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2016 Was The Year Of Sweeping Americanisation Of Dublin

By niallharbison

December 31, 2016 at 12:18pm


Daniel O'Connell looks south across the river from his perch on the top of that iconic monument that dominates the most recognisable street in the city. 

From the erection of his statue in 1880 he has seen remarkable change including the arrival of motor cars, wars, celebrations and everything else in-between.

Recently though, he has witnessed an invasion by Starbucks – the all-too-familiar American coffee chain. 

From his line of sight within 100 yards he can see four Starbucks outlets – two of them on Westmoreland Street literally across the road from each other because God forbid you'd have to cross the road for your Venti Frappuccino. 

Within 250 yards from the monument dotted around the city there are a further ten Starbucks shops of varying sizes. TEN!

Screen Shot 2016 12 30 At 13 51 17

To think that the city planners would allow a brand like Starbucks to occupy every prominent corner with heavy (mostly tourist) footfall tells you how open we are to the complete Americanisation of Dublin. 

It isn't just big corporations embracing this either. You can't seem to walk down one street in Dublin 1 or 2 without coming across a doughnut shop, that lost American of delicacy. 

Chains of them are popping up and mutating across the city faster than our waistlines are expanding.

Have a look at the menus in most popular restaurants and bars and the theme is consistent. French and Italian food pushed to one side in favour of American staples like fried chicken, burgers and brunch pancakes. 

The opening of Five Guys in Dundrum was welcomed with as much gusto as a papal visit was by previous generations on these shores.

It isn't just what we eat and drink though – it's how we consume. 

The most American of traditions, Halloween and Black Friday are now every bit as important to us as more established holidays. At this rate it is only a matter of time before we are all sitting down to eat pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving here in Ireland. 

Where you feel the Americanisation most is around the Grand Canal Dock area. 

Huge towering steel and glass sky scrapers house tens of thousands of workers from large American corporations. Of course we are lucky to have them, but it is also the most un-Dublin area of Dublin – about as far removed from the quirky culture filled streets of the rest of the city as one could imagine. 

If anything, that trend is speeding up in the area as more buildings get ripped down and replaced and the trend is now starting to creep north of the river. 

Give it ten years and a visitor arriving in Dublin port will drive down the Quays through a corridor of shiny buildings housing multinationals. 

By the time they reach Daniel O'Connell, if he's still even on his perch and not replaced by an "Emperor Trump" statue, he'll be looking out over even more American food and retail outlets. Instead of a charming city filled with lovely Irish bars and businesses that tourist could be arriving in Seattle, Boston or Chicago.

Dublin is losing it's uniqueness as it gets washed over by a tsunami of American culture. Nobody here seems to mind though because we are such rampant consumers ourselves and buckets of coffee, huge burgers, donuts and binge shopping all seem like a great laugh. 

With the European Union in such bother we might as well just row in with Hawaii and Alaska and become the 51st state of the USA. 

We are well on our way as is.

Disagree? We wanna hear it – let us know in the comments below. 

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