Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I just finished my 4th day in Ireland. I took a day tour on a motorcoach to the Wicklow mountains, Glendalough, and to see the Avoca weavers in the town where they filmed the BBC series Ballykissangel. I have to admit I have heard of the show, and might have seen an episode or two. I, however, did not really recognize the village, so the allure of the show was somewhat lost on me. I did buy a jolly nice wool golf had at the weavers. It matched the color of my jacket, and it fit my fat melon large head.

I have been impressed with Ireland so far. In fact, I might have to rate Dublin as my favorite European city. This comes as quite a surprise to me, but it is true. Ireland has been in an economic boom in the last 2 decades, as the government was far-sighted enough to lure all the fledgling software companies to Ireland and invest highly in technical computer education for its citizens back in the 1980s. Apparently Ireland is first in the world in software exports, surpassing even the US and Japan.
This on-going economic boom, which everyone around here seems to be calling the "celtic tiger," has made Ireland an economic powerhouse in Europe. I seem to recall an "Irish wave" of movies that came out in the 90s when I was taking the art of film class when I was in college. I suppose that is part of it. This boom has turned Ireland from a backwater, poor country to a powerhouse. This has created a lot of new money. Electric trams have been built in Dublin in the last 2 years with 6 more in the primary works.

I have heard some warnings (hearsay at the pub) that concern me. When the bubble slows down or pops, as is the case in market economies, there is some concern as to what will happen. Suddenly having money and then having the sources dry up is a concern. But as far as I can tell, that will be a distant future. From what I can tell, Ireland is in good shape, as most of the other European economies have been quite static in the last few years.

In any event, the above pictures are from St. Kevin's monastery (7th Century) and a picture of the mountains in Wicklow to the south of Dublin. Cheers...
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