Archives for posts with tag: Dublin

I had occasion to go to Dublin for a lunch networking meeting the other day, which was nice. I was due to meet at 12 across town and the train got in around that time so I jumped in a cab.

We flew through the city, since cabs can use bus lanes and there’s plenty of them in Dublin. We got there in about 15 minutes, 12 bucks very well spent. Sometimes traffic can be snarled in Dublin, even for cabs, but at 12 noon it was surprisingly light.

After a very pleasant meeting I realised that I only had 40 minutes to get to my train. I was going to jump in another cab when a colleague mentioned that thanks to the newish LUAS extension I could now get to the station in the west of the city. I walked ten minutes to the LUAS stop and figured out my route and my fare. I got in a LUAS train in south central Dublin, went 3 stops to north central Dublin and then walked 5 minutes to another LUAS stop, which wasn’t the closest but I wanted to keep moving in the right direction.

I got on the second LUAS train at 16 minutes past the hour, and 4 stops later it deposited my at the intercity train station, at 25 minutes past the hour, giving me more than enough time to get my train at half past.

A great, fast, efficient service, at least from my experience of one data point. And all for the pauper’s sum of €2.10. A city which has a cheap, fast and efficient public transport system is a global city, in my view.

 

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As I write this post it’s 10 years to the week since the great financial crash of 2008, followed by years of turmoil and hardship, certainly in Ireland at any rate, before the provinces – by which I mean, in the English sense, the areas outside of the capital – started to recover, slowly and not so surely.

Not so Dublin, which probably recovered 5 years ago and is once again in the throes of a giddy period of boom. I’ve blogged before about the amount of construction going on in the city. The hotels are full – and I don’t mean some of them, I mean the city’s hotel capacity is maxed out – during the summer; you can’t get a room for anything reasonable. The roads are gorged with traffic all year round. You can’t get anywhere quickly, except by a fast walking.

I’m regularly in Dublin, but on my last visit I couldn’t help but marvel at the divide between the capital and the provinces, some of which are only just getting back on their feet. After fighting through town in a taxi – yes, even the bus lane was a car park – to make my train, I saw that, as usual, the train for Galway was departing from the group of 3 platforms that are two hundred-plus yardss further than the rest of the platforms. Not only that, but the train sits beyond an empty redundant train at the very top of the platform, a hundred and fifty yards further.

It brought it home to me, as provincial people in any country probably feel, that there’s Dublin, and then there’s outside Dublin, which doesn’t really matter much.

Dublin is booming at the moment. Over the last 20 years or so that I’ve lived in Ireland, I’ve noticed a genuine boom-bust flow to the economy here, which makes it very difficult to plan for the long term, as any government will tell you.

In the mid-to-late 90’s the tech industry in Ireland exploded. By the end of 2001, and the introduction of the Euro at the beginning of 2o02, the dot com bubble had burst and the country was in recession. By the mid-noughties, it was flying again. Then came the tumultuous global meltdown of September 2008 and we were all sent to the brink, our pension funds destroyed. Construction, which had formed 25% of GDP, stopped overnight.

Dublin rebounded more quickly than the provinces, and now it’s booming again. I was waiting for a meeting to start on the 3rd floor of an office on the north quays recently, overlooking the river Liffey and the south side. Out of this narrow window I could see 9 cranes. 9 cranes within my view is a sure indication of a booming city economy.

I wish some of this productivity and boomingness was a bit more equally divided across the country, which is not doing anywhere near as well as the capital. Dublin is full. It’s roads are full, its hotels are full, it’s hard to get around. Not so in the provinces. The prosperity, tech hubs and inward investments are starting to flow to the regions, slowly but surely.

But, for now, Dublin is top dog. It’s booming, at least until the next bust…