My boyfriend, Alvaro, and I moved to Dublin last summer because he got a job there. I didn’t particularly want to go because I’m a big fan of his Spanish hometown, Valencia, and was reluctant to leave it. Also, Dublin isn’t well connected with my own hometown, which is in Slovenia. But love often requires adapting, so I moved with him. Dublin wasn’t my best experience abroad (how can anything be once you’ve done Erasmus?), but it was interesting and memorable all the same.
I spent a little bit less than six months in Dublin (I left twice for three weeks). We spent the first month living in Howth, a gorgeous peninsula in the northeast of Dublin, and the following five months in Tallaght, a dodgy but also modern neighbourhood in the southwest.
In Dublin, I visited sights like the Guinness factory, the Temple Bar area (including Temple Bar itself, which was incredibly crowded), Phoenix Park (I didn’t manage to see the deer), Stephen’s Green Park, Grafton Street, Molly Malone Statue, the Skyview tower, etc.
As for the rest of the island, I travelled the most in September when my mom came to visit for five days. Besides Dublin and Howth, we managed to take an organised day trip to Galway (lovely) and the Cliffs of Moher (stunning) and another one to Belfast (interesting and sad from a historical point of view) and the Giant’s Causeway (breathtaking) (the last two are in Northern Ireland). We went to Kilkenny for a day by ourselves and really enjoyed the castle and the surrounding park. Alvaro and I went on a day trip to Wicklow (Glendalough, Powerscourt), which isn’t far from Dublin, to Galway for a whole day and to Cork for the weekend (we also visited Cobh (gorgeous) and Kinsale (overrated)).
Needless to say, there were more things on my list, such as the Ring of Kerry, Waterford, etc., but I ran out of time. Still, I feel like I’ve managed to visit quite a lot of places.
Pros of living in Dublin/Ireland
English: the fact that English is spoken everywhere in the city (there are signs in Irish, but nobody really speaks it in Dublin – you’d have to go to some other part of the country for that) makes things like taking courses and joining different activities more accessible. English also makes getting a job easier for most people.
Nature: because Ireland is an island, it has kilometres and kilometres of a very interesting coastline. The cliffs (especially the Cliffs of Moher) are amazing, and there are several beautiful beaches too. Howth is a gem and so close to the city center (just about 25 minutes by train or bus away).
Live music: it’s easy to find a pub with live music, even if it’s not the evening yet, even on a Wednesday (it’s the most common in the evenings for the weekend, but this is also when the pubs are the most crowded).
Irish people: the Irish are mostly funny, approachable and interested in other cultures. They’re also very proud of being Irish.
The writing culture: Dublin is a city of old book shops (Hodges Figgis), libraries, amazing writers and writing courses. I participated in a writing course organized by BLOCK T Studios and led by Caileann Bradley (pen name: Rachel Ryan). I also read novels by several Irish writers, including Sally Rooney.
The accent: Once you get used to it, it’s kinda cool!
Cons of living in Dublin/Ireland
Prices: Dublin is expensive. An average room will cost you about 700 euros, a studio 1200 and a small flat more than 1500. We lived about 35 minutes by public transport from the centre and were paying 700 per month (plus bills) for an en-suite room (we had our own bathroom). Most flats aren’t renovated and have humidity issues, and most owners don’t care about that. They can do whatever they want because there’s a lack of housing in the city. Everything else is expensive too, from meals in restaurants to drinks in pubs to public transport. Of course, the salaries are higher than in most other EU countries; the minimum is 1600 euros. Still, renting remains really expensive. People in their mid-30s or older, with degrees and full-time jobs, often still have flatmates.
The city itself: Dublin isn’t like Paris or London. It’s not a huge, beautiful, flashy capital with all the possible events you can think of. It doesn’t have tall buildings or many nightclubs, it’s kind of grey and not very big, and after a while, it’s not that interesting anymore.
The weather: summer only really comes in July for a few weeks. The weather changes a lot, but wind and rain (at the same time) are pretty common. It can also get quite cold, even though it usually doesn’t snow.
Public transport: Even though different parts of the city are well connected, buses and trams are often extremely late or leave you midway because of construction work on the tracks or something similar. Also, other Irish cities aren’t well connected with each other; you usually have to travel through Dublin.
Crime: some areas of Dublin can be quite dangerous, including Tallaght, where we lived.
Crazy teenagers: Dublin is full of youngsters (12-17 I would say), who are drunk in the center at like 7 pm, peeing in the middle of the street, throwing bottles at people, and shouting obscenities. One once threw a small stone in my head for no reason, and she seemed sober (it was a group of teenage girls on a bus stop in Tallaght).
Xenophobia and racism: I’ve heard stories about people speaking in their own language (on the phone or to each other) and being told to go back to their country because «English is spoken here». There have also been several racist attacks in the city.
Food: Scones are literally the only good food I had in this country. Fruit and veg from the supermarket aren’t the best, while restaurants are overpriced and the food isn’t tasty. There’s no good traditional food except scones, in my opinion (I’m vegetarian, though, so there are lots of things I didn’t try). As for Guinness: I don’t even like beer, but I like Guinness!
All in all, I liked living in Dublin. I made some really good friends (who were expats just like me – this always seems to happen), took an amazing writing course and got to know how beautiful Ireland is. Still, I was happy to go back to Spain. It turns out that bad weather influences my mood more than I thought it did; I feel like I was made for the Mediterranean, and I don’t think I’ll miss Dublin much.
2 comentarios en “The Pros and Cons of Living in Dublin”
Loved the article. I look forward to future writings.
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Thank you, Alan!
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