Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

Ariel House – The History of Our Victorian Guesthouse

Ariel House entranceDid you know that Ariel House is actually a seamless merging of three splendid Victorian mansions in Ballsbridge? The main house was built in 1850, during the reign of Queen Victoria. It was originally a manor house owned and occupied by a wealthy shipping merchant and his family.

The building has operated as a guesthouse since 1962 and in fact, it was even classified as Ireland’s first ever Grade A guesthouse. It ran under the ownership of Michael O’Brien until April 2002 when the McKeown family purchased the buildings and opened the now multi-award winning Dublin guesthouse, Ariel House.

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Today, our role is to keep the appearance of these stunning Victorian buildings alive and ensure that they stay vibrant, cared for and open for all to enjoy. Ariel House has been affectionately restored by the McKeown family over the years, offering a blend of modern amenities and the style and elegance of a time gone by.

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To this very day, you can still observe many Victorian features on display throughout our Dublin guesthouse. Some of the most elegant features on display include the beautiful bay windows, the high ceilings – particularly appreciable in our Junior Suite, the Flemish brick work of the building exterior and the ornate stained glass and sash windows. When visiting Ariel House, it really is worth pausing for a moment to take in the wonderful architecture and craftsmanship of these beautiful Victorian features.

Over the past decade, we have carefully sourced antique period furniture, such as four poster beds, for many of the rooms in our Dublin guesthouse to aptly reflect the Victorian era. We have renovated original cornices, fireplaces and windows, and carefully selected fabrics, wallpapers and furniture that respect and enhance the original architecture of the building.

In January of last year, we restored the charming granite steps leading up to our front door, which had been in situ since the main house was built in 1850. At Ariel House, we endeavour to ensure that the Victorian origins of the buildings remain an ever present element of our Dublin guesthouse.

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; A tour around our city garden!

So wonderful to have an extra hour of brightness in the evening each day and to be able to enjoy the delights of Spring. Winter seems very far away now and long summer days are en route. Our guests are always delighted to have a stroll around our city garden, so wonderful to have this oasis in the middle of suburban Dublin.

Guesthouse in Dublin Garden

Our gardener, Jimmy, has been busy preparing our wonderful city garden after the long cold winter and it is fabulous to see the buds starting to shoot up everywhere.

Guesthouse in Dublin Lavender

We are looking forward to seeing our fuchsia bushes and our fragrant lavender in bloom again this year.

Dublin Guesthouse Garden

I love this sunny spot in the garden, great place to sit with a coffee and watch the world go by.

Guesthouse in Dublin Roses

A rose by any other name…..

Guesthouse in Dublin Flowers

The scent of this flowering jasmine is amazing when the sun is shining!

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Our neighbours, The Aviva Stadium, looking fabulous in the sunshine.

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How pretty are these edible pansies on our cake stand featuring our ever popular vanilla melting moments! We are always asked for the recipe so here it is for you to enjoy at home!

Vanilla Melting Moments

For the biscuits: (makes 24 single biscuits/12 sandwiches)
175 g self raising flour
125 g corn flour
50 g icing sugar
225 g butter (cut into pieces)
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the vanilla butter icing:
50 g butter (softened)
125 g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
Whizz the self raising flour, corn flour and icing sugar in a food processor for a second.
Add the butter and vanilla essence and mix until a dough is formed.
Roll the mixture into small balls and place on a baking tray with a little room in between.
Dip a fork in cold water and press down on each one to flatten slightly.
Bake for approximately 12 minutes.
Remove carefully and cool on a wire rack.
Mix all the icing ingredients until they come together.
When the biscuits have cooled, spread the icing onto half of them with a warm butter knife before sandwiching together.

Till the next time! Happy gardening and baking!

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Ariel House; St Patrick’s Day 2017

St Patrick’s Day 2017

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In Ireland St Patrick’s Day is our official national holiday celebrating and commemorating St Patrick and the birth of Christianity in Ireland. It is celebrated all over the country and in many places across the world. Parades, festivals and ceilis are all commonplace and it is customary to wear something green or adorn your chosen outfit with a sprig of lucky shamrock.

In Dublin a fantastic parade takes place through the streets, broad and narrow, of our city. Traffic comes to a standstill as both new and old floats, bands and performers trail the city streets. For the last 18 years a wonderful four day festival celebrating everything Irish has taken place in the city. Concerts, open air theatre performances and amazing firework displays take place over the course of the festival. All details can be found here: www.stpatricksfestival.ie.

Each year sees guests arriving from all over the world to take part in the festivities. We took some pictures of both guests and staff dressed up in all their finery at our Dublin guesthouse last year! Always a fabulous weekend to visit Dublin and soak up the electric atmosphere.

Ariel House Dublin Guesthouse

One of our favourite parts of the St Patrick’s Festival is the Greening of the Buildings which will take place on Thursday evening at 6pm. All of the following buildings are taking part and will be lit up green!

Trinity College Dublin
Mansion House GPO
The Convention Centre Dublin
National Museum of Ireland-Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Benburb St, Dublin 7
The Olympia
Heuston Station
Connolly Station
National Museum of Ireland–Archaeology, Kildare St, Dublin 2
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
City Hall
Civic Offices
IFSC House
CHQ Building
Christ Church Cathedral
National Museum of Ireland-Natural History, Merrion St, Dublin 2
Iveagh House 79/80 St Stephens Green
National Museum of Ireland-Country Life, Castlebar, Mayo
Iveagh House 79/80 St Stephens Green
Dublinia
The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street
St. Stephens Green Shopping Centre
St. Patricks Cathedral
The Dawson Hotel
Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion Square
Odeon Bar, Harcourt Street
Raddison Blu Hotel, Dublin Airport
The Church
The CCD
The Temple Bar Pub
Brown Thomas
The Twelve Hotel
Uppercross House Hotel, Mother Reilly’s Bar & Restaurant
Clyde Court Hotel
Diceys
Doorway Gallery
Double Tree/Hilton
Doyles Hotels – Croke Park Hotel
Dublin Bus Head Office
Generator Hostel
Cafe en Seine
Castleknock Hotel
Claredon Properties
Clontarf Castle Hotel
Grafton Lounge
Grand Canal Hotel
Gromley’s Fine Art
Hibernian Club
Hugh Lane Gallery
IFSC House
Kilkenny Shop
Shelbourne Hotel
J. W. Sweetmans
The Grand Canal House
Wynn’s Hotel

There is a fantastic website which you will find at http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie which lists all the events that are happening around the city. Lots to do between 16th and 19th of March for all the family!

Happy St Patrick’s Day from all the team in Ariel House!

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Ariel House; Afternoon Tea Traybake.

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Afternoon Tea Traybake

Our Afternoon Teas are in full swing for the season and we are enjoying preparing delicious treats for you to enjoy with your friends and family. Our Afternoon Teas are available exclusively on a Saturday and reservations can be made by contacting us on 01 6685512 or email reservations@ariel-house.net. We would be delighted to hear from you and we look forward to spoiling you in our dining room.

This traybake is always very popular with our guests and you can now make it at home. Very simple to make and you are sure to impress your guests with this tasty treat!

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Ingredients

225g self raising flour
175g softened butter
175g light brown sugar
1 tsp of baking powder
3 large eggs
2 tbsp of water
100g of  berries

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Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
Grease a baking or a roasting tin then line the base with baking parchment.
Measure all the cake ingredients (except for the berries) into a large bowl and beat until well blended.
Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top. Press the berries into the top of the mixture and press down lightly.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35 – 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin before slicing into squares.

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We drizzled our tray bake with a little royal icing before slicing but if you are in a rush a shake of icing sugar is lovely as well!

So wonderful to finally see touches of Spring in the air. Is there anything more cheerful looking than a bunch of daffodils! Spring has sprung!

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Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Till the next time!

 

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Ariel House; Triple Chocolate Cookies

Triple Chocolate Cookies

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These triple chocolate cookies are absolutely delicious and perfect to have with a cup of tea in our drawing room when you have been touring around the sights of Dublin. Our chefs have been busy baking up lots of delicious new treats for our guests and we have had several requests for the recipe for these decadent cookies. The smell of them baking in the oven will have a queue forming outside your kitchen door so be prepared to share!

Ingredients (makes 30 triple chocolate cookies)

  • 225g of softened butter
  • 140g of caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 250g of plain flour
  • 25g of cocoa
  • pinch of salt
  • 350g of plain chocolate, chopped
  • 70g of white chocolate chips

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  • Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract.
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt into the mixture, add the chopped chocolate and chocolate chips and stir until combined.
  • Scoop up tablespoons of the mixture and shape into balls.
  • Place them on the baking sheets and flatten slightly.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on the sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

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Enjoy!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Dublin can be heaven….

“For Dublin can be heaven with coffee at eleven and a stroll in Stephen’s Green….”

Spring is definitely in the air and with it has brought brighter evenings and a new vigour around Dublin. We find in the darker months guests are asking us where they can find a nice restaurant or pub with an open fire but when brighter days come along people love to wander around Dublin and sightsee on foot. Dublin has so much to offer to those who want an active holiday and what better way to work off the calories from pints of Guinness, freshly buttered soda bread and thick rashers of bacon than a stroll around!

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We have been recommending several different walks to our guests and are more than happy to print out maps at reception for anyone who needs them.

Here are some of our suggestions;

This walk is 5.5 km long and takes in many interesting locations around Dublin such as the Old Jameson Distillery.

This walk is just under 5 km and runs along the river Dodder.

This walk takes in the beauty of Howth Head on the north side of Dublin. It is just over 6km and is steep in parts.

This is a great article which features five walks around Dublin that are suitable for children.

The Great South Wall Walk is a walk that will take your breath away. You will feel like you are standing in the middle of Dublin Bay. Wonderful views sweeping from Howth Head to Bray Head and everything in between.

We love hearing from guests where they have spent their day and always have a warm cup of tea or coffee awaiting their arrival back to Ariel House and of course not forgetting a home baked treat.

Till the next time, happy walking!

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Ariel House; Valentine’s Day Biscuits!

Valentine’s Day Cookies!

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“The most important things to do in the world are to get something to eat, something to drink and somebody to love you”
Brendan Behan

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As a treat to our guests we are leaving these delicious amenities in all our guest bedrooms to help celebrate St Valentine’s Day. They are such a tasty treat and are made from only three ingredients, four if you dip them in chocolate. Perfect to share with the one that you love.

Ingredients
50g sugar
100g butter
150g plain flour

To decorate;

50g of dark chocolate

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Method
Preheat the oven to 180c and grease a baking sheet with butter.
Sieve the flour into a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar and bring the mixture together to form a very stiff dough.
Roll out the dough onto a lightly dusted surface until the mixture is 1/4 inch thick.
Use a love heart shaped cutter or whatever cutter you have to hand to cut. Lift carefully onto the greased baking sheet.
Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the cookies are golden.
Allow to cool fully on a wire rack before decorating or simply eat them!

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Melt the 50g of dark chocolate in a bowl over some boiling water and once melted dip in each cookie so that half of the heart is coated.

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Happy Valentine’s Day to you all and thanks for reading!

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Ariel House; Orange Butter Scones

Orange Butter Scones

……..when someone says they don’t enjoy scones, it generally means they’ve never had a good one…..

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Orange Butter Scones

When Jennie returned from her Ballymaloe course she brought with her a number of delicious recipes that she had tried and tested. These orange butter scones were one of the recipes and we recently rediscovered their deliciousness.

You can make the butter in advance and it is worthwhile making a double batch as it is so delicious! It would make a delicious filling for a queen cake or to simply sandwich a sponge together.

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For the orange butter you will need..

2 oranges, finely grated zest

85g of butter

100g of icing sugar

Method

Cream the butter with the grated zest, add the icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

To make the scone dough you will need; (makes 18)

900g plain white flour

175g butter

3 free range eggs, whisked lightly

Pinch of salt

50g caster sugar

3 heaped teaspoons of baking powder

450ml of milk

Egg wash

Granulated sugar for sprinkling

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Method

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Sieve all the dry ingredients into a bowl.

Cut the butter into cubes and rub into the flour mixture.

Make a well in the centre and add the whisked eggs and milk to form a dough.

Turn onto a floured board before shaping into a rectangle about 3/4 of an inch high and about 14 x 9 inches.

Spread the orange butter over the surface of the dough before rolling up as you would a swiss roll.

Stamp out into scones using a small glass or cutter.

Place on a baking sheet before brushing with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for approximately 5 minutes at 250 degrees then turn down the heat to 230 degrees and bake for a further ten minutes or until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack before enjoying!

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Upside Down Cheesecake

Upside Down Cheesecake

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea”

Henry James

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Our first afternoon teas of the season started this weekend. We were delighted to have a full dining room and lots of delicious treats to serve to our happy guests. We love the hustle and bustle that our afternoon teas bring to Ariel House. Our ovens are busy for hours preparing lots of delicious baked goods and ensuring that we have lots of fresh bread for our dainty sandwiches. The dining room is full of the sounds of animated conversations,the pouring of tea and the clink of spoons against our fine bone china tea cups. It is a lovely way to while away an afternoon and it is so encouraging to see people returning to us again and again.

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This week we are sharing with you a recipe for upside down cheesecake, it always is received well and it is so simple to make! The recipe makes 12 servings so is a good recipe to have if you are feeding a crowd.

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Ingredients

400g of cream cheese

50g of icing sugar

2 lemons, juice and rind

Splash of double cream

12 shortbread biscuits

Selection of fresh mixed berries

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Method

Mix the cream cheese, icing sugar, lemon juice, rind and a splash of double cream together.

Make sure it is well mixed and you are getting lots of air into the mixture.

Use 12 small glasses and scatter the berries at the base of each of these.

Divide the cheesecake mixture evenly between the glasses.

Crush the shortbread biscuits and sprinkle on top of the cheesecake.

Chill for at least two hours or preferably overnight.

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Serve as part of a mini dessert selection or for afternoon tea.

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; A history lesson and a recipe!

Ariel House dublin guesthouse Ariel House is your perfect base for all you need to do around the city of Dublin. We are housed in three Victorian townhouses that have been lovingly renovated and updated to provide a tranquil and yet central retreat. The history of the main house dates back to 1850 when it was build for a wealthy merchant shipper. In 2002 the McKeown family took over the property, which has been running as a small hotel since the early 60’s. They’ve invested both time and money into reviving it – sourcing antique furniture to compliment the period of the house and restoring the original features such as the cornices, fireplaces and windows. The careful selection of fabrics, wallpapers and furniture enhances the architecture.

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There are thirty seven bedrooms at Ariel House ranging from standard rooms in our new wing at the back of the property to superior rooms and junior suites housed in the original buildings.

Ariel House Breakfast

Along with our award winning breakfast we also offer afternoon tea. The owner, Jennie McKeown, was trained at Ballymaloe Cooking School where she took a 12 week Professional Cookery Course, so the ethos of the school greatly influences our own food philosophy.

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The city centre is a good 25 minute walk from our guesthouse, however, public transportation such as the DART and buses are nearby. The airport is only half an hour in a cab and attractions such as the Guinness Storehouse is 15 minutes in a cab. Both the Aviva Stadium and RDS Stadium are about a five minute walk away and host both sporting and music events.

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The efforts of the McKeown family and indeed the entire staff of Ariel House is paying off. We have received numerous awards for our delicious breakfasts and our hospitality.

More information about Ariel House is on our main website or don’t hesitate to contact us directly with any other queries you may have.

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Cakes fit for a Queen!

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Queen Cakes are some of the simplest buns that you can make, perfect for beginner bakers or little hands to help with. Even better, these delicious treats take just a half an hour to conjure from start to finish. Such a pretty addition to any afternoon tea table!

Ingredients for 12 buns:

175g self raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g softened butter

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons of milk

Suggested Topping Ingredients:

100ml of raspberry jam

100ml of soft whipped cream

Icing sugar

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Line a 12 hole bun tray with bun cases.

Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.

Gradually add the beaten eggs, if mixture starts to curdle, drop in a tablespoon of flour.

Add in the remaining flour and the milk.

Use an ice cream scoop to fill the paper cases and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Cool on a wire tray.

Once cooled, carefully cut a small slice from the top of each bun, cut this slice in half to resemble butterfly wings.

Pipe some cream and some jam on top before replacing the wings on the bun at a slight angle. Dust with icing sugar and voila, a memory of childhood awaits you!

Till the next time!

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