Today we took a tour of the Docklands- the old docks that are now the technological and financial hub of Dublin. Facebook, LinkedIn, PWC, Citi… these are just a few of the global companies who have their European headquarters in Dublin. Google also has an HQ there, and we were fortunate enough to tour there!
Before we made it to Google, Dr. Darren Kelley gave us a walking tour of the Docklands and explained the “Celtic Tiger”- the economic boom of the 90’s. To give you just a brief synopsis of what he told us, in the 1970’s, nobody in Ireland was expected to go to college after high school. In the 80’s, more colleges were built that student could attend for free, which resulted in more educated and wealthy citizens. This economic uptick continued to skyrocket until the 2008 housing crisis in America. As Dr. Kelley put it, “when America sneezes, Ireland catches the flu.” The housing bubble had a huge, negative impact on the Irish economy, and the EU had to step in to assist Ireland with the crushing weight of debt it was suddenly in. It was during this time that major companies purchased land in Ireland and started to build their headquarters there.
That’s a very short explanation of the past 40 or so complicated years that shaped the Docklands into what they are today. Dr. Kelley asserted that there are certain characteristics about the Irish people that helped the country survive in both good times and bad. Among these characteristics are “soft skills”- communication, cultural competency, and emotional intelligence. I agree with Dr. Kelley- I think that these skills give the Irish an ability to flourish, no matter what situation or circumstance they’re in.
To see proof, just look how far it’s brought them.