Dublin jeers at rural Ireland fall flat
This statement overlooks one simple fact: nobody in an idyll in Commemara dreams of one day moving to Cabra or Blanchardstown – yet thousands do the opposite every day, sitting blearily on a bus in noisy city traffic, dreaming of a cottage on the Aran islands.
I was one of them myself, until I bit the bullet and abandoned a career in a top Dublin law firm for a better life in West Cork. The reasons are obvious to many of the other urban refugees here, many of whom are Dubliners, born and bred: Amidst the rolling pastures of west Cork, ordinary people, teachers and farmers have spacious homes of the sort Dublin’s millionaires could only dream of, together with acres of gardens, something that is impossible in the city. Added to that are the miles of golden beaches, myriad sheltered harbours and woodlands, as well as vibrant and colorful towns, along with airports, hospitals and all the usual facilities close at hand.
For decades now, people have left England, Holland, Germany, and the U.S. to make a home in west Cork and other similar parts of rural Ireland. In addition to our more recent Eastern European and African immigrants, this makes west Cork a truly cosmopolitan place.
Ah, you may have fresh air says Town Mouse, but what about culture and theatre? For starters, there's Kinsale arts week this week, the Cork Midsummer's festival, the West Cork chamber music festival, the West Cork literary festival -- or head out to Cape Clear island for the storytelling festival.
It is a similar picture of thriving cultural and community life throughout all of rural Ireland, from Waterford to Donegal. And there is nothing wrong with the traditional Irish values of family, humility, friendliness, community either, nor the more human pace of life.
In their analysis of the inevitability of the Ireland’s shift form rural to urban, Sirr and Skeehan appear not to have heard of that internet thing, nor of the recent development of Ireland’s hard Infrastructure. I live in west Cork but, due to the internet, I work mostly in Britain and the United States. My next door neighbour works mostly in India and Russia.
The vast swathes of concrete boxes hastily thrown up around the M50 are no place to raise a family, nor is much of Dublin’s inner city. That’s why the future of rural Ireland is assured. People and companies alike will want to be there. Also, that’s where most Irish people feel most at home. An apartment without a vegetable patch and a tool shed is an unnatural environment for an Irishman.
Interestingly, the authors say that “the heave against Enda Kenny was a fight between new urban and old rural Fine Gael” and that the political culture will change as a result of urbanisation: “It is significant that the downward trend applies to all three [main] parties, suggesting that it is not just the parties’ individual policies which are turning voters off but their political style and culture. The 'Up Mayo' political ethos doesn’t wash as well in urban areas.”