Where to stay:
The Ice House http://www.icehousehotel.ie/
This Ballina contemporary spa hotel features 28 bedrooms and 7 suites with distinctive style. Built in the 19th century as an ice house, the hotel is a fusion of old and new defined by transparent glass structures that separate the original building. Patrons can choose from tradition Heritage rooms maintaining old world style and architecture or the uber hip deluxe suites replete with modern technology and ceiling to floor windows.
There are also a great variety of cool airbnb options for those looking for a local experience. As with anything you must be mindful of location, location, location to find your fun and perfect stay. Dublin is a very walkable city with plenty of cool neighborhoods to explore so take your time to research before commiting to staying off the beaten path. Be sure to check out the St. Stephen's Green area for cool architeture, Grafton street shopping and musuems. Explore the seaside Ranelagh area just outside the city center for great food and people watching. (I spent some entertaining hours watching people waddle away from local pubs.) By far my favorite area is the legendary Temple area where the party don't stop and won't stop. If you are looking for excitement here is where you will find it.