I've sponsored terminally itchy feet as a journalist and travel writer for 10 years. Living in Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego before taking time to soak up Asia and Australia on my travels to New Zealand, I landed my first journalism job with Mountain Scene in Queenstown, NZ (2003) where I lingered for five years as a freelancer for the Herald on Sunday, New Zealand Herald and Insight Guides, magazines B-Guided, Ski & Snow, Fitness Life, and columnist for Avenues. I also wrote travel pieces for Backpacker and Food & Wine magazines in Ireland. Home to roost in 2008, these days I work as Deputy Editor for Irish Country Magazine and freelance for Women Mean Business magazine and various websites. I also run my own eco-fashion agency YK Styles, which I set up in 2009.
I've come full circle. Dublin is home for me once again. Time away allowed me to develop a new appreciation of the grey (and often wet) cobbled streets between Dublin's Victorian and Georgian walls. Dramatic bridges and luminous lights in the rejuvenated Docklands area now complement a medieval aesthetic. The excesses of the Celtic Tiger years have bowed to a more sincere, affordable and friendly city. One thing stays the same: the joy of cosying into a serene,darkened Dublin pub, distant music floating in from a street busker, while waiting for a creamy pint of Guinness to settle...bliss.
Where I always grab a coffee/tea/hot chocolate: Bewleys Café on Grafton Street in a C18th building, refurbished in the 1920s to resemble cafes in Paris and Vienna, oriental tearooms and Egyptian architecture – yes, really. Admire six imposing stained glass windows, and two floors up, gaze down onto the buzz of Grafton Street from the theatre café balcony. Immortalised by James Joyce in ‘Dubliners', it's the biggest café in Ireland, and in this case at least, biggest is best.
My favourite stroll: Through the grounds of Trinity College, along Dame Street, weaving the cobbled lanes of Temple Bar, past Dublin Castle, to reach Christchurch Cathedral at the top of the hill, making sure to look up, photograph and marvel the medieval sites all around. A less sober alternative is Dublin's literary pub crawl, voted one of the world's best 50 walks by the Sunday Times, proving you can justify any bar crawl by throwing in some history, a bit of walking and a lot of laughs.
Fiction for inspiration: Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories by the genius of James Joyce or throw yourself in the deep end with his legendary book Ulysses. Delve into 1950s Dublin with classic crime novel Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (pen name for John Banville) or laugh your way through Roddy Doyle's modern classics The Commitments, The Snapper (also hilarious films) and Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.
Great Dublin films: If you don't shed at least one tear (yes guys, you too) at Once you're missing a heart string or two. Glen Hansard of Irish band The Frames, who stars in the movie, since won an Oscar for his co-written song Falling Slowly from the soundtrack. The opening scene is pure Dublin.
Where to be seen this year: It's all happening in the Docklands area where you can browse the Point Village Market on Sat/Sun from 9am-5pm, go for a spin on The Wheel of Dublin, our giant Ferris Wheel, for 60m views of the city and Wicklow mountains, glass of wine in hand on the deck of the Gibson Hotel.
The most breathtaking view: Choose from three: 60m high views from a capsule in The Wheel of Dublin, or the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor of the Guinness Storehouse for a 360 view, or 5th floor balconies of the Gibson hotel in the Point Village look across the River Liffey to the rolling glass fascade of Aviva stadium.
Best spot for some peace and quiet: Any of Dublin's art or photography galleries and National Museums (all free entry) or marvel at 5 million books in silence in Trinity College Library.
Shopaholics beware: Grafton Street, especially Brown Thomas where slaves of designer labels need to hold onto their hats. I prefer side roads off Grafton Street and Temple Bar for quirky boutiques, weekend markets The Loft (second floor of Powerscourt Shopping Centre, off Grafton Street) and Cows Lane (off Dame Street) for emerging fashion and jewellery, or Georges St Arcade for affordable vintage.
City soundtrack: So much music, so little space. Imelda May's album Love Tattoo for kick ass rockabilly, jazz and blues. Traditional - The Dubliners; Rock - U2, The Frames; The Pogues for ballads and a bronze statue of Phil Lynott outside Bruxelles on Harry Street evokes classic Thin Lizzy hits The Boys are Back in Town, Jailbreak and Whiskey in the Jar. The Commitments soundtrack is another must listen. Whelans pub is a Dublin institution if it's live music you're after.
Don't leave without: Meandering the medieval, cobbled lanes of Temple Bar (beware of overpriced restaurants) by foot or the best fun you can have on two wheels - take a bike tour to exploit 120kms of new cycle lanes so you can pedal Dublin's leafy Georgian strips at your leisure.
My expert information
Dublin’s wicked sense of humour
Our taxes may be escalating in Ireland but as an old proverb says: "There is no tax on talk" and Dublin's "craic agus ceol" – pronounced "crack agus col" (with a drawn-out o) this means "crack (fun) and music" - is alive and well. Dubliners cherish their nights out and excellent pubs and clubs host packed event schedules, so for social antics, or just a great weekend away with your friends, Dublin is your city. Read more on my Dublin nightlife page.Read more...