Dublin…ok it’s not a clinical cosmopolitan city like London or a smoky, smog infested sweat-pot like Tokyo, but it’s certainly different. Maybe it’s because I’m not a native( but let’s face it most of the population of Dublin aren’t natives either) but it’s not like Cork or Galway, there’s something more cold-faced and ruthless about it. You could fall on your face on the foot-path and nobody would look up from their IPhone to see what the noise of the toppling bins was caused by. Sitting in St. Stephen’s green amongst the pigeons pecking for bits of my brown bread lunch, I gazed around me to see every bench in the park filled up by one person sitting at the edge. In a world where people supposedly crave human contact most people in this city seem to be recoiling from it on a daily basis. They don’t even realise they are doing it. But every time your coat brushes past someone else’s shoulder and you don’t look back to say sorry or see their disgruntled face you make that person feel invisible inside. When the greatest kindness you receive all day is from the man selling you WIFI in Grafton Street’s Vodafone store or from the waiter in the M+S rooftop café, who apologised for throwing away your half-eaten scone when you nipped to the toilet, you know something doesn’t add up.
It’s lucky I’m not a clingy person and am fairly content in my own company because lunch breaks on your own aren’t exactly ideal. You have to laugh really because when you choose to laugh and smile in situations where you should be in tears, I think you win and become a little bit stronger inside. I’m even luckier to have a great friend with me in Dublin. Meeting her outside a bustling Trinity College in the evenings or getting the number 11 bus back to our rented house brightens my day. Sometimes I get glimpses and flashbacks of Maeve Binchy’s Circle of Friends novel when we are lounging in our room laughing about our day’s adventures and think to myself “Well ain’t life great”.
Although I’ve only been in Dublin a week it has made me appreciate the decent human kindness and unwavering generosity of my friends and family. As my wise friend said this week while unloading her bag’s from the train in Mallow “Every week I come home, I think I love Cork a little bit more”. There’s nothing quite like home, and it’s not that I’m an out and out home-bird, but I think there’s no shame in loving your homestead, in fact it’s quite sad if you don’t have some affection for it. So embrace the good times and the decency of people around you, but also make the best of the bad times, because how you react to a situation is a credit to your character.