The Cornish coast

Dublin: transformed

Something new and exciting is happening in Dublin. New ways to eat and drink, and a brand new hub for technology, are finding a home

 Audi A4 outside Marker Hotel,

Dining at Marker Hotel

You could say that the Marker Hotel, in the heart of Dublin’s Docklands, is a symbol of the transformation that is happening in Ireland’s capital. As I pull up in my Audi A4 outside what is Dublin’s newest five-star hotel, it’s certainly hard to imagine that just a few short years ago this was an area of run-down warehouses and abandoned docks. Inside, this imposing hotel continues to impress with an undulating ceiling that runs the length of the building and is meant to bring to mind the island’s unique landscapes. Depending on the light, I decide it’s either the Giant’s Causeway or the Wicklow Mountains (the latter of which are visible in the distance opposite the hotel).

My luxurious corner suite overlooks Grand Canal Square, an €8 million development that is now home to Facebook Ireland’s HQ and the ultra-modern Bord Gáis Energy Theater. Just out of sight are Airbnb, LinkedIn and Yahoo, all of which have made the new and fashionable Docklands area their home.

Stella Theater in Dublin

Industry and Co in Dublin

Leaving The Marker behind, the next morning I stroll into the city’s famous Temple Bar, but I ignore the pubs and the Dublin Wall of Fame and instead make for Industry and Co. This cool café-cum-homewares store is thronging with people when I step inside to admire the grey woollen blankets, squirrel-cage lightbulbs and soy-wax scented candles. Opposite, coffee shop Kaph also looks inviting, and the queue of people outside seem to feel the same way. Walking further south from the gallery is The Powerscourt Centre, where Irish fashion and accessories designers are beginning to find a home in new store, Atrium. Powerscourt was once an extremely grand town house but now its rooms and courtyard are home to a range of independent boutiques and eateries.

In the neighbouring district of Rathmines I discover the Stella Theatre, a newly refurbished cinema. Much like the old docks, it fell into disrepair and was closed completely for many years. However, a team of redevelopers have painstakingly brought this old movie house back to life and it is now set to breathe new life into the area.

Dublin town

Urban Brewing in Dublin

And there’s more good news just across the river from the where the tech brands have made their home: a new microbrewery and restaurant called Urban Brewing is creating delicious, small-batch craft beer and stunning food in the old Customs House buildings. ‘Dublin really has taken off lately,’ says Leo Vasileiou, Director of Urban Brewing. ‘It’s a lot more cosmopolitan. The stores and companies that have reached here are more international, and all of them are bringing their own touch, their cultures, into the city.’

And although not short of drinking establishments, Dublin doesn’t really have anywhere else like Urban Brewing, which is why it is already pulling in the young crowd from the nearby technology companies, as well as tourists and Dubliners alike. There’s no denying that Dublin is changing with many new places opening and people finding their place in the city. I get the feeling that there is still much more to come. Words by Emma Barlow. Photographs by Greg Funnell.


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