I have been located in a project in Dublin for the last couple of weeks. The last time I was in Dublin was in 2007 and the city has certainly moved on since then. A modern transportation system (called the Luas) is now complete and although it doesn’t comprehensively take you all over the sprawling city, it’s reasonably priced, frequent during rush hours, modern and clean.
I tend to measure a city by the variety and quality of its restaurants. One theory I have is that a wide variety of restaurants demonstrates a certain acknowledgement of other cultures (people are willing to try food other than their own), and any natives that are actually running the restaurant only serve to add to the city’s atmosphere.
What is heavily noticeable is the large population of continental Europeans (particularly Italians and Spanish) helping boost the workforce and the culture. At the same time, you can find a (decent) burrito place, there’s Malaysian (nonya) cuisine and a fine number of gastropub and fine dining restaurants. Have no fear though because the city is still unmistakably Irish. Full of pubs. And churches. You can also easily find a few people swaying around on their feet as early as 8pm on a Friday… maybe because they started their drinking as early as 11am (spotted on a Saturday *and* Sunday).
There’s even an explosion of small non-chain cafes. Three places do a decent flat white (3FE, CoffeeAngel and The Bald Barista) with many places serving up a decent brunch at reasonable prices. Speaking of which, it’s easy to spend a bit here, but you can also get by with reasonable prices. Many places do an early bird menu, or a two or three course offer for €20-€30. All of it very quality food.
Other than the given with the wet weather, cold temperatures and other weather-related complaints, you can see why it’s changing and growing as a hub of business in the European Union.