Welcome to my place . . . Singapore

Singapore has ‘excellent infrastructure and a wonderful diverse mix of cuisines’

Paraic McGrath now works as director of business development for Taxback International in Singapore. Photograph: Grainne Quinlan

Paraic McGrath has worked across three continents. He started trading in financial markets in Japan in 1990 and moved via London and Sydney to Singapore in 2003. He was chairman of the Asian GAA Board when it was set up in 2006, and saw the membership grow from 200 to 900 players and from eight to 22 clubs. He was also the co-founder of the Asia Pacific Ireland Business Forum, which focuses on connecting GAA clubs and business groups based in the Asia-Pacific Region. Originally from Claremorris, Co Mayo, he is a graduate of St Patrick’s College of Education, Dublin.

What do you like about living in Singapore?

The consistent warm weather, excellent infrastructure and the wonderful diverse mix of cultures and cuisines you will find here.

Where is the first place you bring people to when they visit Singapore?


Down to the Quays. We would go to Boat, Clarke & Robertson for a night out and finish with a nightcap at Muddy Murphy's Irish pub on Orchard Rd. The stretch of riverfront that separates the Colonial District from the Central Business District is known as the Quays. The Singapore river – once a thriving entryway for cargo – now connects the three quays. A walk along them shows the changes that have impacted Singapore's trade although some say they can be touristy.

The top three things to do there, that don’t cost money, are ...

I would definitely go sightseeing around Marina Bay, then visit the Botanical Gardens and explore Orchard Rd, especially during one of the many cultural festivals celebrating Singapore’s diversity.

Where do you recommend for a great meal that gives a flavour of Singapore?

Go to Singapore celebrity chef and food writer Violet Oon’s self-titled restaurant Violet Oon, which specialises in Peranakan cuisine, which blends Chinese influences with Malay flavours. Oon has been the food ambassador of Singapore since 1988. Or eat a mixed satay platter with Tiger Beer at Lau Pa Sat on a Friday night.

Where is the best place to get a sense of Singapore’s role in history?

St Patrick’s Secondary School has a long history of having Irish missionaries/teachers attached. Also check out the Fullerton Hotel and its second World War archives and Fort Canning Hill with its long association with the military here dating back before Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore.

What should visitors save room in their suitcase for after a visit to Singapore?

Traditional sweet treats are everywhere and an orchid flower – maybe not a real one.

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