The Clarence – Boutique bolthole linked to Dublin and rock ‘n roll royalty U2.
U2’s Bono and The Edge breathed new life into this classic Dublin hotel when the pair refurbished it in the 1990s and turned it into the city’s go-to crash pad for musicians who adored its Temple Bar location (within crawling distance from the best nightlife the city has to offer). The duo had the foresight to keep the rooms timelessly simple and solid with bespoke woodwork, funky pops of color, and unique artwork, an approach which secured the hotel’s longevity and an army of fans. Two decades later, now managed by Press Up (the brains behind some of the city’s hippest hospitality venues), The Clarence is getting a bit of a makeover, and it is looking to double its number of rooms with an expansion in the coming years. Yet, thanks to the magic recipe the guys from U2 concocted, the vision and feel of the hotel are very much intact (not least because Bono still pops into the Octagon Bar for an occasional pint).
The Clarence – Location
- Address: 6-8 Wellington Quay, Dublin.
- Nearest Metro/Subway: The Jervis stop for the Luas tram’s red line (east-west) is a 5-minute walk (0.2 mile). The closest stop for the north-south green line is at Trinity College, an 8-minute walk (0.4 mile). For westbound buses, use the bus stops on the south bank of the Liffey (0.1 mile); for eastbound buses, cross over to the north side (0.1 mile).
- Area: The Clarence is on the River Liffey in Temple Bar, Ireland’s picturesque nightlife district whose cobbled streets are packed with pubs, restaurants, and music venues. Just south of the hotel is Dublin Castle and the incredible Chester Beatty Library, across the Grattan Bridge is the Northside shopping area around Henry Street, and a short walk east is Trinity College and the famous shopping area around Grafton Street.
- How to Get There: From the airport, take the 747 Airlink bus to Christ Church Cathedral, from where the hotel is a 4-minute walk (0.2 mile). From Heuston Station, it’s a 22-minute walk (1 mile)/10-minute bus ride. From Connolly Station, it’s an 18-minute walk (1 mile)/10 minutes by public transport.
- Handy to: Temple Bar nightlife, Dublin Castle, Chester Beatty.
The Clarence – The Basics
- Ages: Most guests tend to be couples and solo travelers on a city break but the hotel considers itself very kid-friendly.
- View: North-facing rooms have 180-degree views of the River Liffey. South-facing rooms look out over Temple Bar, with those on the highest floors able to see over much of the city’s Southside.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools or jacuzzis.
- Laundry: Full laundry services available (extra cost).
- Parking: Available at the Jervis Street Car Park, with special rates for hotel guests. Valet parking possible for an extra charge.
- Extras: Concierge service, complimentary in-room snacks, newspapers.
- When to Book: Book at least 2-3 months in advance for summer period.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +353 1 407 0800
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: theclarence.ie
The Clarence – Amenities
- Pool: No pool.
- Spa: No spa.
- Fitness Center: No fitness center.
- For Disabled Guests: The hotel has an elevator and 2 fully accessible rooms with wheel-in shower rooms.
- For Families: There’s an enormous entertainment attic room that can be added to the suites to give kids plenty of space. Furthermore, there are children’s menus available in the restaurant.
- Activities: The concierge can arrange activities. The hotel’s underground bar offers whiskey tastings and cocktail classes.
The Clarence – Food and Drink
- Restaurant: The extremely popular Cleaver East by Oliver Dunne is open for breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea, and dinner, with a-la-carte and specialty steaks, or a 6-course tasting menu. Prior booking is essential during busy periods. Its bottomless brunches and “Not Afternoon Tea” offerings are especially fun. $$-$$$.
- Lounge/Bars: The hotel has 2 bars: The Octagon Bar, open daily from noon, is both down-to-earth and spectacular, thanks to its octagonal Art Deco skylight. Enjoy anything from glamorous cocktails to pints, hot drinks, and light bites in the wood-paneled bar that still has its original snug. ● In the basement, The Liquor Rooms offers Dublin an underground speakeasy vibe, with several opulent rooms to sip extravagant cocktails or watch live shows, cocktail-making classes, and whiskey tasting events available on request. Open daily from 5pm.
- Breakfast: Not complimentary. Available in Cleaver East or in-room (extra charge). Irish or continental breakfast deals include drinks and cost €15-€19 per person. Healthier options available like granola or avocado on toast.
- Room Service: Available 24/7. More choice available during the day when the restaurant is open.
The Clarence – Rooms
The Clarence has 59 rooms, 8 of them added in 2019. It’s worth knowing that some rooms have fans, rather than AC, due to the building’s age.
- Room Types: Classic Double/Twin ● Deluxe Double ● Deluxe Double with Balcony ● River View ● River View Suite ● Garden Terrace Suite ● Penthouse Suite • List of all Rooms
- Smoking Rooms: The Clarence is 100% smoke-free.
- Best Room: The suites are all spacious and well-equipped, but two stand out. The Garden Terrace Suite has French doors leading to an enormous roof terrace that was the backdrop to a famous U2 performance and many a famous interview. But The Clarence’s real star is the Penthouse Suite which combines a 2-bedroom 2-bathroom suite with the hotel’s magnificent attic entertainment room. The suite has a private terrace overlooking the Liffey, a fully-equipped kitchen with separate dining room, and a bathroom with double vanity and bidet. Meanwhile upstairs, in the attic, there’s a bar, a baby grand piano, ample comfortable seating, a TV and entertainment system, and a small roof terrace.
- Family Rooms: No family rooms per se but most of the rooms can fit a crib or a roll-out bed, and suites feature sofa beds or 2 bedrooms.
The Clarence – Local Transport
- Walking: Central Dublin is really walkable. From The Clarence, you can walk to most of the major tourist attractions within 20 minutes, including Trinity College, Grafton Street, Merrion Square, St Stephen’s Green, the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Castle, and the Chester Beatty.
- Tram/Bus/Train: The Jervis stop for the Luas tram’s red line (east-west) is a 5-minute walk (0.2 mile). The closest stop for the north-south green line is at Trinity College, an 8-minute walk (0.4 mile). Westbound buses stop almost outside the hotel on the south bank of the Liffey (0.1 mile), while eastbound buses take the north bank (0.1 mile). The DART is the closest thing Dublin has to a subway. It runs north-south, most of the way clinging to the coast. Tara Station is the nearest to The Clarence (0.5 mile).
- Taxis, Uber, Lyft: Irish law doesn’t allow Uber/Lyft to operate. Most locals use the Free Now or Lynk apps to connect them with local licensed drivers. You can hail a cab in the street if it has got its light on or find one at one of the many taxi stands around the city.
The Clarence – What’s Nearby?
You can walk almost anywhere in the city center within 30 minutes. Public transport does not usually cut travel time significantly.
Recommended Nearby Tours
- Lazy Bike Tours – A great way to get to know the western parts of the city as this tour on electric bicycle takes you as far as Kilmainham. Meeting point in Temple Bar. (0.2 mile).
- 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour – To get to grips with modern Ireland’s complexities, you must learn about the 1916 Easter Rising against the British government and this is one of the most vivid ways to do it. Meeting point: International Bar. (0.4 mile).
- Viking Splash Tours – This blast of a tour on a bus-boat means you’ll see the major attractions from land as well as water. Sets off from the north side of St Stephen’s Green. (0.8 mile).
- Dublin Bay Cruises – See Dublin from the sea. Boat trips with onboard commentary to the traditional fishing village of Howth in the north – famous for its seals and dolphins – and the vibrant suburb of Dun Laoghaire in the south. March-October only. Departure point at the Convention Centre on the Liffey. (1 mile).
Best Nearby Restaurants
- Bunsen – The menu fits on a business card (literally): 4 types of burgers, 3 types of fries, soda, or milkshake to drink. Excellent stuff but not for vegetarians. $. (0.1 mile).
- Sano Pizza – Perfect Neapolitan sourdough pizzas by Irish twin brothers that are determinedly budget-friendly. $. (0.1 mile).
- Brother Hubbard – What started as a simple cafe was so popular that they’ve added a Middle-Eastern brunch, lunch, and dinner menus, which in turn became so popular they they made a cookbook. Great food and great atmosphere any time of day. $$-$$$. (0.2 mile).
- The Woolen Mills – James Joyce once worked in this ‘eating house’ on the Liffey. Although it’s been thoroughly modernized in terms of dishes – there’s a ‘plant-based’ section and treats such as hake with Gambas, saffron-fondant potatoes, pickled cucumber, samphire, and curry butter – its aim is to serve up elevated Irish classics with some fusion flair. (Sister restaurants The Yarn and The Winding Stair are very close by.) $$-$$$. (0.2 mile).
- Elephant & Castle – Offers some of the best windows for people-watching in Temple Bar and a classic American menu, from big salads to burgers and the famous wings. Open morning till late with different menus for breakfast, brunch, lunch-dinner, and kids. $–$$. (0.2 mile).
- The Seafood Cafe – Reminding cosmopolitan Dublin that it’s a seaside city in an island nation, Chef Niall Sabongi lets the freshness of his produce speak for itself, with a wet bar, platters of oysters and crab, and classics like chowder. $-$$. Sister ‘crabshack’ Klaw, which doesn’t take reservations, is just around the corner. (0.2 mile).
- Crow Street – Gorgeous presentation without skimping on portion size at this New York inspired restaurant. Weekend brunch and weekday dinners in a chic dining room with plenty of wood, exposed brick, and leather. $-$$$. (0.2 mile).
- Boxty – If you find yourself wondering whether Irish cuisine extends past breakfast, don’t miss this place which is determined to educate the world about the delights of boxty, champ, colcannon, and more. $$. (0.2 mile).
- Banyi – Authentic Japanese food from sushi to teppanyaki in the heart of Temple Bar for reasonable prices. $-$$. (0.2 mile).
- Yamamori Izakaya – Buzzing Japanese bar-restaurant with phenomenal cocktails and authentic food that’s great for sharing. $$. (0.3 mile).
- Pichet – Modern French bistro by well-traveled Chef Stephen Gibson, with a trendy cocktail bar. $$-$$$. (0.3 mile).
- Drury Buildings – Pitched as “Berlin on the outside, New York on the inside”, this zeitgeisty place with indoor and outdoor seating has a great ambience for a delicious meal or delectable cocktail. $$-$$$. (0.4 mile).
- The Greenhouse – Avant garde fine dining worthy of its 2 Michelin stars just off St Stephen’s Square. Reservations recommended. $$$-$$$$. (0.7 mile).
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
Most traditional pubs open from mid-morning until at least 11pm (usually later) and will also offer food of varying quality. Dublin’s most popular drinking snack is the toastie – a toasted ham and cheese sandwich. Prices can be extortionate, especially around Temple Bar.
- The Porterhouse – Before the craft brewing movement got going, there was The Porterhouse, Dublin’s first pub-brewery. On top of their own brews, they stock the largest selection of world beers in Ireland, which needs a menu to navigate, and there’s live music every evening. (100m).
- Pantibar – Fun and flamboyant LGBTQ+ bar, often with drag shows and other live entertainment. (0.1 mile).
- The Temple Bar – Many first-time visitors assume the neighborhood is named after this pub. However, the pub is actually named after the 17th-century provost of Trinity College, Sir William Temple, who lived in the area. Nevertheless, the pub is great, where tourists and locals mingle to listen to good live music and sample the superlative whiskey collection. (0.1 mile).
- Mulligan and Haines – A contemporary pub with Victorian stylings, this place calls itself a ‘Joycean heritage pub’ as it is named after 2 of the characters in Ulysses. The upstairs room is a good place to seek out a seat when it’s heaving outside. (0.2 mile).
- Stag’s Head – Stunning old world pub with enough original features and history to write a book about. Good pub food, regular live music, and other events. (0.3 mile).
- The Oliver St John Gogarty – The pub to go to for traditional Irish music, Gogarty’s has live acts all afternoon and evening, every day. (0.3 mile).
- 777 – Contemporary Mexican bar-restaurant with a stellar tequila selection and excellent tacos and quesadillas to mop up. (0.3 mile).
- Palace Bar – Traditional pub from 1823 – run by the same family since 1946 – that maintains its Victorian decor. A firm favorite for Irish Times journalists, whose offices are almost next door. (0.3 mile).
- Chelsea Drugstore – Romantic cocktail bar for “prescription” cocktails and light bites. Mixology classes on offer, too. (0.3 mile).
- Grogan’s – Bucking the Victoriana of many other classic Dublin pubs, Grogan’s is firmly stuck in the 1970s. Its wooden walls are plastered with eclectic art – all for sale – and there’s a fridge full of ham and cheese sandwiches, waiting to become toasties. (0.4 mile).
- Brazen Head – 12th-century pub that claims to be Ireland’s oldest, with walls plastered in memorabilia, snugs galore, a cute garden, live music, and a story-telling experience upstairs. (0.4 mile).
- The Long Hall – Opulent Victorian pub whose interiors date back to 1881. Its shape – a long thin room with a big bar – creates a convivial atmosphere. (0.4 mile).
Best Nearby Cafés
- The Music Cafe – Cozy corner cafe open early till late, serving a huge selection of hot drinks, as well as food, wine, live blues, jazz, electronica, and more. (50m).
- Queen of Tarts – Cakes, sweet pies, brunches, and more at this cute duo of little cafe-bakeries, each a 3-minute walk (0.1 mile) from the hotel.
- Camerino – Delectable coffee shop-bakery with tons of treats baked in-house, including a healthy lunch menu of hotpot or seasonal sandwiches. (0.1 mile).
Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops
- Dublin’s best shopping can be found in the warren of streets between the luxury stores on and around Grafton Street (0.5 mile) and Temple Bar (100m). In this area, don’t miss the cool Powerscourt Centre (0.4 mile), a unique mini-mall built in a courtyard surrounded by Georgian townhouses, whose upstairs floors are filled with antique jewelry stores. George’s Street Arcade is also fun; it was Ireland’s first purpose-built shopping center and houses all kinds of quirky and independent stores (0.3 mile). On the Northside, head to Henry Street (0.5 mile), which has outposts of all the major international chains as well as famed Irish department store Arnotts. The streets around it are worth checking out as they are fast filling up with cute stores, cafes, and bars.
- Connolly Books – For publications and discussions on Irish history and politics, this radical progressive bookshop with its small indie theater out back cannot be beaten. (0.1 mile).
- Indigo & Cloth – Cutting-edge cult menswear brands and hip coffee shop in one. (0.1 mile).
- Design Lane – Great selection of art, ceramics, knitwear, jewelry, gifts, and more, all by local makers. (0.1 mile).
- Gutter – Independent bookshop whose superb staff can give you great recommendations for the hottest new Irish authors (or just a great read for your trip). (0.1 mile).
- Tamp & Stitch – Boutique cafe with one-of-a-kind handmade clothes, gifts, and great coffee. (0.1 mile).
- Scout – Meticulously curated shop full of gifts and classic clothing (aran sweaters, breton shirts) by the best manufacturers that will never go out of style. (0.1 mile).
- Siopaella – Used luxury clothes and accessories, mixed in with vintage and modern secondhand gems. (0.2 mile).
- Jam Art Factory – Looking for a souvenir with a twist? Jam Art Factory has a huge array of fun and quirky prints by Irish designers and illustrators, many also on tea towels, greetings cards, and the like. (0.2 mile).
- Second Abbey – A treasure trove of secondhand curios and clothing. (0.2 mile).
- The Winding Stair – Named after a Yeats poem, this quirky bookstore with an excellent restaurant upstairs overlooks Ha’penny Bridge. (0.2 mile).
- designist. – Funky gift store for adults and kids with a focus on Irish-made products. (0.3 mile).
- Arnotts – A favorite Dublin shopping destination since 1843, this grand old department store on Henry Street is a one-shop for pretty much everything, from clothing to electronics to beauty. (0.4 mile).
- Irish Rock N’ Roll Museum Experience – The focus in this fun museum is on the many Irish musicians who have shaped popular music. There are anecdotes and memorabilia from Thin Lizzy, Van Morrison, U2, Sinead O’Connor, Enya, and Hozier (to name a few), as well as artifacts and memorabilia from international acts like The Beatles and David Bowie. The ‘experience’ element gives you the chance to dress up, rock out, and record your own track. You’ll also get to see working recording studios that have been used by Rihanna, Kanye, and Will.I.AM and go backstage/onstage at the Button Factory, one of Dublin’s coolest gig venues. (0.2 mile).
- Ha’penny Bridge – Dublin’s most picturesque bridge was also its first pedestrian-only Liffey crossing, built in 1816. The Liffey Bridge, as it’s officially called, is much more commonly known by its nickname, which refers to the half-penny fee people used to pay to cross in order to compensate the ferryman whom the bridge made redundant. (0.2 mile).
- Dublin Castle – The patchwork Dublin Castle was not only the center of British rule in Ireland from 1204-1922, but it also has Viking foundations. On the tour of the building, you’ll see the Royal Chapel and grand State Apartments that everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Pope Francis has visited over the years. (0.3 mile).
- Chester Beatty Library – On the same site as the Castle stands the jaw-droppingly amazing Chester Beatty Library. Its eponymous founder, an American mining engineer who made Ireland his home, collected rare manuscripts his whole life and left them to his adopted city. Almost everything on display is stunning, from Ancient Egyptian scrolls dating from 1550–1070 BC to papyrus codices – some of the earliest surviving Christian artifacts. There are texts, wood cuttings, and scrolls from most of the world’s major religions and civilizations, as well as a pleasant cafe and a little rooftop garden. It’s a must-visit. (0.3 mile).
- Trinity College – A must on anyone’s Dublin itinerary is Dublin’s premier university. Its major attraction is the show-stopping Long Room library and its greatest treasure, the Book of Kells, a beautifully-decorated version of the New Testament from around 800AD. (0.4 mile).
- St Patrick’s Cathedral – The national cathedral of the Church of Ireland, St Patrick’s is worth a visit for it’s decorative tiled floor and interesting links to history. Notably, the author of “Gulliver’s Travels”, Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), was the dean and visitors can see his grave and self-penned epitaph. It was also the site of the first-ever performance of Handel’s Messiah. If you have time, step into the perfectly preserved Marsh’s Library, which dates back to 1707, next door to the cathedral. (0.6 mile).
- St Stephen’s Green – Central Dublin’s largest square (22 acres) contains much more of interest than meets the eye. It’s well worth going into the park, not only for the pretty planting and ornamental Victorian features, but also to absorb city history via the many statues and monuments. Look out for bullet holes on the Fusiliers’ Arch at the northwest entrance to the park that date back to the 1916 uprising, when rebels took the square in an attempt to wrestle control from the British government. (0.7 mile).
- Little Museum of Dublin – On the northern side of St Stephen’s Green is the quirky Little Museum of Dublin. Not only is it a great opportunity to get inside a Georgian townhouse, it’s also a fabulous way to get to know more about Dublin via the many artifacts related to famous people and events and accompanying stories told by the guides. (0.7 mile).
- National Gallery of Ireland – An art lovers’ dream, Ireland’s most important art gallery has over 13,000 paintings and sculptures, including works by Caravaggio, Goya, Turner, Monet, Vermeer, Rembrant, and Picasso. As you’d imagine, it has the most comprehensive collection of Irish art in the world, including the archives of Jack B. Yeats (brother of WB Yeats), whose painting “The Liffey Swim” is a must-see. (0.8 mile).
- The Hugh Lane – A wonderful public art gallery named after visionary Hugh Lane, who spotted the need for and collected works to create a space for modern art in Dublin at the turn of the 20th century. In 1933, Lane’s collection was given a permanent home in a stunning 1762 townhouse on Parnell Square. Permanent works include stained glass by Harry Clarke, some of Sean Scully’s formidable abstract paintings, and Francis Bacon’s London studio, which was donated to The Hugh Lane and rebuilt in its entirety in one of its galleries in 2001. (0.8 mile).
- EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum & Around – There are a ton of sights on the north bank of the Liffey, but perhaps the coolest is EPIC, a lively and interactive museum about the Irish diaspora and how the Emerald Isle has influenced the world. There’s even an Irish Family History Centre, as part of the museum, to discover whether there’s Irish ancestry you can claim. It’s housed in the magnificent CHQ Building – a vast riverside warehouse dating back to 1820. Almost on the doorstep are a few other interesting sights, including the authentic replica of the Jeanie Johnston, a ship that made 16 transatlantic voyages with people fleeing the Great Famine of the 1840s, as well as the haunting Famine Memorial, the harp-shaped Samuel Beckett Bridge, and the grand Customs House building. (0.8 mile).
- Merrion Square & Around – This graceful square, laid out in the 1760s, is one of the best places to see the Georgian townhouses that Dublin is so famous for, many of which have been home to some of the city’s most famous denizens, including Oscar Wilde (check out his highly unusual statue in the northwestern corner of the square) and WB Yeats. You’ll find a huge concentration of the city’s biggest sights in and around the square. These include the National Gallery (see below) and the archaeological and natural history sections of the National Museum of Ireland, as well as the seat of government, Leinster House, and the Taoiseach’s office, housed in the palatial Government Buildings. (1 mile).
- National Museum of Ireland – Four separate state-run museums, three of which are in Dublin, come together under the banner of the National Museum of Ireland and showcase many of the nation’s most precious treasures. Two of them are just off Merrion Square in central Dublin (0.8 mile). The Archaeology Museum has some of the best surviving Celtic and medieval artifacts in the world, including the Ardagh Chalice and the Tara Brooch. It stands almost back-to-back with the Natural History Museum, which is always a hit with kids as it is packed to the rafters with stuffed animals in cabinets that have not changed since its inauguration in 1857. Arguably the most impressive of the national museums is the Decorative Arts and History section at Collins Barracks (1 mile). Wonderfully varied, it features displays about everything from war and immigration to fashion and interiors.
- Guinness Storehouse – Billing itself as Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction, the Guinness Storehouse is something of a behemoth, with 7 (count ‘em) floors dedicated to the black stout that is known the world over. You’ll learn about the brewing process and the brand’s famous advertising campaigns, and get to taste it too. The highlight is the top-floor Gravity Bar, which offers 360-degree views of Dublin and beyond (so keep your fingers crossed for a clear day). Advance booking recommended. (1 mile).
- Phoenix Park & National War Memorial Gardens – One of the largest inner-city parks in the world, Phoenix Park is the place to head to if you have a spare day and need to stretch your legs in – what feels like – glorious countryside (there are even wild deer). There’s loads of stuff to see and do, including an 18th-century Magazine Fort, various monuments, a prehistoric burial chamber, a castle, and Victorian ornamental and walled gardens. There’s also the grand residence of the president of Ireland and Dublin Zoo. The park is so big you might want to rent a bike or even see it via a bike or Segway tour by Phoenix Park Bikes. Almost tacked on to the southeastern corner of the park is the War Memorial Gardens, one of the city’s most delightful parks. It was designed by a superstar architect of his day, Sir Edwin Lutyens, and dedicated to the almost 50,000 Irish soldiers of the 300,000 who died fighting for Britain during World War I. 10 minutes (1.5 miles) by public transport.
- Irish Museum of Modern Art – Across the road from Kilmainham Gaol is the grand gate to IMMA, Dublin’s premier contemporary art museum which is housed in grand old hospital buildings set in lovely grounds. The permanent collections feature works by contemporary artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Lucian Freud, Tony Cragg, Annie Liebowitz, Gillian Wearing, and Paula Rego, as well as older pieces by the likes of Giorgio de Chirico and Jack B. Yeats. 15 minutes (1.5 miles) by public transport.
- Kilmainham Gaol – The gaol (prison), which was in use up until the mid-1920s, is an evocative piece of Irish history that really brings the people behind the independence movement to life. Charles Stewart Parnell and other rebel leaders of both the 1916 uprising and Irish Civil War were kept or executed in this hellish place that hadn’t changed much since it opened in 1796. 15 minutes (2 miles) by public transport.
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- Dollard & Co – Gourmet food hall right next door to The Clarence.
- Temple Bar Markets – Various markets are held in the neighborhood in different locations. On Saturdays, there is a food market in Meeting House Square, a designer mart on Cow’s Lane, and a book market in Temple Bar Square. During summer months, there is a weekly art & craft market every Thursday, 2pm-8pm.
- Moore Street Market – Lively traditional street market with produce and flower stalls. (0.5 mile).