This time I’m going to suggest a variation on the theme of girls’ night — a girls’ afternoon. Since, in Ireland, afternoon tea can be a (small) meal as well as just a cup or two, think about planning one in a place that specializes in it. And that doesn’t mean you can’t have a glass of wine, or even champagne. (If you’d still prefer an evening get-together, check out one of the many places that offer “hen party” packages — apparently that’s a perfectly acceptable term for a girls’ night in Ireland.)
Ariel House is best known as a guesthouse, but anyone can order an afternoon tea in the dining room. This is available on “selected Saturdays and Sundays” according to the Ariel House website, so it’s probably a good idea to call and check if the weekend you want is included. If there are a lot of you, they also take private bookings for large groups. The site calls it “the perfect setting for a girlie celebration or a much needed catch up.”
The tea menu varies according to what the chef has baked, but a sample menu online includes lemon curd meringues (if you’ve never heard of lemon curd, think lemon sandwich spread), scones, strawberry shortcake, and pear frangipane, and “savoury dainty sandwiches” to mention only a few. As well as specialty teas, you can order the house blend of Swiss coffee or the wines I’ve mentioned. It all comes at a flat rate of € 20 per person.
You will not be cut off before you’re done because the house decides you’ve had your € 20 worth. One reviewer on TripAdvisor praises not only the food but the amount of it that’s offered, saying that Ariel House compares with a five-star hotel this way. Speaking of TripAdvisor, members there give the Ariel House dining room an overall rating of excellent, with no ratings below “very good.” That’s a rare achievement. Much of the praise is for the breakfasts offered to guests.
The building itself is made up of three Victorian townhouses joined together and “sympathetically restored.” The main house belonged to a wealthy merchant’s family and was built with beautiful architectural features, many now renovated to be as elegant as ever. Ariel House is located in the upscale Ballsbridge area, near the city center, Aviva Stadium, the Royal Dublin Show (RDS), and Lansdowne Road DART station, where you can catch a convenient commuter train. The address is 50-54 Lansdowne Road.
Editor’s Note: Before or after tea check out some of the local culture. You can read about our top five choices here.