Road Trip: Ireland

3.3.2009

By Aefa Mulholland

Day Three: Galway to Dublin

MORNING: Stroll bustling Shop Street and adjacent twisting streets to the River Corrib before getting back on the road and heading east to Dublin. If you set out early enough, once in Dublin you'll have time to sample the irresistible brownies at the gay-owned, eclectically decorated deli Gruel (67 Dame St., Dublin, +353-01-670-7119).

AFTERNOON: Walk the grand campus grounds of Trinity College (Dame St. and College St.), home to the eighth-century Book of Kells, and through the National Gallery of Ireland (Merrion Square West and Clare St.) to Merrion Street. Here you'll find the strangely hued statue of Oscar Wilde astride a rock opposite the great wit's childhood home, 1 Merrion Square. The elegant Georgian townhouse now houses the American College Dublin. Call ahead to book a tour of the Oscar Wilde House Museum (+353-1-676-8939). Dine at the Mermaid Caf' (69-70 Dame St., +353-1-670-8236), an iconoclastic seafood and game haven helmed by chef and artist duo Ben Gorman and Mark Harrell. Cap off the night at the gay-adored Front Lounge (33 Parliament St., +353-0-670-4112), a sharp, white room that runs the length of the city block; red velvet sofas and classical statuary are scattered throughout.

SLEEP: Number 31 (31 Leeson Close, Dublin, +353-1-676-5011). Once home to controversial modern architect Sam Stephenson, Number 31's elegant four-story Georgian abode and two converted coach houses hide behind an ivy-clad wall. The living room in this boutique gem boasts a sunken conversation pit, mirror mosaic'tiled bar, and impressive contemporary art.

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