For the first time, Eurobloggers is actually reporting from Europe! I’ll be visiting Northern Ireland in a few days for a CIEE seminar on the reconciliation process, but I decided to show up a bit early (and stay a bit late…) and do some sightseeing around Ireland, especially since this will be my first time traveling there. I arrived in Dublin this morning and have been going non-stop around the city since.
First impressions? Maybe I’m too hardwired for political science, but my first thoughts go to Ireland’s boom and bust economy.
While Ireland may not be seeing that same upheaval that Greece has recently, the economic crisis is definitely being felt. Traveling from the airport, you see buildings that look like abandoned construction projects (started during Ireland’s boom?). Keeping to the stereotype of Irish dark humor, all the tour guides I’ve run into so far (because group tours are a good way to stay awake when fighting jet lag…) keep making jokes about banks and the economy.
And, the very first picture I took was a campaign poster left over from Ireland’s recent referendum on the EU fiscal pact. So, austerity is like Jaws 2 – you think you killed it, but it somehow survives. Sound familiar?
I saw a lot of anti-treaty posters, but not so many pro-fiscal pact ones (and those that I did see were a boring “Vote Yes”). So, either the pro-fiscal pact group was better at cleaning up after themselves (which would be WAY too ironic), or there were more anti-fiscal pact posters. In which case, why did this thing pass? Was the rescue fund that much of a draw for the average Irish voter?
On a completely different note (though still continuing the trend of my being hardwired for politics), I got lost almost immediately after getting off the bus from the airport. How did I figure out where I was? “Hey, why does that post office have bullet holes in…oh wait…” On the bright side, I figured out where I was AND got to see an important landmark in Ireland’s history at the same time!
Updated on 9 June…
Regarding the lack of pro-fiscal pact posters I observed, I guess it was that I did not visit any of the wealthier neighborhoods until today. I saw quite a few today (still boring, as I mentioned earlier), including this one I saw in Clantarf…