Danny Boyby Daniel O'Carroll
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Living in Cork is a bit like listening to a continuous series of announcements of what’s better in the more sophisticated, more metropolitan and seemingly just plain better Dublin.
Since the times of the Pale and beyond, Dublin has dominated Ireland.Not only is it Ireland’s largest city; geographically it’s also a primate city, and for that reason it not just outshines the next largest city, Cork, but rather altogether eclipses it.
For a country that has its fair share of woe and trouble, Americans rightly pride themselves on seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. And one of the areas that this is perhaps most evident is in the dreaded ‘recession’ which has been dealt with very differently on either side of the Atlantic.
The recession was global of course. Prompted at first by an overvaluation of assets at US banks and clearing houses, it ultimately led to bank bailouts, credit crunches, and unemployment in just about every country in the world. But despite the ubiquity of the global economic misery, countries have reacted in very different ways to the economic collapse. Two examples: Ireland and the US.
I always think that the worst thing about college in Ireland is that the vast majority of students go to college in their home-towns, and when they do so, they generally live at home, parents and all.
Because money doesn’t grow on trees, I’m in that boat.
Which is why for me coming to New York City for the summer was great on two fronts. Firstly, to be in most amazing city in the world and secondly to spend almost three months living as a college student should: in filthy conditions, on a shoestring budget, and with other students.
I think that I’m right in saying that there’s been a subtle but noticeable switch in the Irish public’s perception of Ryanair in the past few months.
Ryanair, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of flying them, is an Irish low cost carrier that’s grown to become Europe’s biggest low-cost airline through a manic-like drive on the part of its flamboyant Chief Executive, Michael O’Leary, to ruthlessly cut costs, often to the point of depravity and beyond.
If you did, like me, once admire the man’s brazenness, incredible business acumen, and in-your-face style, it would be hard to do so now.
Oblivion is bliss, or so they say, and yesterday I had a salutary reminder of how true that was.
At the risk of sounding like a crazy, it’s the ghosts, you see.
News that Ireland is to reduce its drink-driving limit to just 50mg of alcohol/ 100ml of blood is yet another mark on the road Ireland is blazing towards becoming a Nanny State.
It seems like as each year goes by another personal liberty is snatched by our Government.
Two years ago the powers-that-be in Dublin forced all liquor stores to close by 10pm; the recently announced Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Bill seeks to make illegal any substance with any alternation upon the Central Nervous System, and now even one drink may put you over the drink-driving limit!
The Irish Government’s decision to allow up to 70 million members of the Irish diaspora worldwide to apply for, and receive, certificates of Irish heritage is a move that should be welcomed by everyone involved.
It’s a gesture towards a sort of inclusiveness that’s been badly lacking where the Irish diaspora is concerned.
The ‘Irish Irish’, i.e. current citizens of Ireland, have an unfortunate history of being somewhat snobby towards their overseas brethren, and this measure is at least a starting step towards rectifying that fragmented relationship.
To not care about who’s running the country is a sign of ignorance to such people; proof that you truly are an imbecile, or ‘gombeen’ in the Irish way of throwing insults.
Yet there are plenty of young people in Ireland, like myself, who refuse to engage with politics because we’re just so damn fed up with it and see it as an exercise in circuity, a pointless endeavour incapable of grafting badly needed change onto Irish society.
Since coming to New York to start my internship here last Monday, so much has changed that it would take an entire edition of this newspaper to give a proper account of what’s going on.
But let me try, as best I can, to introduce myself and tell you just a little bit about what I’ve been up to in the space of this first installment of my bi-monthly column.
After just two short weeks in the Big Apple I decided I needed a break!
Perhaps it’s the fact that I come from a mere city of roughly a quarter of a million (Cork), or because New York is just that hectic, but for whatever reason I decided that for two days I wanted to move beyond the isle of Manhattan, see some open space again and breathe some fresh air.
So because I have friends doing a J1 there, I headed to Montauk, Long Island.