Well DAMN, but isn't Smithfield the wi-fi hotspot these days? When someone like me -- who has only been visiting for the last few years -- can tell that things are not what they were, you know that we're moving at a rapid pace.
I'd call it the South of Market of Dublin, but it is on the Northside, where I've spent the entire day today.
The lone ice-skating rink that was my landmark to the Cobblestone is now a full-blown Christmas Carnival and community meeting point. Buildings that weren't there last year...or indeed, when I went into the bar for a drink...are crowding the skyline. And any Bay Area realtor will tell you that these babies ain't cheap.
(Photo thieved from www.sherryfitz.ie)
Part of it must be that Luas Red Line running down
Jervis Street. And every passing train I see is filled to the gills with townbound and homebound shoppers.
Also along the Luas line, an internet cafe that has just knocked the Grafton Street internet cafe out of first place in the "most hip and functioning Internet Cafe ever" competition that I run for my own benefit. And the Grafton Street joint held that title for three years running.
The only disappointment is that my Saturday night entertainment would have been much improved if I had found the energy to get over here last night. For, at the Cobblestone, Leo Kelly, one of the members of my new enthusiam Tir na nOg (Good Lord! To have missed it by that much!) packed the back room at the Cobblestone. Tonight Grada does much the same. On New Year's Eve, New York City band The Prodigals will be in the house, and that's pretty fine because I caught them a few years ago too on Third Avenue and they play a hard and fast set. Indeed, one of their songs is partly responsible for me always choosing Baggot Street for my hotel when I'm in town.
So. Yeah. Smithfield! Not too bad at all...