Arriving in Dublin airport’s shiny Terminal 2, we find that the entire intake of the country is being funneled through two passport control booths in one corner of the arrivals hall. An endless row of shiny, empty rooms and only a couple of people working. It couldn’t be a better welcome to Ireland. I was looking around for the little plaque which would reveal it as a genius artistic installation, a sign that the Irish government had finally started employing our creators instead of disgusting them until they left the country (and then stealing their name for military vessels).
The first advert you see in the walkway is “Bank of Ireland Welcomes Foreign Investors!” They don’t try to sell people as much as a cup of tea, because the budget is bamjaxed beyond the ability of all the tourism in the world to solve. They’re skipping directly to selling bits of the country to anyone who’ll promise to look after them better.
Every toilet was tucked away in the furthest possible corner of elevated walkways. Because that’s where you want the one service everyone in the building is guaranteed to need after any amount of waiting around. And the only place you’re more guaranteed to be left waiting than an Irish airport is limbo itself. Every sink has a sticker saying “The taps take three seconds to turn on, just keep your hands under them.” That’s the Irish infrastructure right there: a system is so bad everyone who uses it thinks it’s utterly broken, and instead of fixing it, those in charge put up little signs reassuring people that this disaster is the way things are meant to be and to just keep waiting for the most basic services.
I love the Irish people, and I love Ireland, but putting one in charge of the other is a case of two rights making you go backwards.