You’d probably think that a country which was highly reliant on its multi-billion euro tourism industry would take better care to maintain its image than Ireland does.
Obviously the degradation of the city is primarily bad for the people who live there – that’s a given. But even just from an economic perspective, it’s kind of absurd, is it not?
I mean, on a personal level, if you’re bringing over important guests to your house, you’d usually tidy up first, right? You’re not going to invite a potential business contact over for dinner and leave underwear with skidmarks on the kitchen floor, are you? You wouldn’t lay out the plates with pizza grease and leftover crumbs still on them, or have an explosive screaming match with your spouse. You’d put in some effort and try to look presentable.
And similarly, if you’re bringing in valuable tourists, you’d want to make sure that the main street in your capital city isn’t, say, a wretched hive of violence, drug addiction and crumpled cans of Dutch Gold.
And yet, that’s exactly what you witness every time you walk through town.
As you may have seen the other day, the Twitter account Dubs Life shared a video of O’Connell street which has since gone viral for all the wrong reasons, amassing over 123,000 views.
Astutely captioned “O’Connell Street is some kip,” the video features two louts in tracksuits attacking a Chinese restaurant and screaming about how they’re going to come back with a shotgun to shoot the owner, his wife and his children. It’s filled with expletives, of course – and this is all in broad daylight, mind you.
O’Connell st is some kip pic.twitter.com/A8vi40oEyK
— Dubs life (@dubslife1) June 26, 2022
There’s also a follow-up video claiming that a Chinese man allegedly struck someone with a machete nearby. Whether this was self-defence or what, I have no idea – but whatever the situation, we either have people attacking each other with machetes, or needing machetes to defend themselves on the main street of our capital. Either way, it’s like something out of Lord of the Flies.
Look how manky the pavements are. I walked up O'Connell St on Saturday and it was manky dirty. I didnt see one Gard between the Davy Byrnes and Mountjoy Sq. Not one sanitary worker either. WTF is going on? #LoveDublin
— Hugh Mullen (@hughpmullen) June 27, 2022
And of course, the pavement is predictably filthy and covered in refuse, as usual.
I won’t share it here for reasons of legality and decency, but many of us also witnessed that viral video a month or two back of an African gentleman walking down O’Connell street in the middle of the day stark naked.
We see videos allegedly in Dublin of people in wheelchairs having glass bottles smashed over their heads.
— Dubs life (@dubslife1) June 28, 2022
This type of carry on is far from an anomaly in Dublin. It’s what we’ve come to expect. Punch ups, rubbish everywhere, drug addled zombies staggering around like the Walkinstown Dead – all of this is now a staple part of city life.
These things are probably included in the tours at this stage. “On your right, you’ll see two seagulls fighting over a pool of vomit, and on the left you’ll see a crackhead mugging someone for their phone with a hypodermic syringe. No flash photography, please.”
In fact, rumour has it that the Dublin Spire was actually built to look like a massive needle as an homage to the city’s crippling heroin epidemic. Living in the capital is effectively paying to live in a very expensive skip.
Anecdotally, just a few weeks back waiting for the bus near Parnell Square, I personally witnessed a rat running down the road in broad daylight, which was a truly delightful experience. I’ve also seen a woman openly smoking cannabis outside the Rotunda while heavily pregnant, and a young girl shamelessly lifting up her skirt to urinate on the ground on Moore Street while her parents looked on and said nothing.
The best one of all was probably when I was sitting outside at a nice restaurant for an anniversary dinner with my then-fiancée, now wife. It was just a 2 minute walk from Dame Street, near Trinity College – so smack dab in the middle of the city. And across the street two hooligans began fighting, with one of them picking up and throwing a bin bag full of garbage at the other in a drunken and uncoordinated fashion. It almost went near the table, which really added to the ambiance and vibe of the evening, I must admit.
And this is what you’d pay an arm and a leg for in rent or house prices, by the way – to be at ground zero of civilisational decay.
Fine Gael TD Ciarán Cannon recently admitted what a dump the place has become, saying that Dublin is “a dangerous place, where you feel deeply concerned about your personal safety.”
It’s a difficult thing to have to say, but recognising a problem is the first step in solving it. Our capital city at night is a dangerous place, where you feel deeply concerned about your personal safety. Walk from the Spire to Stephen’s Green at 10.00pm and see for yourself.
— Ciaran Cannon (@ciarancannon) February 10, 2022
Yeah mate, you think? Aren’t we lucky we have the “party of law and order” in charge to fix things?
If Bord Fáilte don’t want to get sued for false advertising, they should portray the city accurately in their tourism brochures and ads.
They should have seagulls ripping open black bin bags on Grafton street so mouldy spice bag remains get strewn over a wide area. They should show tourists hopscotching their way over broken bottles and streams of pungent yellow piss, while dishevelled people who are evidently on something scream at each other over some inexplicable dispute. Let them in on the real visitor’s experience firsthand.
Carpet bombing the city with taxpayer-funded gay pride and Ukrainian flags is great and all, but maybe at some stage Dublin City Council might get around to something else on the to do list – like, say, preventing the city from morphing into a hogarthian painting. At this stage we basically look like Paris after a nuclear war.
Unless the people of Dublin and Ireland more broadly start to demand better of our society, this will only get worse. We should not tolerate this, and we should not be expected to tolerate this. And until we say with a loud voice “This is unacceptable and wrong,” nothing will ever change.