AnneMarie McCarthy has lived in Dublin for more than four years, drawn by the promise of an exciting arts scene, a huge selection of international cuisine and hundreds of new pubs to try out. Although she hasn’t made it to all of them yet, the city has lived up to its reputation; she's found fascinating history, a treasure trove of culture and lots and lots of craic.
I always bring visitors to... Glasnevin Cemetery. The staff there are incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic and if you know nothing about Irish history their tours are a great place to start. It may seem morbid but there is something very comforting about the cemetery thanks to the care and attention of the staff.
More people are buried here than are alive in Dublin today and, besides, when is the next time you’ll get a chance to visit a crypt and touch the coffin of a civil rights icon for luck? Known as the Liberator, Daniel O'Connell advocated a peaceful road to Irish independence and Catholic rights and his tactics inspired Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi; his crypt and tower stand on the south side of the cemetery. For return visitors, the Dead Interesting tour is full of nearly-forgotten stories of some of the graveyard’s most colourful characters.
On a sunny day you’ll find me at... the cricket grounds in Trinity College, which becomes the world’s best unofficial beer garden in summer. Pop open a can and stretch out on the grass for a spot of people-watching. It’s a peaceful, green haven in the heart of the city and you’ll beat the crowds struggling to find an outside table in every other drinking establishment.
When I want to get out of the city... I hop on the bus to the suburb of Clontarf, walk down Dollymount Strand and explore the nature reserve of Bull Island. The seaside village of Howth is also about 30 minutes away on the DART train and has a great summit walk with spectacular views. If I have access to a car, I’ll go further afield and drive down to the Wicklow Mountains for some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, right on my doorstep.
When I want a great meal out... L Mulligan Grocer in Stoneybatter is gastropub dining at its finest. You’ll be treated to local, seasonal ingredients, a matching craft beer menu and excellent service – don’t leave without trying the scotch egg. If you prefer to grab and go, Temple Bar Food Market has an array of stalls every Saturday serving the best fresh Irish produce to munch on while you explore the city. Budget travellers should explore Capel Street which is full of affordable Asian restaurants, from Korean barbeque to Malaysian specialities.
When I want some solitude... I go to Phoenix Park. It can be busy on sunny weekends, but this is one of Europe’s largest parks and you’ll always find a quiet spot beneath the trees when you stray off the path. Maybe not quite alone though – you’re likely to be accompanied by some of the famous deer that roam the area. On a clear day you'll enjoy views to the Dublin Mountains without sight or sound of the city.
For an energy boost... I check out one of the city’s great cafes, sticking to the independent businesses. It’s hard to pick a favourite, but Vice Coffee in Wigwam deserves a special mention for its delectable range of coffee cocktails. For those with a sweet tooth, a trip to Dublin would not be complete without a visit to Murphy’s Ice Cream, whatever the weather, to try the unique flavours they’re serving up that month.
If I feel like having a fancy night out... I head to Vintage Cocktail Club where you are transported back to the 1920s' Prohibition era with soft candlelight, scrumptious food and possibly the biggest cocktail menu you’ll ever see in your life. For something different, there are plenty of poitín cocktails to try, though they’re made of the legal variety rather than the more traditional bootleg liquor.
When I want a little excitement... I watch a hurling game. It’s the fastest field sport in the world, the sliotar (ball) travelling at upto 150km per hour with incredible accuracy. The entire scoreboard can change in a heartbeat so pick a team and and get your heart racing.
On date night... I go to the Stella Theatre, a gorgeous cinema that's been lovingly renovated in 1920s' style. It’s guaranteed to be the comfiest, most glamorous movie-going experience you can get. Book ahead for the cocktail club upstairs either before or after your screening for some Gatsby-inspired dining.
One thing I hate about Dublin… is that most public transport runs from north to south and through the city centre. The result is that if you want to move neighbourhoods what could be a ten-minute journey by car could mean an hour hopping from one bus to another. Also Temple Bar on a weekend night, especially in the summer, is far too crowded and expensive.
The thing I love most about Dublin... is the people. We’re always up for a laugh and though we may not live in the prettiest city, we probably have the most fun. Despite the buzz, it maintains a healthy, relaxed vibe and you’ll always find someone to go for a pint with you on a workday evening. Don’t be shy: strike up a conversation.