We’ve been here for 5 days, experiencing the Celtic Tiger, Irish weather, Irish hospitality, Irish food, and the usual travelers’ dilemnas: what to see, how to get there, when to eat.
At €8.65 ($12) per hour, the minimum wage reflects the high cost of living here. We are having the enlightening experience of spending our weak dollars. Frequently. The economy here is growing at 7.5% (Irish Times, 7/4), there’s big gov’t spending on “development” (read:roads & construction), and a €500 million deficit. Booming, some would say. Over-priced say others, especially land. Land values are higher than in England, well, around Dublin anyways, where very fertile land is being converted into industrial parks and housing. Think Rte 128, or suburban Bay Area. Go, progress!
What we see: people on the go-Dubliners book down and across streeets (you get about 5 seconds to make it safely); they queue up for coffee and scones before work. Near our hotel, there are 6 or 7 cafe coffee shops vying for customers. Each stocks baked goods, sandwiches, juices and water. There are so many of these in the city, many of them chains, that I wonder if they are not subsidised in some way (tax breaks or loans). No long, drawn-out lunches for most: eating on the go, or a taking a bag to work.
Rain. Well, it’s Ireland, after all, we said. It turns out it’s been six weeks of April weather in July. Each day has periods of dry, however, so it’s not too bad. Besides, it could be worse (England), and we haven’t had much rain in California, so it is good to see. And everything is Emerald-Isle green, to fit stereotype. Like I’ve said, Global Warming sure is pretty-okay, around here, anyways.
Centuries-old Celtic tradition, now in the hands of Italians, Russians, Eastern Europeans.
The family has waited patiently-it’s time to go to Cork by train.
Some flickr photos