Impressions of Ireland - Ian Dwyer

June 13, 2014Eimear Clowry

Coming to Ireland, I had no real conscious preconceptions of what the country and culture was like, or what to expect. I have travelled to different countries many times before, and have always found that it is best to travel without preconceptions. However, my first week in Ireland has already revealed subconscious preconceptions which I had of the country, its people, and its culture, many of which were incorrect. While I knew that many global corporations had their headquarters in Ireland, this knowledge was likely overpowered by the various romantic portrayals of Ireland I have seen in movies. These films paint the country as a place of endless beautiful green hills, and little else. They leave out the fact that Ireland is also a fully modern country.
I have been repeatedly surprised by the city of Dublin in general. It has many old, buildings, which I expected, but it also has a wide variety of modern architecture. This amalgamation of old, new, and everything in between creates a city that clearly has deep historical and cultural roots, but is also young and fun. I am extremely impressed with the infrastructure in Dublin. The city buses are convenient and they have so far been extremely punctual, a far cry from American mass transit. It makes me wonder what American cities might be like, or what other things might be improved, if money were reallocated from the U.S.’s gargantuan defense budget and instead applied to education, or making the rest of the country as advanced as its weapons.
I have been surprised by the homeless people I have encountered so far in Dublin, and their reception. In New York City seeing the homeless is nothing out of the ordinary, in fact it is so common one soon becomes desensitized to it. Here the three or four homeless men and women I have seen stand out more, even though Dublin has problems with drugs and homelessness.