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Business Travel Guide: Dublin, Ireland

The Celtic Tiger economic boom of the late 1990s transformed Dublin from a legendary "dirty old town" to a cosmopolitan business destination. The influx of technology, pharmaceutical and financial services opportunities have brought a pot of gold to the end of the Irish rainbow, and citizens from around the world have arrived to enjoy it. International food shops and dining venues now jostle for space next to traditional Irish pubs and country houses, but the laid back, fun loving Irish attitude certainly hasn't disappeared. All visitors should rest up before arriving in Dublin because joining in the craic (fun) is not only accepted, but encouraged.


Facts to Know Before You Go

Currency:

Dublin is located in the Republic of Ireland, which is a member of the European Union. As such, its currency is the euro (€). Notes range from €5 to €500, and one euro is divided into 100 cent (euro and cent are not pluralized). Travelers throughout the island of Ireland should note that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and uses the pound sterling. The pound is not legal tender in the Republic of Ireland, and the euro is not legal tender in Northern Ireland, though some retailers may post signs accepting both. The euro exchange rate against the U.S. dollar fluctuates daily. Currency exchange counters and a Bank of Ireland branch are available at the airport, and bureau de change outposts are dotted throughout Dublin's downtown area.

Transportation:

Taxis: Dublin Airport is located six miles north of the city center. The average fare between the airport and city center is €35. Rates can be confirmed at the airport taxi rank located just outside the arrivals hall. The taxi rank is the only place at the airport where cabs are available. Rates may increase depending on the number of passengers, amount of luggage and time of day, as well as on Sundays and public holidays.

Rental Cars: Numerous international car rental companies, such as Avis, Hertz and Dollar, have counters in the main concourse at the arrivals terminal at Dublin Airport. In addition, local firms such as Irish Car Rental are also represented.

Public Transportation: Dublin has a variety of public transportation options, including buses, Dublin Area Rapid Transport (DART) trains and the Luas Light Rail System trams, connecting the city center with the suburbs. While all offer convenient ways to travel within the city and between the city and outlying areas, they may not be your best option for travel into town from the airport as you're likely to be carrying a suitcase, garment bag, computer case and so on. However, one luxury coach service has set itself up to transport passengers from the airport to the city. The Air Coach bus service stops at a variety of hotels and points of interest in Dublin, making it a popular choice with business travelers. Tickets cost €7 one-way or €12 roundtrip and do not expire.

Information:

Executive travelers will be pleased with the choice of business-oriented media in Ireland. Business & Finance is a comprehensive guide to the country's financial news, and The Irish Times features a daily business section, a separate technology section and "The Ticket" weekly entertainment guide detailing music, art and theatre events in the city. Additional business information can be found in the online version of the Irish Sunday Business Post. Multilingual magazines and newspapers are also available in bookshops and newsagents across the city.


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Where to Stay

The Clarence
6-8 Wellington Quay
353-1-407-0800
www.theclarence.ie

The Clarence

Designers and supermodels alike check in here, as did rockers such as U2's Bono and The Edge before they decided to buy the place. Individually designed rooms and suites feature state-of-the-art amenities as well as Shaker-style furnishings. From the duplex penthouse you have a great view of Dublin. Although the feel is of a private manor, the hotel is well equipped for business visitors, with The Study (a 24-hour lounge), wireless internet access in public areas and a selection of meeting spaces available only for private bookings, including The Clarence Suite seating up to 120 and The Gallery at The Penthouse for intimate drinks or receptions.


Conrad Dublin
Earlsfort Terrace
353-1-602-8900
conradhotels1.hilton.com

Conrad Dublin

With a handy location close to St. Stephen's Green and opposite the National Concert Hall, Conrad Dublin makes a great base for business travelers. Contemporary interiors include a fitness center, conference rooms (including an executive boardroom and multi-purpose ballroom), Alex seafood restaurant and Alfie Byrne's, a traditional Irish pub popular with the local suit-and-tie crowd from nearby office blocks. Along with high-speed Internet access, rooms and suites are equipped with ergonomic desk chairs, executive desks and two phones with speaker and voicemail capacity.


Four Seasons Hotel Dublin
Simmonscourt Road
353-1-665-4000
www.fourseasons.com

Four Seasons Hotel Dublin

This lavish hotel is set within the Royal Dublin Society show grounds in residential Ballsbridge. Although not necessarily convenient to central Dublin, it's a smart choice if you're looking for an upscale conference venue. Not only do you get 24-hour business services, ballroom, boardrooms, meeting rooms with garden access and accommodations stocked with all your office-away-from-office needs, you'll enjoy mountain and sea views. A staff is available for a range of business services, from VIP gift purchasing to spouse programs. Additional facilities include a spa, fitness center with indoor lap pool and Seasons Restaurant, serving contemporary European cuisine. Just be ready to fight the crowds of beautiful people if you're looking for a nightcap at its trendy ICE bar.


The Shelbourne Hotel Dublin
27 St. Stephen's Green
353-1-663-4500
www.marriott.co.uk

The Shelbourne Hotel Dublin

Welcoming business travelers since 1824, the Shelbourne recently completed a massive refurbishment that has left its rooms some of the most sought-after in the city. Its location on St. Stephen's Green provides convenient travel to all areas of Dublin, though if you play your cards right you can have your meetings in one of its thirteen banqueting and meeting suites. Rooms come equipped with high speed Internet, 300-count Egyptian cotton bedding, complimentary Irish Times delivery, cable television with CNN and LCD flat screen TVs on which to watch it. Spring for a Heritage guestroom or suite and get free access to the Heritage Club Lounge, something that will come in handy when the famous Horseshoe Bar gets too crowded with the after-work crowd.


The Westin Dublin
College Green
353-1-645 1000
www.starwoodhotels.com

The Westin Dublin

A history of commerce lingers in the halls of this hotel, which is located in the former Allied Irish Bank building dating back to 1863. Its nine flexible meeting spaces include the original 19th-century Banking Hall which seats up to 250 or 170 for gala dinner service. A setting on the Trinity College block, GuestOffice rooms, wireless high-speed internet access and recreational offerings such as WestinWORKOUT® rooms and in-room massage treatments make this a top choice for visiting executives. If you really feel like splashing out, book the College Suite and avail of a boardroom size table, office space, exercise area and steam room. The only drawback is that you'll have no excuses for missing a deadline.


Where to Dine

The Bistro
4/5 Castle Market
353-1-671-5430
www.thebistro.ie

Modern European

The Bistro

For good food with few pretensions you can't beat The Bistro. This small, family-run restaurant is one of the best kept secrets on the Dublin dining scene but with more and more suits appearing at its tables it probably won't remain that way for long. It advertises itself as offering "continental fusion cuisine" but you're just as likely to find Thai Green Curry sitting on its special board as moules a la mariniere. When you're dealing with a straight talking, no-nonsense client The Bistro should be your first port of call for a brunch, lunch or dinner.


Chapter One
18-19 Parnell Square
353-1-873-2266
www.chapteronerestaurant.com

Modern Irish
 $$$$$

Chapter One

Granite walls, warm colors and a hearty menu make Chapter One a good option for serious evening get-togethers. Its location in the basement of the Writers Museum is a great conversational icebreaker and the seasonally changing menu should suit all tastes. Items such as Aberdeen Angus sirloin beef, duck breast, rib of veal and roast loin of venison are commonplace and there is usually also a nice selection of fish and seafood dishes. For corporate needs, the restaurant has two private rooms and a standard menu for group functions. And if you're seeking a leisurely night out on the town, you can order the three-course, prix fixe pre-theater menu before taking in a show.


L'Ecrivain
109a Lower Baggot St.
353-1-661-1919
www.lecrivain.com

Modern Irish
 $$$$$

L'Ecrivain

In this literary atelier, dine with James Joyce, Brendan Behan, Seamus Heaney and others peering over your shoulders—their portraits line the butter-yellow walls—unless of course you require more privacy and opt to take up to 17 guests to The Malt Room for private dining. Our plaudits go out to the hospitable wait staff and Derry Clarke's signature baked rock oysters with smoked bacon, cabbage and Guinness sabayon. Note, though, that the menu changes regularly, so you may have to discover your own favorites. Several good vegetarian options are also available, making this an excellent choice for wining and dining clients of all culinary persuasions. Reservations are only taken by telephone.


Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud
The Merrion
21 Upper Merrion St.
353-1-676-4192
www.restaurantpatrickguilbaud.ie

Modern Irish
 $$$$$

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud

While the interior of this popular dining room is understated and low-key, the food is anything but. Attached to the exclusive Merrion Hotel—and overlooking its gardens—Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud focuses on top quality Irish ingredients: look out for spiced pigeon, venison in mulled wine and a section on the menu dedicated to vegetarian dishes. Two- and three-course set lunch menus are great for breaks between meetings, and a private room for up to twenty provides a cozy, manor house-style space for intimate business functions.


Shanahan's On the Green
119 St. Stephen's Green
353-1-407-0939
www.shanahans.ie

American Steakhouse

Shanahan's On the Green

To hear them tell it, every businessperson in Ireland has been to Shanahan's at one point or another. But that's not to say that they wouldn't run right back if the opportunity arose. From the restored Georgian façade to the gilded frames and chandeliers to the exceptional steaks from Head Chef Ryan Bell and fine wines from Sommelier Mary O'Malley, Shanahan's offers a feast for all of the senses. Corporate lunches of at least 30 can be accommodated and while "neat dress" is required a jacket and tie is not.


Town Bar & Grill
21 Kildare St.
353-1-662-4724
www.townbarandgrill.com

Modern Italian
 $$$$$

Town Bar & Grill

Town Bar & Grill is a refreshing departure from Dublin's abundance of fine dining venues serving contemporary Irish cuisine. Located in the old cellars of Mitchell's Wine Merchants on Kildare Street, it serves Italian fare in an atmosphere reminiscent of old New York. You won't find stock standards here; rather, twists on old favorites like minestrone and risotto, as well as creatively constructed dishes such as roast cod fillet with prosciutto, oyster mushrooms and red pesto. The two- and three-course lunch menus offer good value and quick service for those still on the clock.


Off the Clock

Cellar Bar
Upper Merrion Street
353-603-0600
www.merrionhotel.com

Cellar Bar

The Cellar Bar certainly isn't the newest or trendiest bar on the block, but it has a certain gravitas beyond compare. Located in original 18th-century wine vaults, the Cellar Bar contains natural brick walls and vaulted ceilings that offer a quiet, dignified ambience that just can't be matched. Over 50 wines are on offer by the glass, and lunch and evening menus are also available for those feeling peckish. The ideal environment for after-hours conversation or winding down at the end of a long day.

Historical Walking Tours
353-87-688-9412
www.historicalinsights.ie

Historical Walking Tours

Interested in Irish history but don't have a lot of free time? Check out this tour company, whose two-hour excursions are conducted by history graduates from Trinity College. Focusing on the city's historical sites, tours range from general interest to specialty, the latter exploring subjects such as Dublin's architecture and Viking and Medieval Dublin.

National Gallery of Ireland
Merrion Square West and Claire Street
353-1-661-5133
www.nationalgallery.ie

Along with The Book of Kells at Trinity College, this is our top choice for visitors interested in culture and the arts. A comprehensive collection of Irish works shares wall space with offerings from nearly every school, including French Impressionists and Dutch Masters. The National Portrait collection focuses on influential Irish figures; its interesting contemporary inclusions range from depictions of musician/activist Bono to internationally acclaimed author Maeve Binchy. Admission to the Gallery is free though some special exhibitions require a ticket and fee.

Temple Bar
12 E. Essex St.
353-1-677-2255
www.templebar.ie

Temple Bar

Temple Bar should serve as a prototype for urban planners. This 28-acre, dedicated cultural district is home to venues for film, music, theater and the visual arts as well as restaurants, cafés and bars. Narrow cobbled streets and restored architecture keep it from straying from its historic roots, while programs such as Temple Bar Outdoors ensure diversions for every mood throughout the year. From chocolate festivals to food markets, design markets to street performances, something's always happening in Temple Bar. For more information on the Temple Bar calendar head to the information center at 12 East Essex Street.

The Royal Dublin Golf Club
North Bull Island Nature Reserve, Dollymount
353-1-833-6346
www.theroyaldublingolfclub.com

The Royal Dublin Golf Club

Although it's located on rural Bull Island, a protected wildlife habitat, The Royal Dublin Golf Club is just three miles from the city center. Play hooky from meetings with a round on this par-73 championship course. The property was established as a private members club in 1885, and received royal designation in 1891. It's been home to three Irish Opens and a recent renovation saw the redesign of the greens, Locker Room and Clubhouse. It would only be right to enjoy the fruits of that labor with a celebratory post-round pint. Cheers!


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(Updated: 10/20/11 CT)


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