Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

Sunshine and a Strawberry Pavlova.


We are waiting patiently here on Lansdowne Road for a bit of sunshine longevity and the temperatures to stay up. It was quite a wet and windy beginning to June in Dublin, but it picked up a little last week. Of course, the season is young yet so we are hopeful.

Summertime at Ariel House means making jugs of homemade lemonade and indulging in lots of Irish strawberry based recipes.

Strawberry Pavlova for afternoon tea in Ariel House

Our strawberry pavlova was very popular with our guests last summer and is always greeted with smiling faces.

We want to share our recipe with you.

Our strawberry pavlova recipe.


8 large egg whites
500g caster sugar
4 tsp corn flour
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form.
Add in sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff.
Fold in with a metal spoon the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla gently until combined.
Draw a 20cm circle on parchment and use as a guideline to spoon the meringue onto.
Smooth top and sides with a palette knife.
Place in oven and immediately drop the temperature to 120 degrees.
Leave for 1 hour and allow to cool fully in the oven.

Decorating your strawberry pavlova.

300ml cream
Punnet of Irish strawberries
Few mint leaves

Softly whip the cream and spread over the cooled meringue base.
Decorate with strawberries.
Arrange the mint leaves for an extra dash of colour.
Slice, eat, and sigh, in that order – just heavenly!

Strawberry tartlets in Ariel House

Whilst we can guarantee you an excellent experience when you visit us here on Lansdowne Road, unfortunately, we can’t always guarantee you the sunshine. 

What we can promise, however, is that we will share more delicious recipes from our kitchen with you, on this blog, over the summer months.

Till the next time – the Ariel House  

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When Life Gives You Lemons – Make A Lemon Curd For Afternoon Tea Nibbles

Here, at Ariel House we have a penchant for lemon curd. 

We can be found, dolloping it on scones, spreading it on toast, sandwiching it between meringues and sometimes even eating if from the spoon!

lemon curd spread 

Lemon curd is such a delicious preserve and, with a little bit of patience, it is so easy to make yourself at home. In fact, we believe that once you make your own, you will never buy a jar of it again.

We have been using the recipe below for the last number of years and it hasn’t let us down yet.

Our afternoon tea guests love it, so we want to share it with you. We hope that you enjoy it as much they (and we) do. 

Our recipe for lemon curd.

To make one large jar you will need;

  • 4 unwaxed lemons, zest and juice
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3 free range eggs plus 1 free range egg yolk

 ingredients for lemon curd

The method we use in our kitchen.

  • Put the lemon juice, zest, butter and sugar into a heatproof bowl.
  • Sit the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
  • Stir the mixture until all the butter has melted.
  • Lightly whisk the eggs and the egg yolk and stir them into the lemon mixture.
  • Whisk until everything is combined, leave to cook for approximately 15 minutes, stirring every now and again.
  • The mixture is ready when it is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. 
  • Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. (Stir occasionally as it cools)
  • Pour into a sterilised jar (we use the top rack of our dishwasher and place the jars in a very hot wash) and seal.
  • Keep in the refrigerator. 

table of lemon curd ingredients 

Do you want more zesty recipes?

You will find some of our favourite lemony recipes on our Pinterest board “if life gives you lemons”. 

Click here:  https://www.pinterest.com/arielhouse/if-life-gives-you-lemons/

 If you are going to give our recipe above a ‘go’, good luck with your endeavours.

Why not book afternoon tea with us and let us know how you got on – we’d love to hear from you.

We’re here to help you make stories – the Ariel House Team. 

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Bloom 2015 – A Good Reason Why You Should Be Talking About Horticulture And Food

We had a wonderful day at Bloom yesterday. Despite the weather forecast reports, we headed over to the Phoenix Park with an optimistic attitude, our umbrella. our sunscreen and shades. We were not disappointed.

Bloom 2015 plant display 6916

Bloom is full of wonderful local Irish producers.

We met friends and suppliers, old and new and tasted lots of their amazing Irish produce.

Bloom 2015 - Local Producer O'Neills Bacon Bloom 2015 - Local Producer -Cooleeney Farm Cheese

Bloom 2015 - Local Producer Kilbeggan Oatmeal Cookies

We were totally wowed at the amazing variety of plants on show and for sale.

Bloom 2015 - Plant DisplayBloom 2015 - Plants for Sale

Enjoy the wide variety of family experiences on offer.

So we put our feet up, relaxed in the music tent and dreamt that the show gardens were just beyond our own kitchen window.

 Bloom 2015 - Show Garden 6986

Bloom is Ireland’s largest gardening, food and family event and there really is something for all the family to see and do here. A floral & nursery pavilion, a fashion stage, live entertainment at the picnic area, a craft village, a children’s zone, a food pavilion and of course the amazing show gardens – a new experience around every turn.

Bloom 2015 -  Garden Display 6981

The show runs for the entire bank holiday weekend in May of each year, so if you are near Dublin be sure to make a visit. We think that it is a fantastic way to spend a day! 

 Bloom 2015 - Local Producer Johnny Cupcake

Blooming highlights.

One highlight of my visit, this weekend were the amazing lupin displays in the nursery pavilion. In fact, lupins seemed to feature in almost every show garden this year.

Bloom 2015 - Mixed LupinsBloom 2015 - Lupins

So wonderful to see all these old fashioned flowers coming back into our gardens again.

Another highlight was the thought provoking Pieta House garden. The darkness into light theme was a direct contrast the fun element in our friend, and frequent guest, Fiona Dillon’s garden – Freddy Buttons.

Freddy Buttons with yogurtBloom 2015 - Poppy the Goose

Be sure to pop by Fiona’s garden and say we sent you!

Bloom 2015 - Watering Can

All in all this show is a truly wonderful event and once again a big congratulations to Bord Bia. We are already looking forward to next year! 

Take a walk through Bloom with us over on our Facebook page today where you will find a full album of the highlights of the show.

We hope you have a wonderful bank holiday weekend.

We’re here to help you make stories – the Ariel House Team. 

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Try This Simple And Tasty Superfood Breakfast – Overnight Oats

Recently a guest asked us if it was possible to order overnight oats for their breakfast. I must admit to being puzzled and had to ask what exactly it was that she was looking for.

superfood breakfast oats

To my amazement when I looked online it seems that I had missed the boat on this new superfood breakfast!

Celebrities, food bloggers and raw food aficionados were all onboard and promoting this ‘make the night before’ breakfast. I had to try it and I wasn’t disappointed.

I used some traditional Flahavans porridge oats, some creamy whole milk and topped it with poached rhubarb and almonds, absolutely delicious! 

superfood breakfast overnight oats

How to make it?

To serve one you will need;

1 cup of porridge oats

2 cups of milk

2 tablespoons of poached rhubarb

A scant handful of flaked almonds

Place the porridge oats and the milk into a container with a lid and leave in the fridge overnight.

The following morning top with poached rhubarb and the almonds before devouring.

There are so many different options for the toppings and you can use any type of milk with the oats.

superfood breakfast toppings

Here are a few ideas that you might like to try;

Stewed apple and cinnamon

Fresh berries and chia seeds

Apples and almond butter

Banana and peanut butter

Grated dark chocolate and a drizzle of baileys

Orange marmalade and a drizzle of whiskey

Dulce du leche, banana and grated chocolate

The list is endless, how would you like to eat yours? 

We are thrilled that our guest brought this yummy kick-start to our mornings. As a result, we are happy to make up overnight oats for our guests, by special request!

If you have any novel ways that you prepare your overnight oats -please let us know.

We’re here to help you make stories – the Ariel House Team. 

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Day Trips On The DART From Ariel House.

Ariel House is in the ideal location to explore Dublin by rail.

Make the most of your day trips by heading to the Lansdowne Road DART station, a mere two minute’s walk from our house.

Heading in a southbound direction will provide you with access to some of the prettiest places in Dublin!

In this post, I will be concentrating on the main south side stops, and in my next post – we’ll head off to the north side of the City. 

The First Stop Is Lansdowne Road.

map for day trips from Ariel House

The Next Stops are …..

Dun Laoghaire

Dun Laoghaire has one of the largest piers in the country and is almost always thronged with walkers embracing the invigorating sea breeze. The bandstand on the pier was restored in 2010 and is a perfect example of a bygone era.

There is a well-maintained park nearby with a quaint tea room which is well worth a visit. If you are interested in water sports this is definitely a must for you, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding are all available.


Dalkey is a pretty little seaside resort and is famous for its award winning pubs and restaurants. Bulloch harbour is classified as a seal sanctuary and there are also three bottlenose dolphins in residence close by. It is a busy little town that is renowned for two festivals which take place annually.

The Dalkey Book Festival and the Lobster, Crab and all that Jazz festival. Both are great weekends where you will be sure to meet lots of interesting people. 


Killiney has an absolutely beautiful park which has amazing views from the top. On a fine summers day, it is possible to see from the Sugarloaf mountain in the south to the Hill of Howth to the north. It is quite a climb to the top of the park but well worth if for the breathtaking view.

Killiney has a gorgeous beach, a golf club and lots of shady streets for you to explore.


Bray has a wonderful pebble beach which is overshadowed by the majestic Bray Head, perfect for climbing for the more energetic amongst you! There is a wonderful old fashioned promenade running along the sea front. 

During warm summer days, the entire population of Dublin seems to descend upon it. There is always an amazing atmosphere here and it has lots of lovely outdoor space to enjoy a picnic.

No trip to Bray is complete without a bag of vinegar drenched chips, whilst sitting on the beach together with a large 99 ice cream cone, from one of the sea front kiosks.

home from dat trips sign for ariel-house

We hope you get a chance to explore our lovely nearby towns and there are many more treasures to uncover just off the DART line, not mentioned above. Look out for my next post where we’ll explore some northside venues.

If you want any help with planning your day trips, or want to explore further afield, please don’t hesitate to enquire at our Ariel House reception.

We’re here to help you make stories – the Ariel House Team. 


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A Victoria Sponge Cake, it must be the summer season.

ariel house summer victoria sponge cake

Our busy summer season is well underway here at Ariel House and with it comes a seasonal change to the treats we bake in our kitchen. A delicious Victoria sponge cake is always a winner here and when served in the drawing room scarcely a crumb will be left! We have tried many recipes over the years, but we always return to this one as it has never let us down. Delicious whipped cream and strawberry jam sandwiched between two sponges, nothing nicer.

 victoria sponge cake slice

Ingredients for Victoria Sponge Cake.

To make this cake, you need to weigh 3 free range eggs in their shells and weigh out that amount in equal quantities of unsalted butter, self-raising flour and caster sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Line two greased sandwich tins.

Cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs in gradually and if the mixture starts to curdle add in a tablespoon of flour.

Add in remaining flour and vanilla extract and gently fold together until mixture is thoroughly combined.

Divide equally between the two tins and place in the preheated oven. 

They are ready when they are golden and spring back when touched, approximately 25 minutes.

Remove from the tins and allow to cool before filling.

A light dusting of icing sugar on top will finish it nicely.

 victoria sponge cake on stand

We have a board on Pinterest featuring some fabulous Victoria sponge cake creations if you fancy a challenge! We love the new trend in naked wedding cakes and none other than when the humble sponge is used for the recipe! 

Have a look at our Victoria sponge cake, Pinterest board here -  https://www.pinterest.com/arielhouse/victoria-sponge/

What is your favourite filling?

We would love to hear from you. 

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Irish Food, local specialities and garden memories.

We are so proud of our Irish food in Ariel House and we absolutely love showcasing it on our menu.  Fresh free range eggs, delicious bacon, sausages and farmhouse cheeses are just some of the items mentioned when our guests comment on their deliciousness. 

Irish Food Ariel House Breakfast

Traditional Irish Breakfast.

Pat O’Neill from O’Neills Dry Cure Bacon Co. has been supplying our kitchen for the last number of years with his traditional dry cured by hand bacon. It is cured for three weeks with natural sea salt and nothing can beat the taste. 

Irish Food  Bacon Pancakes

Pat’s bacon is always popular with our guests as part of a traditional Irish breakfast or served with Highbank Orchards syrup with pancakes. This bacon tastes like the bacon of your childhood, traditional in every sense of the word.

Traditional Irish Food Breakfast

An Irish Food snack.

Our cheese platter is always very popular and Carrigaline cheese is the star of the show. Made by Anne and Pat O’Farrell on their dairy farm near Carrigaline, Co. Cork by traditional methods, this cheese comes into its own around the 20 week mark and can be used in various recipes.

Irish Food Carrigaline Cheese

Our favourite here in Ariel House, is a crisp cracker, a spoonful of tomato relish and a chunk of the hand made cheese. We always find bringing the cheese up to room temperature before serving allows a greater taste sensation. 

The Garden of Remembrance.

If you are out and about in Dublin this weekend be sure to pop into The Garden of Remembrance just off O’Connell Street in Dublin.

Garden of Remembrance entrance

This is a hidden gem right in the centre of the hustle and bustle of the city. This beautiful garden is dedicated to all those who lost their lives in the fight for Irish freedom. It looks amazing all year round as it is so well maintained, but it is looking particularly well these days with a burst of spring colours in evidence. A great place for some quiet reflection.

Garden of Remembrance flowers

The Children of Lir sculpture.

Garden of Remembrance sculptureChildren of Lir Sculpture

National Flag - Irish Freedom

Whatever you are doing this weekend we here at Ariel House wish you all the best and don’t forget the sunscreen!

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Glasnevin Cemetery

“How Many!

All these here once walked around Dublin

Faithful Departed.

As you are now so once were we.”

Guests often ask us at reception here at Ariel House where we would suggest they spend a day to hear more about the history of Ireland and without fail we point them in the direction of Glasnevin Cemetery which is just a short bus ride away from the city centre. No one could ever say that Irish history is boring especially when it comes to the 1916 Rising and the years that followed after. The 1916 Rising is commemorated each year at Easter and we were lucky enough to visit Glasnevin on Good Friday and take part in a special tour focusing on the people involved. 

Glasnevin CemeteryGlasnevin Cemetery

Glasnevin Cemetery first opened in 1832 and was styled on the type of cemeteries you would find in France. Decorative trees and walkways weaved through headstones and provided a very scenic final resting place for thousands of people. Amazing headstones adorn the graveyard and plenty of yew trees which prevented cattle from entering the grounds, not so much of a problem in city graveyards nowadays! 

Glasnevin CemetaryGlasnevin Cemetery

We started with a walk through the self guided tour of the museum. There are many interactive areas where you can learn more about Ireland’s history. Our favourite section “The City of the Dead” is where you can see what the graveyard would have been like when it first opened and the history of the gravediggers that worked there. Highly interesting and a great point to start from before entering the cemetery itself.

Glasnevin Cemetery 

There are two tours daily through the cemetery, one at 11:30am and one at 2:30pm. The start point is the reception area and from there you will be led through the garden cemetery and stop at some of the most prominent graves. The largest headstone you will possibly ever see is the grave of Daniel O Connell and you can enter the crypt containing his remains and that of his relatives just under it. It is said to be good luck to rub his coffin, so make sure you don’t forget to! 

Glasnevin Cemetery Gllasevin Cemetery

We heard reenactment speeches from Padraig Pearse and Elizabeth O Farrell which brought history to life for us and gave us a glimpse of the events surrounding The Rising. Hair raising stuff to imagine how different life was 99 years ago in Ireland compared to how it is now. 

Glasnevin CemetryGlasnevin Cemetery Glasnevin Cemetery

The most popular grave in Glasnevin is no doubt Michael Collin’s final resting place. Daily without fail a member of the public will purchase flowers to lay on his grave. So great was his fiancee’s love for him that she requested to be buried as close to him as possible and she can be found just seven graves away from him. She had gone on to marry one of his friends but she had never forgotten Michael and the love they had shared. This is just one of the many stories that your tour guide will enthral you with as you meander your way through the headstones.

 Glasnevin Cemetery

This is a tour not to be missed and is sure to remain with you long after you have left through the cemetery gates

We look forward to being part of your travel story, when visiting us here in Dublin..

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Easter Egg Brownies

As a child nothing else signalled the end of the festive period as effectively as the appearance of the box of Cadburys Creme Eggs on the counter beside the till in our local shop. There was nothing like the excitement of unwrapping the first creme egg of the season and the first bite into the thick milk chocolate and the sweet fondant filling. Social media has been flooded this season with a huge amount of cakes and treats incorporating the far from humble egg and, in fact, this particular cake almost broke the internet with its popularity…..amazing! 

Ariel House Creme Eggs

We love a nice brownie here in Ariel House and we took our usual favourite recipe, topped it with a swirl of buttercream icing and adorned it with the irresistible creme egg. Perfect for a special treat this Easter! 

Ariel House Brownies

For the brownies you will need;

175g sugar

175g soft butter

150g self-raising flour

125g drinking chocolate

4 eggs

100g dark chocolate, in pieces 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line/grease a brownie tin.

Mix together the sugar, butter, flour, drinking chocolate and the eggs until you have a runny mixture.

Fold in the chocolate pieces.

Pour into the brownie tin and level the top with a palette knife.

Bake for 45 mins or until there is a slight wobble in the middle.

Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning upside down onto a wire rack and peeling off the parchment paper. 

Turn onto a bread board once cooled and cut into 16 squares.

Ariel House Easter Brownies

For the buttercream, you will need;

140g of butter softened

280g of icing sugar

1-2 tbsp of milk

Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft.

Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

Beat in the milk if necessary to loosen the mixture.

Place into a piping bag and pipe a large swirl on top of each cooled brownie. 

Top with half a Cadburys Creme Egg.

How do you eat your Easter egg Brownies?

Ariel House Brownies

Something to suit all the family!

We have compiled a short list of fun things to do this weekend if you are visiting Dublin.

Join in a fun Easter egg hunt with all the family in Merrion Square. Tickets are €20 per family with all proceeds going to Barnardos. More details here.


Our good friend hey pesto is showcasing some lovely chocolate recipes at a masterclass this weekend! Perfect to soothe anyone’s sweet tooth.


A military ceremony takes place each year outside the GPO to commemorate the 1916 Rising. Suitable for all the family.


If you want to experience life as it was in Ireland 100 years ago this event is not to be missed on Easter Monday


From all at Ariel House we wish you and your family a very Happy Easter!


If you have any upcoming events you would like us to incorporate into our blog please get in touch and we would be happy to consider! 


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Spring is in the Air!


“If we had no winter the spring would not be so pleasant” – Anne Bradstreet

After what has seemed like an incredibly long winter the first signs of spring are in the air in the Ariel House garden! The birds are tweeting in the trees and our resident robin is looking even chirpier than usual with his distinctive red breast glistening in the first of the spring sunshine.

Ariel House Dublin Guesthouse

This is a lovely spot at the front of the house to sit, relax and watch the day go by. Perfect to read the daily papers here which are all available at reception.

Dublin Guesthouse Garde

Our herb garden is thriving at the rear of the house. The fresh scents of rosemary and mint are two of my favourite fragrances. So lovely to have fresh herbs at our fingertips to add to selected dishes.Dublin Guesthouse Herb Garden

The first buds of the season are making an appearance and we are looking forward to the garden coming alive over the next couple of months!

Guesthouse in Dublin Flowers

Here are some images of what we can expect to see over the next two seasons! Wonderful colour and life to look forward to.

Guesthouse in Dublin Garden

Guesthouse in Dublin Lavender

We find this website very useful to keep up to date as to what needs to be done in the garden. Great to have a checklist to ensure nothing is overlooked.


Guesthouse in Dublin Roses

Happy gardening everyone!

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