St.Paddy´s Day in Dublin 2007
Dublin Travel Blog› entry 10 of 17 › view all entries
That was St.Patrick´s Day! For me the first time that I didn´t celebrate it in an Irish Pub in Germany but in Dublin itself.
Straight ahead I admit, that I am a loser! I didn´t drink one sip of alcohol that whole day. But more to that later.
Das war St.Patrick´s Day! Für mich das erste mal, daß ich es nicht in einem Irish Pub in Deutschland, sondern in Dublin selbst gefeiert habe.
Gleich vorneweg muss ich zu meiner Schande gestehen, daß ich nicht einen Tropfen Alkohol zu mir genommen hatte. Aber mehr dazu später.
At 12.30 I met Anna and Rainer from work at Christchurch to watch the parade.
We had quite a nice spot actually.
Um 12.30 traf ich Anna und Rainer von der Arbeit an der Christchurch, um die Parade zu sehen.
Wir hatten einen netten Platz erwischt.
Es war ziemlich kalt, aber der Regen hielt sich in Grenzen. Die Parade ging los und ich meine, der Sinn war es, die Geschichte von St.Patrick darzustellen, wie er von den Piraten entführt worden ist und in Irland als Sklave arbeiten musste, dann entfloh und als Priester zurückkam, um den Kelten ihre Mythen und Legenden zu nehmen und zum langweiligen Christentum zu konvertieren (Irland ist das einzige Land, das sich ohne Blutvergiessen hat konvertieren lassen).
Keine Ahnung, was die Bayern hier zu suchen hatten. Aber wenn dies eine Representation Deutschlands sein sollte, WARUM müssen es dann immer bayerische Lederhosen und Blasmusik sein? *seufz*
And then the masses flooded into the cit center and into the pubs.
Und im Prinzip war es das dann auch...noch ein paar bunt gekleidete Leute und eine Käfer und Motorrad Parade und dann war es vorbei. Sehr kurz und sehr unspektakulär.
Und dann strömten die Massen ins Stadtzentrum und in die Pubs.
And it started raining now anyway.
Die Münze hatte entschieden gehabt, da ich mich maßlos betrinke, und somit suchten wir unseren Stamm-Pub auf. Aber hier waren alle Tische und Stühle rausgenommen, um Platz für die Trinker zu machen, und so sah es auch in allen anderen Läden aus. Kein Platz zum Sitzen und noch nicht mal zum Stehen. Wir beschlossen, uns noch etwas die O´Connell Street anzusehen und bei dem Anblick des Mülls und den Anfängen von Aggressionen der Betrunkenen war es klar, daß wir eigentlich lieber nach Hause gehen würden.
Next year I want to see the "real" big parade in New York City!
Anyone with me?
Nächstes Jahr will ich die "richtige" große Parade in New York City sehen!
Kommt jemand mit?
On Sunday I had so say good bye to my best
friend and ex-guitarist Sandmann. He will leave Dublin again and go
back to Germany - for now.
We took this as a good excuse to have a nice lunch out.
The place we chose was in Dublin´s "China Town" in Parnell Street. Please don´t ask me what it was called. Everything is in Chinese. I had been there before with my Chinese housemate Lin, so I only found it again, by peering into the windows until I recognised the place.
Lin had given me a note written in Chinese, so I could easily tell the waiter, what I wanted, and Sandmann took the same.
The food had been marvelous, when I was here the last time and so it was this time.
It might look a bit strange on the photos, but it was a fantastic meal, I promise!
Always, when I eat Asian food, I insist on eating with chopsticks, so I learned it many years ago and I am proud, that I can do it... oh, and the fork in the picture was just there. I didn´t use it! Honestly!
And of course, Sandmann used the chopsticks, too and did well.
Chinese beer isn´t too bad either.
Sandmann, again: thank you so much for your help when I came here to Dublin. I would have been lost without you and your wonderful family!
See you at a different spot on this planet soon!
OK, here's something on the Dublin Bus company and system, about which I wanted to tell you a little.
Dublin in itself is equipped with a truly bad public transport system, which can't cope with the mass of people living in this city now (after the start of this economic phenomenon).
There are the trains, there are the Dart trains and there is a quite new invention, called the Luas, which is basically a tram. This tram "system" consists of two lines, which aren't connected with each other. On the Dublin map, they just seem like two coincidentally drawn lines by a drunk city planner.
I've heard rumours about a subway system, that is about to be built. I wouldn't call it fear, but I have to put out my concerns about a project that involves digging holes beneath the city. Don't think I'm cheeky, but we have a recent example, that building tunnels isn't the best talent of the Dubliners.
Just a few weeks ago a tunnel was opened, which is supposed to lead heavy traffic from the harbour to somewhere and avoid the city centre. In that moment it was opened, the critics exploded in the media. People living above the tunnel complained about holes in the walls caused by vibrations from construction works and they feared more will happen with traffic passing through it.
The space the trucks will have to change lanes after the tunnel before crossing a five-lane road is one kilometre, which can't be possibly enough for many dozens of these.
So, what happened was, that there weren't many trucks going through in the first days. And the chaos stayed the same in the city. Now trucks seem to be using it, but the normal traffic is denied and complaints are made about "our taxes" - "our tunnel"...bla
Anyway, the thing I want to tell you about is DublinBus, the company that "serves the entire community" and brings us mainly blue and yellow double-decker buses.
My doubts about this company rose already on the first day I spent in the city centre trying to find my way around.
I had a ticket for 5 days, which was pretty handy, but not knowing, where things were in this city, I felt lost and helpless, when I was told, that Dublin had run out of bus maps. And even more frustrating was the fact, that it will probably take a few weeks (!) to print new ones.
So, I had to buy an expensive city map in a book store with the bus lines in it. So far I haven't seen any of those ominous bus maps, but to be honest, I haven't asked again.
The bus network is quite ok, and many routes have an extra bus lane, which makes a lot of speed, when the normal traffic stuck again.
But because of the bad condition of many roads and a lack of buses, your journey from A to B can take ages. Just two week ago another 100 buses joined the fleet and Dublin sighed in relief...or not?!
Another disadvantage is, that for many trips, you need to change buses in the city centre. Doing this in rush hours, can cause nervous break-downs.
In my first working week I needed to go from North-West Dublin to North-East Dublin (noting that Dublin is not a very big city), and it took me 90 minutes every morning and 90 minutes every afternoon, with a walk of about a mile between the different bus lines. When I was unlucky, one journey took me two hours.
Now that I found a flat close to work, I only need 20 minutes.
The process of taking the bus is a funny one and you might find it peculiar, if you haven't done this yet. But I promise, it's true (Enjoy your trip!):
1. Find your correct bus stop on the right side of the road (many stops don't indicate, which buses stop there, and if there are signs, don't trust them)
2. Find out, when the next bus comes or just leave it (the plans on those roly-poly plastic thingies are generally torn down or painted over by school kids or simply not existing, and if you find an intact one, it will show you the time, when the bus leaves the start point and not when it will probably stop, where you are standing...so just check in which intervals the buses go, which doesn't necessarily mean, that it is going to happen that way...)
3. Wait (after5-6 of the odd "out of services" buses, which are only making their rounds to annoy you, there will eventually a bus appear, or three in a row)
4. Hold your hand out to signalise that you would like to join the ride (if you don't, the bus might just drive by)
5. Choose, if you want to pay your trip in cash or with a card:
a) cash payment on a Dublin Bus means to have the exact fare in your hand and tell the bus driver how much it is you want to pay. Then you throw the coins in a little opening to a big red box, the bus driver gives it a short look and assumes you threw in the right amount. Then he will give you your ticket. If you gave too much money, you will either be unlucky and have lost it, or the bus driver will be so kind to give you a "refund ticket". These tickets you can take to the Dublin Bus main office on O'Connell Street and exchange them into cash.
b) card payment is much more handy. You purchase the cards in advance either in many shops in the city or online (which is very practical, because they are sent to you for free). On the bus, you stick them in a little electronic machine that most of the time makes a satisfying "beep" , prints some details on the card and spits it out again. Very often, the machine doesn't like the card and makes a loud alarm noise. You have to show the card to the driver then who in most cases just nods and waves you through. Or he takes the card and makes a hole in it with his key or any other sharp object to indicate that it has been used already.
6. Take a leaflet out of the box with the sticker "Take a leaflet" - you will get the joke, when you will try to, because there never ever ARE leaflets in that box.
7. Look for a free seat. On entering the bus, you will find seats on your left and right, that look as if they were made for very oversized people, but actually they are there for two people who can get cosy and rub their bodies on each other. If you choose a seat "in the upper saloon" and are ready for an adventure, go for the first row. You will have a nice view on all the holes in the road ahead of you and you will see branches straight away, that will hit the top of the bus with a loud BANG. (so the shock will be less intense)
8. Join your own DublinBus Lottery. Look around for tickets on the floor or sticking at the seats around you. If you find some with "refund" written on it, collect them. You might make a fortune!
9. Leave the upper saloon without falling down the stairs and break your neck.
10. Dispose your used ticket in the little bin on your way out and watch how it falls out through a hole in the bottom onto the floor
11. Pass the bus driver and shout "Thank you!"
Just some more facts about DublinBus and then I finish this essay.
- In the 3 months I am living here three buses I took broke down.
- If there are doors in the back of the bus, it doesn't mean that you can use them
- never ask a bus driver to tell you, when to get off, in 80% of all cases, you will end up in Neverland
- don't take photos on the bus, the company doesn't seem to like it
- apparently DublinBus raises the fares secretly and then the drivers shout at the passengers, that they should know that the prices changed, before hanging up information about his two weeks later
- my theory about those red boxes, where all the cash lands in is that a swimming pool is rented annually and the staff of DublinBus celebrates their Christmas party with swimming in coins as you know it from certain comic figures... doped by the smell of money, they decide to raise prices in the new year and not to tell anyone...
...and they live happily ever after!
Here´s something on Dublin, Ireland.
I know, I came in the wrong season. Since I arrived in October, I nearly constantly had rain and storm and miserable people around me.
I made my decision to leave Dublin again in May - after just 3 months, I am fed up with it. It is difficult to describe, what is wrong with this European capital. But I try to give a short summary. In May, after my temporary contract ends, I will either move to a different part of Ireland (there are just a lot of job offers, that are tempting) or to a different country on the whole. I´m open for offers.
Many people found their way during the last decade to live and work here in Ireland. The European Union, the English language and some changes in tax law made this an interesting country for many international companies. These are mainly looking for multi-lingual employees for Customer Service and Call Centres (but that´s just a few to name).
So, the people came and flooded this small island.
Still many Germans are to be found to cover all the jobs for German speakers (but these rather stay at home being unemployed and complain about it), while Polish people take over with fair knowledge of the language.
SO, it´s not about jobs and economy. That´s what you have in surplus here...
...it´s about not being able to cope with it.
I really think, that other parts of Ireland are still what they´ve been two decades ago. A third-world European country with a lot of musical and drinking culture, poverty, hunger, bad roads and the only thing to hate being the English.
Dublin now has definitely improved on many things, but it´s a slow process. And I see everything here going down the drain in less than 5 years. Now that Bulgaria and Rumania joined the EU, companies will invest in those even cheaper places.
And there we are. Instead of making Ireland more attractive for the people that are here already of for more people to come, every mistake possible is made.
Rent is unbelievably high: for a 6m2 room in a shared house nice area I pay 400€ (incl. gas, electricity etc.) per month. For public transport (which is crap and will be written about in another article) I pay around 100€ per month. I don´t start talking about the prices for groceries or clothes.
All this might not sound too bad, but I am not earning much in my Entry level job.
Another thing that bothers me (especially as a German) is that things don´t work as they should... buses don´t run on time or break down (it happened to me three times already!!!), rooms are freezing cold and can´t be heated properly (which anyway costs a fortune), the health system is simply rubbish and so on...
The Irish culture here in Dublin is lost to a diversity of cultures, which I truly bemoan. In my eyes you should adapt to the countries culture, if you decide to live and work in it. I honestly met people who didn´t know what St. Patrick´s Day is, I met people complaining, that they can´t understand their work contracts, because they were in English. And where is the point in nicely cueing up at the bus stop, when then everybody just runs to the open bus door as soon as it arrives?!
And while the foreigners behave like in their own countries and ignoring the fact they are not at home, the Irish themselves give up on it.
The older Irish are wonderful, I can´t say anything bad (except about those, who just like a German, because he "has the same enemy"...). But the young Irish are spoiled by this boom and behave in the most antisocial ways you can imagine. Never live in a shared house with an Irish, try not to get in the way of them (male and female), when they are drunk and don´t mess with them, even when they are sober.
The other day at McDonald´s in the city centre, I widnessed, how 6 Irish teenagers had to be thrown out by the Indian security man - and that was just in a time-span of 15 minutes.
You don´t hear any Irish language anymore, you just read it on road signs or example. And after getting the news, that Irish will be tried to preserve by making it the 23rd European official language, I actually heard people complaining, that it´s just a waste of money.
Honestly, I regret, that this country isn´t what it was before (and that I couldn´t see it back then), because after this whole thing will have crashed like the Titanic against an economy ice-berg, nothing will be left and I´m afraid it will be worse than before.
The more happy you can be, when you have a nice and sunny day here in Clontarf at the sea, have a walk along the bridge to Bull Island and breathe in salty air while listening to Irish people doing the same.
Here are some pictures of my walk today.
And again I met one of my heros! Bill Bryson was in Dublin yesterday to
receive an award for "A Short History Of Nearly Everything" in UCD.
And I was there, of course!
I am a huge fan of Bill Bryson's work. I love his books and I consider him being my intellectual idol!
It was just again my kind of personal luck to get his latest book "The Lifes And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kit" signed, a small chat and a photo with him!