I’ll admit I did feel a bit of a fraud behaving like a tourist in a city that I can reach in slightly more than a two-hour drive away from my front door.
But working on the principle that world travellers are now coming to Northern Ireland in their droves, I proudly proclaimed “slightly north of Belfast” as my home turf.
As it turned out, my husband and I were the only folk from north of the border in our group of around 20 or so visitors to this charming and quirky little museum close to St Stephen’s Green.
We had 48 hours to spend in this gloriously vibrant city and decided to pack in some places we hadn’t been to before.
Included in our plan was to leave the car at home and, since our stop for the night was The Address at Dublin 1 in Amiens Street just opposite Connolly Station, it couldn’t have worked out better.
The property is Dublin’s newest luxury hotel, launched by Brian and Ciara McGettigan, of the Irish family-owned McGettigan Hotel Group, and offers state-of-the-art, boutique accommodation.
The Address at Dublin 1 is actually a hotel within a hotel as it is on the site of the North Star Hotel, but boasts its own dedicated personnel and hospitality services. It also provides modern, luxury accommodation that you just know has also been well designed for comfort and practicality.
And for anyone travelling from Northern Ireland by rail or coach, there really couldn’t be a better location.
Ciara McGettigan said “We wanted to offer our guests a unique and exclusive high-end luxury experience in the heart of Dublin. The Address is not just a hotel to stay at; it’s a destination – a brand new hotel experience.”
The reception area is relaxing and atmospheric, and our check-in was swift and efficient.
However, I did wonder what was in store when the friendly receptionist said she would ask someone to take us to our room to “show how everything works”.
It turned out that our spacious bedroom was fully equipped with all kinds of technological wizardry such as automated curtains and lighting with floor sensors that lower brightness to guide you around in the dark.
Apparently this level of in-room technology hasn’t been seen yet in the Dublin hospitality market.
“We did a lot of research into what services the top hotels around the world were offering and have aimed to combine the best in class technology to our guest rooms and suites,” said Ciara.
With the highest level of detail in furnishings and comfort, The Address at Dublin 1 certainly offers the discerning visitors everything they could want. The new bespoke development, which cost €15 million to create, has been carefully tailored to offer those extra touches that really make the difference.
One of the aspects I liked most was the exclusive rooftop lounge which offers amazing views of the city and special treats for guests to enjoy away from the hustle and bustle.
It’s the perfect spot to relax with a coffee and take time out to enjoy the scenery from a vantage point.
It was also great to be welcomed into our room with the words from the concierge: “the contents of the mini bar are complimentary”. In this case, the mini bar contained bottled water, crisps, biscuits and a lovely big bar of chocolate, which I thought was a nice touch.
Another highly recommended feature of the hotel is McGettigan’s Cookhouse & Bar where we enjoyed a fabulous evening meal and great service from the friendly staff.
My starter of Sizzling Prawns Pil Pil was super tasty with delicious bread to dip .
Meanwhile, my husband was well pleased with his choice of Crispy Coated Fivemiletown Goat’s Cheese.
Unusually we both opted for the same main course - Organic Clare Island Salmon with a lemon and dill hollandaise sauce - which was simply divine.
Our meal was finished off with a warm chocolate brownie accompanied by vanilla bean ice cream and raspberry coulis and a blueberry, apple and coconut crumble. Both were absolutely delicious.
There’s a great atmosphere in McGettigan’s and with a varied menu that’s second to none it is a fine choice for a relaxed dining experience.
McGettigan’s isn’t the only dining option though. We didn’t have time to try out The Parlor, which has just been recently opened and looks particularly inviting.
After a really comfortable night’s sleep, we ventured down to the basement for a tasty buffet breakfast to set us up for the day. We found a good selection of options to suit both those who like a lighter breakfast or prefer a full cooked option.
The Address at Dublin 1 is the perfect location for exploring as you can easily walk to the city centre or hop on the Luas as there’s a stop just a few minutes away.
Although we’ve been in Dublin on numerous previous occasions, we had never managed to visit the Guinness Storehouse.
It is hard to believe that you can spend several hours learning about this most famous of beverages, but even for someone who doesn’t actually like Guinness, the time simply flies by.
With just the right amount of detail that is informative and interesting but doesn’t overload the visitor, it’s well seen how the Storehouse is top of the tour wishlist for many tourists to Dublin - whether from across the globe or just up the road, like us.
As well as learning the origins of Guinness and the history of how the business has developed globally, we also picked up how the essential few ingredients are brought together to create the black stuff.
We wound our way inside the innovatively designed building - spending time learning all there is to know about Guinness, how to make it, market it, transport it, taste it and of course, how to pull the perfect pint.
The high point of the self-conducted tour is definitely the Gravity Bar at the very top of the building where visitors can enjoy the most spectacular views over the Dublin skyline.
During our time there it looked like a good number of people were planning to stay there as long as possible, soaking up the views, enjoying the atmosphere and their free pint.
My tip for anyone planning a visit to the Storehouse is to get there early in the morning to avoid the busiest times of the day.
And as for behaving like a tourist in Dublin - go for it, I’d highly recommend!
This lively city has so much to offer whether you are on a whistlestop trip like us or have a longer time to spend.
For information, go to www.the addressatdublin1.in.ie and www.guinness-storehouse.com