Niamh Mercer

This is a laid-back, interesting and unique city!

Niamh Mercer hails from Ireland and has been living in Sarajevo for six years. She has worked for a few international organizations, and is especially proud of the bonds she has helped build between the Irish and Bosnians as part of the Sarajevo Irish Festival (SIF) team.


Back in Ireland, Niamh served in the military for 16 years, and she traded her home county of Mayo for Sarajevo in the winter of 2012.

- My first impression was beautiful. The city was covered in deep snow and it exuded a fascinating peace.

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations

Since arriving, she has been part of the small Irish community that organizes annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. In 2015, these grew into the SIF.

- The festival is a place where the Irish and Bosnians, who share similar mentalities (especially in terms of a sense of humor), can socialize and get acquainted.

Niamh sees Sarajevo as a city of festivals, a place where people from all over the world can meet.

- This is a laid-back, interesting and unique city. The busy atmosphere in Baščaršija during major festivals, like SFF and Jazz Fest, can be felt all over town, but even these crowds don’t ruin the comfortable feeling.

Niamh, her husband and their three daughters often enjoy nature around town, especially during walks to Vrelo Bosne.

- We visit Lukomir in the summer, my husband participates in the half marathon in September, and we go skiing and snowboarding on Jahorina in winter.

Torvill & Dean

- I watched the XIV WOG when I was a girl and I couldn’t miss the chance to see Olympic figure skating champions Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean perform again in Sarajevo in February 2014.

She says Sarajevo is a great place for gourmets. She frequents Bon Appetit, whose falafel burger is praised by all who try it, and Žilavka is her favorite domestic wine.

- Mala Kuhinja makes terrific meat, fish and vegetable platters for several people; Noovi has excellent pizzas; Luka Sarajevo prepares the best fish in town, and has fine domestic wine; while Superfood serves great omelets and burgers for brunch. And the best view, right in the city center, is from S-One Sky Bar on the rooftop of Courtyard by Marriott hotel.

Niamh says foreigners will always find Sarajevans welcoming and reliable.

- Our nanny is like a member of our family, and my daughters see themselves as Sarajevans. This city is their home.

Niamh says that her mom always buys something special in Baščaršija during visits. Once, she found a really nice hand-made grill, then bread cutting boards; the third time she found a horsehair fireplace brush (now hard to come by in Ireland), and next time she’s coming for a sač.

- We usually buy copper items from Kazandžiluk and replicas of old jewelry by the goldsmith, Sofić, as gifts for friends.

Niamh says tourists should get to know sevdah, and visit the War Childhood MuseumHistorical Museum and National Museum of BiH, which she says organizes great treasure hunts for kids.