Top Eight Things Your Mother Never Warned You About Living in Dublin
Magical, quirky and enchanting; yes, indeed, Dublin City lives up to these descriptions and often surpasses a visitor’s most romantic expectations. There are infinitely more fabulous things about living in Dublin than there are downsides, quite honestly. But you’re better off not wearing rose-coloured glasses, anywhere you happen to move to, and Ireland’s capital is no exception. Learn what to expect, so you’re better able to avoid wasting your time and energy attempting to do something no sensible Dubliner would ever dream of doing.
So, unless your dear mum hails from Dublin and has already given you the low-down, here are mammy’s top ten things to look out for in Dublin.
1. Public transportation is akin to manoeuvring a battlefield of strife and challenge that begins with an aerial attack. The city seagulls have a sort of bomb dropping sport they practice at bus stops where they congregate with their brothers in arms, the pigeons. These street-smart birds are as tough as the wizened old Vikings who founded the city. It’s said that having a bird dropping fall on you brings you luck, but it’s hardly the way anyone wants to start their workday commute!
2. Another one of Dublin transportation’s charms is the concept of “arriving precisely as scheduled.” Use your public transportation timetables as an estimation of when the train, tram or double-decker bus might, or might not, turn up. Expect crowds of people merrily scoffing down all sorts of food in the throngs of your fellow passengers. The city of 3 million people includes loads of commuters who are dashing to the customer service hub jobs that have sprung up in the last five years. Busy commuters use their travel time to catch a meal, so don’t be surprised when the person sitting next to you on your commute tucks into a curry.
3. Don’t think you can live without an umbrella and good walking shoes if you’re planning to own a car in the city. Parking spaces are a luxury item, and priced accordingly. They will cost you a pretty penny and they won’t be located near the place you’d like to go, so if you’re planning to drive, prepare to walk.
4. Motor heads of all skill levels can’t hope to prepare themselves for Dublin’s traffic on match days. Don’t try driving to the match, mate. Just don’t, because you’re going to have to calculate your starting off time by adding extra journey time to accommodate the high probability of a marathon. And, don’t forget that roads are inevitably going to be closed for protestors marching. Also, allow extra time for the inevitable bus strike. Enjoy the match when you eventually arrive and expect plenty of traffic on the drive home!
5. No matter what you do for a living and how long your workdays are, your friends back home are prone to thinking every day in Ireland is St. Patrick’s Day. Your day began with a bird bomb and you’re still slaving away into the evening, but they imagine you spend your day in pub, lifting a Guinness, singing Oh Danny Boy. Although, if you do pop into a city centre pub, it’s more likely you’ll happen upon a unicorn than an empty seat. The notion of a bar stool on any given night is mythical, so plan to stand if you’d like to raise the occasional pint in Dublin.
6. Tourists in their hordes make Dublin their destination just so that they can suddenly stop walking in front of you and unfold a massive map. If you’re running late for the bus, which might with luck be running late too, you’re destined to meet a tourist who asks you for directions. They feel the best way that you can help them is if they walk very slowly in front of you so that they can be sure not to see you pointing out the direction they should go towards.
7. Beware of Dublin City bikes which are often ridden by nervous tourists who are bound to be a bit lost after having a pint. Making bicycles easily accessible to all is a marvelous thing, in theory. In practice, it means that there are plenty of people on bikes who have no business being on them in the city, in all sorts of slick and dangerous weather. Do not assume that every bike rider knows how the brakes or bells work and you’re less likely to meet a bike rider “by accident”.
8. Expect eye-watering rental rates when you’re looking for a flat in the City. London rental prices, to be fair, are over 25% more dear than Dublin, but that doesn’t mean you can get by on much less money than you’d need in London. Also, expect the sizes of a flat to be miniscule, because they tend to resemble a berth on a sailboat more than a studio. One recently available rental that will be soon snatched up rents for €725. It’s a narrow room with a built in single bed, a gallery kitchen, a fold down table and a small lavatory, that could accommodate only one (slim) renter. Since you’re spending euros in the Republic of Ireland, don’t make the expensive mistake of not getting a great currency company to move your money from the UK to Ireland.