1. You’ve been barred from more than a few pubs.
Too many nights of tearing the arse out of it, eh? Even Jim down in Duggan’s won’t serve you ever since you knocked Mrs. O’Shea over onto her bad hip while doing a drunken and disastrous rendition of Riverdance last Christmas. You were blacklisted from a few pubs in town a couple of years ago during your lost weekend, so accepting watering holes are slowly becoming few and far between. No one knows you in England, and it’s full of louts over there too. Hop on the ferry, just take it easy on the cider on the way over.
2. You can’t get a job.
Ever since the greedy bankers fucked us all over in the recession of 2008, employment has become somewhat elusive. Finding a steady job is like toughing it out in the Hunger Games, a cruel and ruthless battle where there can only be one victor, and the law of averages means that it’s probably not gonna be you. And even if it is, your contract will be for 6 months and you’ll need to meet completely unrealistic targets, making even having a job in Ireland bloody stressful. Take some Spanish classes and move to South America. It’s the new promise land.
3. You’ve hooked up with everyone in your friend group.
Dublin is small and the Irish are incestuous. You’ve been hanging out with the same people for a good 10 years now, and have systematically picked off your boy/girl friends, one drunken fumble after another. Even though your ex is now happily shacked up with your best mate, it’s all good, but romantic pickings are slim. Better move to Scotland where you’ll be a breath of fresh air, because they’ve scored all their mates, too.
4. You live with your parents.
Ohhh woe is the Irishman/woman who still lives with their parents. Maybe you have had to move back in with your folks because you’ve spent all your savings self-financing a piece of interpretive theatre that went nowhere, or you haven’t left since you graduated because the paycheck from your part-time job in the local Spar won’t stretch to rent. Either way, the rosy hue of life with Ma and Da wore off long ago, and no amount of having your washing done will make up for the fact that you still have to fetch their reading glasses or sit through the Antiques Roadshow night after night. Escape is imminent.
5. You haven’t left Dublin in 3 years.
It can be easy to forget that there is life outside the Pale. Ensconced in the cosy bosom of Dublins 2, 4 and 6, even venturing across the Liffey can seem like a gargantuan endeavour, never mind making the 2.5 hour trek to the other side of the country. Someone invited you to Lahinch for the weekend about 2 years ago, but the guys were watching the match down in Kiely’s and you just weren’t arsed. You’ve heard Thailand is a good laugh. Maybe it’s time to find out.
6. You’ve given up drink.
Let’s face it, Dublin is shite if you don’t drink. Giving up the gargle makes socialising nigh impossible, with your friends shoving drinks into your hands all night, and shouting “What the fuck, you’re off the drink? Bleedin’ sap” in your ear, their breath soaked in booze. No one’s going to want to go for a run with you on a Saturday morning because they’re all round at Dave’s gaf having a fry, so your days will be fucked, too. They’re into this healthy living shit in Australia, maybe it’s time to get the hell outta dodge and head down unda.
7. You just can’t handle Fair City anymore.
No matter how many times they change the opening sequence or how many new characters from far flung reaches of the world they add to illustrate Ireland’s newly multicultural standing, Fair City will always be the TV show that couldn’t. Dubbed “Fair Shitty”, Bella Doyle and his cronies have been diluting the golden age of television for too long. The only good thing about the soap is the memories you have of sneaking into the set of Carraigstown to get stoned when you were in college. Ahhh, those were the days.
8. Everyone you know has already left.
The Irish are a nation of emigrants. It’s in our blood. As soon as we can, we fuck off. Some come back, some stay away. But, the likelihood is if you’re living in Dublin most of the people you know live in London, Sydney or Toronto. There’s a tightly knit gang in Dublin, an amalgamation of the dregs of bigger groups, consolidated to form one crew of craic. There is fun to be had, of course. Dublin is great banter, but at Christmas it reaches its annual peak when the diaspora comes crawling back with its weird accent between its legs to dip its toe in Hibernia’s fountain. But come January, they’ll all be gone again. Shouldn’t you maybe think about joining them?