Postcard from Ireland

I spent most of my time outside of the major cities visiting family and shopping in small market towns.
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Here are my thoughts and observations from four days or so in Ireland:

  • The consumer economic system is largely frozen by a lack of access to credit, this has held the country in stasis with regards reigniting its property markets
  • Economic decline didn’t seem to be as apparent as say the North of England. I am not sure why this is
  • Prices are largely the same as in the UK, but Irish consumer products are generally uncompetitive in terms of price. For instance a bag of Oatfield sweets costs €2.49; a British brand equivalent would be in the region of €1.50
  • Sky usage seems to be prevalent. Irish houses outside the main towns tend to like to keep their aerials inside the roof where possible. However there seemed to be more satellite dishes secured to houses this time. In addition, in public spaces like the airport lounge, Sky News was the default channel
  • Election campaigns don’t seem to have benefited from an ‘Obama’ dividend. I found only one candidate who was using social media in even rudimentary way. They launch their campaigns in a very old school way with public meetings and traditional signs can be found in every townland
  • There was an increasing level of Euro-scepticism amongst Irish voters, despite Ireland having probably benefited the most from the rise of the EU. This has lead to good opinion poll showings for both Sinn Fein and independents focused on local issues
  • Whilst super fast broadband is advertised even in rural townlands; mobile networks gave very patchy coverage indeed