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Every time I travel abroad I am gripped by the fear that Ireland is making a fool of me

Emer McLysaght: Even Disneyland’s neon lawns seem more affordable than Dublin

You would be hard pushed to get a glass of wine for €6 in Dublin these days. Most city centre pubs will probably charge at least €8 for a house white or red, anecdotally speaking.

A friend and I had some Sunday lunch in a bog standard Dublin 8 pub a few months back and the fittingly bog standard glasses of wine were €9.50 each. My friend still talks about it as if she is having ‘Nam flashbacks.

Earlier this month I went with a group of adults and kids to Disneyland Paris for a long weekend. It’s a curious choice for me, a childfree woman whose Disney obsession was at its highest when The Lion King soundtrack was only available on cassette (yes, I still know every word), but I feared the FOMO (fear of missing out) too much and signed up to tag along.

Well, the things we saw! Rollercoasters, drone displays, firework shows, princess parades, and the piece de resistance ... glasses of white wine filled to the brim for €6 and not a penny more! “Disneyland is cheaper than Dublin,” we parroted to each other after discovering the bargain vino on a rainy day three in the park.


Disney doesn’t promote the availability of the booze but it’s not too difficult to sniff out and after two long days of Tower of Terror and Thunder Mountain it was time for the mammies and fun aunt to gather under a parasol at Chez Rémy while the children and dads continued the quenchless thirst for thrills.

“Maybe we should move to France,” we sighed during wine number three, imagining a utopia where the money we saved on booze would fund our bohemian lifestyles in the French countryside. We spent a day in Paris pre-Disneyland and even there it felt that the prices were competitive with our own capital. When one of the children returned with her mouth stained blue and an industrial-sized tub of candyfloss we quizzed her on the price. “€7!,” I exclaimed. “You’d pay €10 for that at Funderland.”

Every time I travel abroad I am gripped by the fear that my country is making a fool of me. In Portugal last summer I checked house prices in the idyllic countryside we stayed in and found an eight-room villa nearby for €300,000. For comparison, an apartment two doors up from me in Dublin is for sale for almost €400,000. It was the stark whitewashing of the hallway and door and the noisy Saturday morning viewing that alerted me.

Obviously, being a nosy hole, I looked it up on Daft and snorted at the claim that it is “light filled”. Having the same gloomy, West-facing aspect as my own place with a windowless kitchen and bathroom, I assume they’d have the same trouble as me keeping plants alive. However, those coming to view the property did not look like they’d be the ones moving in (naturally, I snooped at them through the peephole and eavesdropped to my heart’s content), if you catch my drift. The potential rent on the apartment would probably start making a dent in the €400k investment before long.

I’m very lucky to have a home and there is much to love about it – even if I am on prescription strength vitamin D to make up for the dearth of natural light. When abroad though, the grass is such a vibrant green. And when the neon lawns of Disneyland seem more affordable than your hometown, it is a bitter pill to swallow. Headlines remind us every day that the housing crisis is only getting worse and buying a home anywhere in Ireland feels so out of reach for so many, while renting remains a precarious and unprotected gamble. As I conducted my covert research on my neighbouring flat I worried about the tenants who just moved out, just as I fear my own marching orders and the impossible task of finding new, affordable accommodation.

A tipsy purchase of a €25 Mickey Mouse bubble gun for a very brave five-year-old brought my dreams of relocating to Paris back down to earth. I mean, obviously, the French are going to do wine right, even in a corporate theme park. I also happened upon a TikTok of a Parisian Airbnb offering with the shower in the kitchen and the toilet in a cupboard. It would put even the galling Dublin studio rental market to shame. Since my return however, the furious late-night googling of €100k chateaux in the Languedoc countryside has continued apace. Maybe I need a SAD lamp.