I’ve completed semester 1 of my first college year, and I’m back home for Christmas. I’ve returned to the comfort of my own home… open fire, home cooked dinners and my double bed.
Having moved to Dublin three months ago my view of the place has changed dramatically. I moved up here with the view of the streets being a wave of noise and the city bearing a motto of ‘only the fittest will survive.’ Of it being a society of its own with expressionless people, where no one looked each other in the eyes, in case it came across that they were an easy target. For the first couple of weeks that’s what it felt like, but as time progressed and I immersed myself in the city, explored different side streets, found the places I felt welcomed and got to know the people, my opinion changed.
What makes Dublin for me is the people that make up the city. They are what give the city life. From the locals, the tourists, and the blow-ins, they all make up Dublin. Coming from a place where everyone knows who you are, who your father is, what your mother does and if your brother is in the GAA, I found it surprising to feel welcome in a city full of strangers. It’s the little acts of friendliness that catch me off guard. From the bus driver who helps an old lady off a bus, to the amount of people who hold doors open for me and to the barista who remembers my coffee order. They are all things I ignorantly didn’t expect to experience while living in Dublin.
I find that you only really notice the city and the people when you decide to look up from your phone or take out your earphones. If you take a moment to people watch in public (as creepy as that sounds), you notice people’s private lives seep through and a little bit of their character start showing. For me it makes the city feel more human. Do it next time you’re on Dublin Bus, you don’t know what you might notice…
We’re coming closer to Christmas and this is my first time experiencing the holiday in the capital. When my brother came up to visit me he was a true culchie in the city, wanting to stop and look at all of the window displays. Dublin really submerges itself in the Christmas spirit and the lights on Grafton St are a far cry from the single row of fairy lights we have dangling across my street at home. My favourite experience was visiting The Christmas Market by Custom House on the Quay’s, where I treated myself to the most amazing red velvet pancake.
Though Dublin’s negative side can’t be forgotten. My view of Dublin is only one sided, for others living in the city can be a completely different story. We all have faults, it’s natural. When it comes to Dublin those faults are seen in the homeless problem, and the lost souls of the city that can be seen on every street corner.
Though it can’t be said Dublin is completely ignoring the problem. It warms my heart when I’m on the bus home in the evening to see soup kitchen and volunteers set up around O’Connell St, offering food and a chat to people who need it.
My perspective of Dublin has changed over these past few months. Though there are days that I’d give anything to be back at home and away from the noise and chaos, I can’t deny that I’ve fallen a little bit in love with the city. It’s how you choose to see the city that will decide what view you hold of it. Some may see the graffiti on the buildings as vandalism while others see it as art.
You could also be in the mind-set that Dublin is only another city full of commercialised chains of Starbucks and McDonald’s on every street, made up of grey pavements and smelly buses. Or you can find the character that belongs to it, that makes it unique.
Go out and see what it’s like to live in Dublin, see the people, the places, the sights, and gain a new view of the city. Because Dublin doesn’t care if you like it or not, it’s up to you to find its beautiful side.