Urban v Rural


I respectfully submit that somewhere with 200 restaurants within a five mile radius is likely to have more variety than somewhere with 10.

Similarly for all of the other ameneties.

Pick a random town and see how much live orchestral music you get there in a year compared with how much you’ll get in a city (not all cities, I grant you, but certainly in Dublin).

The fact remains that the things in which I’m interested will be much thinner on the ground in a small town and will involve more travel and work to reach where I can find them. Something as simple as going to a concert will involve taking half a day off work if I want to eat before 11pm and either riding back late at night or staying over.

Taking advantage of what’s there is not the same as saying that less is more through sheer perversity (I’m not saying you’re perverse, but people can get defensive about what they have. I’m perfectly willing to admit that Dublin’s facilities are inferior to London’s, Paris’s or New York’s).

I’ve been out of my comfort zone before, indeed, I grew up out of it. Why do you think I moved into it?


Kate, you know what I meant. I know there are great venues all around the country *and *festivals and restuarants. I’ve been to the Kilkenny Rhythm and roots festival every year since 1999, Have been to Cork Jazz a few times, I was going to go to the Westport Music Festival but couldn’t make it. Have been to Galway Arts Festival and I might go to the Electric Picnic. But this is about rural living versus urban or suburban living isn’t it? And to me true rural living means living in the countryside, or in a small village, perhaps ten, fifteen miles or more from the nearest decent sized town with no public transport to speak of. I would find that problematic given my range interests (and they’re not just music.) Are there really Art House cinemas in provincial towns around Ireland?

I mean, if I live outside Carlingford and I want to go to the Spirit Store in Dundalk, to see some decent music - I am faced with a 25 mile round-trip by car or an expensive taxi-ride - there’s no other choice. Same if I live say, near Thomastown and want to go into Kilkenny - the taxi fare is €35 - one way! (I paid it once!) A mate has just offered me tickets to some of the comedy shows at the Iveagh Gardens over the weekend. It’s no hassle for me to get there - the Luas stops virtually outside the venue (it’s about a 12 minute walk my end and a very comfortable ride in a nice clean tram.) Anyway, I was responding to someone above who said facilities in Dublin were “crap”. The 02, Vicar Street, and Grand Canal Theatre are not “crap” facilities - they are state of the art, as are many other facilities in and around the city.


Put probably more eloquently than I did. We’re talking about the diference between some small town and a city, not Dublin and Galway or Cork.



Of course. There’s no argument with that - scale, proximity, variety. Yours is bigger than mine. My issue is with what you said earlier.

You’re wrong if you think that a person, in the Midlands for example, where I am, couldn’t have access to two to five quality arts experiences in a month. Or access as many good restaurants. It is more effort, but as I said, the difference is a willingness to travel. To look beyond what’s immediately on the doorstep. The quality is good. Some of it is superb. Some is as crap as Dublin’s crap.

A part of me would be much happier living in Dublin for the same reasons you do, and happier again in London, and even happier again in New York.

But the world outside the M50 is not a cultural wasteland. If it was, most of what makes it to Dublin wouldn’t exist.


I never said it was a cultural wasteland, merely that any given small town wouldn’t have much of it. When you know you want, then it makes sense to live where you’ll find the most of it. I assume you have a valid reason for living where you do and not simply so that you can drive longer distances for entertainment. For me, the principal reason to live in or near a city is that that’s where I’ll find work. My job is enormously important to me and almost all of the employers who can provide the work I want are on the outskirts of a couple of major cities. I see no point travelling long distances every day or even every week.


Again, I can’t argue with any of that. What I’m saying is that your only choice isn’t Carmel and her Concertina.

I’m not a one-woman promotional machine saying there’s non-stop obscure and stadium-filling stuff happening every day in Termonfeckin, but to be fair, both of you were derisory of what you might be able to access outside of the city. And I think in the posts you both wrote that I responded to, you were both being unfair. Though you’re models of pc-ness now.


I would say, for balance however, that the lack of money in people’s pockets means it’s harder and harder to get people to less crowd-pleasing events. Where I am there is a solid arts community and there’s quite a lot of the same faces at events. I presume it’s the same in Dublin, Cork, Galway, though it’s experienced differently.

As for ‘true rural living,’ I think it only exists in the memoirs of travel writers and such with their years in Provence or in mud huts in Collinstown. There are not so many Waldens as you might think.

Down here, we just get on with it.


Reading back, it seems that BjBE threw the grenade and we’re taking the flak! :open_mouth: :laughing:
I just pointed out that I do, in fact visit museums more often than golf clubs and that a small town will have a more limited restaurant selection than a city and less arthouse cinema and somehow we’re in a culture war. :laughing:


Just reading back myself MoC and see an element of that… I may have protested slightly too much.

For the purposes of calling a truce in the culture war, I shall call my recent posts a pre-emptive strike in advance of potential, possible possible dissing posts to come :stuck_out_tongue:

Is that fair enough?


I live in Limerick, which has a reasonably vibrant arts/drama/music scene. I’m somewhat involved with the drama scene which I doubt I’d be if I’d lived in Dublin. The fact is that if something happens in a village/town or small city, then the barriers to entry are probably lower than they are in a bigger city (or in my mind at least). In Limerick most of the arts/drama/music scene know each other, and connections are easily made. The gaffe we’re renting is walking distance of the city centre, it’s palatial and affordable.

I have relatives in London, and any time I visit the vast size of the place is apparent, getting anywhere from where they live (near Greenwich) is a chore. Working in the city they spent an hour each way commuting to and from work. Leaving them little time during the week for hobbies. I’d hate it, and I’m not sure I even like visiting it (not them, they’re fine).

In short, London’s too big for me. I think I’m happy with cities the size of Cork/Galway or Limerick. Reasonable sense of community on the one hand, nothing too far away, reasonable choice, short commute to work. 'Tis grand.


Ok. That’s an interesting example. Let’s look at the options.

[*Taxi. * (https://www.worldtaximeter.com/dublin/Thomastown,+Kilkenny/Bagenalstown,+Carlow) €31.39 Very convenient, but quite dear unless shared by 3 or 4 people. Fairly good value then.
Kilbride Coaches. 3 times a day. 25 minutes journey. €4.50.
Bus Eireann. 3 Times a day. 25 minutes. €5.00?
**Irish Rail. **7 trains available during the day. Journey time 12 minutes. €6.00?
Cycle. Free, but not for the faint hearted.

Of course you could also drive, or car-pool or get a lift? It requires a bit of planning, but so do most things in life.


I have the great good fortune to spend my working week in Cork a ten minute bike ride from work, and most of my weekends in West Cork. Surprisingly to me at least one of the local pubs has The Hot Guitars playing regularly. They are incredible have a listen

With a population of about 300 permanent residents maybe double that in Summer the pub literally rocks, Kinsale based band Crazy Chester also play. I have no idea how it pays for a small West Cork pub to get these guys in for a night but top class entertainment in a small small pub how bad boy


It is all so very subjective.

The right answer is different for everyone!


There was no planning involved. I needed to get to Thomastown at around 9pm one evening on a bank holiday weekend. Taxi was the only option. It cost me €35 - from outside the Ormonde Hotel in Kilkenny to get to a place just the other side of Thomastown! (Maybe they charge more for sash-wearing, bowler-hatted, non-Irish speaking, Dublin West-Brits!) Anyway, living about 8km outside of Dublin I don’t need to plan ahead - ever. Most of my entertainment and social life seems to happen at the last minute and it’s not a problem. There’s always a bus or Luas or Dart within 10 or 15 minutes max.


For me Dublin has some aspects of rural living already.

It is not a very dense city at all. I wouldn’t really call it city living compared to >1m cities on the continent where there are a lot of apartments and little enough green space.

There are close to ten golf courses within the M50, several very large parks and when I tried to count the number of playing pitches on google maps I gave up.

Of course low density means that distance times are long and public transport is crap. But it also means that if you carefully choose where to live in Dublin you can have a lot of green space as well as proximity to the usual nice urban amenities.

I’m also somewhat amused by the ‘Dublin is unfriendly’ claims on here. Perhaps it is, but only by the very high standards of Ireland in general. I’ve lived in a few places and believe me the general willingness of the average Irish person to engage with and help a stranger is quite a lovely thing.


Slightly OT but there is one advantage to coming from the arse-end of nowhere that no-one has mentioned.

If you grow up in, say, Kilcormac, you will know where London, Paris and New York are. You will have heard of Arsenal, the Champs Elysées, the Empire State building or whatever. You will have some idea, if only from the media, of what it is like to visit or even live in one of these places.

If you grow up in London, Paris or New York, you will almost certainly never heard of Kilcormac (in my experience, the average New Yorker has just about heard of London or Paris, but has no real idea where they are). This places the Kilcormac native at an advantage - he/she is an unknown quantity, likely to be underestimated.

So the average native of Kilcormac is by definition more broad minded than a native of one of the great metropolises - live in the sticks and broaden your mind.


I come from the countryside, though hated it, I mean really hated it, as a young fella. Always wanted the city, anonymity, buzz. And a job, which was never going to happen where I was.

Now in my forties, and living a mile outside a tiny, tiny place. Halfway up a hill, on an acre. That acre is a longterm project, and I will certainly not be bored.

Pretty rolling hill countryside, pitch dark at night, dead quiet. Awesomely fantastic neighbours, who have already been incredibly generous and helpful and have made us feel so welcome, though neither of us are from the county and my wife is from Central Europe anyway.

All this ‘‘squinting windows’’ and ‘‘oppressive GAA and Catholic Church’’ vibe, it’s all a load of cliched old balls. Just more middle-class chatter, a la the dreaded ‘‘commute’’ word.

Fair enough, I’m not travelling into and out of Dublin traffic; still, work is a 45 minute commute. There are extra costs attached to that, but at least I service our cars. If there’s no milk in the fridge at 11pm, you’re either driving ten miles or you’re doing without. I have found that the sun still comes up the following morning though, and no lasting damage done.

In the mornings, the drive is a chance to mentally prepare for the day, or listen to the radio, or some music, or enjoy the sun coming up over the hills, or think about my lovely wife.

In the evening it’s a chance to listen to a documentary or a podcast I might have downloaded, maybe brush up on a bit of foreign language that I’m learning, or think about my lovely wife. Or just to wind down if it’s been a shit day.

As for cities, I am spoiled by having lived in and around London, a real city, with proper theatres, concerts, night classes.

But I’ve had enough of cities anyway, and especially Irish ‘‘cities’’. I’ll say straight away that I’ve made no effort whatsoever to cultivate a circle of acquaintances, but anyway…

They’re all pretty underwhelming as cities go, and if you’re a non-drinker you’re not missing much. Waterford, Kilkenny - not really proper cities, not much going on, not enough anonymity. Limerick - not really a proper city, an accent that would grind you into the ground, waaay too many muppets with their trackie bottoms inside their socks and their hands holding their balls as they lurch around the central parts, and generally a depressed and depressing place. Dublin - is light years ahead of the others (what does that say ?), but the 78 into town from the Ballyer with people shooting up and smoking weed openly on the top deck, the state of O’Connell St… ?

Taking a long-term view personally, one key to enjoying our idyllic life in rural Ireland is - having a plan for our older age. Things are only going to get worse and more threadbare in terms of social provision, and we can only rely on ourselves. But we certainly don’t feel trapped, or isolated here. We are liberated by it.


Telecommuting will transform the lifestyles of workers who can avail of it. Especially in Ireland where
there is an unlimited amount of ultra cheap accommodation in rural areas.
Also - seeing the computer driven cars on the news - in 50 years time where will that be?
It has implications including for the elderly living in isolated locations.

Not all of rural Ireland is clannish/GAA & Church mad and not all of Dublin is unfriendly & depressing.
But some parts of both do live up to the stereotypes.


Yes. Compared to Dortmund, say. 600k people metro, cheap housing, world class football, jobs, education, etc. I hate to break it to you but there are no mountains anywhere near Dublin.


Do you really think 45 minutes is an acceptable commute? That’s triple the level at which I start to have doubts. Ideally, I’d want to live within a ten minute walk of work. Twenty minutes by any means of transport is an upper limit.


45 each way I presume and if so that in my mind is a long commute, especially if you have to drive a few miles on 50/50 back roads.
I still think living on the edge of town gives you best of both worlds, my last place was a five minute commute to work and I could be in the countryside with a ten minute walk. !5 minutes in the other direction and I was in the middle of town.