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My Dublin: The city according to Mick D'Arcy of Corner Boy

Wexford band Corner Boy recently released Blackstairs Winter Snow, the first single from their upcoming debut album. Here, their frontman and Stillorgan resident Mick D'Arcy tells us all about his life in the big smoke.

Home is...

I'm in Stillorgan with my fiancée. Previous to that, I lived in Ringsend and I've also lived in Drumcondra, Dún Laoghaire and Ranelagh, so I've got to see a few different sides of the city.

As Wexford man it's on the closest road out to back home! But it's great, there's a really great energy around here at the moment. There's a lot of young people here as well and a lot of great community organisations, be it sporting or otherwise. So it's pretty much everything you need, and in that way it's kind of like a large town.

Stillorgan Hill in the old village of Stillorgan (William Murphy)

How I get around the city:

When I lived in Ringsend, I used Dublin Bikes every day to cycle in to work in the city centre, and when I lived in Ranelagh, I would have used the Luas.

Now that I'm in Stillorgan, it's either the good old 145 bus or the 46A. We have Wexford Bus going by us every day as well, so I have it handy.

The best place in the city for a date:

The National History Museum of Ireland, for me, is probably the coolest room in Dublin, and it's free entry. So that would come highly recommended from me.

I hadn't been there previously before going on a date, and I was just blown away by the room itself. First of all, there's hundreds of animals in there – we gave it the nickname of The Dead Zoo.

The room itself is incredibly old, it's got those old wooden panels, and it looks like something from a movie set. Around every corner you turn, there's something interesting.

You can see a stunning array of animal life at the National History Museum (Collins Photo Agency)

My favourite pub in the city:

For live music and a pint, it's probably Whelan's. It’s this legendary venue, right in the heart of the city centre, but they also put a good, strong emphasis on having good pints as well. So that's a fairly strong marriage between two of them.

Live music venue Whelan's (Gareth Chaney)

My favourite restaurant in Dublin:

Mulligan's Grocer in Stoneybatter. I thought it was really interesting reinvention of Irish food, done differently with their own style, so I like it.

It's right in the middle of Stoneybatter as well, you can pretty much walk there from town. A really great spot and really inventive and creative with their menu.

L.Mulligan Grocer (L.Mulligan Grocer / Facebook)

My go-to café or coffee shop:

For lockdown, I lived in Ringsend, so I needed a place that I could stretch my legs [to] for the two or five kilometres.

Tucked underneath the DART bridge there at South Lotts Road is Foodgame, so that was a place where I gravitated towards most of the time. Really, really popular little spot there; the food is great, the coffee is great.

Where I get my exercise:

The circumference of Merrion Square Park, because it's exactly one kilometre – I've tested it out on Strava. If you're into your 5ks or 10ks, you can literally just go there, run around it five times, turn your brain off, throw on a podcast, get the heart rate up and your exercise is done. It's simple.

I wouldn't be a great guy for being challenged by hills and stuff, and it's pretty much a running track in the middle of Dublin city centre.

Merrion Square pictured in March 2021 (Collins Photo Agency)

My favourite shops:

Usually, when I walk in one side of George's Street Arcade and out the other, I have something that I bought that I didn't know I wanted.

It's a great place, because you never know what you're going to find there, and there are micro shops and stalls and stuff popping up all the time. So as somebody who is a fan of vinyl records and stuff like that, it's a really great place. And it's ever-changing.

Well-stocked racks at Spindizzy Records in George's Street Arcade (Spindizzy Records Facebook)

My favourite place for a haircut:

When I moved to Dublin, I literally just walked into the city centre one day and went to Temple Bar and I was like, 'Right, I'm just going to use the first place that I see'.

I walked into a place called Beards and Barnets and I've pretty much been going there ever since. Ask specifically for Ben – it's a really great vibe and a really good team working in there.

My favourite place in Dublin to get away from it all:

There's this place that's about a 20/25 minute drive outside of Dublin, in Blessington, called The Avon. It's only about 20 minutes from the M50, but it's a really, really cool spot out there.

You can do kayaking and lake stuff, and they've this big bus in the middle of it that serves pizza as well. So it's just a cool little spot that's not too far of a drive from Dublin – enough that you can be around a bit of nature.

The Avon in Blessington, County Wicklow (© 2019 Liz White Photos)

My favourite place to let my hair down:

Strangely enough, Rainforest Golf in Dundrum is actually really good craic with friends. There are two courses – one is Mayan and one is Incan, or something like that. It’s crazy golf, essentially.

If you go with a couple of mates as well, it can get quite competitive, but it's good fun.

The last live event I went to:

It was in Whelan's, I went to see Yard Act. It was just at the time where people were starting to feel a little bit more comfortable with taking masks off and stuff, so it was the first moment in about two years where people were a bit more relaxed in the live setting.

Yard Act came out and it was absolutely amazing – the energy in the room. They said it on stage as well, that they had big expectations for it based its reputation, but they said it was by a country mile their favourite date on the tour.

I've been to many different gigs in there over the years, but it seems to bring that out in bands where they really bring a performance, and they did that night. So that was pretty special.

Dubh Linn Garden in Dublin Castle (William Murphy)

Dublin's best kept secret:

Dubh Linn garden, in the grounds of Dublin Castle. It's probably as quiet of a spot as you're likely to find in the middle of the city centre.

On a nice day, you can go in there and eat your lunch, or just meet up with friends and drink a coffee – there are about 20 or 30 benches. It's never really busy and it's literally just a stroll off Dame Street.

I've had to tell proper hardcore Dubs that this space exists, so it's a great spot.