Look around you. Look at where you are, really look at it. By this I don't just mean pass your eyes over what surrounds you, I really want you to see it. Is where you are, where you are right now, 'cool'? Are there a plethora of independently owned café's, boasting signs that disparage internationally recognised coffee franchises, that also offers you nominal discounts on your coffee should you bring your own keep-cup? Look around you, is there the imminent possibility that a street food market could erupt around you at any moment? Are there a slew of restaurants catering to a milieu of incredibly specific ethical diets which, were these eateries to have been established a decade ago, proven to be utterly financially unviable?
If not, then know, deep down, that wherever you find yourself right now is not cool. Whether you are in an office; the passenger seat of your uncle's old Renault Espace, or knee-deep in a birthing pool ignoring the plaintive wails of your wife trying to birth your spawn, know that none of these places are cool. None of these places are Stoneybatter.
Time Out have announced that Stoneybatter is the coolest neighbourhood in Ireland. It featured among the top 50 most exciting neighbourhoods in the world, on a survey composed from feedback from over 27,000 people around the world, coupled with feedback from local Time Out writers.
Stoneybatter has been ranked 42nd in this list, and has overtaken Phibsborough as Ireland's coolest neighboured, which, bizarrely, was ranked as the coolest place in the world in last year's list. Speaking as someone who lives in Phibsborough this could only be true if you expand your definition of 'cool' to include seeing local institutions being driven out of business by creeping gentrification and a large canal which occasionally boasts visible otters.
Writing of the neighbourhood, Time Out said, "There’s nothing new about Stoneybatter itself with its red-brick terraced houses and the regular clop of a horse and cart still heard on the road, this village-in-the-city has long been one of Dublin’s favourite districts".
It goes on to add that the past year has seen "a string of great new openings, from vegan cafés to hot new bars, challenging other neighbourhoods vying for the crown”.
A few of the local spots which received specific acclaim were the newly opened Italian restaurant Grano, the Belfry pub and the Collins Barracks museum.
So if you would like to ensconce yourself in cool, if you would like to be swaddled in a sick slice of coolness then plough on to Stoneybatter.