Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

Ariel House; It’s Always Teatime in Dublin

I enjoy a good pint as much as the next person, but when it all boils down to it, I’m much more of a tea drinker. To help out all of you who would much prefer spending the afternoon with scones and pots of Orange Pekoe, I’ve gone on a little coffee tour of Dublin to find out where the best places in the city for just such an afternoon are.


1) Queen of Tarts – Sweetest Atmosphere

The Queen of Tarts is possibly the most adorable café I have ever been into. As soon as you walk in the door you feel as though you’ve stepped into an old fashioned tea parlor. When you order, your tea comes in beautiful china cups. On top of that, they have a variety of delicious cakes to choose from. Some of their best sellers are the Victoria Sponge and the Bailey’s Cheesecake. If you’re more interested in a brunch or a full meal, the café has delicious breakfast and lunch menus with plenty of options to choose from.

2) Clement & Pekoe – Best Place to Read a Good Book

If you find yourself getting cabin fever on one of Dublin’s rainy summer days, Clement & Pekoe is a wonderful place to go to while away a few hours. The coffee shop has several cozy nooks and corners for you to settle into, and has even converted an old fireplace into a little couch. In the back of the café are bookcases with books that you can borrow while you sip on an espresso or indulge in one of the café’s lovely brownies.

3) Network – Best cup of Coffee

Recently opened up, Network is a lovely modern café with a beautiful sunny atmosphere. One of the best parts about this café is how much fun everyone has there. The baristas were extremely friendly, and very obviously enjoyed their job. Network has a great selection of different cakes that you can try, and their croissants are delicious. This café also offers their drinks both hot and iced, which is wonderful for hot summer days like we’ve been having recently!

4) 3fe – Closest to Home

3fe is well-known in Dublin for having delicious coffee, and in fact, many other coffee shops serve their blend of beans. One of the best things about this café, however, is that it’s only a ten minute walk from Ariel House’s front door! This is a great place to come for a delicious cup of coffee on a sunny afternoon, or to stop by on your walk around the neighborhood.

5) Joy of Cha – Best Tea Selection

The next place I stopped at on my little coffee shop crawl was the Joy of Cha café in Temple Bar. This little café looks tiny from the outside, but when you head inside you’ll find it’s actually quite a nice size. The shop specializes in tea, and when you walk in you can either choose your own blend of tea or make a selection from their wall of different varieties. The staff are very helpful, and can find something for everyone’s taste, whether that’s fruity, sweet, or energetic!

6) Keogh’s – Best Place to Get Some Work Done

Everyone has days where they need to get a little work done, and the perfect spot for that in the city is Keogh’s café. Located right near Dame Street, Keogh’s is right in the center of the city and is a great place to get a few emails sent. The café has plenty of space and great Wi-Fi, and most importantly it has great coffee to keep you going!

At the end of an afternoon like that you’ll probably be quite full, as I certainly was, which means it’s a great time to head back to Ariel House for a cozy evening and a newspaper. If you want to follow my coffee shop crawl, feel free to follow the map I used. Next week I’ll be writing about Irish Gaelic and teaching you a few useful phrases. See you then!

Labels Things to Do In Dublin, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ariel House; All About Bloomsday

One of the things Dublin is most famous for is as being the home of the renowned writer, James Joyce. Joyce famously wrote the novel Ulysses, which is set in Dublin and follows the adventures and misadventures of a young man named Leopold Bloom who is out looking for a son. The book takes place in one day, and begins in Bloom’s humble abode and takes him all around Dublin before he finally ends up right back where he started.


Last weekend was Dublin’s Bloomsday Festival, which celebrates James Joyce and his novel Ulysses. The festival was named for the book’s main character and is a much loved celebration today. All over the city, various locations host different festivities and events for lovers of Joyce and his eclectic cast of characters.


First, visitors can kick off the morning by meeting at the James Joyce Center for the Bloomsday Breakfast. The breakfast consists of everything that Leopold Bloom cooked for his wife Molly in the fourth chapter of the book – pork kidneys, toast, and tea. Live actors also perform dramatic readings while guests enjoy their meal. After the meal, the James Joyce Center is open for visitors to tour, and if they’re lucky, they would have got to see the local Joyce impersonator who lives across the street and dresses up as the author every year!



After breakfast, Joyce fans could head out on either a bus or walking tour of Dublin, which stops by different famous monuments and sights that are featured in the book. Some of the stops include Glasnevin cemetery and Sweny’s Pharmacy, where you can still buy Leopold’s famous lemon soap. Included in the bus tour are free straw hats, which are a great souvenir of the day.

After the hectic morning, visitors can take a trip out to Davy Byrne’s pub and have Leopold Bloom’s appetizing lunch – a gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of burgundy. The pub also gives out free hats on Bloomsday, so anyone who forgot to pick one up on the bus could snag one there. Guests were able to end day by stopping into Temple Bar for more live readings and a chance to meet and talk with some of the actors! Overall it’s quite the event, with plenty to do, and lots of avid fans dressing up in Edwardian costume to really get into the mood.


If you didn’t make it out to Bloomsday this year, don’t worry, you can always come back for a visit next year! And in the meantime, you can try following my James Joyce Walk through Dublin here. Next week I’ll be writing about where to go for Dublin’s best cups of tea and coffee. See you then!


Labels Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ariel House; What’s in Wicklow?

One of the wonderful things about Dublin is how close it is to nature. Just an hour south of the city is the beautiful Wicklow Mountains National Park and Glendalough Valley. This is a great way to spend the day hiking, walking, or taking in the scenery and relaxing by the lake. If you’d like to take a day trip out to the mountains, Wild Wicklow tours will take you out for a beautiful day in the mountains.

The tour, which has a live guide throughout the journey, begins in Dublin and heads out to Dun Laoghaire for a stop by the ocean and a short walk along the pier. This is a great place to watch the swimmers enjoying the Irish sun, or to take a few photos. If you’re lucky, you might get to see a few seals swimming nearby. Usually there are about four or five seals who like to swim over to say hello.


Next the bus drives up through the hills and back down through Dalkey, a lovely little town along the way down to the mountains. The tour goes right by the houses of Enya, Bono, and Van Morrison, and you can get an idea of what the views must be like from their bedroom windows!


After all that driving, the bus takes a break for morning coffee at AVOCA handweavers. Here you can have a tea and a cake in the garden, or you can browse the shop for a sweet souvenir of your trip. Then hop back on the bus and begin the journey into Wicklow Mountains National Park. The bus drives right up through the mountains, and crosses over the bridge where Holly and Gerry meet in P.S I Love You. The bus stops for several photo opportunities, before meandering its way down into the Glendalough valley.


At Glendalough, Wild Wicklow first offers a guided tour of the ancient monastic settlement. Most of the structures in the settlement date back to 1100, but it was originally settled as early as 400! When you’re ready, finish off your afternoon with a walk out to Glendalough. You can either take the paved Green Road under the trees or you can walk out through the farmlands along a beautiful boardwalk.


End your day back at the bus, where you can enjoy a free shot of Jameson whiskey before making the journey back to Dublin. Overall, it’s a wonderful way to get out of the city and enjoy a sunny summer’s day!


Next time I’ll be writing about this past weekend’s Bloomsday Festival, and giving you a crash course on James Joyce’s Ulysses. See you then!

Labels Things to Do In Dublin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ariel House; A Day on the DART

If you’ve got a free day to spare and aren’t sure what to do with it, a wonderful option is to spend a day on the Dublin rail system, the DART. The train travels up and down the Dublin coast, with great views along the way and some lovely villages to stroll through.



Start your day by traveling up to Howth, a beautiful peaceful village. The pier is a lovely place to go for a walk, and in good weather you can get a stunning look at Ireland’s Eye from the harbour. Be sure to look for the friendly seal who lives there too – he often swims by to say hello! Howth has beautiful walking trails around the area. There are gentle strolls that go up through the town and walk along the sea wall, or if you’re a more avid hiker, you can go right up along the challenging cliff path for stunning views. The local bus also takes you right up to the summit, where you can look out over the bay and get a great view of the lighthouse in the distance. After your hike, a great way to take a rest is by taking the fishing boat out of the harbour around Ireland’s Eye. The short, 30 minute tour goes right round the island and back to the harbour, and is a wonderful way to get out on the water and see some new sights.


After spending the morning at Howth, take the train out to Malahide. Malahide is also north of Dublin, and is a cosy little town with a beautiful Norman castle. The castle dates back to 1175 and is situated on a beautiful 260 acres of land. Most of the land has been divided into gardens, and on a sunny day this is a great place to stroll around and look at the flowers. As you stroll around the gardens, look out for the peacocks who live there. They like to hang around near the entrance to the café in case some kind-hearted visitor feels like sharing his lunch! You can book a tour of the castle as well, and hear how the Talbot family owned the castle for over 800 years! While you wait for a tour, you can stop in for morning tea at the beautiful café in the castle visitor’s centre. The café also has a beautiful gift shop to look around after you’ve enjoyed your cake.

The afternoon is a wonderful time to get back on the DART and head south. First, stop off in Dun Laoghaire to walk along the pier. At the end of the pier is a lighthouse you can visit, or if you prefer, pick up a 9

9 at the famous Teddy’s ice cream and enjoy it as you watch the yachts sail around the bay.



When you’re ready, get back on the DART and head further south to Dalkey. Dalkey is a small town where many artists live. Bono, Enya, and Van Morrison all have homes in Dalkey, and are known to be spotted in the pubs. You can head up the hill to walk by some of these homes, or you can stay in the village and visit Dalkey Castle, an old Anglo-Norman castle and visitor’s centre. Finally, stop into a local pub for dinner—you never know, you might catch a glimpse of Bono!


End your day by taking the train further south to Bray to catch the sunset. The train runs right along the waterfront from Dalkey to Bray, giving some gorgeous views out over the bay. If you like, you can take an evening stroll along the water and enjoy the last of the light. Otherwise head on back home to Ariel House for a cup of tea and bed!


Next week I’ll be writing about the Wicklow Mountains, a nearby national park with some great opportunities for getting outdoors and going for a hike or two. See you then!

Labels Things to Do In Dublin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ariel House; What to do in Dublin – Jessica’s Highlights

There are many wonderful sights to see around Dublin, which is why it can be hard to fit everything in just one visit! To help you out as you try to plan your visit to Ireland’s capital, here are some of my favorite sights in the city and a little bit of information about them.


One of the many fascinating places in the city is Kilmainham Gaol. The jail was first built in 1796 to replace the old jail in the city, and was based on three golden rules: separation, silence, and surveillance. This meant that each prisoner was kept in his own cell, must remain silent at all times, and was under constant surveillance by the guards. The jail is famous for holding many well-known Irish rebels in the Easter Rising and a number of other rebellions in the Irish struggle for independence. Today, guided tours are offered throughout the year. Be sure to book in advance though, this is one of the most popular tours in Dublin, so spots fill up fast!



Just across the street from the jail is the Irish Museum of Modern Art, or the IMMA for short. This museum houses a fantastic collection of artwork dating from the beginning of the 20th century. What’s really interesting about the museum is that it’s actually the old Royal Pensioner’s Hospital, which was established for retired soldiers in 1684. Today it is a lovely spot to wander around the gardens, or you can visit The Old Man’s house and learn about the history of the hospital and how it became the museum that it is today. If you want to see beautiful works of modern art from artists such as Picasso and Van Gogh, you can take a look around the many gallery’s and see different famous paintings.


Another must-see in Dublin is the Guinness Storehouse. This is another one of Dublin’s most popular attractions, and for good reason! The storehouse is a self-guided tour which takes you through the building to learn about how beer is made. On the first floor, you can learn about the brewing process and how each of the different ingredients add to the flavour of the beer. Next, head upstairs to learn about how the beer was transported around the world. On the third floor you can discover all the many different advertising campaigns that Guinness has used to establish the well-known brand today, including a chance to play the iconic Guinness Harp. Be sure to stop by the fourth floor, where you can enter the Tasting Rooms and learn how to properly enjoy a glass of Guinness. Finally, head up to the Gravity Bar for your free pint and a 360 degree view of the city. If you like, you can pour your own beer and learn how to craft the perfect pint of Guinness yourself!



If it’s something stronger that you’re after, try heading across the river and over to Smithfield, where you can visit the old Jameson whiskey distillery. While no longer in use, the distillery was used up until the 1900s when the company moved its operations to Cork. The building fell into disrepair, but in the 1970s the Jameson whiskey distillery was restored as a visitor centre with information about the making of whiskey and the history of the Jameson family and their distillery. The tour is very interactive, with a hands-on tasting workshop at the end to compare Scottish, American and finally Jameson whiskey. At the end of your tour you can relax downstairs in JJ’s bar with either a straight shot of whiskey or else Jameson’s signature cocktail—ginger, lime, and Jameson.


Finally, another great activity for your visit to Dublin is participating in Pat Liddy’s walking tour of the city. This is a wonderful two hour tour which takes you all around some of Dublin’s most iconic sights. Stop by Trinity College and hear about how it was founded, take a stroll through Dublin Castle’s courtyard, cross the Ha’Penny Bridge to walk through temple bar, and visit the city council building to learn about Ireland’s history. The tour is a wonderful way to learn about the history of the city and to get out in the fresh air at the same time.

Next week I’ll be writing about what to do if you want to get out of the city for a day and explore Dublin’s coast. See you next week, and don’t forget to stop by and say ‘hello’!

Labels Things to Do In Dublin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ariel House; Introduction

Hello! My name is Jessica Fleming, and I am going to be spending the summer interning at Ariel House through a program called Cultural Experiences Abroad, or CEA for short. I am currently a senior year student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the USA where I am a General Management and Human Resources Management double major. I am really interested in working in the hospitality and tourism industry, and this summer is an amazing opportunity to learn more about doing just that. While I’m here, I’ll also be attending morning classes at the CEA campus to learn about popular culture in Ireland. The class is going to be looking at cultural and historic aspects of different neighbourhoods in Dublin and is hopefully going to give a lot of insight into Irish culture!


So far I have been in Dublin for just two weeks, and I can already say I love it here. Coming from Philadelphia, I find Dublin to be a relatively quiet city with lots of green spaces and some wonderful opportunities to get out on walks. I had heard that Dublin was quite a rainy city before I came here, but so far I’ve been very lucky and caught lots of sunshine. My first few weeks here have been very busy! My first week was full of orientation sessions and getting adjusted to being in Ireland, and the second week was spent exploring Dublin and the Dublin Bay.


I started out my week in Dublin with a walking tour run by Pat Liddy. The walking tour went around all the main points of interest in the city centre, with an in-depth history and background of everything we saw. Next I climbed aboard Do Dublin’s hop on hop off bus tour for a more all-round view of the city. The live guide on the bus was excellent, and had plenty of local stories to share! While on the bus I stopped off at the famous Kilmainham Gaol and the renowned Guinness Storehouse. I spent the next few days riding the Dublin DART up and down the coast. First I went north and enjoyed a day by the seaside in Howth and Malahide. Then I headed south of Dublin to finish the day wandering through some of the Dublin Bay’s sweet little villages. Finally, I ended my week by joining Wild Wicklow Tours for a trip to the Wicklow Mountains National Park and Glendalough Valley.


It’s been a busy, but wonderful week so far! I’ll be posting more about all the different adventures I take in the future, so be sure to look for coming blog posts. Next week I’ll be posting about some great ways to spend a day in Dublin city and sharing some of my favorite sites, with more in depth details about some of the places I saw on my day in the city.


I’ll be at Ariel House this summer to answer questions and help you plan your tours, so if you need any advice or just want to chat, be sure to stop by!

Labels Ariel House News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.


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.


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!

Labels Ariel House News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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!


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


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!

Labels Culinary Delights, Life's Simple Pleasures | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ariel House; St Patrick’s Day 2017

St Patrick’s Day 2017

patricks day image

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
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 Temple Bar Pub
Brown Thomas
The Twelve Hotel
Uppercross House Hotel, Mother Reilly’s Bar & Restaurant
Clyde Court Hotel
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!

Labels Things to Do In Dublin | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ariel House; Afternoon Tea Traybake.


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!



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



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.


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!


Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Till the next time!


Labels Culinary Delights, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment
Annual Hotel and Catering