Real, authentic, approachable
April 10, 2017 – ‘Life is too short to be taken seriously’ – that quote from the famous (or notorious) Oscar Wilde sums up the lifestyle of the writer’s home country pretty well. The green island to the west of the United Kingdom doesn’t take itself too seriously. And that’s as it should be. In Ireland, enjoyment of life and openness are completely taken for granted. The cultural centrepiece of the island is its capital, Dublin, where deep roots of Celtic culture and history come together with modern architecture and an unbelievable amount of partying – but all the same, breathtaking natural scenery is never more than 30 minutes away.
Something you might not necessarily have suspected is that Dublin also has something to offer when it comes to cuisine. The Irish capital combines classic gastronomy with up-to-the-minute trendy restaurants. The most attractive thing about the city is that it never overdoes the effort to be cool, but succeeds all the more by not trying – making it the ideal location for varied incentives.
Crazy finds in Lucy’s Lounge
This alternative secondhand clothes shop in Temple Bar is a repository of old, partly reworked and new articles of clothing, which combine the best of past times with a modern sense of style. Gorgeous accessories complete the generous assortment. In addition, Lucy’s Lounge offers talented young designers the possibility of selling their fashions. Every article is labelled with a short biography of the fashion designer. It’s an ideal setting for getting to know your colleagues for once in way from a quite different angle.
Welcomed with an honest smile, you are ushered into the temple of the chocolatier’s art – all forms of confection are represented, all tastes catered for. Nothing ventured, nothing gained – here all members of the party will have their sense of taste and their readiness to experiment put to the test. The nicest thing about it is that only the very best ingredients are used. You could almost think this studio provided the model for Joanne Harris’s ‘Chocolat’.
Tingling nerves and excitement are top of the agenda when it comes to greyhound racing. Groups can have recourse to the services of betting staff in the arenas, who stay with visitors and support them for the whole evening, and explain everything about the racing system. It’s betting in a good cause: there’s a special incentive, for example, through the use of play money, which in the end will be changed for real money and can be donated to charity by the initiating company. In addition, various dinner opportunities suggest themselves. Another possible highlight – you can arrange a meet & greet session with the your four-legged favourite of the evening on the racetrack.
Pub culture at its best
The history of Irish pubs is almost as old as the history of Ireland. Never mind the size of the village, you will always find a pub wherever you are in Ireland, and in most cases they also host good live music regularly. The capital offers a particularly exclusive selection – whether you make a special booking for a travel group, or just turn in for an evening nightcap.
Irish pub culture has more to offer than just drinks at the end of the day. Here conviviality reigns. Cameraderie and fellowship are the supreme commandments. If you have a few pints of Guinness here of an evening and haven’t made at least three new friends when you leave, you must be doing something wrong.
Bend it like Beckham…
A day at Luttrellstown Castle – this imposing castle dating from the 15th century is just 20 minutes or so from the centre of town. It has played host to many kings and queens from all over the world, and the Beckhams too chose this exceptional edifice for their wedding. It’s the ideal place to get better acquainted with Irish traditions and customs. You can take an authentic vintage bus or superior British vintage car from the hotel to the estate for whiskey tasting in the gentlemen’s room, followed by clay pigeon shooting, a bagpipe workshop or a crash course in hurling – a day in Luttrellstown promises to be an unforgettable experience.
The Westbury Dublin
Our top hotel tip:
At the Westbury Hotel, luxury meets style and design. This five-star hotel in the heart of the city boasts 178 rooms and 27 suites. Many of the rooms offer an inimitable panoramic view over the city. A particularly attractive facility for groups is the Grafton Suite – accommodating up to 200 persons, and equipped with the most up-to-date video technology. Perfectly situated between Grafton Street, Trinity College and the St. Stephen’s Green park, it is an excellent base for exploring the whole city on foot. In terms of catering, too, the hotel has plenty to offer – with the relaxed cuisine of the Balfes Bistro, or the best Irish seasonal delicacies on offer at the the WILDE restaurant. The Gallery café is a popular destination for afternoon tea, favoured by hotel guests and others. The gigantic art collection of paintings by Sir John Lavery and Louis le Brocquy makes the hotel a veritable Dublin institution. Thanks to the unshakable friendliness and hospitality of the staff, you always feel you have a warm welcome.