Happy August! Now that summer is winding down, we’re thinking about back-to-school—and specifically, to college. This month, we’re talking about a new trend we’ve been seeing lately: Families taking special trips with their college-bound kids. And speaking of bonding travel, we’re also highlighting our recent retreat in Puerto Rico—including our top hosting tips. And finally, rounding out this edition is a great Q&A with Qatar Airways, which was recently honored with the distinction of “World’s Best Airline.” We hope the rest of your summer is fun and relaxing!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Spring is in bloom in Ireland. The yellow daffodils pop up for a breezy dance, and the rich golden gorse lights up the Irish landscape filling the air with their sweet aromas.
The change from winter comes subtly, but March 17, St Patrick’s Day, is a global invitation to celebrate spring. The holiday is a universal claiming of Irish heritage around the world as enthusiasts don their greens, join their parades and fill their pints with dark Irish stout. It’s the perfect time to start dreaming of your own tailor-made Irish vacation.
Even if you only have a short weekend to get away, we guarantee a cultural immersion that will leave you wanting for more.
Day 1: Morning Arrivals, Explore Dublin City Centre
We recommend Dublin Airport’s Platinum Services on arrival, especially if meeting friends or family who may be on a separate flight. Platinum Services provides a comfortable, private suite where you can freshen up after your flight, order a light breakfast or coffee and relax while waiting for your chauffeur to the city centre. Other advantages include a designated passport control check and porter service to collect your luggage at baggage claim.
The best way to find your bearings is to explore this Viking city on foot with your private guide. Dublin is one of Europe’s oldest cities. It’s buzzing with traditional pubs and Georgian charm, but also trendy bars and restaurants, mixing the old with the new. The iconic “Doors of Dublin” colorfully dot the streets as you take in some of the most significant sites around town:
It’s been a busy day getting to know the city, and a bit of jet lag may be setting in. It’s time for an early dinner, followed by a traditional Irish pub crawl before heading off to bed. For a lovey dinner out, we recommend: Pichet.
The atmosphere is fantastic in this modern take on a classic bistro. Combining both French influence and modern Irish cuisine, Pichet’s menus are created with innovation and seasonality using traditional flavors to create unique new dishes with fresh ingredients sourced from trusted local Irish suppliers. Locally inspired but with a French twist and prepared with our extraordinary cooking methods, the menus change regularly but the food principles remain the same. From baking their own bread fresh every morning to butchering their own meat, there is an unparalleled level of detail that goes into making Pichet’s food the best it can be.
After dinner, meet your guide and start the evening with a little history lesson and very soon it becomes clear the Irish pub has played an important role in the country’s history. Even famous writers, artists and politicians of times gone by have connections with some of Dublin’s best pubs. For your pub crawl, we suggest you mix the old with new and the big with the small—each of these are among our favorites and have their own stories and unique atmosphere.
Overnight in Dublin City centre at:
The Westbury Hotel, Dublin: The Westbury’s central location in the heart of Dublin offers unrivalled access to the pedestrianized social hub of Grafton Street, St. Stephen’s Green and the historic open spaces of Dublin’s Trinity College. Irish heritage abounds in the hotel too—from the flowers to the food, along with one of the country’s foremost art collections, featuring original paintings by Sir John Lavery and Louis le Brocquy. But it is the warmth of welcome that is most vivid: a tangible service ethos that sets the seal on a haven of luxury.
Day 2: Kilkenny
Today it’s time to explore the fascinating medieval city of Kilkenny. Just about an hour and a half from Dublin, it’s a short, scenic drive through Ireland’s Ancient East. We recommend spending the afternoon with story-tellers and guides, Nevin and Brendan, on their “Shenanigans Kilkenny Walking Tour.” Fusing history with humor, magic, and fun, you’ll discover the best of Kilkenny and the hidden secrets that lie within it. After your tour, there will still be plenty of time to wander through shops and pubs as you explore on foot in this charming walkable city.
Enjoy dinner in the bustling city centre before heading back to Dublin City.
Ristorante Rinuccini is a family owned and run multi award-winning Italian restaurant located in the heart of Kilkenny City for almost 30 years. They specialize in classic Italian cuisine, made using the finest Italian and also fresh Irish ingredients. The restaurant takes its name from Giovanni Battista Rinuccini, a Florentine noble who spent four years living amongst the people of Kilkenny in the mid-seventeenth century. While in Kilkenny, he was held in great respect by the laity and clergy alike for his refinement and patronage of the arts and fine food. Rinuccini was reported to have coined the phrase ‘Tavola quattro chiacchiere gusto da tradizione Italiana’ while he was living in Kilkenny, which translates to ‘At the table conversation is an Italian tradition’. The restaurant aims to deliver this sentiment with every meal and to live up to the Rinuccini name each day.
Return to Dublin and upon arrival at the Westbury Hotel, it’s time for a night cap.
It’s been a long day, so you won’t have to go far to visit one of Dublin’s coolest cocktail bars. The Sidecar is located inside the Westbury Hotel. The style is an elegant take on a 1930’s cocktail bar with cozy, corner booths for a bit of privacy. Or, if you prefer to be in the center of the action, step up to the art deco bar to watch the mixologists craft some original cocktails. The Sidecar has been awarded Best Hotel Bar at The Irish Craft Cocktail Awards 2018 and Best Cocktail Bar at the Sunday Business Post Gold Star Awards 2019. It’s the perfect spot to wind down before bed.
Day 3: Departures
This morning you will be picked up for a private transfer to Dublin Airport for your return flight. To make sure you have the best experience possible, we recommend:
48 hours is a whirlwind visit in Ireland. We always hope you’ll stay and explore the depths of our culture and traditions through exceptional experiences all around the country. We work closely with your First in Service advisor to make sure we get a very good sense of who you are to design your personal, perfect trip to Ireland.
(Did you know? The U.S. Preclearance (USCBP) facility at Terminal 2 in Dublin Airport is a purpose-built facility that allows U.S. bound passengers to undertake all U.S. immigration, customs and agriculture inspections at Dublin Airport prior to departure, rather than on landing in the U.S.)
First in Service partners with Crafted Ireland to design unique trips to Ireland.
Photos courtesy “Fáilte Ireland”
To plan an unforgettable trip to Ireland contact our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.