The recession which has so thoroughly squashed the Celtic Tiger seems to have hit Dublin particularly hard. Everywhere in the capital city that is, except the Clarence Hotel. Restored and refurbished by those local, vocal boys made good – U2’s Bono and The Edge – the 1852 building became the city’s first boutique hotel, anchoring a mid-1990’s regeneration of the disused quayside area south of the River Liffey called Temple Bar. (Some would say it was a bit too successful: for all of its SoHo charms, Temple Bar is now the epicenter of binge drinking and weekend stag/hen parties.) If you’ve ever seen U2 perform live, The Clarence is not at all the rock star stage show you might expect: aesthetically ecumenical, the 1930’s arts and crafts style presents itself as a comfortable, if almost monastic, experience. Vows of poverty, on the other hand, are freely dispensed in the Octagon Bar, where a vodka and tonic will set you back a cool 16 Euro.