Sunday, December 9, 2012

An ex-pat view of Dublin.


My apologies to the mods if this is in the wrong place.

I had to visit Dublin yesterday (Friday), the main focus being to arrange a passport for my son. Lots of other stuff intervened; updating insurance etc etc.

I was shocked with the place. I haven't been home in two years, so I guess I can see things in a different manner to those who watch a gradual decline.

Yesterday I was genuinely shocked and saddened to see the deterioration in places such as Dame Street and Grafton Street.

Forget the "For Sale" signs; the general air od degradation, the cheap and nasty music blaring from newsagents was enough in itself. I was looking for a copy of Private Eye to read over breakfast. It took over half an hour to find a newsagent which stocked it. Even newsagents on or around Grafton Street seemed to stock only the IT and the Indo.

Along with the celeb mags and Phoenix.

Above all that, there was an air of decay and dismay. The place seemed to be full of a fug of regret and disassociation from a better past. Forlorn, I guess, is the word. I noticed an expensively decorated icecream shop which had a butcher's apostrophe in its signage.

The whole experience was deeply depressing. I passed a shop on Dame Street which had a guy in jeans and a red jacket showing his "ripped" torso. It was shiny and I genuinely thought that he may have been wearing a plastic shell.

I really hesitated outside Kapp and Peterson's because I simply wanted to go in and say "Good God, you at least are the same as you've always been."

I know that there is an inclination amongst expats to decry the place when we come back, but I was genuinely shocked at the state of the place.

Genuinely shocked.

I'm of the opinion that Dublin is a miserable city, even by Irish standards. So I haven't noticed any difference but I accept the posters' observations as a view from the outside.

I remember growing up in Ireland during the 80's.  It was grey.  That's the overall impression the decade left with me.  The weather, the buildings, the people.  Just dull shades of grey.  I especially remember Sundays when the entire town was closed because of religious laws. The morning was spent avoiding mass by wondering the streets and looking in closed shop windows. (I used to stare at the left hand side and save the right side for the walk back). In the afternoon we had the mandatory family trip that no-one wanted and was usually to another town that looked exactly the same as the town we just left.  For dinner we had mashed potatoes - every day mashed potatoes, expect on Friday when like a good catholic family we had fried potatoes with fish.  

I suspect this recession will be both better and worse than the 80's.  Better because we have internet, blogs,  music etc to distract us.  Worse because we have internet, blogs and music to distract us.  The 80's were grey.  This decade is a man sitting alone with headphones jammed in his ear, a hood pull low over vacant eyes.  


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