Five Things I Love About Dublin Ireland

Well, last week’s post seemed to stir up a bit of interest on all sides of the issues, not least of which was my use of the word “hate”.  Many of the people who left comments felt that after living in Dublin for only a month, hate was too strong a word for me to use with any credibility.  Now it strikes me as very odd that the validity of an emotional response would, could, should, or ought to be measured on a calendar.  Regardless, I’m curious to see if I get any sincere comments taking me to task for using the word “love” in this week’s title.  To anyone thinking along those lines, let me just say that I tried out “Five Things About Dublin Ireland That Make Me Excessively Ecstatic”.

Number Five: The Weather

When I tell most Dubliners that I love the weather here, they look at me as if to say, “We really should stop giving visas to the insane”.  But I have both personal and objective reasons for loving the weather in Ireland.

First of all, even in the dog days of summer, temperatures in Ireland are generally pretty mild.  It may rain almost daily, and is usually cloudy for at least part of every day.  But partly cloudy means it’s partly sunny, and often that’s just enough to dry things off without making them hot.

Secondly, when it does rain, it hasn’t been (so far) the frog strangling, sewer-flooding cloudbursts I experienced while living in Florida, or the thunder and lightning laden tornadic micro-apocalypses from my time in the American Midwest. The rain in Dublin (again, so far) has been pretty mild, and the wind has been steady and cooling.   Perceived humidity (thanks to low temperatures, and regular breezes) is often non-existent.

But the main reason that I love Irish weather is that it is largely responsible for the lush clean, green environment.

Number Four: The Environment

One of the first things I noticed about life in Ireland is just how green, lush, and alive the whole country seems to be.  Even in downtown Dublin, which by rights ought to be choked with smog, the air (even on cloudy days) looks, smells, and tastes remarkably clear.  In the “hot months” of summer, the grass is still green and things continue to bloom.

I know this is not unique to Ireland.  I’ve experienced this vibrant lush life in other places, such as Seattle, Maine, and Galician Spain.  But this makes my list of things I love about Dublin and Ireland because I think it’s largely responsible for the good feelings that people (visitors and locals alike) carry with them once they’ve spent time here.

In our over stimulated world, with too many cars, gadgets, and billboards, it’s hard not to feel really good about a place that, on balance, just looks nice, and affords you the opportunity to breathe clean air.  You cannot help but feel good when you live somewhere that daily forces you to simply stop for a moment, take a look around, and marvel at the world around you.  Living in such a place changes everything.

Number Three: Sense of History

From the Neolithic Age through the Celtic Tiger experience, Ireland has been a crossroads of conquest.  Vikings, Normans, Celts, Google executives, and others have all plundered, pillaged, and left their legacy in the form of stone walls, castles, battlements, abbeys, crypts, bridges, illuminated manuscripts, and glass/chrome office towers all across the Republic of Ireland.  Yet through it all, Ireland has fought for, and now maintains, its independence, having fashioned a proud, distinctly Irish identity for itself.

And, while there are many who would relegate Ireland’s past to history books alone, one cannot walk through Dublin, or Waterford, or Knowth/New Grange and not realize how important Ireland’s past is to its present sense of identity.  It’s clear to anyone (who more than just passes through) that living in Ireland means living with Ireland’s past.  In ways both big and small, history has worked its way into the very fabric of daily life in Ireland.

Number Two: Cultural, Social, and Political Awareness

In general, most of the locals I’ve met while living in Ireland seem to have a fairly high level of social and political awareness.  Irish society seems to be fairly engaged and aware of current issues of national policy and politics.  And, above all else, the Irish seem to have thought about how these issues will affect not just them, but others, and, down the line, the country as a whole.

I’ve heard that Ireland has an extremely high per capita rate of newspaper readership. But it should come as no surprise that the country that brought us Beckett, Joyce, Wilde, Synge, and Shaw should be a nation engaged, enraged, and moved to action by the written word.  It’s part of their heritage.

That said, what surprises me most about the Irish social consciousness is the effect that this level of awareness has on me.  Because the Irish are so engaged, I’m called to know more.  A high level of engagement is obviously important to the Irish.  Why? On a day-to-day basis, what does it do for them? What are the issues that move them?  Their awareness gives me even more of a reason to chat with people, and to meet my new neighbors on a somewhat deeper level than just ubiquitous weather chat.

Number One: Laid Back & Easy Going Attitude

Maddening as it can be, one of the best things about Ireland is the laid back easygoing nature of the Irish. I still contend that on a moment-to-moment basis many people in Ireland are content to do their best at a job, but aren’t compelled to perpetually push things to the next level of excellence. But I also see the value of living in a culture where you aren’t seen as weak if your singular focus is not being the next Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, or J.K. Rowling.

It’s all well and good to strive to better yourself, but there is a balance to be struck between doing your level best and manic self-improvement solely for the sake of outdistancing your real or perceived competition.  A great deal of personal energy is preserved when you stop worrying so much about having to be on top.

Things to look forward to in upcoming posts:

  • A Brief History of Immigration

The Logistics of International Moving

About Glenn Kaufmann

I'm an American freelance writer, photographer, and web publisher. I specialize in writing about travel, food, arts, and culture. I also write dramatic scripts for stage and screen. I'm based in Ireland.
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28 Responses to Five Things I Love About Dublin Ireland

  1. memaymamo says:

    Nice read, thanks.
    I look forward to your insights on their drinking habits…

  2. Pekin Ogan says:

    Well done Lad!! Made me want to move to Ireland!! And if the Tea Bag Party dominates in the US of A any more we may do just that!!

  3. Susan says:

    Most excellent. Sounds like a place I would love to live if my circumstances were different. I’d love the soft rainy weather, and the easy going, yet socially award folks. Hopefully, we’ll be there for a visit sometime in the next few years.

  4. Laura Chaskes says:

    I “loved” reading about why you love living in Ireland. In fact, I enjoy reading everything you write! I look forward to the next posts.

  5. Rosie says:

    Hi Glenn, great read. Thanks for the insight. I am looking forward to meeting you and seeing Kalpana in a little more than a week.

    • Rosie says:

      Hi Glen, I inadvertently supplied both my first and last name. Will you please remove my last name here and just keep it to my first name? Thanks. I enjoy reading your blogs and the replies. They help me get a grasp of life in Dublin.

  6. J.J says:

    I’m Irish and I don’t think you should apologise for your ‘hate’ ireland post. I work in an organisation where the majority of staff are foreign, their complaints include: everything is expensive, the weather is terrible, the public transport is below par and the other day someone complained about the two taps situation. So these are normal complaints, carry on! I think you are right though the air quality, it is good compared with other European capitals and we are justified in being proud of our literary history. It is curious that people don’t protest here to the same extent as people from other capitals, we have a lot to be angry about. There is a certain malaise of spirit that seems to prevade, Joyce called it ‘paralysis’.

  7. lunamarina says:

    I guess love doesn’t get the same attention than hate. Strong words my friend. But, nice list. I can wait how it will change as years go by. Although your last post sounded more like your 5 top pet peeve than 5 things you hate, but hey pet peeves don’t have the same ring that hate for a posting.

    In any case, I really hope that in the near future I can visit Kalpana and you and enjoy all the good things that Dublin offer.

    A small request for a future blog posting… an investigative report on beers in Ireland. I always wanted to know what else is out there besides Guinness, Harp, Kilkenny, etc…

    Take care! and keep writing!
    Marisol

  8. Fenster says:

    The fact that what you hate and love the most about Ireland is essentially the same thing means you are making great strides towards uncovering the essence of the Irish mindset.

  9. Nuala says:

    Great blog – I moved to the us from dublin in the early 80’s. Lived in beautiful colorado for 30 yrs and moved back to dublin eactly 1 year ago. Love your perspectives ..I say the rythm is quite similar to Mexico. Now cat litter?? Really.. those 4 legged animals should be doing their business outside anyway… I too love the political awareness of the average man,w oman,child and especially the elders. Some people say ” your such an american – you always have things planned, your always doing something” I love it – there is always something to do or not. I drive people crazy because I’m such an optimist. It’s always a great day rain or shine. and yes the partly sunny day often happens in the morning.. he he which I often get to myself ., I’m writing this from Keystone colorado on my first visit back since I left. How lucky am I. Can’t wait to get back…Keep on writing.

  10. Gareth says:

    Very good post particularly the observation about our level of engagement -it’s something that you only recognise when you have been abroad and realise that not everybody spends their life endlessly talking about current affairs. Glad you like the weather too but be warned that winter has become much harsher in the past few years. The air is clean in Dublin, by the way, because we banned non-smokeless fuels in the late 80s – the smog wasn’t great up to then.

    You had some valid points in your last post – I may never forgive you for slagging off the sausages though!

  11. Emily says:

    HA! I just moved back to the USA from living in Ireland 3 years and all I can say is thank goodness for the rain because what ELSE could wash away the vomit in the streets from the previous night of drinking? Too much sun or dry weather would leave a big hot stink in the city :P!

    • Emily,

      Thanks for reading, and for taking the time to comment.

      I’ve not seen the vomit, but avoiding drunken idiots was one reason why we chose to live further out( not far from Milltown). As for dodging street stains, I have found Dublin fairly clean overall (as big cities go). That said, the signage proclaiming massive fines for not cleaning up after your dog are a joke. I guess the Irish contentment with “ballpark” rule of law (like traffic laws, taxes, and finance) extends to dog poo everywhere, and public drunkenness in the tourist placation zones.

  12. JoeBW91 says:

    Hey!

    I realise I’m a bit late to this, but I just came across your post and it’s a really great response to Dublin. Your partner piece is definitely fair (though in my experience mixer taps are now the norm in modern buildings… also, my experience of American sausage has been really poor. I think you need to find a good butcher in Dublin for good sausage, the out-of-the-pack varieties are substandard for sure). Can’t stand Dublin Bus personally… it’s very comprehensive but the service is deeply confusing. We need more trams for sure. As European cities go it’s not great, but it is also very much a big town in size and personality.

    On to the good! I think you really ‘get’ what Dublin is about and what Ireland is about. So many Americans come and treat Ireland like Disneyland, and are then surprised when they can’t connect. The weather really is beautiful, and it’s also what gives the city its clean air. The prevailing winds come from the Wicklow mountains, which soak up the moisture, meaning Dublin is in a ‘dry’ microclimate that makes it one of the least rainy cities in Europe, surprisingly. The temperatures are mild year-round, but being pressed between the mountains and the bay makes the weather very changeable, but never extreme or disagreeable. It’s moderated in the same way as San Francisco, by the hills and the bay.

    Irish people are hardworking and earnest, but work is a means to an end. We don’t live for our careers… the value people put on what they do as defining who they are in North America is completely foreign to me.

    Great blog!

  13. Stephen says:

    On history and conquerors: I used to be pretty enthusiastic about Irish history and even mythology. My non-expert deduction was that the conquering waves that were eventually repelled were still defeated by Ireland in a sense, as they fell in love with the country and people and were integrated into the society, leaving their own mark, of course. I’m sure most would consider that a naive view of things.

  14. Pingback: Love/Hate… | The New Dubliner

  15. gail moon says:

    I am enjoying reading your blog Traveling with family in 29 days to Ireland. We have been planning the trip for almost a year. Looking for some out of the way places. Any suggestions?

    • Gail,

      thansk for reading, and welcome to Ireland.

      There are too many secret gems to mention, but…

      If you head to the Cliffs of Moher, be sure to check out Doolin, the little town just up the road.

      Also, in Dublin, go see the Chester Beatty Library (museum). It’s one of the real “secret” gems of Dublin.

      See some theatre in Dublin ( Go to The Abbey, or Project Arts Center. You should be here during one of the theatre festivals. Dublin in Sept. is a big arts festival month.

      HOpe that helps.

  16. Tonia says:

    I have really enjoyed your blogs. I will be traveling to Ireland in 15 days with a group of girls, we are working on getting tour Master’s in Social Work. We will be there 19 days and working with youth. I found your “5 things I hate about Dublin” while I was looking for information on grocery stores in Ireland. Maybe you can help me out, I was hoping to find some information on what US products do they carry? Or should I pack all of those things I feel I may need-laundry detergent, soap, shampoos, toilet paper? We will be staying with host families so I will not have the luxury of a hotel but I don’t want to put them out if I forget something and I cannot purchase it there.
    I’ve also heard that the food is bland. Do they have pizza or Mexican restaurants? Should I pack some season-all just for safe measure?
    Finally, my last request would be a gift for the host family….what would be desired or needed, or would be a welcome surprise. I live in Ky. and work in the city known as the Bourbon Capital but bringing Bourbon would be a little cliche’ since I do not know if my host family would even drink or could have demons from past experience. I am open to suggestions. I’m not bringing my cat so that’s good since the litter is not up to our standards! HaHa. Just joking, she’s staying home to keep an eye on my husband! THANK YOU! Tonia

    • Hi Tonia,

      There is good pizza here. The Mexican food, however is kind of uninspired. And, yes, I find the food a bit bland, so, if you like spice you better bring some heat with you.

      s for OTC drugs. They’re pretty good. Ibuprofen as you know it may be hard to find, but they have this stuff called Nurofen that is stronger and works much the same way.

      Also, for allerigies, Claritin goes by a different spelling here, but works the same. They also have Zirtek.

      And you’ll fine soap, shampoo, etc. here. Don’t worry about bringing them. That’s actually part of the fun of living in a new country.

      As for gifts, bourbon might be a bit forward, but if you can think of some other Kentucky craft that offers your hosts a slice of your life back home, that would be appreciated., I’m sure.

      Enjoy your stay, and thanks for reading the blog, and taking the time to comment.

      -GK

  17. Tonia says:

    More questions-Do you have allergies as bad over there as in the states (if you suffered from allergies) Spring is rough on me and from the sound of their weather it is like spring in Ky.-all of the time. Are there any over the counter medications that you cannot get there that would be beneficial to bring?

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