Gavin James knows a thing or two about heartache. After all, the Irish singer-songwriter did fill his debut album Bitter Pill with songs about heartbreak and haunting messages of lost love.
But perhaps what one didn’t bank on is the Nervous hitmaker’s love for chicken wings. What does he look for in his travels? Chicken wings. What are his best discoveries of a place? Yup, you probably guessed it – chicken wings.
Born in Dublin to the city’s best-known postman (“I’m not kidding, everyone knows my dad!”) and a child-minding mother, James has always grown up surrounded by music. Thus, it’s kind of a natural progression for him to return home and shoot a music video.
The clip for Glow, an uptempo pop number from James’ recently-released sophomore album, Only Ticket Home, was shot around Temple Bar in his hometown of Dublin.
Temple Bar is arguably the most famous pub street in the land of saints and scholars. The busy riverside neighbourhood is populated by an assortment of pubs and restaurants. Lonely Planet sums it up best when it describes the venue as a place where “mayhem and merriment is standard fare”.
The street is where James honed his artistic craft, and is the perfect homecoming setting for his music video, after his travels around the world.
“I have been on the road constantly since the release of my first record and this new collection of songs is about the whole process of being away from home and the people you love.
“It’s also about how amazing it was to be on tour and travel around the world for the last three years,” he says in an email interview.
Having seen the world, we ask James about his travels and life on the road as a musician.
Whenever you have some time to yourself at a new place, what do you look out for?
Mostly chicken wings … and I usually bring an electric scooter with me so I can see everything real fast.
What have been some of the best discoveries you’ve made while travelling?
Chicken wings! I love meeting people on the road too. It’s so lovely to get to travel around the world especially when there’s time to see everything.
You have been on the road a lot after the release of Bitter Pill. What’s the first thing you do whenever you are back home in Dublin?
I usually head straight to my parents’ house and chill for a few days with friends. My favourite thing to do at home is going to the cinema and just hanging out with my mates, possibly with a few Guinness.
How has growing up in Ireland shape your artistry and sonically influence your music?
Ireland is an amazing place to grow up in. I was surrounded by all different types of music growing up from Irish folk to Americana. My parents raised me on Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and all the greats.
Where can one get a taste of Dublin’s musical pulse?
I would recommend going to The Old Storehouse in Temple Bar. Best pint of Guinness there is.
Can you walk us through the landmarks featured in the music video for Glow? Why did you decide to feature those places?
It was all shot in Temple Bar in Dublin. I love all the people in Dublin and I grew up playing at Temple Bar and learning how to sing and write. So, it was the perfect setting for me.
In terms of travel, what are some uniquely Irish experiences that travellers should look out for when they visit Dublin or Ireland?
I would recommend travelling around the country as it’s quite small. The Wild Atlantic Way is beautiful.
What are some of your personal favourites when it comes to things to do and sights to see in Dublin?
The food is amazing – a nice stew is always good, especially if it’s cold out.
After a long day, what’s a great way to unwind in Dublin? Do you have any personal recommendations?
Guinness, Guinness and Guinness.
If you were to bring a visiting friend around Dublin for a day, what would you include in the itinerary?
Guinness and chicken wings.
From a local’s perspective, could you share some personal travel trips for travellers to Dublin?
It’s quite a small place so I would say get dropped off at Temple Bar and just wander around; you’re bound to find something amazing to do.
If you were to pen a song about Dublin/Ireland, what are some things you would include in the lyrics?
I would write a song about having “the craic” which means “fun” at home.
What to see and do in Dublin
While Gavin James did not specify where to get the best chicken wings in town, he did recommend a few of his favourite places in Dublin, Ireland.
We take a closer look at the places mentioned by the singer-songwriter in his interview. Oh, and since we don’t have James on speed dial, we took the liberty to source for some well-known chicken wing places in the city.
Located in the heart of the Irish capital, Temple Bar is a street that’s lined with a range of bars and restaurants. As Dublin’s cultural centre, the district has a thriving nightlife culture. Looking for a traditional Irish pub? Then this cobblestoned street is the place to be.
During the day, there are a number of shops and galleries to discover. Some cultural institutions within the vicinity include the Irish Photography Centre, Ark Children’s Cultural Centre and Irish Film Institute.
The Old Storehouse
James singled out The Old Storehouse in Temple Bar for a taste of Dublin’s musical pulse. The venue is a classic Irish bar in the city’s cultural quarter. The Old Storehouse usually hosts musicians artistes who perform several different genres of music.
Wild Atlantic Way
Also known as the world’s longest defined coastal touring route, the Wild Atlantic Way is a scenic journey through Ireland’s lush natural beauty.
The 2,500km drive will take visitors through sensational scenery.
The six regions covered on this journey are Northern Headlands, Surf Coast, Bay Coast, Cliff Coast, Haven Coast and Southern Peninsulas.
Best chicken wings?
Granted, chicken wings isn’t exactly Ireland’s most famous culinary offering. That accolade goes to the likes of Irish stew, boxty and coddle. But if you are ever in the mood for some barbecued poultry, Dublin does have a few respectable outlets.
Spots such as Farmer Brown’s, Blue Bar, Just Wing It and Elephant & Castle often make it to locals’ best-of list.