Growing up in Dublin, the most cosmopolitan place in Ireland, apart from the British, one did not often see many people from other countries. During the summer months, you might hear some Italian or Spanish when a school group came to practice their English. Before I left for the States, I think I had seen maybe two Black people in Dublin throughout the years. Or maybe it was the same person who just liked to put on a disguise once in a while to confuse the locals.
As the Celtic Tiger roared, people from all over the world came to Ireland, and not just Dublin. In particular many eastern Europeans took the low end jobs that foreign workers seem to occupy the world over. Lots of these went home as the going got tough in recent years and the Celtic Tiger started to look more like a mangy tabby cat.
As Kelly and I walked around today, here is a sampling of the languages we heard being spoken:
- Mandarin Chinese
- and a few African languages which I could not identify
While a few of these may have been tourists, most of them were not, and I am sure if we tried a bit harder, we could have heard at least another half dozen or so tongues without too much difficulty. There are now specialty shops for goods and/or food catering to Poles, Serbs, and probably many others, although one wonders with some of the emigration of foreign workers if they’ve had to setup a mail order business.