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10 reasons why Dublin is a great place to live

7 September 2013

So Leanne and I are coming up to our first anniversary in Dublin (September 24th) so it felt appropriate to write a short post on why Dublin is such a great place to come and live. The media often talks about why so many people have left Ireland in the last 5 years that it can be easy to forget that the Emerald Isle, the land of Saints & Scholars, is still very much a great place to live, not least in its capital.

Dublin is a great place to live because of…

(1) The History 

Trinity College Dublin1-studycoDublin has so much history embedded into the very structure of the city that as you walk around you are regularly captivated by a building or a statue that links back to a key moment in Irish history. There are the Guinness & Jameson distilleries, the bullet holes in the General Post Office (not England’s finest moment!!), Trinity College, the Book of Kells, the Chester Beattie Library, not to mention places slightly further afield like Newgrange or Glendalough – places that take you back centuries, even millennia, to great and important moments in history.

(2) The Sea

One of the reasons Leanne and I and the kids love the city is because whenever it is a hot sunny day we are able to drive for 20 minutes to an hour and find a number of beautiful beaches. B8gtM1-9gADYLrx569YjiEBvOPD3A5fIibovQy5FJddtPXBpZSZlPTQwMHgzMDA=Just this week I was diving into the sea from the rocks of Sandycove and back in July we enjoyed the beauty of Silver Strand and Brittas Bay as well as other local beaches. What is so nice is that these places are totally unspoilt by mass tourism because the weather is not consistently nice enough for them to become tourist hubs all year round or even every year (but this summer has been the hottest and nicest summer in years…hallelujah!). Without exaggeration I can say that a hot sunny day on a beach in Wicklow rivals the beaches I have visited in Hawaii (and on the west coast of Ireland you even get the enormous waves as well – Mayo is the surfing capital of Europe). It has been my joy to cycle up and down the beach road every day to work this year.

(3) The GAA

The Irish love their sport! They love their rugby and as an island of just over 6 million they punch well above their weight with 4 high level provincial teams and a great national team. They love their soccer (and especially The English Premiership). croke-parkBut as I experienced last week when I went to Croke Park for the All Ireland Semi Final (Dublin vs Kerry – touted as maybe the greatest match of all time), I came to understand how much Ireland love their GAA and especially Gaelic Football, known here just as ‘football’. GAA stands for Gaelic Athletic Association and covers Football, Hurling and Camogie. As far as live sporting occasions go it was about as good as I have ever been to. 80 000+ packed into Croke Park (with Hill 16, another famous historical sight…again another reminder of some of England’s unpleasant history) to watch a game that is action-action-action, high scoring, physically demanding, very skilful and full of passion. I saw the Irish in all their zeal and the Dubs win in the most dramatic of finishes. What was particularly fitting was that that morning I had been playing for my local football team, Kilmacud Crokes, in Phoenix Park (another great location in Dublin, full of history) and had seen a similar standard of football being played…not!! But in all seriousness I have loved learning a new sport and all the craic that goes with it. #EnglishmanPlayingGAA

(4) The Wicklow Mountains

Nguinness-lake-in-wicklow-mountains-ireland-semmick-photoot only has Dublin got great beaches to choose from, it also has great mountains – both the Dublin mountains (which I can see from my house) and the Wicklow mountains. I have yet to explore these great places by bike or foot (my biggest regret from my first year) but I enjoy the sights and know they will provide many adventures in the future. Dublin is a city surrounded by beauty from both the seas and the mountains.

(5) The Google effect

This point could have been called “Dublin is great to live in because of the Low Corporation Tax” and you have probably seen a few scandals in the papers in the last few months about that. montevetroBut the bottom line is Dublin has attracted ALL the coolest hi-tech companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce and further afield companies like Apple and Pay-Pal. Dublin is the hi-tech capital of Europe and still growing with all the new start-ups joining in. These companies are not only transforming the world we live in by changing the way we shop, communicate and learn, they are also transforming the workplace itself, bringing in a culture of fun and innovation, free food and beer, flexible working hours and excellent perks. I have had the privilege of working for Oracle for the past 9 months and am looking forward to starting with HubSpot this Monday (an American start-up that has just arrived in Dublin to establish its European and International HQ). The city’s IFSC (International Financial Services Centre) and Docklands area is buzzing with an international young workforce and is an exciting place to be.

(6) The Guinness

l_411aI know it is a cliché but Guinness in Ireland genuinely tastes better than Guinness anywhere else in the world. Nuff said!!

(7) The Irish

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, the Irish really are the friendliest people I have ever met. Leanne and I have only been here a year but feel very settled and are developing a growing circle of friends and a widening community.

(8) The Size

Dublin has all the benefits of a capital – great history, a world class music venue, two major sporting stadiums (Croke Park and Aviva_Stadium_by_Nightthe Aviva Stadium which, by the way, is a beautiful piece of art!), a great night life, some touristy stuff, universities, theatres, the government houses, the business and financial HQs and everything else you find in a capital BUT it is all within touching distance and the countryside is never that far away. This ‘small capital’ feel is great.

(9) The Zoo

Every child needs a zoo in their life to be truly happy…well it’s a bonus at least. But having annual membership so that each week you can go and visit lions and tigers and elephants and giraffes is fantastic. Plus it’s a really nice zoo.

(10) The New Culture

Dublin has seen seismic cultural changes in the last 15-20 years which makes it a very interesting place to live. Christmas-on-Grafton-street-851-390x285Firstly mass attendance has declined rapidly and the 18-35 year old generation have, by and large, fallen out with the Catholic Church. The city saw a huge boom between 2000-2008 and then a major financial crash, which it is slowly recovering from. Thousands of new migrants have come into the city (the second largest population group are Polish with around 120 000 residents in Ireland) and then there was been a massive exodus of both Irish and other nationalities in the last few years. All of that has led to an increasingly secular and cosmopolitan culture within the city which is searching for a new identity. This makes Dublin an exciting place to live because the new cultural identity has yet to be defined.

So there you have it, 10 reasons why Dublin is a great place to live. I am sure there are many more. If I have missed anything then please do jot it down.

Here is to year 2!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. permalink
    8 September 2013 5:09 pm

    Glad to read you are settled and enjoying Dublin. (Don’t sense you miss Leeds!). Congrats on new HubSpot job. Trust all goes well.

    Very Interesting about the sociocultural shifts taking place with emerging adults dropping out of church and immigrants coming in to town and church. Thanks for sharing this.

    This trend of young adult religious disaffiliation is called the “rise of the nones” in US. That is, nearly 20% of people have reported no religious affiliation. Of these 70% are young people.

    As you know, this does not mean there is a lack of religious interest among the ‘nones.’ Seems that the political focus of conservative and liberal churches has had a very negative impact on young people. How do we connect with disaffiliated?

    Keeping the main thing the main thing is the main thing.

    Blessings, Michael

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Caroline permalink
    9 September 2013 8:25 pm

    Hi Steve, good summary of great things about Dublin! I’m not sure if I’d include the Zoo in my top ten but otherwise I’m pretty much with you. Especially having so much in the surrounding environment – sea, mountains, urban development and countryside all within a short drive/bus ride.

    I have some extras in the blog post I wrote after being here six months –

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