Picture Postcards: A Dublin doorway

This week’s door image comes to us from Dublin, Ireland and was taken by our contributor, Marcel. Does the post come through the front door like this in your country?

Read more:
Meet Marcel
Irish History in Popular Media
Irish Blogs on Blogs of the World

November 18, 2012 Comments disabled

PocketCultures world tour: best of 2011

Happy New Year! Our roundup of 2011 begins with a reminder that 1st January is not the beginning of a new year throughout the world. Carla wrote that Brazilians consider the year to start after February’s carnival, and Anu wrote about new year celebrations which take place at different times in different parts of India. Of course many parts of the world do celebrate the start of the New Year on January 1st, and Sandra’s post explained all about new year celebrations in Portugal.

Bolo Rei
Bolo Rei – part of the New Year celebrations in Portugal. Credit.


December 31, 2011 1 comment

Meet Marcel from Germany, and learn about why he now calls Ireland “home”

Today, we speak with our regional contributor, Marcel Krueger. Marcel is from Germany, however currently lives in Dublin, Ireland. Read on to hear more about what it’s like to live in Dublin, and how Dublin is so different than what most tourists expect!

Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?

I was born in Germany, in small town in the west called Solingen, and now live in in the capital of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin. What made me come here was a new job, quite simply. But I like it so much that I’m here for five years now, despite the rain.

If you would describe yourself as multi-cultural, tell us a bit about what culture you most identify with and why.

Tricky. I do consider myself being multi-cultural, especially as I work with the internet a lot and have friends and peers all over the world – so I’m in touch with different cultures and countries on a daily basis and really do enjoy discovering and learning new things. I do like islands and autumn though, so if I have to name a culture I’d identify with the most that would be Ireland and Iceland.

Why did you decide to become a Pocket Cultures contributor?

The concept of Pocketcultures very much appealed to me, especially as a inter-European expat. I do not consider myself being a traveller, I prefer to stay in a place for a while and learn as much as possible about the people, history, everyday life – things you cannot do when you travel through for two weeks or so. So I thought I could contribute an interesting article or two from time to time.

Can you describe a typical day for you?

I get up in the morning and board a yellow double-decker bus that takes me to the office, from 18th-century Mountjoy Square where I live to a new corporate park in the suburbs. I work mainly as a copywriter, so after eight hours of starring at a screen I take a similar bus home and would stare at another screen at home for another two hours, writing for Pocketcultures or one of my other writing gigs. If I’m not heading to a pub (we have quite a few here), I go to see a gig or to the movies.

What is the best part of living in your country? The worst?

The Irish. Both.

What books or films would you recommend someone who’d like to know more about your country?

Films: Once, Michael Collins, In Bruges

Books: A Star Called Henry, At Swim-Two-Birds and (ta-daa) Dubliners

What’s something that visitors are often surprised by when getting to know your country/culture?

Mostly that Dublin is not all sheep, sessions in the local pub and tweed-clad farmers. It’s your standard European metropole, one that comes with a drug problem and hundreds of ghost-estates.

November 18, 2011 Comments disabled

A long long way: Irish history in popular media

Working on a project aimed at German tourists for the Irish Tourism Board this May, I realised that people still come to Ireland to enjoy the stereotypes: green fields, dramatic cliffs and the merry fiddler in the pub. Only few visitors seem to realise that Ireland has, like all other countries, a very interesting (and quite bloodstained) history.

From the Irish regiments that fought in the First World War, the Easter Rising 1916 to both the Anglo-Irish War 1919-1921 and the Irish Civil War 1921-22, these events formed Ireland as it is today, and learning about it offers a much broader picture of the island and a deeper understanding of why there are actually two countries on it. (more…)

July 19, 2011 2 comments

Crouching tiger, hidden dragon?

For the last four years, I’ve been able to witness the descent of Ireland from self-proclaimed boom country (or “Celtic Tiger“) to one of the most indebted countries in Europe. But does economic downturn mean also a cultural downturn?

When I came to Dublin in 2007, I was expecting the city to be comparable to my hometown Cologne. It has the same size, the same small and well-arranged city center and I was expecting a plethora of indie clubs, alternative stores and a vibrant cultural scene. I was disappointed. It seemed people were only focussing on spending a fortune at HMV, going to the movies very often and drink colourful longdrinks in shiny new bars mostly frequented by bankers and solicitors. I did find a couple of places and areas with an alternative touch, but these were few and far between.


March 18, 2011 1 comment

Urban Style Challenge: Dublin vs Chicago

Today, our challenge is all about the boys. Our contributors Marcel and Sean wrote about men’s style in their cities, Dublin and Chicago. Sit back and enjoy.

Dublin Chicago
Hair Anything goes. We have our fair share of Berlinesque hipster-haircuts, but also the good old mullet and fully shave head of the youngster from the suburbs’ Nothing particular for professionals, but for the hipsters and coll kids: faux-hawks, close-crop, shaved head.  Some dreds.  High-top fades, and other 80′s styles have started to come back for African Americans.
Fashion trends What goes in mainland Europe also goes in Dublin, though we share more trends with London than Milan. All a bit on the colourful side. Light leather jackets (spring), Ugly sunglasses (hopefully this will end in 2011), jeans that fit, and men’s hats are all back.  Accessories seem to be coming back into vogue: tie pins, pocket kerchiefs.
Colour Depends on the occasion – business attire comes with more sober colours, while in the evenings bright colours and flashy outfits prevail. Winter: Black. Chicago is infamous for conservative-styled black on black. In the spring and summer: Pastels and other light colors crop up, as do white shoes and hats.  Lots of earth tones in the fall, to match the leaves on the trees.
Footwear For men, anything between sneakers and brogues goes. Many ladies do however wear Ugg-boots on as many occasions as possible. Vintage leather shoes (black, brown, white), and slip-ins have become more popular.  AF1s for “street style”.  Basic dress shoes, vs. a pattern or wing-tip are more popular.  “5 Fingers” shoes for fitness,
Evening gear As Dublin offers a variety of evening activities (and clubs), evening gear and wear varies accordingly. The majority of men however opt for the standard (and bouncer-approved) combination of ironed shirt, jeans and brogues when going out. A sport coat or blazer is a must, unless it’s too hot, in which case a button down and tie will do.  Many clubs won’t let you in with pants that are too baggy, even if they’re dress pants. Darker colors, but no blue button-downs, those are for engineers and factory managers, not for a night on the town.
Weekend outfits Has to be the tracksuit, whether you do sports on the weekend or not. It depends heavily on your activities.  For some, it’s polo shirts and shorts w/sandals for sailing, or a white button down and slacks for brunch.  Blue jeans and T-shirts for many, the more ironic the T-shirt, the better.
After-work activities This being the capital of Ireland, the preferred after-work activity of Dublin males is the pub. Most Chicagoans don’t live by their work, so as a consequence, any after-work activity tends to be in work clothes.  Occasionally, one might stop at home to throw on a blazer and a pair of more casual, usually brown, shoes.
February 22, 2011 2 comments