Ten things you may not have known about living in Dublin:

1) Traffic is slow, clogged, and awful, but it’s not scary in the sense of NYC-traffic-scary. In fact, drivers here tend to be more courteous than the average American driver (and definitely more courteous than the average Canadian driver. Sorry if that offends any Canadians (but it’s true; even Gabriel admits it).). But the streets and roads were built for a horse-and-carriage society, and there just doesn’t seem to be room for expansion. Rush hour is a terrible time to drive anywhere. Once it took me an hour to drive seven kilometers. Ridiculous! The positive side, of course, is the courtesy. You can pull out in front of someone and it’s okay as long as you wave at them or put on your four-ways to say thanks. 🙂

2) The city water is free.

3) Dublin has some really, really nice parks. Just across the road from us is a beautiful one with a river, a walled-in garden, walking paths, and a museum. All free. Bronwyn and I like to go over there and just wander around. We’re also within a few kilometers of two other nice parks, both of which have great playgrounds for little tots and big kids.

4) There are three maternity hospitals in Dublin, all dedicated solely to the care of women and infants. I could write a lot more about the prenatal care here, and I plan to do that soon.

5) Just a ten-minute drive from our house is the largest shopping centre in the country. It has over eighteen acres of floor space and some of the narrowest parking spaces I’ve ever seen (just ask Mom how I managed an eleven-point turn while trying to park there one day when she was along).

6) Traffic again: streets are so, so poorly marked. About a year after we were here, Gabriel got a free phone with a package deal from a mobile phone company, and the phone has a GPS with downloadable maps. That has been invaluable to us SO many times; it would be such a pain to drive in Dublin without it. I really don’t know how anyone drives in Dublin without a GPS unless they grew up here and know all the streets and roads by memory.

7) It’s a windy city, probably because it’s so close to the coast. Gabriel checks the forecast and groans when he sees high wind predicted because it makes his cycle ride to school even worse than normal. (No, he doesn’t like cycling to school, but he does it for the health benefits and because it saves money, and because (traffic again!) it’s easier than fighting traffic.)

8) Homeowners paint their doors whatever color they feel like painting them.

9) Dublin is essentially a collection of villages that grew together. That’s why part of our address is “Rathfarnham, Dublin 16.” Each “village” usually has a parish centre/Catholic church, a bank, a butcher, a few shops, a druggist, a GP’s office, and if you’re lucky, a public library. And OF COURSE a pub.

10) The buses are double-decker. Riding on the top of a double-decker bus is one of the best ways to see the city.