Dublin. 10/13/2014 I'm currently on the second day of a BOI tour. Today we started at 9am with a city history tour (excellent) and then at 1030 at Trinity College and the Book of Kaels exhibit. By 11am I was on my own so I toured the Kilmainham Goal on my own and then explored and pub hopped. Our tour was supposed to tour the Kilmainham Gaol on the way out of town tomorrow but a cruise ship has the entire day booked so we are going to a garden in the Wicklow mountains as an alternative. My advice for the future is if you book this RS tour and arrive early, take the hop on/hop off bus tour and see Kilmainham on your own. The admission is only 6 euro. Even if you repeat it later on the RS tour it's only 1 hour and it's a good tour.
I arrived 2 days before the tour start date and stayed at the Jurys Inn Christchurch. Everything in the RS book is accurate about this hotel: Loud party crowds on weekends with bachelor parties and bridesmaid parties. Room doors open and people yelling in the hallways until about 3 Am. Also tour groups with folks occupying seats in the bar/lounge and not buying anything. But, the room was nice and the breakfast was great. Take ear plugs.
Like a dummy I didn't look at the RS book until today for recommended pubs. If you like microbrews the RS recommendation for the Porterhouse is right on. I stopped there today on my way back from Kilmainham. I didn't eat there but the menu looked great for pub food.
I found another great pub, named Peter's Pub (www.peterspub.ie) ( corner of William St South and Johnson Pl) which is one block north of the Stephen's Green Shopping Mall. A nice cozy friendly pub with A/C and full but not crowded/hot/stuffy. Food choice is limited, I don't recommend if you are looking for food but drinking atmosphere is friendly with a great bar staff, 18 on tap and full wine/liquor menu.
We are staying at the Brooks Hotel, a big step above your normal RS hotel.