Arrived in Dublin yesterday. It‘s my first time in Ireland and I am happy being here as I always wanted to know more about this place and get beyond the clichee of Guiness and Irish Pub culture. I am going to be here just for two days so I won‘t see much, but it is a welcome break for me from Berlin.
On the first sight, Dublin is similar to many british towns. Brick houses everywhere, double yellow lines going along the border of the streets, people drive on the left. But everything is much smaller. Almost no house is more than two storeys high, just a few taller buildings mark the financial district.
As I arrived, the streets are packed with cars. Dublin has a transport problem and I was told that public transport is one of the hot topics right now. A tram system is under construction but still years away. There is no underground, everything is run by buses and taxis.
Ireland was long a forgotten place with not much money and therefore the infrastructure was way behind. There was never an industrial revolution and the country moved from an agriculture to modern technology in a rush in the last 20 years. Today, computer manufacturers (among them: Apple) and tons of call centers have settled in Ireland making use of the lower costs for personal (aka “Human Resources”) compared to the rest of Europe.
So things have changed rapidly in the last years and Dublin is getting a major facelift as a consequence. The Docklands area, the old harbour, is attracting business and entertainment venues like it did in London in the 80ies. So Dublin is a bit behind other cities in that respect but has the advantage of a lot less legacy structures as well. Without doubt, Ireland has benefitted a lot from the European Union in that respect and is certainly closer to the “Continent” than Britain will ever be.
Ireland is bilingual. Apart from English, there is Gaelic being spoken in certain areas of the country. All sings are bilingual as well, although in Dublin nothing but English can be heard. I was told that this changes fast once you move westwards.