Thank you for holding…

By Francine Cunningham First world prices should go hand in hand with first-class service. Frustratingly, that is too often not the case in Ireland. In the last months, there have been multiple examples of inconsiderate, or downright shoddy, service of the type that makes me wish I could remember the few Gaelic curses I onceContinue reading “Thank you for holding…”

Visit Talbot Street, its crime, its colour

By Peter Vandermeersch ‘There’s a lot of colourful people in this street. Some of them are very interested in you. Especially in your wallet and your phone’, a colleague at the newspaper office warned me. It was my first day in the building of ‘Independent News and Media’ (INM), which has its offices in oneContinue reading “Visit Talbot Street, its crime, its colour”

Cultural distancing

By Francine Cunningham Ask the average foreign visitor how they would describe the Irish and the typical response is ‘friendly’. Not exactly an original thought. Yet now that I’m spending time back on Irish soil I can’t help asking myself when does that pervasive friendliness cross the line? When does it start to make meContinue reading “Cultural distancing”

Washed Ashore

By Francine Cunningham It’s mid-summer when I land at Dublin airport, back in my home country after more than two decades. At the security control, I show my Irish passport, while my Belgian-Dutch husband and our son present their different passports. We join the throng in the arrivals hall where my mother is waiting, already in tears. TwoContinue reading “Washed Ashore”

Landlords with euro signs in their eyes

By Peter Vandermeersch Moving to Dublin, I was convinced I had a very decent budget. In July 2019, a month before packing my bags for the Irish capital, I had sold a chic apartment of 100 square metres smack in the centre of Amsterdam, one of the liveliest cities in Western Europe, where… everyone isContinue reading “Landlords with euro signs in their eyes”

A stitch in time

By Francine Cunningham On a rainswept, wind-buffeted visit to Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands off Ireland’s west coast in mid-July, I couldn’t resist the urge to buy a handknitted Aran jumper. This water-repellent knit was definitely more of a necessity than style statement for the farmers and fishermen who have inhabited theContinue reading “A stitch in time”

It’s not the Champs Elysées

By Peter Vandermeersch April 2019. Paris! Fresh croissants! Les Champs Elysées! Le Musée d’Orsay…. I am preparing to leave Amsterdam, where I have been working for nine years as the editor-in-chief and a director of NRC Handelsblad, to move to the city of lights. I have been editing and managing newspapers in Belgium and TheContinue reading “It’s not the Champs Elysées”