For some time now I’ve been writing about beers for The Brewclub, an American website (here), and it occurred to me that I’d never visited the Guinness brewery in Dublin. I’d visited Dublin’s fair city on business a few times, but never for leisure.
A few days later I received an offer from one of those group purchasing websites for a weekend in Dublin, so thought ‘why not?’, we’d be flying RyanAir from Stansted and staying at the Sheldon Park Hotel.
The Sheldon Park Hotel is located to the south west of the city; the taxi from the airport (on a Saturday evening) took some 25 minutes and cost a tad under 30 euros.
We were swiftly checked in and after finding our room (109 on the first floor, with a less than inspiring view over air-con ducting) we adjourned to the bar for a quiet drink.
Our room was comfortable, with wardrobe (plenty of hangers), ironing board, hair dryer, desk, tea and coffee making facilities (no hot chocolate – I even asked at reception), side chair and TV. It’s primarily a business hotel, no frills or fripperies. The bed was comfortable, not Marriott comfortable, but comfortable enough. The bathroom exuded an ‘eighties’ feel, but was clean, and had the now obligatory squirty bottles of toiletries mounted by the washbasin and bath/shower.
So, to the bar – ‘Minnie McCabes’ – which is, frankly, huge, I can’t recall,drinking in a larger bar, and has a strange sixties retro vibe. Val had a small bottle of wine, while I tried ‘Cute Hoor’ – a ‘craft style’ Irish Pale Ale brewed, I later learned, by Heineken.
While Val was unimpressed with the wine (she tried the Merlot and the Cabernet Sauvignon ) I quite enjoyed the ‘Cute Hoor’.
For dinner we both order the ‘Steak on a Rock’ – an 8oz. Irish Fillet Steak, served, as its name suggests, on an oven hot slab.
The steak sizzles, you slice a cooked piece off to eat, and the piece in contact with the slab continues to cook. I last enjoyed this in Warsaw back in the early nineties, but for my wife it was a first. The steak came with a side dish of sautéed onions and mushrooms, and ‘chunky’ chips. Very tasty, and at just twenty euros, astonishing value.
The bar filled as the evening progressed, mostly locals, this is clearly a local ‘go to’ venue. They have live entertainment at weekends and the locals were clearly out for a good time.
Next morning we went down for breakfast. We’d upgraded our weekend deal to include a ‘full Irish breakfast’, although could have saved money as there was a €10 upgrade offer on check-in.
There was free and fast WiFi – 25Mb/s – that was an unexpected bonus. The selection of TV channels in the rooms could have been better, but we were able to find the main British channels.
We didn’t try the sports club, so can’t report, but on our final day with time to kill, but not enough to justify heading in to town, so we went into ‘Minnie McCabes’. It does a healthy trade at lunchtimes, mostly locals, again, and businessmen. It’s busiest between twelve and two, and there’s a carvery that continues to serve until two thirty.
The nearest tram stop (Kylemore – on the red line) is a five minute walk away, from there it’s about twenty minutes into the city centre. Alternatively, a taxi to or from the city centre is about twenty euros.
For our journey back to the airport we hailed a cab using the ‘Hailo’ app, which was very efficient. We had a chatty driver who offered us a choice of routes, motorway (faster but more expensive) or through the city centre (cheaper but less fast); we were in no hurry, so took the city centre option.
When we arrived at the airport some thirty minutes later the meter read 32, and the driver rounded in down to thirty, that’s not something I’be experienced anywhere else, ever!
All in all the Sheldon Park Hotel is pleasant enough, a little bit dated in its décor and a little further out of town than would be ideal, but for a short break, it’ll do.