Optimism is as infectious as pessimism
As often as possible, I try to visit Dublin on a Sunday. It's nice to stroll around town, have lunch in one of the numerous good restaurants and spend an hour or two in the book shops and then head home again.
Traffic is quiet on weekends and if you get in early enough, there is always parking space available. It's good to get out of the countryside now and again and if nothing else, it gives me a great insight in to how our economy is really doing.
I will never forget arriving in Dublin one Sunday in 2008, a few weeks after the recession had hit and being amazed at the way the city had emptied.
Everyone had clearly decided to stay home and stop spending. Most street parking spaces were free and for someone coming to town from the countryside, this was about as good as it gets.
Ok, I have to accept that nowadays where I live and farm is very much in the commuter belt and part of the Greater Dublin Area, but it is still mostly farmland and I can easily forget that our largest city is little more than 30kms away.
When I visited the city last month it was abundantly clear that few people were thinking about recession or austerity. The pubs and eating places were crowded and the parking spaces were full. Looking across Dawson Street, a large building was being demolished to make way for a more modern version.
A huge crane towered above the ruins, further evidence that once you see these signs of activity back on the skyline, things are very much on the up. You could almost hear the developers rubbing their hands with glee and saying to each other: 'Boys, we're back!' But so much of all this is in the mind really. Optimism is just as infectious as pessimism. The business cycle is behaving as normal and after a few years of gloom and doom, it appears we are now ready to start spending a bit and think positively again.
However, the situation might be slightly different from a farming perspective.