Today an interview with Neil McDermott, Spotter for our recently launched Dublin cityblog.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Well, I recently turned 30 which didn’t mean much to me except that I got more presents than usual!
Most of my life has been spent in Dublin, first in the suburbs and now closer to the city centre. I studied German and Politics and even did a Master’s in German Literature (a prize for anyone who knows who Friedrich Gerstäcker is!). Alas, academia wasn’t for me so for the past 5 years I’ve been working for a public sector body here in Dublin.
I can’t say that I lead the most exciting of lives (I know my friends in work will find that hilarious) but in my free time when I am not trying to complete the never-ending saga of my driving lessons, I enjoy reading although there is never enough time (or space) for all the books that I intend to read. I like cooking as well but nothing too difficult or that involves cooking for a lot of people – it’s too stressful!
How do you like being a Spotter?
I’ve really enjoyed it as it’s given me the opportunity to learn about places in Dublin that I never would have known about or shown any interest in before. It’s allowed me to look into more of the city’s history and heritage as well.
Taking part in the book reading in Sweny’s chemist was a lot of fun. I had never even attempted to read Ulysses by James Joyce before so I really didn’t know what to expect. However, there is a real kick to reading the text aloud and it actually helps to make it understandable. The guys in Sweny’s make you feel really welcome and are so enthusisastic about what they are doing. They are keeping alive a small part of Dublin’s literary and cultural heritage so deserve as much support as they can get.
Which prejudices about Dublin are true? Which ones are not?
There is no doubt that Dublin is expensive and it can be disappointing that sometimes the city’s appearance and infrastructure don’t match the cost of living. It’s a source of frustration for both visitors and Dubliners.
I think visitors expect the worst when it comes to the weather. It is actually a very mild climate – I don’t understand why some people are walking around wearing scarves or windcheaters in summer. At the same time, it’s always funny to see Dubliners dressed up in the latest winter wear when it actually isn’t that cold! Fashion before sense!
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
Well, first of all it would have to be in winter when it gets dark early. There should be a slight chill in the air. If it’s a weekday, I’ll pay a visit to a pub near the office (Ryan’s is as a good place as any). If it’s the weekend, I’ll pay a visit to somewhere like Honest to Goodness or The Larder for a spot of breakfast or brunch.
Then I’d visit some bookshops like Hodges Figgis or Books Upstairs and try to resist the temptation to buy anything.
If it was the evening, maybe after going to the cinema, I’d pop in to Madina for some dinner.
Is there something else you want to share?
One thing that writing about ‘spots’ has taught me is to look closer at the buildings here in Dublin – there can be an interesting history to some of them. So, anyone visiting here, should always take the time to have a closer look!
Check out all Neil’s articles and the other interviews with our Spotters.