Dublin is in many respects a bloated provincial town – one stretching out in kilometers in each direction to accommodate over a million people, as opposed to a kilometer in each to accommodate ten thousand.
Large buildings are the exception rather than the rule, and tend not to be magnificent stone-worked buildings of State but glass and steel obelisks of corporate power. A great retort by many south Dubs objecting to large-developments is that large buildings are an eyesore, yet anyone who has been to Munich or Vienna can tell you that large buildings can be aesthetic, can host a certain grandeur lacking in the brutal 50 story Anglo-American slum-towers of New York or London.
Ugly buildings are a feature of the Anglo-Saxon mindset, not a function of large buildings, and small buildings can be equally as ugly.
The Hungarian Parliament building dominates the city of Budapest and can be seen from near any point of the river or surrounding hills.
The Irish parliament building in contrast is a squat townhouse owned previously by a well-to-do Imperial Planter – never an uglier parliament building has there been.
Dublin’s only aesthetic saving graces are the handful of historic buildings still in existence – the Four Courts, the Custom House, Grattan’s Parliament, Christchurch and St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Belfast by contrast has the proper feel of a city – albeit a city with the energy of Eastern Europe like Prague or Warsaw. It still has great edifices of stone, a sense that one is living in a large urban area, and as one journeys into South or West Belfast, one comes also against the expressions of national and ethnic identity that a city should possess – in Divis Tower and the Falls, a tricolour flies from the windows of every third or fourth house, flags that are replaced regularly so as not to look ragged. Even the butchers apron hanging from every lamppost gives Belfast more character than Dublin – Dublin which flies only the national flag with the European flag higher than it, Dublin which flies the flag of homosexuals and foreign countries with greater vehemence than it flies its own flag in love and pride.
When was the last time every shop front painted a tricolour in their window, as they do with the flag of Ukraine, or flew them from lampposts or on those god-awful machines used for electronic advertising?
While Belfast is no doubt culturally pozzed, with the same degenerates swannying about the city, there are significantly fewer than in Dublin and the ethnic tribalism of its inhabitants is clear and on display – Belfast has several good watering holes for trad sessions, Dublin a relative paucity. I have seen consistently better trad sessions in parts of Sligo and Leitrim, in villages of a thousand people, than I’ve seen in Dublin.
This is not a call to make Belfast the capital when we unite the island – but a plea that we today level Dublin and in its place build a city worth living in, one that is Irish, Gaelic, and proud. A magnificent city on the river and sea, strong and with her head held high.