It’s time to love Dublin again – the negative feedback loop is useless

Let’s agree that Dublin is sick.

As you stroll downtown, you’ll notice more dirt and grime than before. Derelict sites and boarded up units are common. Hotel prices are a hot topic, as are taxi shortages, police and people’s sense of security.

Covid has shut down the city, but many of Dublin’s problems have deeper roots – in our planning policies and licensing laws, or the amazing rise of online retail, Airbnb and so on.

Now rents are skyrocketing, homelessness is rampant and artists are struggling to afford a spot in a city marketed as a creative city… and that’s not even starting with inflation.

We know this. But let me offer another perspective: It may feel sick, but Dublin isn’t dead. Here’s why.

Last week I dined at Mae in Ballsbridge, a Gráinne O’Keefe restaurant chef named after her grandmother. A €70 tasting menu was sophisticated yet personal, with great Irish food and a treat for my wife and I after getting the kids back to school without a divorce.


Gráinne O’Keefe in the kitchen at Mae Restaurant. Image: Kyle Tunney

Dinner reconnected us with the city’s food scene and each other.

A few weeks earlier I was at my first club night since Covid. Tickets for Lumo Club, run by passionate Dublin DJ and promoter Nialler9, cost €14. Tunes mixed classics and curveballs (think Four Tet to Fleetwood Mac, Kraftwerk to Kate Bush), the language of inclusivity was inspirational, and the electric feeling of dancing elbow to elbow with people I knew and didn’t know was the opposite of curfew.

Great cities give you energy and inspire you. Dublin can still do that.

And much of it is free. World-class galleries and museums, the monthly Hen’s Teeth Market, the Hang Tough Contemporary exhibitions, a dip in the Forty Foot or a wander around Howth – it all doesn’t cost a penny.


Grafton Street is packed with Christmas shoppers. Photo:

Think Dublin’s Christmas lights, George’s Street Arcade, a pint at Kehoes. time out Recently pedestrianized Capel Street was named one of the coolest streets in the world.

The Arts Council and Dublin Port are exploring possibilities for a 5,000 square meter ‘arts campus’ on the site of the old Odlums Flour Mill.

Stray Magazine is a new company with a mission to “shed a light on Dublin’s subcultures”. Donald Fallon’s Podcast, Three castles burnpeels off its historical layers with research and love.

The no-go narrative building around Dublin has its roots in real concerns. Much of the criticism is fair and we need dialogue on development, prices and policing.


Night Moves takes place at Dublin City Market during Culture Night 2022 (23 September).

But a lot of it is lazy, cynical, echo-chamber stuff, tossed around with no thought of alternatives or solutions. And it threatens to become a negative feedback loop.

This is destructive and short-sighted. Cities are always on the move, and similarly sized capitals like Athens, Ottawa and Washington DC are also grappling with post-Covid challenges.

I am not an economist or a planner. I just love Dublin, and I think a vibrant Ireland needs a vibrant, affordable, inclusive roller-coaster ride of a capital city. But the more we talk about it, the more inevitable Dublin’s demise feels.

Definitely spend. But don’t give up. It’s time to love Dublin again – the negative feedback loop is useless

Fry Electronics Team

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