shoulders above the rest.

And then, dear Dublin, all too soon it was time to walk back to the hotel and open that laptop and get back to work. Yin and Yang, you see!

All in all, a great destination, and one I would happily come back to. So, dear Dublin, Feicfidh mé níos déanaí thú — which I am told is Gaelic for see you later. It may well mean something else, but I have decided to trust google translate!

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