"Avoiding unpleasantness ..." Avoiding unpleasantness ... Tip by Lochlainn

Avoiding unpleasantness ..., Dublin: 4 reviews and 1 photos

  A 1916 commemorative plaque on the City Hall
by Lochlainn

Favorite thing: Dublin, like any city, has a seamy underbelly into which the unwary visitor should not stray. This is not just true geographically, but also conversationally - either way straying from the recommended path can have potentially dire consequences.

Pockets of real poverty and deprivation exist quite close to the city centre and it is not advised to wander round these places without knowing full well what you might be getting into. These include areas off O'Connell Street, the Sheriff Street area near Connolly Station, some areas near the Guinness Brewery and various other pockets that any Garda will readily identify for you if you ask. I must stress that there are many decent people living in these places (to me they are some of the last bastions of the "real Dub" wthout which the city is all the poorer) and that the dangerous element living there represent a tiny minority. Still, a tiny minority kicking the crap out of you still bloody hurts so you'd be mad to carry expensive gear or clothes that mark you out as an obvious "outsider" when wandering around there!

Conversationally the city is also well mined with booby traps. Subjects to avoid change with events but at the moment try to steer clear of the following if amongst strangers, or at least be prepared for "lively" debate!:

Anything to do with Irish history if you have an English accent.

Anything to do with the Middle East if you have an American accent.

Gay rights unless you're pretty thick skinned - Dubliners can be quite blunt.

Ethnicity and racism - Dublin is on the verge of discovering just how racist it is and the state of denial that many Dubliners are in can cause them to be quite "vociferous".

One old taboo - the Catholic religion - has recently lost that status due to scandals so the challenge now should you criticise it is to find someone to disagree with you!


Fondest memory: Having said all that, life is no fun unless you break some rules now and again. A visit to Dublin can be memorable as much for the lively banter as for the sights it offers, at least to those who negotiate the minefield described above successfully (or plough through it with gay abandon!).

One piece of advice holds true above all others however, regardless of whether you broach these taboos or not: - Never sound like you know more on a subject than the stranger to whom you speak, even if you can produce written qualifications from your pocket to back up your authority in the matter! The typical Dub's expertise has been acquired through his or her own "private research", not from listening to others, and he or she is not about to change his or her study method now!

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 28, 2003
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