Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

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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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!


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”


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


“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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