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RE: Why I’m Glad I Can’t Afford To Live In Dublin

The Irish Times published a piece during the week entitled ‘Why I’m Glad I Can’t Afford To Live In Dublin‘. This article has somewhat split the country with half of people claiming it to be an awful display of journalism, while the other half finding it to be an accurate depiction of Dublin as a whole.

I don’t think it is the best piece of writing ever published. His tone comes across like he is speaking of an ex-lover, every sentence oozing disdain for Dublin like it has betrayed him throughout the years. But that being said, I can definitely see where he is coming from with what he is saying – albeit if he didn’t say it in the best way.

Hapenny Bridge
Hapenny Bridge

I am coming up to my second year living in Dublin with no great plans to move in the near future. I find the city one of the most culturally diverse in Ireland, the nightlife is good, there is plenty to do and my favourite part is that is lies on the coast which gives me endless opportunities to go to the beach, explore cliff walks and take in the coastal scenes. As a city it has a lot to offer and there is no denying that. The rent prices are high, but so are the levels of craic as well as the job opportunities so you get what you pay for in that regard.

But, the article touches a subject that I can very much relate to.

When we interact with natives we find them not quite like the rest of us – Irish but with an asterisk.

This sentence could not be more true in my eyes, and definitely among the eyes of others. The ‘culchie’ jokes start to lose their novelty two or three months into your job in ‘The Big Smoke’, the reference of any of the 31 counties in Ireland being referred to as ‘The Country’ be it Galway City they are speaking about or Rural West Cork has never failed to baffle me, and the fact that most Dublin folk could never dream of stepping foot beyond The Pale because ‘Dublin has everything you could ever want’ and living somewhere else would just be absurd just pinches a nerve with me.

Howth Cliff Path

 

I grew up in a bungalow in County Limerick within walking distance to family and friends, a short car journey from nearby towns and only 25 minutes from the heart of Limerick City. This was perfect in my eyes as I had a decent size garden to play in, everyone in the area knew me so my parents rarely worried, any amenities we ever needed were no further away from me then as they are where I live in Dublin now. Yet, people from Dublin shudder at the thought of this as they think I grew up in some Neolithic period without electricity or running water. They have a tone about them when speaking about people ‘from the country’ like they are some kind of different breed, and more often than not the tone is so, so patronizing. I don’t think it has ever occurred to them that maybe they are the ones that are a different breed. It is 31 Counties VS them after all. The endless culchie jokes and references to stab city (especially when you work in Catering Supplies around all types of knives) just get old and lose their novelty pretty quickly.

I am proud of where I am from. I am proud to absolutely love the GAA, that I pronounce sandwiches with a hidden ‘G’ in the middle, that I grew up in a house not attached to any other house and that I have had the open mindedness to have already lived in three different counties. I have lived in city centres and I have lived where I grew up, and I would take where I grew up any day of the week. Why they take offence to my preference of country over Dublin life I will never know.

Sheep On The Path

 

I will admit the article sounded like it was written by someone who has serious underlying issue with Dublin as a county but I am happy that it has drawn some attention to the superiority complex that people from there seem to have over the rest of the country. I have made some great friends from there and I will continue to live there for the foreseeable future. I genuinely enjoy living there and in my eyes it is my new home, but, as the article says… ‘To live among Dubliners is one thing. But to bring up your own mini Dubs? That is a leap many of us are reluctant to make.’

This is a pretty controversial post that I know will touch a nerve with a lot of people, but this is how I feel after living there and I know many people who feel the same – plus I literally got singled out for being a ‘Culchie’ roughly ten minutes ago in work.. so, y’know!

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14 thoughts on “RE: Why I’m Glad I Can’t Afford To Live In Dublin

  1. I love your honesty in this piece, I’m from Dublin (I grew up 20 minutes from the city centre) and have only ever lived in cities, and I can definitely imagine how frustrating it must be to have to put up with the things you get from people here. I’d imagine it’s on par with my own frustration around things people say about Ireland and Irish people when I’ve lived abroad. And I also see your point about Dubliners being the ones who are a different breed to those from the rest of the country rather than the other way around, and I sometimes do feel a disconnect with the wider culture in my country because of where I grew up and how different my experience was. I’ve always found the idea of living anywhere other than Dublin (in Ireland, that is) difficult, I think just because being in Dublin is what I know. However, I’ll definitely try to check myself in future before I make assumptions about other parts of Ireland, and make sure to open my mind up a bit more. I actually have family all across the country and neither of my parents are from Dublin, but still I find the idea of living elsewhere difficult – it’s interesting and something to consider why that might be. Thanks for writing this, it gave me a lot to think about!

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    1. Thanks for the comment! I think it works two ways as I grew up in the countryside so I prefer the countryside.. you can’t help but prefer what you know I think! It was just an eye opener for me because even when I worked in Galway city they never really spoke about other counties the way they do in work now.. I had never really even noticed it myself until I read the Irish Times piece! (which has a very vindictive and slightly nasty tone to it, if you do read it!). I’m glad it got you thinking as opposed to offending you though as that was my main worry when I posted this!

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  2. Your upbringing sounds amazing, with a big garden and everything. I am from the capital city of Nepal (Kathmandu) and I think we might have some kind of superiority complex over people from other parts of the country as well.. Sounds like it’s a universal problem :O I think in Nepal it’s mostly because Kathmandu is certainly the most developed (albeit crowded, polluted, chaotic) city in the country with the best schools, hospitals, shopping centers etc. The difference with elsewhere, infrastructures and opportunities wise, is stark. But I have become a lot more open-minded at this topic since I’ve been living abroad for 6 years now.
    I can’t get over how amazing those cliffs look in your photos! I am sure Ireland is a very beautiful country and funnily enough, the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Ireland is the beautiful countryside (Thanks to “PS I love you” movie..) and not Dublin. 🙂

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    1. It was really nice to have space to do whatever I wanted, but I still wasn’t completely in the middle of nowhere which also helped! I think that it might be the case universally too to be honest.. I suppose if you are from a city that is proven to be better than others you can help but feel better than others for living there! Haha that was a brilliant film and the countryside they chose was beautiful so I’m happy that’s what springs to mind first! 🙂

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  3. I’ve never been to Dublin, but the attitude of thinking your city is the best seems to be a common thing. I’ve never lived anywhere to really feel that sense of intense pride. We all have such different tastes that it’s no surprise a city could be loved by some and hated by others.

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  4. Hmmm…… as someone that has never been to Dublin, I can’t confirm or contradict any statements or opinions, but I can say that Seattle, Washington is experiencing some housing crisises that aren’t going to go away over night. Our homelessness has skyrocketed and I know for a fact I won’t be able to afford to live in this city if I didn’t live with 6 of my friends…..its crazy. Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing have stolen our livelihood. So either you join corporate America or you jump ship to live elsewhere….which I don’t like. It’s a sign that the world needs to change, and put less stock into large companies and more time and attention into people, families, and happiness.

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  5. Very interesting perspective. I travel for work a lot throughout my own country (the US) and the bizarre assumptions that people make about different places never fail to surprise me. I think that many people who stay in one place for their whole lives don’t understand how other people lives. Small towns, suburbs, and big cities have such different lifestyles, and more and more I see that as a source of divide here.

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  6. That’s an interesting issue. We actually have a very similar discourse here in Lithuania: there is such thing as superiourity of people coming from or living in the capital Vilnius. Whether this superiority is true or perceived, this is another topic.

    But regarding Dublin: my friend had to teach there for one academic year, a couple of times a week. And she could not find a room she could afford, so she lived in Limerick and came to Dublin once a week. So yes, I realised there is a real issue with Dublin cost of life.

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  7. It’s definitely an interesting issue. I think you’ve touched on a broader problem of having an us vs them mentality that stems deep into the human psyche. Will we ever resolve it? Probably not, but we can teach kindness and acceptance. 🙂 Good response.

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  8. This was beautifully written. I’ve not read the original but I admire your honesty in what you’ve written in your reply.

    It’s funny because when I’m reading your words I can hear my friend Lisa speaking them to me with her gorgeous Irish accent, maybe that’s because you’re from Limerick yourself. I think you and I could be friends.

    I absolutely adored Dublin on the two times I visited, and would love to visit many many many more times to come, but I also find the superiority complex an interesting one to touch on and think even as a passer by you can see it somewhat. Those not willing to enter into Temple Bar cos they will be grand away from the tourists, those who look down their nose as you get excited over an irish singer in the pub.

    But I think you can get that in any big City over the rest of the country. For example, Londoners.

    Anyway, you’ve got yourself a new follow and I can’t wait to read more!

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  9. I just got back from Ireland a couple of months ago! I loved everything about it from sightseeing the Cliffs of Moher, and visiting ancient castles to going to the Guiness Storehouse and visiting the Jameson store, but the article is so true, Dublin is extremely expensive. One of the most expensive cities I’ve ever been too! The article that the post is based on has made brought to light an issue that I think every country experiences, I don’t think it just significantly targets Irish and that they are the only ones who do that.

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  10. I’m an American, so I had to look up your Irish words. (Have now learned that “craic” is actually borrowed from Middle English “crak” into Irish. Is “craic” pronounced like “crack”?)

    Your preference for your home away from Dublin? I’m completely sold! I loved cities as a young person, and moved from the Pacific NW to the NE to live amongst skyscrapers and public transit. Now, as a middle aged mother, I yearn for the mountains and forests of my native region. I’m not sure why any of us choose to live quite so cheek to jowl.

    If I were to visit Ireland for the first time, where should I go to see *YOUR* Ireland? Would I be more welcome in County Limerick? Would I have to have a friend in the area to be well received?

    I’m an introvert who loves people. It gets a little complicated, you see. 🙂

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  11. I think any country that’s big enough to have a huge number of counties/cities/provinces/whatever locals call them always end up with the capital being touted as “the best”, when in fact, each is different with their own underlying subculture. I live in the Philippines, I live three hours away from Manila, and I’ve encountered people who thought where I lived was too far away and have preconceived notions on how I must have grown up like. We also have a term for people who lived in provinces that have gone to school/work/moved to Manila and as some provinces have different dialects, they also get made fun of as well. It truly is annoying when you realize how often it happens to you and other people because I would pick where I grew up from too over “the city” any other day. 🙂

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  12. Interesting to read about how different counties may or may not view themselves as being different. We hardly get that here in our small little city state (i.e Singapore). I guess you can’t really divide a city into different parts. Okay, I lied. Even here you have distinctions: “oh you are a Westie” and “West side no good food leh”. And I will dutifully reply: “where got” and “east side don’t have good food lah”.

    Footnote: The above make believe dialogue uses Singlish. Singlish is a bastardised version of the English language that results in a more efficient way of communicating.

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