We are always interested to see what visitors and tourists think about Ireland, what experiences they’ve made when they visited or even lived on the Emerald Isle and what their recommendations for future visitors might be. You might remember our French Hotelsireland.com colleague Alice who came to us (and Ireland) about a year ago and shared her experiences with us in her blog posts. She will be leaving Ireland soon to go back to France and we took the opportunity to ask her some questions about her experiences here on the Emerald Isle.
1. Which part of Ireland / city in Ireland did you like most?
Well, I went on a bus tour of Ireland last July together with my parents to see more of the Island than just Dublin and also went on a few weekend trips. While I especially loved Cork, in the end I came to the conclusion that Dublin was my favourite place in Ireland! I’m completely aware that it is a biased judgment but it’s due to the fact that I spent most of my time here and that I had a great time! I had a friend who went to college in Cork for 1 year and she still says that Cork is the best place in Ireland!… well, that’s because she never came to Dublin!!!
2. What is your favourite tourist attraction in Ireland?
On the list of things that you shouldn’t miss are definitely Trinity College Dublin, a brewery or distillery visit (Guinness and/or Jameson in Dublin, or Smitwick’s in Kilkenny), the Dublin Wax Museum, and the Leprechaun Museum if you have children (or for the child inside you)! I can also recommend a visit to Blarney Castle in County Cork (to get luck by kissing the stone), the Fota Gardens (great to relax – but don’t fall asleep, I remember I got a bad sunburn there) and the Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre.
3. As a French person – did you like the food here? Do you have any favourite Irish food?
Well, I must admit I was not a big fan of the food in Ireland… I preferred the Irish drinks!!!!! ;-)France is known to be a country of gastronomy. Generally speaking, I think I missed French (smelly) cheese, baguette, French wines, and other delicacies that we wouldn’t eat on a daily basis in France but for which the French are famous for.(Yes, we really eat snails, frogs and foie gras… and it’s sooo good !)
Regarding Irish food, I definitely had delicious Irish stew here. This would be my favourite.
4. What is your favourite hotel in Ireland?
Well, I had the opportunity to visit and stay in a few hotels during my time here and I would say I preferred the more “modern” hotels. In no particular order, I liked the K club in County Kildare (but that’s definitely beyond my means!), the Killeshin Hotel in County Laois, the Whites of Wexford, the Pembroke Hotel and Hotel Kilkenny…. Well, basically almost all the hotels I had a chance to see. I’ve been very impressed by the high standard of Irish hotels in general.
5. What do you think about the Irish? How would you characterise them?
What I’m going to say is going to sound banal, I know, but what stroke me when I first came, and still does, was/is the extreme kindness of Irish people (at least those I met), their willingness to help and their open-minded attitude.
As for work, I loved the relaxed-but-serious atmosphere that prevailed in the Company.
6. What’s your favourite Pub/Restaurant/Cafe in Dublin?
Well I don’t think I can only pick one… But I would say:
- the D two bar and club, crowded with students but nevertheless a great place to go with a lovely beer garden and drink promotions
- Hobart’s in Ranelagh, which is a lovely Café, literally stormed by people on Saturday and Sunday mornings (so you have to be patient and to wait a bit) serving delicious Irish breakfasts and even a “Hangover breakfast”. I’ve always laughed when seeing this one!
- The Samsara Bar: I discovered this one recently but the atmosphere there is a smart/relaxed one, the place looks great and the heated beer garden is a must.
7. What do you prefer: Guinness, Whiskey or Irish Coffee? Or some other Irish drink?
I definitely prefer beer to whiskey! I remember my first Guinness tasted horrible to me, it was too strong and I could not finish it! Now I can finish a pint of Guinness without a problem! It’s just a question of training! ;-) But I would say I learned to like beer here (was not fond of beer before) like Smithwicks and Guinness of course, but I also like Bulmers (the whole range!). The taste of Whiskey is just too strong for me!
8. What was your best/most valuable experience in Ireland?
I would say it was an incredible experience as a whole. Obviously I liked the country. If not, I wouldn’t have come back after the end of my internship! And even if I’m leaving now, I’ve had great craic here, met “gas” people and will definitely keep loads of memories of this almost-one-year on the Emerald Island… and will come back that’s sure, but on holidays this time!!
9. Do you have any regrets?
I regret that I neither went to Northern Ireland nor to Scotland! It would have been the perfect occasion to go there. Well, but this gives me one more excuse to come back soon!!