Water, water everywhere – and hardly anywhere with a decent vantage point to enjoy it from. Dublin has beautiful sea, wide river, charming canals and its fair share of limpid pools – yet surprisingly few venues set upon them. The MV Cill Airne (known as ‘The Boat’ bucks the landlubber trend and gives city dwellers a chance to enjoy sunny days sipping sparkly stuff on the decks of a grand ocean liner.
There’s a swanky restaurant with crisp white cloths and shiny silverware (Quay 16 Restaurant, Mon – Sat 17:30 – 22:00) or the bar-room bustle of the Blue River bistro on the upper deck. And there’s jazz on Sunday evenings too, from 17:00 – 19:00. Londoners have had the run of their river for years – but it’s still a novelty in Dublin to be bobbing up and down while dining on the rippling Liffey. And what fun it is in summer.
The Cill Airne is docked on the north side of the quays, beside the impressive Convention Centre in a district dotted with merchant banks and tall hotels. It’s just beside Calatrava’s majestic Samuel Beckett Bridge and looks across to some fine old factory buildings, as well as high-and-mighty new ones, on the south side. At night, the lights round here are sensational. I’d advise you hit the deck in the heat of the afternoon and stay for sundown. Unfortunately, it’s grown-ups only – children are asked to stay safely on dry land.