Tuesday 2 December 2014

10 Years in Dublin and why I love it

"When I die, Dublin will be written on my heart" - James Joyce

Exactly ten years ago today I moved to Dublin.

I still remember getting off the bus from the airport at O'Connell Street, I was 21 and didn't know what to expect. The Celtic Tiger was roaring and the Irish were partying like there was no tomorrow at the very start of the festive season 2004. The city was buzzing, it was young, cosmopolitan and fun: I LOVED IT straight away.

And just when I was getting used to the pints of beer and massive Irish breakfasts I met Mr. FFID, exactly four weeks after I moved to Dublin. The rest is history.

I became an adult here, I started working, traveling, fell in love for real and grew up in general. It became my city, I immersed myself into the Irish culture and quickly felt like I belonged here. I never felt like I belonged to my hometown in the Loire Valley nor to Paris where I lived before moving here.

It wasn't always easy, seeing expat friends leaving, witnessing the crash of the Celtic Tiger or missing ten years of family moments back in France. Still, I've never regretted that impulsive decision of moving to Ireland. Not one bit and I'm so happy I did it.

Dublin, you have treated me well. You have your imperfections but they just make you real. This is coming from someone who has lived in North Inner City Dublin for many years by the way, in case you'd think I have rose-tinted glasses.

As it's my ten year anniversary in Dublin here are ten reasons why I love the city and I always will:

1. The Irish Pubs

This is probably the first thing I loved about the city. Foreigners will always associate Ireland with the pubs. You have Irish pubs everywhere in the world but the craic can only be found in Ireland and believe me I've visited plenty of Irish pubs around the world. I like the cosiness, the noises, the banter and the trad music sessions. I'm not talking about pubs in Temple Bar but the real Irish pubs, the locals.

2. The Street Art

It's now everywhere, on Camden Street, along the Luas line in Smithfield, behind Whelan's: street art is everywhere. I just love spotting those little works of art in every part of the city, sometimes in dark alleyways or places you wouldn't expect. Maser, Solus, ADW and many more talented people make this city brighter and their art inspires.

3. Christmas

I think I loved the city straight away because I moved here at the best time of the year, just a few weeks before Christmas. The Irish know how to embrace the Christmas spirit with the celebrations starting early, the magic atmosphere of Grafton Street, the crazy 12 pubs of Christmas and of course the Late Late Toy Show. The Irish made me love Christmas. I thought Christmas jumpers were ridiculous when I moved here and now I have three in my wardrobe.

4. The Music

It's like every Irish person can sing or play an instrument. Music is very present in the city, in the pubs and venues and even on the streets. After living for three years in Temple Bar with buskers below my window every day I still think that musical omnipresence is wonderful and unique to Dublin

5. The sky

After living here so many years I've learnt to appreciate the good weather and a beautiful sky when it happens. I've never seen that many rainbows in my life until I moved her. We get the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets in Dublin and the light is amazing when it's sunny. Look up people, the sky in Dublin can be pretty special!

6. Penneys

Yes this is something I've liked straight away and my family and friends in France were so jealous when I told them about the shop where everything was so cheap. When Penneys (Primark) opened in Paris earlier this year the French went mad and I wasn't surprised.

7. The seaside

I feel so blessed to live so close to the sea as I come from the middle of France which is flat and boring. I love jogging on the beach and breathing the fresh air. Getting on the Dart on a sunny day and visiting one of the seaside towns is one thing I just love about living in Dublin.

8. Everything seems easier

This is coming from a French person who had to deal with the worst bureaucracy in the world for 21 years. Here in Ireland things aren't too complicated. It was so easy to get a PPS, find jobs, rent flats, setting up a business and do all these things that take ages in my native country. Nothing is too formal here and people never seem to get too stressed. Feck it, sure, it's grand.

9. The Food Scene

I have to be honest, it's the one thing I didn't love straight away. Back in 2004 the food scene wasn't the best, many places were average and overpriced. I wasn't impressed with the food at all when I moved here but I was curious and I wanted to find out more. I saw it changing, improving, surprising me and of course inspiring me to start a blog. Now I can say I'm proud of Dublin and its food scene, so much that I can't get enough of it and write about it all the time.

10. The People

The best thing about Dublin and Ireland in general is its people. This is the main reason I love this city and I'm not only talking about Mr. FFID here. Irish people are friendly, easy-going, generous, funny and down to earth. Everyone loves the Irish!

So thank you Dublin for having me! You are the best.