Everyone is familiar with the downsides of living in Dublin city, but for students, it’s particularly the cost of living and transportation that are causing a real problem.
Regardless, I think Dublin is flourishing as a university city. It’s just the right size to feel at home while simultaneously offering lots to explore. It’s very diverse as well as being a cultural hub with a plethora of job opportunities. Being a city with one of the highest concentrations of young people in Europe, according to a study run by Eurostat in 2017, Dublin feels super young and vibrant, particularly given the number of colleges in Dublin. I’ve met people from TUD, UCD and DCU, and while I always do get some judgement for being a Trinity student, it’s lovely getting to interact with so many people in such a wide network of students.
While there are inherent problems associated with the boom of business in Dublin, from the rise of property prices to the diversion of the government’s interest towards industry, there are good parts that come with it, especially for students. Many global businesses have recently set up headquarters in Dublin, offering opportunities for internships and graduate networking. Trinity’s business school and several societies have solid relationships with many of these businesses, offering solid networks that improve your prospects after graduation. We’re also in the capital of Ireland, so if you happen to be interested in the political world, it’s right on your doorstep. The Dáil, situated on Kildare Street, is only a 5-minute stroll from campus. Last but not least, for those who frequent the Hamilton building, Dublin is a leading city for scientific research.
“The events held by societies like LawSoc and DUISS as well as Ents have helped to ease me into the Dublin nightlife and figure out the places worth going to.”
To be honest, nightlife has been a huge positive surprise. I’m neither a fan of clubbing nor the type to want to do things night after night, but it seems as though whenever I’m in the mood, there’s some fun society, university, or other random event going on somewhere in the city that has a wide appeal. It’s crucial to understand that Temple Bar is solely for tourists and should be avoided at all costs, for the sake of your bank account at least. The events held by societies like LawSoc and DUISS as well as Ents have helped to ease me into the Dublin nightlife and figure out the places worth going to.
During the daytime, the city is anything but boring. There is a wide variety of themed activities happening daily that are all incredibly conducive to meeting people you’ll get on with. Dublin, so far, seems like an incredibly friendly place, and one where people are very open to going out of their comfort zone and expanding their circle of acquaintances. In between lectures, there’s always somewhere to go or something to do, like finding a new study spot at a cafe such as Kaph or checking out the stock of a local thrift shop (Oxfam in Rathmines has my heart).
Anything I tend to want to visit in the city is a short walk away, which is really nice, but I won’t underestimate the benefits of easy access to other parts of Dublin as well. A day trip on the DART or a short bus ride to Phoenix Park can take you out of the stress and chaos of the city in under 20 minutes. This isn’t possible in many other cities. I am from America, where almost every city has intense traffic and sprawling suburbs for 90 minutes after leaving the city. Therefore, this is a refreshing experience.
“A spare afternoon could mean taking a stroll around the (free!) national galleries or exploring the former homes or birthplaces of historical figures like that of Oscar Wilde, which is also close to an incredible statue of him in Merrion Square Park.”
It’s also amazing to be in a city with such a vibrant cultural background. A spare afternoon could mean taking a stroll around the (free!) national galleries or exploring the former homes or birthplaces of historical figures like that of Oscar Wilde, which is also close to an incredible statue of him in Merrion Square Park. Ireland has an exciting sports culture, too, and while I still don’t have a solid understanding of GAA, the atmosphere at matches is electric, and it reflects the passion that the Irish hold as a community.
In saying all of this, I don’t mean to minimise the things that can make it difficult to be a student in Dublin. The cost of living is skyrocketing, and it seems like the city wants to squeeze those of us who are on a tight budget out. Nevertheless, at least we’re speaking up about it. Our student body has a real fighting spirit, which really can’t be said about many other colleges where people are happy to simply put up with the status quo. We fight for change when it’s needed, and Dublin’s growing student body and its power makes you feel as though you can have a real impact as a student.