WHERE TO STAY
Built in 1792, Merrion Mews, on historic Merrion Square, is a self-catering townhouse that is part of the Irish Landmark Trust (from £750 for two nights; irishlandmark.com). It has the only surviving garden to retain its 19th century design, and the adjoining stables are used by the Garda Mounted Unit. Number 31 on Leeson Close (rooms from £113; number31.ie) is a lovely guest house with an amazing 1970s sunken lounge, plus excellent works on the walls by Dublin artist Richard Gorman and a delicious breakfast.
WHERE TO SHOP
Sheridans Cheesemongers is my favourite shop in Dublin. It’s an Irish cheese shop and butcher on South Ann Street with the most beautiful vibe and sound staff. When home I also always visit Ulysses Rare Books on Duke Street for special Irish editions by authors including Flann O’Brien and the poet Pearse Hutchinson.
WHAT TO DO
Dublin is my home town, it’s where I was born and where I grew up. It’s so special and sincere, like no other place I’ve been. So many things collide there: nature, humour, music, storytelling. The Irish Museum of Modern Art is a must visit. It has an amazing five-year Lucien Freud project running until 2021 and has 48 acres of grounds and formal gardens to walk around. The brave should swim at the Forty Foot, which now has the wood-burning Fad Saoil Sauna beside it to warm your bones when you come out of the Irish Sea. If you are still feeling adventurous, go for a walk in the nearby Wicklow Mountains, taking the breathtaking drive through the Sally Gap, then head to the Roundwood Inn for crab claws and chips. End your day at The Cobblestone in Stoneybatter for traditional Irish music. My uncle-in-law has been playing the uilleann pipes there for years.
WHERE TO DRINK
The residents’ bar at the five-star Merrion Hotel has an open fire and feels like a beautiful living room. It is hung with the Merrion’s private collection of 19th- and 20th-century art, including Louis Le Brocquy, William Scott and Sean Scully. Head to The Strawberry Hall pub for a Guinness after a walk in Phoenix Park looking for wild deer, or another favourite is upstairs in the Lord Edward, opposite Christ Church Cathedral, for a whiskey with friends.
WHERE TO EAT
For a simple fresh fish supper head to Cavistons Seafood Restaurant in Glasthule. It also has a wonderful store stocked with wild seafood caught around the coastline (mussels from Galway, silver hake from Donegal). Scéal Bakery pops up at different farmers’ markets every week and has incredible pastries. In Portobello, Mister S is a new place where everything is cooked over an open fire. The best dish — monkfish on the bone with shellfish sauce — is very special.