Watching the movie ”The Angels’ Share” (posted here) provided a bit of insight into Scottish whisky. Prior to that my only knowledge of whiskey was drinking whiskey sours. With my visit to Dublin, I was curious to learn more about whiskey with a visit to the Jameson Distillery in Dublin.
Similiar to the Guinness Storehouse experience (posted here), the Jameson Irish Whiskey Experience is focused on providing the visitor insight to the product’s history and production process with an opportunity to taste and buy. While I waited for the first tour of the day to begin at 10:20 am (they open at 10 am each day and tours run every 20 minutes and cost 14 Euro, conference attendees were provided complimentary admission), I sat in the lobby with the gift shop to my left and the very cool bar to my right.
The lobby bar
When the tour began, we were led into a small auditorium as our guide introduced himself and the short ten minute film we would watch about the history of John Jameson and his triple distilled whiskey. When the film ended, the guide asked for volunteers. As with most calls to action, we all sat quiet waiting to see who was brave. A few raised their hands, however, the guide needed another female volunteer and stared right at me, so I felt compelled to raise my hand not knowing what I was getting myself into. I was given a green tube to carry until I was asked to use it.
Continue reading “The Jameson Irish Whiskey Experience in Dublin” »
Oscar Bar at Charlotte Street Hotel
Traveling to London for work, I’ve stayed in a variety of hotels throughout the city over the years, it wasn’t until I discovered the Firmdale chain of boutique hotels owned by the UK designer Kit Kemp that I found my home away from home, albeit much more stylish and colorful home than my own home (how I wish Kit would visit Philly to help me recreate my favorite hotel room here at home!).
It was after my first stay at The Soho Hotel, a Firmdale property that I avowed myself of ever earning hotel loyalty points in London again. For a points person, forgoing thousands of points with each stay is a big deal but I feel that it has been worth it. One of the hotels that I’ve stayed at both personally and on business is the Charlotte Street Hotel in the Fitzrovia neighborhood.
The hotel is located on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia surrounded by media ventures and a stone’s throw from Soho and the film studio offices. Three blocks from Oxford street (Central Line – Tottenham Court Road) and two blocks from Tottenham Court Road (Goodge station on the Northern line), Charlotte Street is lined with restaurants and pubs so you won’t go hungry. Chains such as Cote (french bistro), Bryon Burger, Pizza Express and Gaucho (Argentinian steakhouses) are mixed in with trendy Bubble Dogs (fancy hot dogs and champagne) and other bespoke restaurants and pubs. The British Museum is a quick ten minute walk.
You are greeted upon entry to the hotel by the dog – he’s quite adorable.
I thought it was a cat, but told it is a dog. Either way, lots of people pose with him for photos
Continue reading “Loyalty love without points: Charlotte Street Hotel, London” »
It takes a fantastic guide with personality, a good mix of tourists and a sense of humor to turn a really lousy weather day into a good experience. Choosing the Wild Wicklow Tour as one of my conference options (provided free to attendees, normally 28 Euro), I was excited to get out of the city to see the mountains and other sights on the tour.
The rains, however, had a different idea. The rain in the city would follow us all day and we would then meet up with the fog. For many, this would have been enough to ruin the day but our group couldn’t be sad as Dennis, the owner of Wild Wicklow tours, was our guide for the day and his humor and knowledge kept our spirits up all day (not an easy feat). There is a reason this is an award winning, highly regarded tour, it’s Dennis!
We would start along the Dunlaoghaire Harbor walking around and watching the group of swimmers (yes, swimmers who are out every day for a dip no matter what).
Along the coast
Out for a morning dip in the cold water -they do this everyday!
Continue reading “The Wild Wicklow Tour in Dublin” »
A photo tour may not be something you ever thought of adding to your “must do” vacation list but you should definitely add it. While some photo tours are instructional and require special cameras and tripods as you learn technique, other tours are educational and fun. Dublin at Night with Dawn2Dusk tours is the latter – educational and fun for all no matter what type of camera you bring with you (don’t worry you can bring your tripod if you want).
Harp Bridge in Dublin over the Liffey River
Having done the earlier tour with David, guide/owner of Dawn2Dusk, he picked me up at my hotel on the way to the meeting point that night – a local pub located at the end of the Liffey River (this is subject to change). For the next three hours we would learn about the bridges (there are many), the buildings, the history, the stories of Dublin and David’s stories of life in Dublin and the photos he has taken. Like other small business owners I met during my time in Dublin, they want to share their passion for Dublin with visitors to ensure that they know there is more to Dublin than the pubs and Irish music if you are willing to get out and explore a bit.
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Attending the TBEX Conference in Dublin, attendees were offered complimentary tours/experiences during our stay. Keeping with my new “see the city by bike tour” credo, I signed up for a bike tour (The Taste of Dublin) with See Dublin by Bike. It had rained for most of the week in Dublin so I was thrilled to see the blue skies and sun on Saturday for my bike tour. The weather was perfect for a ride in the city and given it was a Saturday, the traffic not so bad.
Walking up Grafton Street, I would miss the two turns I had to make to find the bike tour office. I stopped someone on the street who guided me there and I met Sean and Julian, the owners who are renting space out of the bike shop/cafe. They explained the tour, the rules of the road and outfitted me in this lovely blue vest and the always attractive safety helmet.
The smart safety vest
I was surprised (and disappointed) to learn that out of 600 conference attendees that I was the only person who signed up for the bike tour of Dublin. I was even more surprised that I was the only person for the tour that day, my own private bike tour of the city (they had groups all week so where Saturday could have been a day off, they agreed to take me on the tour). As a solo traveler, most companies require two people or they cancel the tour, so I was encouraged that they will accomodate solo travelers when I asked.
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