You may not know what he looks like, but you’ve probably had a drink in one of his venues. Paddy McKillen jnr shuns the limelight but his work is everywhere to be seen In rush-hour traffic on Mespil Road, Dublin 4, the driver of a Volkswagen Golf is beeping his horn in greeting. I wave back politely, uncertain who the owner is; only later does it dawn on me. The vehicle – unshowy, reliable and among the most common car models in Ireland – seems an unlikely choice for one of the country’s most successful restaurateurs and property developers. But in a way it’s perfect: a typically anonymous vehicle for the low-profile Paddy McKillen jnr. His Press Up Entertainment group owns many of the best-known and snazziest restaurants, hotels and bars in Dublin. McKillen’s father, the Belfast-born property tycoon Paddy McKillen snr, also liked to keep his head down. For years, the only image in circulation of McKillen snr was a dated black-and-white photo of a … [Read more...] about Paddy McKillen jnr, the mystery man of Dublin nightlife
Dublin hotels in temple bar area
Malta, a jewel in the heart of the Mediterranean, proves the best things come in small packages. Karen Murray visited the island which is the smallest country in EU.I always had a vague yearning to visit Malta but knew very little about it, with an embarrassing lack of knowledge on even the basics like currency (euro), time difference (one hour ahead) and the need to pack an adapter plug (not required).Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, there are three inhabited islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino, of which Malta is the largest. And that’s large in the loosest sense of the word because at 27km long and 14.5km wide it’s pretty compact. You are never much further than a half hour’s drive from anywhere and it’s very easy to navigate (although I did get lost between the hotel and shopping area — a mere five minutes’ walk away — which was a source of great amusement among my touring peers). I arrived in Malta at the end of February with an … [Read more...] about Malta proves the best things come in small packages
An unadulterated tastefest was the climax of our visit to the little known Morgan Hotel in the world-famous Temple Bar area of Dublin. On a rainy day, it was such a pleasure to be greeted with an umbrella by cheery and friendly Adrian, the concierge, as we disembarked our taxi. Although we had arrived way too early to check-in, the staff were very happy to take our cases while we explored the capital.Though the city could be accessed easily via the Luas (the tram), we opted for a taxi and were delighted that - though a rainy day and taxis at a premium - the hotel organised one very quickly - plus furnished us with our own Morgan Hotel umbrellas.Our first port of call was the Guinness Storehouse. Frankly it was a building I had often passed when I worked in Dublin but never had a desire to visit.As a young student in Belfast I had the misfortune of suffering from anaemia and, after fainting in the middle of the city, waking up to a dozen soldiers with guns staring me in the face, I … [Read more...] about All in good taste at Dublin’s luxurious Morgan Hotel
“Amy”, a waiter in a Dublin restaurant, is uncomfortable about what she sees as a major injustice in her industry. Customers “are being lied to”, she says. When you eat a meal in a restaurant in Ireland, it’s normal practice to tip the waiter – either in cash or by card. Occasionally, restaurants apply a “service charge” on top of the bill instead – a sort of obligatory tip. In either case, customers may assume that these gratuities or service charges go to the staff who served them. Not necessarily. Few of the patrons in Amy’s workplace – the Hard Rock Cafe in Dublin’s Temple Bar – realise that many of the service charges added to their bills go not to the waiting staff but to the restaurant owners. The owners, she says, appear to be “getting more tips than we are”. If you have six or seven people for a few hours, the service charge comes to a lot but you’ll get nothing. And they think … [Read more...] about Before you leave a tip in an Irish restaurant, read this
In Paris, the abandoned 16th century Saint-Vincent de Paul hospital campus has been reimagined as Les Grands Voisins, a "utopian village", with bars and restaurants, a flea market, greenhouses, football pitches, camping and more. It's one of the coolest places in the city. In Belfast, St George's Market (voted the UK's Best Large Indoor Market 2019) holds weekly food and craft markets, and a variety of cultural events such as Chinese New Year. The Friday variety market dates back to 1604, and is home to 300 market stalls selling everything from fish (there are 23 fish stalls), to fruit and vegetables, to antiques, books and clothes. The Saturday market offers a huge range of local and specialty foods as well as crafts, flowers, plants and local photography, pottery, glass and metal work, while the Sunday market is a mixture of the Friday and Saturday markets with a special emphasis on local arts and crafts, with live music from local bands. Cork has the English Market and Limerick … [Read more...] about Why doesn’t Dublin have a proper food market?