Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

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.

http://www.gardenplansireland.com/articles/article50.html

Guesthouse in Dublin Roses

Happy gardening everyone!

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St. Patrick’s Day 2015

Ariel House Dublin Guesthouse

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

Below is a delicious recipe from one of our favourite Irish chefs Catherine Fulvio, incorporating Guinness into a beautiful dessert. We are looking forward to making something similar to share with you in our drawing room on St Patrick’s Day!

http://www.irishcentral.com/culture/food-drink/St-Patricks-Day-Dessert-Perfection-with-Irish-Chef-Catherine-Fulvio—.html

Wherever you are celebrating on March 17th may the luck of the Irish be with you!

Ariel House Dublin Guesthouse

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Mothering Sunday 2015

Mother’s Day is a celebration to honour motherhood, maternal bonds and the role of mothers in society. It is celebrated in various countries all over the world on different dates but here in Ireland it is always celebrated in the month of March.

“To the world you are a Mother but to your family you are the world”

                                                                                                                                Anonymous

Traditionally cards, flowers and chocolates were given as gifts but in my eyes nothing says “I love and appreciate you’ more than a breakfast lovingly presented! I have put together a few ideas for you to spoil the special person in your life. A little bit of preparation is all that is required to throw these dishes together. As a by the way, a special breakfast is welcome any time of the year, not just Mothering Sunday!

Mother's Day Breakfast

For the health conscious mother, a delicious breakfast smoothie combining raspberries, coconut milk and greek yoghurt is a winner. Serve with a straw and a smile.

breakfast pancakes

A stack of pancakes served with crispy streaky bacon and a drizzle of orchard syrup will put you in the good books for at least a week……

Mothers Da

Scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, brown bread and a wedge of lemon is sure to impress. Make your own brown bread if you really want to push the boat out! Our recipe can be found here.

poached eggs

A perfectly poached egg is a thing of beauty. Make sure the water is boiling, turn down to a simmer, stir the water with a fork to create a whirlpool before cracking the egg into the centre of the pot. Put on the lid and turn the heat down to a minimum. A perfect soft poached egg will be ready in two minutes. Delicious.

full Irish breakfast

Saving the best for last. A full traditional Irish breakfast! Make sure to purchase top quality bacon, sausages, pudding and eggs and you cannot go wrong. Mammy will be full for the day!

 

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Ariel House Listed in Top 100 Places to Stay in Ireland 2015

mckennas_guide

“Star ratings and deep-pile carpets mean nothing in Irish hospitality. What dictates whether you have a great time is the ability of the owners to make you feel welcome, to cook you delicious foods, and to offer you sound and sage advice on what you need to know and where you need to go.”

John & Sally McKenna

The team and I at Ariel House were beyond thrilled to remain in the 100 Best Places to Stay In Ireland 2015. As a small independent guesthouse, it is fantastic to have the backing of the McKenna brand to help strengthen our own branding! 

This year, an exciting development sees the launch of the fantastic and informative apps from the McKennas, there are three apps which are all very useful. There is an app on the 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland, another that recommends the 100 Best Restaurants and one that covers the Wild Atlantic Way. All three are a must if you are intent on seeing the best that Ireland has to offer and are available on the app store, but you can access them directly here.

We strive hard at Ariel House to ensure that every guest who walks through our door is treated like an old returning friend. We like to ensure that a friendly smile and a cup of tea or coffee are always on the horizon. We get great pleasure from reading lovely reviews online and from the many returning guests that we see each day. How wonderful that our hard work is recognised by the much respected McKennas and we hope to continue and grow our charming guest house into your home away from home.

Thank you John & Sally!

 

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Ariel House – The History of Our Dublin Guesthouse

Ariel House dublin guesthouse

Did 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 this 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.

 

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Rugby Match Days At Ariel House

 

triple crown trophies

Ireland’s 2009 Triple Crown and Grand Slam Trophies on a previous visit to Ariel House.

As you may know, Ariel House is located but a stone’s throw away from the world renowned Aviva Stadium on Lansdowne Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. Time and time again, we get to experience the thrilling atmosphere that a match day brings. There is always an air of anticipation on Lansdowne Road on the day of a rugby international match. Even at first light, when the road is completely deserted, there is a sense that something incredible is about to happen at the Aviva Stadium.

Breakfast at Ariel House is always hectic on these mornings. Our chefs in the kitchen will be prepared for a busy breakfast with most of our guests arriving early for breakfast to make the best of the day and soak up the electric pre-match atmosphere. After breakfast, new guests usually start to arrive in quick succession.

Early arrival is paramount for those wanting to get their car parked in advance of the road closure for ticket check. The roads usually close three hours before a game. Our front of house team get to work welcoming these guests and making tea and coffee for them as they wait for their rooms to be ready.

With breakfast over, our kitchen staff begin the task of baking cakes and pastries for Afternoon Tea. In addition, they make a huge batch of sausage rolls which we traditionally serve to guests arriving back after the game. By this stage, Lansdowne Road will be closed to traffic and will have become a pedestrian only zone. This only adds to the carnival atmosphere and enhances the pre-match buzz.

Crowds grow and grow as the lead up to kick off nears closer and there is always an atmosphere of comradely on the road between the fans of opposing teams. At this stage, with most of our guests refreshed and settled in their rooms, our team take an opportunity to people watch – usually from the front steps of Ariel House.

Once the game is in play, we can nearly read the run of play from the stadium as we hear mumbles of cheers and sometimes even a disappointed ahhhh! As the final whistle nears, we prepare ourselves for post-match service and an immediate inflow of match attendees. Tea, coffee and sausage rolls are served in the Drawing Room as a welcome offering for our guests after the game. New friends are made as everyone enjoys a good match post-mortem and analysis.

For the staff at Ariel House, rugby match days are dates in the calendar which we always firmly look forward to!

 

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Spring Breakfast Menu

love-post2

One of my favourite times of the day in our Dublin guesthouse is breakfast in the morning. I love the chatter of our guests, the sound of juices and coffees pouring and the smell of sizzling sausages on the pan. We update our breakfast menu on a regular basis to keep in tune with the seasons and to keep our regular guests excited about new additions.

 love-post

Our traditional Irish fry is always a winner and is a great source of energy if you are going to explore our gorgeous Dublin city! Pancakes, fruit kebabs, crispy bacon with maple syrup, porridge, homemade granola and poached eggs are all very popular and are sure to satisfy!

 Ariel House Guesthouse Fruit Pots

Rose our resident chef, and one of our longest serving members of staff in our Dublin guesthouse, is a whirlwind in the kitchen and guaranteed to get just the right amount of crispiness for your bacon and softness in your egg! What is your favourite thing to see on a breakfast menu? We would love to hear!

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Valentine’s Crafts

Ariel House Guesthouse Dublin

If you follow us on Pinterest you will know that we are partial to a bit of DIY! If you don’t already follow us, why not come over for a look, we keep our page constantly updated and share with you all of our favourite inspiration. It is a great source of ideas, recipes and crafts, all of which are photo based, and enables you to make virtual mood boards for all your favourite things. We are all about our Valentines board this week and it’s helping to brighten up even the darkest of winter days!

The team here at our Dublin guesthouse even had a go at making our own tea light holders inspired by Pinterest. So simple and you could let the children help you! We used some glass yoghurt pots, heart shaped stickers, blackboard paint and a little bit of bakers string. Simply peel off the heart stickers when the paint is dry and voila you have a piece of Pinterest to display!

Ariel House Dublin Guest House

These are among our favourite pins so far:

Door Wreath

We love to decorate outdoors and indoors at our Dublin guesthouse!

Chocolate Shortbread Heart Cookies 

These will be making an appearance at our afternoon teas!

Beautiful centrepieces!

Charming and easy to make.

Mason Jar Crafts

Perfect for getting the children involved in the Valentine’s Day spirit.

Detailed Picture Frame

This would make a great engagement present for someone!

Burlap Banner

We should have left the Christmas tree up!

What Valentine’s crafts do you like pinning? Let us know your account name and we will follow you! Happy pinning!

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Afternoon Tea Favourites

Afternoon Tea Meringue

Almost two years have passed since we first made our delectable treats and hot pots of tea for our Afternoon Tea guests at our guesthouse in Dublin. Lately, I have been looking back on two years’ worth of pictures and recalling wonderful times with people I have met since then.

Our Afternoon Tea service started as an opportunity to showcase some of our kitchen’s wonderful baking and has grown into something of an institution in Dublin 4. We regularly have a full house in our dining room and are completely thrilled with the success of it all. Our chefs have really come on-board and often test out new recipes to entice our visitors. Along with our knowledge growing, so have our waistbands, but it’s a small price to pay for the great reviews that we receive.

If you haven’t yet made it to us for Afternoon Tea at our Dublin guesthouse, we would love to see you and promise you’ll be spoilt! Here is a collage of our favourite pictures from the last two years.

afternoon tea collage

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New Year, New Steps!

Ariel House Guesthouse Steps

We have had a particularly quiet month here in Ariel House. There has been no chinking of china or hustle and bustle of everyday life. We closed our front door just before Christmas and are in the midst of a rejuvenation project at our guesthouse in Dublin.

Our charming granite steps leading up to our front door have been in situ since 1850 and have been requiring some tender loving care. This was a considerable undertaking and required the best of craftsmen to complete it. We are delighted to have been able to restore them to their former glory and can’t wait to share the fabulous job with you. The well known phrase ‘if walls could talk’ has been temporarily changed to “if stairs could talk” around these parts and if they could I am sure many fascinating tales would be heard! From the elegance of the Victorian age to the eclectic mix of visitors that have passed through our door, many stories could be told and we hope will continue to be told for many years to come.

We look forward to welcoming back all of our guests, both old and new, to our Dublin guesthouse in the coming weeks and to share with you our recent renovations. In the mean time, here’s a snap of the careful labour being undertaken!

Ariel House Guesthouse Dublin

The team at Ariel House are so looking forward to getting back to work and doing what we do best, looking after you. In fact, we were thrilled to recently win a Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Award 2015, listed in the top 25 hotels in Ireland for best service. Thank you to everyone who took the time to review us – it’s much appreciated!

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