Monday, September 26, 2005

A Sort Of Homecoming

I love Dublin. Heresy down here, but I do. I'm sure I've read somewhere that there are two Irelands but personally I think there's about five (if you want to make generalisations, and I do). There's cosmopolitan middle-class Dublin (great social scene, it might be over-priced but then do they really deserve their wealth? Maybe just a bit snobbish and pretentious for good measure and tend to like egg-chasing); there's socially deprived Dublin (the drugs, the chavs, the genuinely sound Dubs - depending on which papers you read and your politics); there's Norn Iron (less-said the better, such a beautiful place but inhabited by gits); there's ultra-rural Ireland (lovely people, great craic and skiddly-idle-doodle-didle whooping and hollering that masks the over-reliance on subsidies and limited horizons); and urban Ireland (the growing small cities and county towns that exhibit the dual characteristics of Dublin in microcosms).

The Dublin I see is the former. I have good friends there from when I was in college and love my visits to the capital. So, because last weekend was (supposed to be) my last before I head to Connecticut, I went to Dublin for a Friday night out. We started in the Market Bar, which I'm very fond of, and, later, we were in The Village, which is great for gigs but I couldn't be arsed with the music at the weekends. However I would love trips to Dublin anyway if I wasn't visiting my mates. I must be the luckiest traveller in Ireland because I literally never have (and never really have had) any trouble with public transport. The trains always take me where I want to go at the times I want to go as do the buses. Maybe if I was a commuter... I don't know.

But I also love the choice, the bars - themed, over-priced and pretentious on one extreme, old-style and pretty much inexpensive, *normal* drinking dens on the other. Same with the shops, the restaurants, the theatres and venues, the leisure facilities and parks. I have a fairly active life here in Cork so I know I'd never be bored in the Big Smoke - after all it was great when I was a student, a little broke and doing odd bar jobs for extra cash. But of course I'm talking about the centre and the South City suburbs. I'm not so sure I'd feel the same way if I lived in Lucan, Lusk or somewhere not on a DART line...
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