03 Dec 2008
By Ahlanlive.com

Head to Ireland’s capital for culture, cocktails and plenty of craic...

When walking around the cobbled streets lined with distinctive Georgian townhouses in Dublin city centre, it’s best to discard your map and guide books and let the magic of the city sweep you along.

Along Grafton Street, the shopping hub of the city, you’ll find an array of high street faves, alongside designer brands in plush department store Brown Thomas. You can also discover vintage finds and one-off gems in quaint boutiques along the enchanting alleyways off the main thoroughfare.

In the evening, take in some culture at the famous Abbey Theatre, staging productions by new and old Irish playwrights, and showcasing the cream of Irish acting talent, before discovering the enviable nightlife on offer in the city.

Dublin has more pubs per square mile than anywhere on earth, where you can enjoy the “craic” into the wee small hours. Opt for traditional Irish music in an old-fashioned snug, indulge in cocktails at the luxe upmarket bars along Dawson Street (Café En Seine is our pick), or follow the throngs into the lively nest of late night bars and clubs in Temple Bar.

Combining welcoming Irish staff and cosy fireplaces, with luxe five-star touches (not to mention the best cocktail bar in town!), The Westin, is situated within staggering distance of Temple bar and provides the perfect base for a girly getaway this Christmas.

While you're there...

Lunch at Ely
Home to a host of Michelin star restaurants, Dublin’s gastronomic scene is booming. Ely Chq – in the heart of the financial centre – is the place for a power lunch. Located in a converted wine and tobacco warehouse, feast on organic food in a stunning subterranean vaulted cellar.

Walk in Wicklow
Less than an hour’s drive from Dublin, the awe-inspiring lakes, waterfalls and snap-happy scenery of the Wicklow mountains feels a million miles from the city. Stop for lunch at the majestic stately home Powerscourt House, and pick up cute and kitsch finds in Avoca boutique.

Taste the black stuff
No visit would be complete without sampling a pint of Guinness – and what better place than the factory where it’s made? At the Guinness Storehouse, built in 1904 in the shape of a pint glass, you can enjoy a pint and sprawling city views from the top floor Gravity Bar.