Great tips on where to eat, drink, shop, stay and party from some of the country’s most-talented locals
WestlifeRecord-breaking pop sensations
HOW HAS IRELAND CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED OUT?
NICKY: “In the last 15 years, Dublin has really started to thrive. It’s very cosmopolitan, and a city of culture. The smoking ban helped the country a lot, and a lot of premises have been upgraded, with outdoor heaters. And that goes for the restaurants and nightclubs, they’ve raised their game, too.”
CAN YOU RECOMMEND ANY HOTELS?
NICKY: “There’s an amazing hotel in Dublin.”
SHANE: “The Dylan. It’s fantastic.”
NICKY: “It’s a boutique hotel out of the city centre.”
NICKY: “And the Shelbourne Hotel has undergone a massive renovation.”
SHANE: “I stayed there recently and it’s top class.”
NICKY: “I mean, like Claridges. Shane, you look into the bar, and it’s a very Irish bar. The Guinness cocktails are unbelievable.”
MARK: “But it isn’t cheap. My dad got a sandwich, and it was about 14 euros. It’s ridiculous. It’s not somewhere to go on a backpackers’ holiday.”
ANY SIGHTSEEING TIPS?
MARK: “Kilmainham Jail in Dublin is great for Irish history. The Guinness Storehouse is also good, and that’s in Dublin, too.”
SHANE: “You’ve got to visit Sligo [north-west Ireland, where most of Westlife are from]. It’s surrounded by beaches and mountains, and is one of the nicest towns. It’s a lot smaller than Dublin and very tranquil.”
NICKY: “You’ve got to see Kerry [south-west Ireland].”
WHERE’S GOOD FOR A DRINK IN SLIGO?
SHANE: “Try Shoot the Crows. They do a great pint of Guinness.”
WESTLIFE PLAY CROKE PARK, DUBLIN, ON 1 JUNE.
Sinead MoriartyBest-selling author
WHERE’S A GOOD PLACE TO TAKE
YOUR FAMILY FOR LUNCH?
“A new restaurant called Avenue in Maynooth [near Dublin]. It’s a fantastic place to take the family for a meal. Another great place is Real Gourmet Burger on the seafront in Dun Laoghaire. It does fantastic organic burgers. I love bringing the kids here.”
WHERE’S A NICE CAFÉ TO GET SOME READING OR, INDEED, WRITING DONE?
“I tend to go to The Gables, in Foxrock Village [Dublin 18]. It’s a lovely family-run café, with friendly staff, and you never feel rushed. I often go and read here when I’m researching a new book.”
HOW ABOUT A GOOD PLACE FOR A GIRLY NIGHT OUT?
“There are lots of places in Dublin for a girls’ night out. The bar in the Dylan hotel does great cocktails, so it’s a good place to kick off a night. It has a nice outdoor space, which is lovely in the summer – if we actually get a summer this year! Sheehan’s in Blackrock [south Dublin] is another great bar, with a beer garden.”
IS THERE ANY ONE GOOD BOOKSHOP IN DUBLIN?
“There are lots, but probably the quaintest is The Winding Stair Bookshop & Café. It became a famous landmark in the 1970s, and a popular meeting place for writers, musicians and artists.”
IS THERE ONE PICTURESQUE PLACE TO RID YOURSELF OF WRITER’S BLOCK?
“It would have to be the top of Killiney Hill. After a steep uphill climb, there are lots of hidden places where you can sit on a rock and look out at the spectacular view of Dublin bay. It would lift anyone’s spirits.”
IN MY SISTER’S SHOES IS AVAILABLE NOW, PUBLISHED BY PENGUIN.
Tommy FlemingChart-topping singer
WHERE’S A GOOD PLACE TO HEAR LIVE
MUSIC IN IRELAND?
“To be honest, if I’m going for a drink I avoid bars with music if I can help it. But there is one I frequent during the summer when I take time off – Crockets on the Quay in Mayo. It has a trad session every Monday [from June], which I usually end up joining and not leaving until the early hours. It’s a hell of a lot of fun.”
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE HOTEL?
“The best in Ireland has to be the Ardagh in Clifden, Co. Galway. I first discovered this little gem about 12 years ago, and I return as often as is possible throughout the year. The restaurant is amazing, with a fine selection of wines, and the staff could not be more friendly if they tried. I loved this place so much I got married there last year and the party lasted four days.”
IS THERE A LOW-KEY CAFÉ FOR LUNCH NEAR WHERE YOU LIVE?
“There are not too many cafés where I live. It’s more of a pub lunch type of place, which I much prefer. But I would have to recommend The Elephant and Castle in Temple Bar, Dublin. I divide my time between Dublin and Sligo, so I get the best of both worlds.”
HOW ABOUT SOMEWHERE FOR A COSY DRINK?
“Again, that would have to be Crockets on the Quay, near where I live in Sligo. It’s a mixture of old world and modern, and a great place for a lock-in. My other favourite is Neary’s, just off Grafton Street in Dublin. It’s a great place to meet some mates and catch up over a pint.”
COULD YOU SUGGEST A GOOD RESTAURANT FOR AN EVENING MEAL?
“Town Bar & Grill on Kildare Street, off St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Great spot, buzzing atmosphere, well happening, with seriously good food and a hip crowd. You find yourself spending several hours over the meal and there’s no rush to leave.”
TOMMY PERFORMS AT ARDHOWEN THEATRE, ENNISKILLEN, ON 2 AND 3 MAY, AND AT THE FORUM THEATRE, WATERFORD, ON 7 MAY.