Why I left Ireland and moved back to my East-European country? — Part II
If you didn’t get the chance to read the first part. Please go ahead and read it to get some context. This one is going a bit deeper into the inner workings of the Irish society from my perspective.
So who lives in Ireland? Everybody else is the answer. But mostly Brazilians, France and a mixture of East Europeans.
Most of them, including the Romanians, have traveled to Ireland in the hopes of finding a better life. Most of them, not all, are happy being in the Ireland's middle class as the standard of living is well above the one they had back in their home country;
The Irish tend to emigrate themselves just after college. They will jokingly tell you that they did it because of the weather but there are some deeper reasons there. They tend to have a great sense of humor, most of it self-deprecating, but good humor none the less;
In pubs, topics can vary from TV shows, Travel, Music to more deeper ones like “How much of a c****s are the English”. Topics like Religion or the North-South War are off-limits, but you will find the odd IRA sympathizer, because no Irishman would ever admit to even knowing somebody who was IRA, to get drunk and tell you all about the good old days when they where chanting against the English Invaders and how the Southerners sold them out
3. The Irish Society
The Irish society is split in to 3 classes. The lower class ( knackers ) , middle class ( majority ) and a tiny upper class ( landlords ). Upwards mobility is lower than in Romania, the entire Irish state is build around keeping this classes well separated.
As a foreigner, you are automatically assigned to the middle class, assuming you are not smoking Cubans or flashing a Rolex.
The knackers are the lower class in Ireland, drug addicts, you can find them, well… everywhere; they are the reasons tracks-suits companies are hitting it big in Ireland and also why Ireland has the highest crime rate in Europe. Their drug habits are subsidize by the state with a monthly allowance equal to the minimum wage ( close to 1k / mo ) and free housing on top of that.
They, in turn, help keep the Irish newspapers in business by committing a stabbing every day of the week. When knackers “drop the ball”, the gangs are there to pick it up. There is a fascinating gang history in Dublin if you care to find out.
I had a few run-ins with the knackers and it’s a good policy to avoid any interaction. Trust me on this one. Just shut up and keep walking. No eye contact.
The middle class, pay for all of the Irish state’s ventures. The average Irish, or at least the ones that i meet, are well mannered and never rebel ( it always ends badly for the people when they do ). For this reason the Irish state has confided them to being the working bees of the society. The protests in Dublin are anemic, with less then 500 people; The government hardly ever acknowledges their existence or complains.
As a Ireland resident you have access to basic healthcare. Unfortunately the state provided healthcare is a mess with waiting times for patients in upwards of 12 hours. I need to also give some credit to knackers for puting a strain on the healthcare system.
But ya, don’t get sick, and if you do, call the ambulance, you might just survive…
The upper class is composed of hardly a few hundred people. They are the landlords ( the clue is in the name ) and they own everything, and i do mean everything, most of Dublin is owned by 60 people. To be in the lower spectrum of the upper class you need to make at least a 5 figure. When you are in the upper class things tend to be “complimentary” for you: You get complimentary tickets, food, services, healthcare and so on.
The upwards mobility is kept low mostly using the convoluted tax system that favors the rich and big corporations in opposition to working class citizens, the job market and extreme capitalism also play an important role in keeping the middle class pined.
There are some common “signs” that you are in the top 1%. Some clothes are prohibitively expensive as well as some goods / services. You can pass as upper class if you can afford it and the way people interact with you will change dramatically.
I know this is common across the world, but the Irish and English put a lot of emphasis on wealth and status.
To illustrate my point: I was having issues getting in to clubs. They would take one look at me, ask for my id, check it and then send me packing. I figured they can tell i am “the wrong kind of foreign” by my clothes.
One time i was out with a friend, he was wearing the most horrible track-suite imaginable. He told me he can get in, i laughed knowing how hard it was for me to pass the bouncers. He approached the bouncer and got stopped, “you’re not going in dressed like that mate”, he then pulled the label of the track-suite and showed it to the bouncer, “apologies sir, please, go right in” … i was amazed and some what amused !
The next day, completely unrelated, i bought myself a expensive coat… After that i never had any more issues with the bouncers, take out of that what you will.
TO BE CONTINUED
I notice that some interpreted the first article as me “hating” Ireland, which is really not what i was going for. I hope this part adds a bit of context to that regards.
Disclaimer: I admit this comes off as a bit of a harsh take on Ireland. I loved the people and some of the culture and i will insert more of that later in this series. The point of this series is to be as truthful as possible and not “sugarcoat” the facts. I do apologize to my Irish friends and invite them to message me for clarification if they disagree with my views.