An Address to James Joyce
But the author, or his pal Leopold, wouldn’t know this fancy place
‘Anticipated, there was not a sign of a Jehu plying for hire anywhere to be seen except for a fourwheeler, probably engaged by some fellows inside on the spree, outside the North Star Hotel and there was no symptom of its budging a quarter of an inch when Mr Bloom, who was anything but a professional whistler, endeavoured to hail it by emitting some kind of a whistle, holding his arms arched over his head, twice.’ James Joyce, Ulysses.
AS demonstrated by James Joyce, The North Star Hotel is something of a Dublin institution. Located just ten minutes from O’Connell Street in the heart of Dublin city centre, it’s hard to imagine that not long before its construction in the mid-19th century, the Amiens Street area where the hotel stills stands had in fact been rural, and considered outside the city itself. How times change. The purpose of our own visit to the four-star location is simply to enjoy a night out, and so we hop on a Luas which leaves us outside the bustling Irish Finanical Services Centre, just a short five-minute walk from the hotel, located across the road from Connolly Station, which remained a pound for stray horses for several decades after the North Star Hotel first opened its doors.
We check in and are swiftly brought to our room, located in the hotel’s latest luxury addition, The Address at Dublin 1 – think of it as a hotel within a hotel.
Guests staying in the Address are given special access cards to enter a small boutique hotel contained within the walls of the North Star.
Here, Brian and Ciara McGettigan of the Irish family-owned McGettigan Hotel Group have installed more than 80 state-ofthe-art, high-end rooms at a cost of roughly €15million, with inroom technology they claim has not yet been seen in any other Dublin hotel.
Now, the mind can wander at the thought of what this special ‘in-room’ technology might be, but the actual experience is far more practical than talking appliances or fidgety gadgets.
Instead, the technology installed is simply there to make life that little bit easier – surely the main aim of any good hotel stay.
From the comfort your bed, blinds can be opened and closed easily by using the small keypad located above both bedside tables, which also controls temperature, entertainment, housekeeping and even in-room dining, while small lights along the floor click into action with the main lights off to ensure tired heads can still find their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night (or early in the morning).
After getting up to scratch with our high-tech surroundings it was then time to hop back in the lift and scale a few more floors to check out the Club Lounge, reserved exclusively for those staying at the Address.
Here, guests can watch some television or take a complimentary newspaper while enjoying a freshly made coffee, while there is also a balcony area that provides great – and surprisingly quiet – views of the city, although we failed to find any sign of the stables that once sat behind the hotel during Connolly’s Station’s former life.
This had all made for thirsty work, so we decided it was time to head downstairs and hit the bar, where we poured over more of the hotel’s history with a cocktail from McGettigan’s Cookhouse and Bar.
We read about how the hotel first thrived as the city slowly recovered from the Famine, before the opening of Connolly Station ensured a stead flow of visitors who couldn’t ask for a more convenient location to drop off their bags before heading off to explore the city, get set up for a business meeting or take the short trip up to Croke Park for match day.
Unfortunately, there’s no mention of the dinner dances my own parents used to regularly attend here in the early Eighties – they must not have been quite as good as they insist.
With our new found knowledge of the greater Dublin 1 area, it’s time for dinner, and we’re soon seated in a large, open room housed within stone walls complete with trickling water feature.
For those stopping in for a quick bite, there are also plenty of seating options in the bar area and the more comfortable lounge area hidden in the back, complete with its own small bar.
It is worth mentioning that the menus on offer in McGettigan’s seem to cater for all tastes, with salads, burgers, grills options and seafood all up for consideration before we make our choices with the help our very friendly, and patient, waitress – spicy chicken wings, steak and cheesecake for me (well, half a cheesecake, the steak was huge), and teriyaki chicken wings, Cajun pizza and creme brûlée (all of it, somehow) for Her.
Fully fed, we decide to venture back upstairs and enjoy the comfort of the large recliners in the Club Lounge balcony with another cocktail, before retiring for the night.
The next morning, we are offered a choice of breakfast options, with a standard breakfast buffet option available in the North Star along with a continental option back in the Club Lounge.
We opt for the latter, and make use of the balcony for a final time with coffee and croissants before checking out and heading home.
Overall, the Address seems to be a fantastic, affordable luxury option for anything from business trips to weekend breaks.
Will I be back again? To revisit Mr Joyce and Ulysses…
‘Yes I said yes I will yes.’
Take it as red: Our Ciarán is wined and dined Seat of learning: Echoes of James Joyce