Courtesy of Conor Horgan (Panti). Aaron McGrath photography (Panti bar). Courtesy of locations.
Panti Bliss (known out of drag as Rory O’Neill) was a staple of Dublin’s gay scene long before last year, when she assumed the position of a tightly cinched equality warrior. With a wit capable of cutting homophobes down to size (while also spinning gays and allies into a politically fruitful frenzy), the self-proclaimed “national fucking treasure” became the face of Ireland’s same-sex marriage referendum. On the high heels of both a book and a documentary in her home country, she shares what makes her nation’s capital so colorful.
“They offer freshly made deliciousness in the heart of Stoneybatter, one of Dublin’s ‘cool’ villages that locals know about but tourists don’t. The beans on toast is amazing, the eggs are some kind of dark magic, and if you’re lucky, you might get to watch one of Dublin’s hottest delivery boys unloading his van.” 56 Manor Pl.; ASliceOfCake.ie
2. The Phoenix Park
“Yeah, every city has a nice park, but Phoenix Park is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city. It’s enormous, and both the Irish president and the U.S. ambassador have their residences there, so you can poke your head over the hedges and see how your betters live.” PhoenixPark.ie
3. The Dead Zoo
“It’s officially the National Museum of Ireland—Natural History, but it’s known by everyone as ‘the Dead Zoo.’ What’s really special about it is that it’s been left almost untouched for over a century. It’s like stepping back in time—you half expect some top-hatted guy to come rushing up to tell you he’s just discovered the platypus.” Merrion Street Upper; Museum.ie
4. Trinity College
“Founded in 1592, Trinity College is smack in the middle of the city center. You can take tours, or if you’re a history buff, you can see the priceless Book of Kells. You can also just wander through the beautiful cobblestoned courtyards and watch students in whites playing cricket on the lawn.” TCD.ie
“It just so happens that I own the best bar in Dublin. It’s true, goddammit! There’s a super-friendly, mixed gay crowd. It’s chatty and fun during the week, and it’s noisy and rowdy on the weekends. Plus, I personally approve all the staff hires, so rest assured they are easy on the eyes.” 7-8 Capel St.; PantiBar.com
6. Illegal After-Parties
“There are a few gay bars and clubs that are open seven days a week, but everything officially finishes around 3 a.m. On week-ends, though, if you ask around, someone will point you in the direction of an illegal after-party. People will be smoking inside; it’ll be a fire hazard and a death trap; the beer, sold at a plastic table in the corner, will be warm; and the toilet will be horrible. But you’ll see a side of Dublin that most tourists never do.”
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