Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

Buying Irish Craft

Buying Irish C raft

We have a bit of a thing for Irish craft here at Ariel House – not only do we  use the Nicholas Mosse Pottery in our breakfast room but we also have lots of crafts people stay with us.  Many of them are here for the  RDS this week for the National Craft Fair which opens on this Wednesday but they also come for  Showcase Ireland in January. This Christmas we’ll be buying Irish craft products– the selection out there is quite amazing and we’ve rounded up a few of our favourites to highlight for you.

Nicholas Mosse Pottery

Nicholas Mosse Pottery is based in Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny.  The shop and factory are located in a renovated mill on the banks of the River Nore in an idyllic setting. We use many of their bowls here at Ariel  House to serve up granola and yoghurt on our breakfast buffet. Over the years we’ve mostly used their Old Rose pattern which has been in the range for over 25 years; however, we recently added some pieces from their new Clover pattern that was introduced earlier this year.  You can watch their pieces being throw and decorated in viewing rooms, shop from the entire range plus their “seconds” area or even have lunch in their café where you can watch the swans and maybe even an otter swimming by. See more on their website – www.nicholasmosse.com

Nicholas Mosse Apple pattern used at breakfast

Nicholas Mosse Apple pattern used at breakfast

Bog Standard

Based outside of Belfast, Bog Standard was started in 2001 and had a range of scented products that include candles, soaps, sachets, fresheners, hand cream and hand wash. We love their fresh contemporary packaging and scents such as Irish Field, Irish Linen and perfect for the holiday season -Irish Winter. Their latest range called Forget-Me-Not is tinned candles with a wonderful vintage appeal.  See the range on their website – http://www.bogstandard.ie/

Hilary Hale

Hilary Hale is a woodturner who lives in Kinsale, County Cork.  Little did she know, over twenty years ago, when she turned a lamp to put on a piano that her life would be transformed. Woodturning now dominates her life. She uses storm felled local timber such as ash, oak, robinia, beech and yew which over a period of two years she transforms into beautiful functional bowls. You can see her working in her own gallery or find her work for sale at other galleries in the area. For gallery hours and more on her work visit – http://www.hilaryhale.com/

Mairi Stone Ceramics

Mairi Stone makes porcelain pieces with glass inlays that are inspired by nature’s organic forms and structures. Based in Schull, West Cork, Mairi uses bright vibrant colours to contrast with the white porcelain and a variety of textures. We are pretty sure you’ll have a hard  time just settling on one of these unique pieces.

http://www.mairistone.com/

Labels Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dublin Day Trips on the DART

We can’t think of a better time to take advantage of some affordable family activities – and one that we think is particularly great and really well priced is a family day pass on the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit). For as little as €17.20 for the day, a family of 1-2 adults and up to 4 children under the age of 16 can travel on the DART for the full day.

By using us as a base – you will be only a two minute walk from the Lansdowne Road DART Station so you can set off with the kids in tow for a great day of building memories together. Make sure you’ve brought your camera along and if you want suggestions for where to pick up a lunch on the go or places you should eat out – ask one of the staff before you head out. From the station you can head north or south of the city – either route will take you to idyllic coastal villages and while you may not be able to get to them all in a day – you will certainly enjoy stopping off in several of them – finding a little cafe for lunch and visiting some of the sites and museums to be found in each of them. The DART runs all the way from Malahide & Howth north of Dublin to as far south as Greystones in County Wicklow. Each of the stops along with way are along the coast and for more information about each place – we suggest you check out the listing on the Things to Do.ie website. You might also like to look at the album up on our own Facebook page with some photographs taken during the summer on a trip to Howth. Click here to see the Album.

Be sure to double check times before you head out (Irish Rail Timetable)- or by all means please ask of the staff here at Ariel House to assist you.

The Ariel House Team

Labels Life's Simple Pleasures | Tagged | Leave a comment

Halloween in Dublin

An Ariel House Halloween In DublinHalloween in Dublin and in Ireland as a whole has become a bigger celebration in recent years and this year there are countless spooky events for the whole family.  From bats to vampires and pumpkins and ghosts – this Halloween you can be sure to find a celebration to suit everyone.

Believe it or not – Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, which was published in 1897, is actually a Dublin native and this year marks the 2nd Annual Bram Stoker festival (26-28 October). The 3 day festival has spine-chilling street theatres, a city-wide Vampire Hunt for families, walking tours and more.

For those of you interested in walking around our Fair City, why not take a particularly ghoulish trip with Hidden Dublin Walks. They will take you to the infamous Hellfire Club, a remote 18th century haunt of blackguards in the Dublin Mountains. Held nightly from 22-31 October.

A little less scary is the Spooktacular Boo (27 & 31st October) or Halloween Camp (30-31 October) held at the Dublin Zoo. Visit all the creepy crawly residents of the zoo and enjoy walking around the zoo in general – there are two new additions to the zoo, a pair of male okapis.

At the Glasnevin Cemetery there is a special tour for children with a guide called Ace of Spades. You’ll find lots of surprises in store in this amazing place steeped in Irish history. Located near the Botanic Gardens visit the website

In Marlay Park there is the Samhain Halloween event. Take a tour of the Haunted Forest with eery fog, lots of spooky creatures and plenty of scare factor.  While this is a free event – please check their website for times. It is also an outdoor only event.

The staff here at Ariel House would be happy to help you get to any of your spooky celebrations and of course we’ll give you a safe haven from any ghost and goblins floating around. Happy Halloween.

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

Food Hotspots near Ariel House Guesthouse In Ballsbridge

Great places to eat near Ariel House Guesthouse

This week, we asked Lorraine Griffin, who is a freelance food and lifestyle writer, to give us her top 5 foodie hotspots in the Ballsbridge area surrounding Ariel House.

Roly’s Bistro & Cafe has been a stalwart of the Dublin dining scene for over 20 years. A lively spot, their award-winning chefs produce consistently high-quality food. Try the signature ‘Kerry Lamb Pie’! For something more casual they have a cafe and bakery, where you can pick up a freshly baked treat to enjoy whilst exploring the neighbourhood. If time permits –it’s worth popping into nearby rugby pub Paddy Cullen’s (you might just spot some well-known sporting heroes!)

Roly’s Bistro & Cafe, 7 Ballsbridge Terrace  Dublin 4, (01) 668 2611

The menu at Isabel’s Restaurant is dictated wholly by what is fresh, or has been fished or plucked from the earth that day. Housed in a Georgian basement, it’s a wine-lover’s paradise. Vintage bottles line the walls and old wine crates are upstyled to create cosy dining tables. Its candle-lit atmosphere makes for a very romantic setting away from the city hustle.

Isabel’s Restaurant, 112 Baggot Street Lower  Dublin 2, (01) 661 9000

Junior’s Deli & Cafe serves creative seasonally inspired salads and sandwiches from 12 each day. At night, it transforms into a cosy tavern showcasing Italian interpretations of Irish produce. Grab a seat in their coveted heated patio and work your way through their signature ‘Pint o’ prawns with toast and homemade mayo’ whilst watching the world go by.

Junior’s Deli & Cafe, 2 Bath Avenue, Dublin 4, Ireland, (01) 664 3648

Just off Dublin’s canal is the Canal Bank Cafe. Ah the chicken wings! Dubliners and visitors alike have been seduced by the secret sauce that first originated in city-centre spot Elephant & Castle and winged (!) it’s way over to the south side of the city as the chef took up residence here. Spicy, tangy and moreish, there’s enough in one basket for sharing or as a hearty main.

Canal Bank Cafe, 146 Upper Leeson Street, Dublin 4, (01) 664 3648

Farmers’ Markets are a welcome addition to Dublin city centre. Every Thursday lunchtime you’ll find one along the canal at Mespil Road. The Paella Guys may not be Spanish but their authentic recipe has got it just right: fragrant saffron rice and glorious chunks of flavoursome chicken and piquant chorizo. Say Fish also draw the crowds with their fresh Irish fish and chips. Perch up and enjoy their crispy-soft fish and thick-cut wedges with plenty of zesty Lemon Cajun sauce.

Bon Appetit!

About the Author:
Lorraine Griffin is passionate about local produce and supporting artisan producers. She contributes to Food and Wine magazine, the ISLE magazine blog and online food-loving site diningroom.ie . Follow her on Twitter @lorrainegriffin

Labels Culinary Delights | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Recipe from the Ariel House Kitchen

Brown Bread Ariel HouseWe are very lucky to have such a talent in our kitchen, as we’ve mentioned before here at Ariel House. We have developed a great reputation not only for our amazing breakfasts but also for our afternoon teas. You can start off your day with us before you head out into the city. We offer everything for breakfast from a traditional Irish breakfast to a range of egg dishes, smoked salmon, pancakes or a vegetarian option. Our buffet is filled with granolas, yoghurts, fresh fruit and lots of fresh baked goodies. Brown bread, a popular Irish bread, is of course also served so to create that home baked goodness at home we’ve provided you with our recipe. This specific recipe does make 5 loaves – but make one batch and you’ll have plenty on hand for family and friends.

Brown Bread
Ingredients:
2 ½ lb self-raising white flour
1 ½ lb whole meal flour
12oz porridge oats
1 Tsp sugar
4 Tsp salt
9 Tsp baking powder
4 Tsp soda bread
4 eggs
3 pints of milk

Method:
Makes 5 loaves of bread (so freeze what you don’t’ need )
Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly
Then add all 4 Eggs
Add the pints of milk
Mixture should be wet

Divide the mixture up evenly between loaf pans (pans should be greased or lined)
Bake at 707ºF for 35-45 minutes
Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

Our afternoon tea is also a very popular way to finish up your long day in Dublin. Return to our comfortable dining room for a special treat. We also serve our brown bread at tea with smoked salmon. A recent visitor to Ariel House – Nollaig, who writes her blog Fascination Food – gave our afternoon tea a glowing review in July 2013. She not only describes our entire range of delicious goodies in style but also took lots of photographs as well so we think her description needs none of our input. You can read her post here.

Let us know if you have any special requests for tea we would be happy to accommodate you.

The Ariel House Team

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

Celebrating our Local Food Producers at Ariel House

CupcakesOne of the things we pride ourselves of here at Ariel House is that, wherever possible, we’ve incorporated local food producers into our breakfast and afternoon tea menu. We source local food produce from as close by as our own back garden to as far away as Wexford, Wicklow and Cork.

For those of you that follow us on Facebook (and if you don’t, we certainly encourage you to) – you’ll know that we often post photographs of our breakfast buffet and meals. By working with Irish producers, it is our way of highlighting and celebrating them but also giving you, our guests, an introduction to all the amazing food producers we have throughout the country. Of course, as you use us as your base to set off into the city– we want to provide you with the freshest start to your day.

On our breakfast buffet, the brioches, walnut bread, rye & fruit bread, along with garlic, tomato and chili bread are made at Arun Bakery – located nearby in Dublin 7.

We also produce brown and banana bread, sweet scones and muffins here in the kitchen at Ariel House. Where ever possible, our fruit and vegetables are Irish grown – including herbs from our back garden. The raspberry jam and marmalade we use comes from Kilmurray Farm in County Wicklow.

On our cheese board we currently serve four different cheeses. Cashel Blue is produced in County Tipperary in the heart of the country by the Grubb family. We also serve three cheeses from Cork, one is Gubbeen which comes from West Cork and is produced by the Ferguson family who has been farming for several generations just outside the village of Schull. Ardrahan, a semi-soft cheese, is produced by the Burns family in Kanturk, which is in the countryside of Duhallow in North West Cork. Finally we serve a Beech Smoked Carrigaline cheese which is made in South West Cork by Ann and Pat O’Farrell.

Our bacon, sausages and puddings all come from Pat O Neill’s in County Wexford. Pat uses a dry curing process to produce his bacon which is, as he puts it, “higher in taste, lower in salt”.

Seasonally we add other producers to our menu and you will find updates on our Facebook page as to where we are sourcing things such as our latest delivery of strawberries or rhubarb.

For more about any of our producers – go directly to their websites or contact us directly with any queries.

The Ariel House Team

Labels Food Producers, Life's Simple Pleasures | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Little Bit about Ariel House

Dublin B&BIn the shadow of the contemporary glass structure of Aviva Stadium, Ariel House is your perfect base for all you need to do around the city of Dublin.

Located on tree-lined Lansdowne Road, we are housed in a Victorian townhouse (well, actually three) 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.
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.

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.

City centre, such as Trinity College, 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.

The efforts of the McKeown family and indeed the entire staff of 25 here at Ariel House is paying off. In 2012 we received Guesthouse of the Year from Georgina Campbell Guide and we were listed as one of the Top 100 Places to Stay in Ireland thanks to the Bridgestone Guide 2013.

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.

The Ariel House Team

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

Welcome to the Ariel House blog

ariel-blog-test3We thought that a blog would be a nice addition to our website in order to share tit-bits of information that we think will enhance a visit to Ariel House, Dublin or Ireland in fact.

So what can you expect to find on our blog?

Recipes and food articles; our love of home baking and our pride in Irish food and local suppliers is no secret. We will share our recipes and hope some of our suppliers will participate in the blog and “show and tell” their wonderful products.

Places to go and see; the more off the beaten track, the better…… Countrywide

Events and Festivals; Information on things to do both in Dublin and Ireland

Food to eat and enjoy; based on our own and our guests experiences of restaurants, cafes and eateries in Dublin
Great spots to stay and visit outside the Capital; Guesthouses and restaurants that we love to recommend in various parts of the country

What’s happening in the Garden at Ariel House? We feel so fortunate to have an oasis of calm in a city location where we grow herbs and strawberries in the kitchen garden. We even have our own apple tree from which we make great apple compote in the autumn months.

We will be inviting guest bloggers to participate, just to add another perspective and make life more interesting.

We hope you will read, enjoy and interact with our blog posts, try out our recipes and enjoy visiting the places we love.

Best wishes

The Ariel House Team

Labels Life's Simple Pleasures | Tagged , , | Leave a comment
Annual Hotel and Catering