Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

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Art in Dublin | Museum & Gallery Recommendations

Art in Dublin

Dublin offers a wonderful variety of galleries and museums for visitors keen on viewing art. Whether your preference is ancient manuscripts or modern photography – the art in Dublin  suit all tastes. We have put together a selection of some of the museums and galleries that we recommend to guests of our Dublin guesthouse, but it is by no means a complete list.


Located at Dublin Castle (in Dublin 2) the Chester Beatty Library has been described by the Lonely Planet as “not just the best museum in Ireland, but one of the best in Europe.” The current temporary exhibition, Costumes Parisiens, Fashion plates from 1912-1914, runs until the 30th of March 2014. Plus, the permanent collection has one of the finest collections of books and manuscripts made by a collector in the 20th century.  There are also many events happening at the library throughout the week from talks to tours and workshops.

It has free admission and you can find out more about upcoming exhibitions and their permanent collection on their website: www.cbl.ie


Also in Dublin 2, the Royal Hibernian Academy, Gallagher Gallery, 15 Ely Place – has ongoing exhibitions of Irish artists. The Dorothy Cross exhibit, Connemara, goes live on the 13th March until the 27 April. Another fantastic exhibit with the works of James Hanly will also be on display during the same period.

Coppa Café in the museum has soups, sandwiches and salads along with excellent coffee. For more go to their website: www.rhagallery.ie


The National Gallery is located on Merrion Square West, (Dublin 2) and this year is celebrating 150 Years since it opened.  Having opened in 1854, it houses over 15, 000 works of art. It also has free admission and it is open 361 days a year.  While it has an amazing collection including works by Goya, Caravaggio, Breton and Canova it is also is the home of “Ireland’s Favourite Painting” – Hellelil and Hildebrand, The Meeting on  the Turret Stairs- Frederic William Burton (1816-1900). One of our colleagues Ewa is an Honours Degree Student of Art History and volunteers for the National Gallery as a guide. She is a wealth of knowledge about the Gallery and its exhibitions, which is a great asset to us here. Our Dublin Guesthouse is within walking distance of The National Gallery and so it is a very popular tourist attraction for our guests.

For more information on their collections and exhibits, go to their website:  www.nationalgallery.ie .




Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane (Dublin 1) has a collection of over 2000 works of contemporary art including pieces by Manet, Monet, Renoir and Degas among others.  However, the most impressive thing at this gallery is Francis Bacon’s London studio which was re-located to the museum and meticulously re-created. Never before has an artist’s studio been so thoroughly catalogued and re-constructed. We thoroughly recommend a visit to the Dublin City Gallery to all patrons of our Dublin guesthouse.

Visit www.hughlane.ie for more about the exhibitions and their collection.

The Irish Museum of Modern Art, located at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham (Dublin 8) has several exhibitions on right now – most importantly the work of Patrick Scott: Image Space Light. Scott passed away days s before the exhibit opened and he was a key contemporary Irish artist. This exhibit is up until the 18th of May, admission €5. It is also on at VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow during the same period, admission free. For more information on this exhibit and others, visit www.imma.ie


Following a busy day visiting the Galleries of Dublin, our Afternoon Tea awaits in the Drawing Room of our Dublin Guesthouse!

The Ariel House Team
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St. Patrick’s Day Festivities in Dublin

St. Patrick’s Day Festivities in Dublin

We are so looking forward to welcoming visitors to our guesthouse in Dublin for what will undoubtedly be a fantastic few days. Dublin will come alive this weekend with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Of course, this is not just centered on Dublin but all around Ireland and in fact, the world.  Everyone seems to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

As St. Patrick’s Day is on Monday this year – the festivities kick off this Friday the 14th for a long weekend of activities.  At  11am on the 14th take In the Footsteps of St. Patrick’s Walking Tour or at 4.30pm, get ready for an outdoor Festival Céilí with plenty of traditional music and dancing. Then, at 6pm, Dublin’s iconic buildings turn green to mark the day.



On Saturday and Sunday throughout Dublin, there is a plethora of activities for the whole family. Young children may enjoy Dabbledoo Music at the Little Museum of Dublin on Saturday. There is a celebration of Irish Craft Brewing, Irish Whiskey and Irish Artisan Food inside the CHQ building on the Docklands at the IFSC (International Financial Services Centre). There’s a 5K Road Race, comedy, music and street performances. At the City Assembly House, The Dublin Painting and Sketching Club has put together a unique exhibit Dublin ‘Then and Now’ with works of art that celebrate the city of Dublin over the last 250 years.

Of course Monday the 17th is St. Patrick’s Day! We will be ensuring that any visitors to our guesthouse in Dublin enjoy an extravagant breakfast (including a Full Irish of course!) before heading off to enjoy the day’s festivities.  The parade kicks off at 12 noon, beginning on Parnell Square and continuing onto O’Connell Street over O’Connell Bridge (for the parade route or to download a map, click here).  The theme for the parade this year is “Let’s Make History” and it promises to be as colourful and exuberant as previous years.

Throughout the city, there will be plenty of restaurants serving up the traditional bacon and cabbage – if you want to cook your own – check out the Bord Bia website for a recipe – Bacon and Cabbage.

For a full listing of all the St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations – go to the St. Patrick’s Festival site. For anyone visiting our guesthouse in Dublin this weekend, simply enquire at reception for event and activity recommendations.

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Now You Can Make Ariel House Recipes at Home

Ariel House Guest Brochure


We are already a few months into the New Year and despite a recent bout of bad weather, it looks like there are some promises of spring on the horizon. We look forward to welcoming you back to Ariel House this year and meeting new guests who have discovered us over the course of the last year.

In December, we published our new brochure which not only highlights our accommodation and food but also gives you ten recipes from the kitchen here at Ariel House.  Recipes include our popular Crunchy Granola which we serve at breakfast along with our Pancake recipe, Tea scones and our Dark Chocolate Truffles. Guesthouse owner Jennie McKeown completed the Ballymaloe Cookery Course in 2011 so our kitchen and ovens are always serving up scrumptious homemade goodies for breakfast and afternoon teas.

Our brochure was photographed by Paula Ryan who has a wonderful blog, Paula’s Kitchen Table. In addition to being a photographer, Paula is a stylist.  She’s become a good friend of us here at Ariel House so we encourage you to take a look at her blog for some foodie inspiration in 2014.

You can view the new Ariel House brochure here on our website or pick up a hard copy when you come and visit.

Again, wishing you all the very best for 2014.

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Showcase – Ireland’s Creative Expo at the RDS

Showcase – Ireland’s Creative Expo

This Sunday, the 19th of January,  Showcase – Ireland’s Creative Expo – opens at the RDS. Located just minutes from Ariel House, the RDS is a convention and Exhibition Centre steeped  in History and character.

Showcase is a trade show and while not open to the public, it is an important show for all types of craft companies throughout Ireland to exhibit their products to retailers both here in Ireland and internationally.

Image courtesy of Showcase.

Image courtesy of Showcase.

There are over 400 Irish exhibitors at this show and it is a key show for retailers worldwide to see what new products are on the market.  This year, they also have a dedicated food section at the show with food exhibitors ranging from confectionary and chocolates to Irish salmon, crisps, chutneys and jams and much more. Fashion has become an even bigger section in this show and now they are even having fashion shows highlighting Irish design. Jewelry companies are growing as well and buyers can expect to see a lot more products on offer this year.  A large portion of the show highlights home and gift items from pottery and glassware to textiles and stationery.

What does this mean to you the consumer? It means that in a short time – a few weeks to a few months (depending on how long it takes the companies to get the new ranges to market) – you’ll see these great Irish products rolling out in a retailer near you.  Many of them sell throughout the island of Ireland but you’ll also find many of them finding their way to retailers throughout Europe and the United States.

Nicholas Mosse Pottery (www.nicholasmosse.com) is one of the companies that will be exhibiting at Showcase and as you’ve heard us mention before, and those of us who have stayed with us know, that their products adorn our breakfast buffet t able. We use not only their Old Rose pattern but also a newer pattern called Clover that we find also has mass appeal.

Nicholas Mosse. Image courtesy of Showcase/Craft Council of Ireland.

Nicholas Mosse. Image courtesy of Showcase/Craft Council of Ireland.

Many of the exhibitors at the show stay with us at Ariel House for the exhibition and we have become a real home from home for them over the years and because we are so conveniently located to the RDS.

To find out more about the show – please visit - http://www.showcaseireland.com/about/people.  Even if you cannot attend you might be interested to see the range of Irish products available in their exhibitor list.

If you are visiting Dublin in January and would like to visit some retailers that stock a wide range of Irish products we recommend The  Kilkenny Shop on Nassau Street (across from Trinity College) – http://www.kilkennyshop.com  and Arnott’s Department Store,  also has a dedicated Irish Crafts area – http://www.arnotts.ie

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Stay A Night In Dublin And Enjoy The Christmas Attractions

Things to do in Dublin At ChristmasChristmas in Dublin is a great time to visit.  There is so much to see and do and it’s well worth staying a night in Dublin during the last big run up to the big day – we thought we put together a few ideas for places to visit and relish in the holiday season. From Christmas markets to ice skating venues – there’s lots to do when you are out and about in our fair city.

Docklands Christmas Market

Nothing captures the essence of Christmas like a market and the market on the Dublin Docklands will be open daily until the 23 of December. There’s a Victorian carnival, an artisan food & craft market and of course Santa’s grotto. For opening hour s and directions to get there – visit their website.

Dundrum on Ice

If you are shopping over in Dundrum Town Centre – the annual Dundrum on Ice is all set up again this year. Take a break and get out on the ice for a bit of winter fun. It’s also open into January – for more go to Dundrum on Ice.

Dublin Port Winterfest at the Point Village

The Dublin Port Winterfest also has an ice rink along with a fun fair, Christmas market and a visiting Santa.  There are plenty of craft and gift stalls along with a good mix of food stalls to keep you from getting hungry and you enjoy your day out. For hours and directions – Dublin Port  Winterfest.

Meet Rudolph’s Relatives

Take a break from the crowds and get out in nature and visit some of Rudolph’s relatives in Phoenix Park. A herd a fallow deer, which have been living here since the 17th century, call Phoenix Park home. The park has over 1700 acres and you can learn more about its history and wildlife in the visitor centre – Dublin Zoo is also located within the park. For more visit the Discover Ireland website or Dublin Zoo.

Wishing you all the very best during this holiday season and thank you again for your loyal custom. We look forward to seeing all of you again in 2014.

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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.


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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

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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.

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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

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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
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

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

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