D.irty U.nsightly B.usy L.oathe I.mpersonal N.oisy

The train arrived in Dublin 15 minutes late. Nothing unusual, but this time Iarnrod Eireann decided to blame wet leaves on the track for the delay. Perhaps it’s just me, but I’d rather if they’d just tell me that “the driver slept it out”, or ‘the train was late leaving Cork”, or “we’re just crap” instead of feeding me what I believe to be utter lies. Walking from the train, along the platform, I hear several people phoning their boss, trying to explain that they will be late, apologising, and promising that they’ll work a few extra minutes in the evening to make up for the lost time. Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with that. I have ample time to reach Stephens Green before class begins at 09:30.

The first noticable thing about arriving in Dublin is that the pace of life increases dramatically. Everybody begins aimlessly rushing. It seems like it’s race to see how quickly people can get from the train to well… wherever. Hundreds of people exit the train, race along the platform towards the exit and for the most part disappear into a waiting LUAS before being ferried away towards the city centre where they’ll continue to rush about seemingly without reason.

I begin the 30 minute walk from Heuston Station to South Stephens Green, where my courses take place. There are few more depressing things than walking up Thomas Street in the mornings having gotten six hours sleep since you were last there. It’s cold. The dreary shells of buildings in disrepair, the windows boarded up or broken, the walls covered with graffiti, (apparently by someone known as GRIFT), with some homeless people sleeping on the steps. The ‘armour-plated’ shop fronts. Everything’s either gray or a brownish red, and looks as if it’s been crayoned in by God in one of his more depressed moods. The sickening smell of roasting hops from the Guinness Brewery coupled with the fumes of passing trucks. The disturbing sights and the passing wandering thoughts of the stories behind the blood and vomit stains on the pavement. The empty sweet wrappers, tayto bags, coke bottles, red-bull cans, cigarette ends, chewing gum and rotting leaves dotting the pavement – perhaps one of the only natural aspects on this street. The noise of passing traffic, the LUAS, ambulances, buses, Gardai, impatient people in cars blowing their car horns in an attempt to get the person in the car in front to move forwards a car length or two and machines driving about sweeping up rubbish. Every morning in Dublin, the same thing – foul sights, smells and noise. The only remotely uplifting aspect so far is the fact that the sun is beginning to rise, adding a brightness and perhaps a glimmer of hope to what has started out a depressing day.

As I near Stephens Green, the city becomes more alive. People bustling around, hurrying to their work place. Cyclists weaving in and out of traffic. Traffic impatiently going nowhere quickly. Scores of people descending from buses, each looking sophisticated, street-wise and intimidating. Focused business men striding past in their expensive suits and long coats, carrying leather briefcases and newspapers. Young women, scurrying around, a paper cup of coffee in one hand and a phone to their ear in the other, smelling of nice perfume and shampoo, wearing layer upon layer of make-up and dress suits or short ‘receptionist skirts’ – perhaps an attempt to compete the metropolitan look. Grubby primary school children carrying grubby school bags waiting at the bus stop with their mothers, proudly eating a mars bar and a bottle of coke for breakfast. Their mothers smoking a cigarette and giving out to the children for losing their school tie or something equally inconsequential. The mothers, usually dressed in clothes that were fashionable perhaps two or three years ago, and smelling of a combination of stale perfume, cigarette smoke and chips. A grimy denim jacket, a pair of soiled ‘white’ Rebok trainers and a top saying ‘PlayGirl’ or ‘Nope’ or some other such nonsense.

It’s impersonal. Nobody talks, greets or considers anyone else – probably one of the most depressing ‘features’ of Dublin, in my opinion. Alas, it’s not just a Dublin ‘feature’ though.

On one hand, it all seems too fake. A vain attempt to progress. But to where? On the other hand it all seems too real. A vain attempt to survive and to make the best of what, to me, is a horrible situation.

513 Comments so far

Comments are closed.