Rihanna, Victoria Beckham and Beyonce have all sampled the delights of the Emerald Isle. As St Patrick's Day is celebrated around the world this Sunday, HELLO! Online gives you a tour of Ireland's celebrity hotspots, from the castle that Victoria and David Beckham chose as their wedding destination to the pub that has welcomed famous visitors including Julia Roberts and Sean Connery.
Here's how you can follow in the footsteps of the famous:
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Where to stay
Dublin and Belfast are the easiest cities to reach, and musical sensation Rihanna has spent time in both. She recently made a fleeting visit to Dublin, without boyfriend Chris Brown, and stayed in the Merrion Hotel. If this award-winning five star luxury hotel in central Dublin was good enough for Rihanna, it's good enough for us. But if you're flying in to Belfast, Rihanna has also stayed at the Clarence Hotel on a previous tour.
As a wedding destination, Ireland has given couples David and Victoria Beckham, and Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye Smith, their own fairytale weddings. The Beckhams spent their wedding night in the royal suite of Luttrellstown Castle, close to Dublin. The estate covers 560 acres of green grounds but outside the castle walls guests can enjoy excursions like golf, horseracing, hunting and polo, as well as sightseeing tours of the fair city.
Pierce chose to venture a little further for his wedding, to County Mayo. "I just wanted to bring my girl back to Ireland," he said. "That was important to me, because if you were born in Ireland, you are always Irish." The couple held their reception in Ashford Castle, the beautiful five star luxury hotel on the banks of Lough Courrib. For a spot of relaxation, try their in-house pampering treatments that use celebrity-loved brand Yon Ka. Other guests to stay in the castle include Prince Ranier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Fred Astaire and Ronald Reagan.
Areas to explore
For the past fifteen years Daniel Day-Lewis has owned a 50 acre farm in the Wicklow Mountains, south of Dublin. He reportedly declared he would semi-retire to his mountain abode if he won an Oscar for Lincoln, so expect to find him wandering the hills if you head to this Southern Ireland retreat. Or in the local pub in Annamoe, where his fame doesn’t cause a stir. "It continues to be among the many things I love about Ireland," he said. "People on the whole are very gracious and unassuming."
Sarah Jessica Parker is also in love with the refreshing Irish countryside. Her husband Matthew Broderick spent summers in the hills of Kilcar as a child, so it makes sense the couple have bought their own holiday cottage in the county of Donegal. "Ireland has always been a great getaway," she said. "We try to replicate Ireland at home, but it's a poor man's substitute."
Where to eat and drink
When Rihanna found herself away from home on Thanksgiving in Dublin, she decided to throw a private bash and rented out O'Donoghue's pub on Merrion Row. She ordered the food from the French bistro across the road Hugo's, and had it transferred to the local pub for her 100-guest entourage, including band and dancers, to feast in. So if you want to follow suit, have a pint at O'Donoghue's then dinner in the bistro.
Just an hour and a half away from Dublin is the village of Moneygall which was put on the map when President Barack Obama paid the locals a visit. Barack's great, great, great grandfather came from Moneygall so it made sense the President wanted to retrace his routes. The Ollie Hayes bar was decorated for his arrival with a life-size bust of Obama and the President and his wife cheered a pint of Guinness.
Further afield in county Kerry lies the charming town of Dingle, and the most famous pub has got to be Dick Mack's. This family-run establishment is also a leather shop, and a favourite watering hole with locals and celebrities alike. Famous faces who have stopped by include Julia Roberts and Sean Connery, and the family have started their own Hollywood-inspired walk of fame with names of celebrities printed on pavement slabs.
What to do
A bike ride around Dublin may not sound like barrels of fun, but for Beyonce, sightseeing around the city on two wheels was one of the best days of her life. She stayed at the Morrison Hotel and spent the day visiting attractions like St James's Gate and Phoenix Park. "It is the most beautiful park," she said. "It was one of the best memories of my life being able to ride around Ireland. It was so beautiful and I did it every day I was there."
On her tour of Dublin, Beyonce also stopped by the high-end clothing store Chica Boutique in Westbury Mall with mum Tina Knowles. She reportedly splashed out €2,000 on designer dresses, Goddess Lux bracelets, Mawi necklaces and Bijuteri earrings. Co-owner Mary-Kate Ryan explained Beyonce was far from a diva though. "We've had a lot of famous people in before, like Girls Aloud, and they usually ring ahead," said Mary-Kate. "But with her, she just walked in with her entourage and didn't ask for the shop to be closed or anything. She was very pleasant."
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