The Irish capital’s economy is surging on predictions of a big business exodus from London, but outside the city the mood is not so buoyant
Dublin rents have smashed every record. The number of cranes on the city’s skyline has doubled in just a year. Michelin-starred restaurants warn diners not to bother trying for a reservation until 2018. And at a giant new bar and restaurant complex in Temple Bar – immediately next door to U2’s Clarence Hotel, emblematic of Ireland’s boom years – Bono and The Edge last week partied until 6am after a sell-out gig. Is this the birth of the Celtic Tiger, mark II?
The economic turnaround has been staggering. As recently as 2012, Ireland’s unemployment stood at 15.2%, wages had been slashed, property prices in Dublin had collapsed by 56% and the country’s economy was on an €85bn life support loan from the EU and the IMF. Today, unemployment is down to just 6.2%, with the Bank of Ireland forecasting GDP growth of 4.8% this year, after a healthy 5.1% last year. In 2017, Ireland will be Europe’s fastest-growing economy – for the fourth year in a row.