Dublin is a city of stories and secrets but for the author and historian exploring outside of its centre is the best way to discover the essence of the Irish capital
When I think of Dublin my focus is on its suburbs and its edges, because that’s where I come from. I grew up in the south-west of the city in a suburb called Tallaght, which was built in the 1970s. But when I consider the city of Dublin, I see the compact, Georgian centre with its monumental buildings such as the old Irish parliament on College Green, opposite Trinity College.
You get to know what’s real about a city when you leave the centre of it. Dublin is keen on portraying itself in a certain way, as a tourist-friendly city, and part of that means putting across ideas of places you must visit, like the Guinness factory and Trinity College – to see the Book of Kells. These places are always busy and because of the time people spend going to them they don’t really get to see anywhere else.