Thursday, 21 April 2011
Outside The Box in Ireland: Dublin On Foot
Back in the day, when the Celtic Tiger was roaring, and before dot.com turned into dot bomb, I worked on a project for the Irish government designed to bring more international bandwidth to the Republic. Several visits to Dublin were involved, which wasn’t a hardship, but on every trip, as the economy boomed, the traffic got worse. In the light of the economic meltdown, Europe may seem a mixed blessing, but EU money has flowed into the Republic, and Dublin has benefited from a makeover. Getting in from the airport, once a traffic-clogged 45 minute crawl, is now a 20 minute breeze via a brand new road tunnel. The traffic in O'Connoll Street has been tamed with wide, pedestrian-friendly pavements. A fine tram system (the LUAS) has appeared. There's a 30km/h zone around Trinity College. Pedestrian boardwalks have sprung up along the Liffey. There are bike lanes, and a bike hire scheme. Traffic still races along the Quays, and pedestrian waits at signalled crossings can seem interminable. But Dublin, as poetic as ever, is now a better place for those of us who choose to be outside the box.