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'An eerie ghost town': will home working starve our city centres?

The mass exodus of office workers is changing the face of Dublin - and squeezing the businesses that depend on them. Kim Bielenberg asks if it is likely to be a permanent development, and what that would mean

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Shane Boyd of The Natural Cut hair studio on Wicklow Street in Dublin. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Shane Boyd of The Natural Cut hair studio on Wicklow Street in Dublin. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Karl Purdy with Jessica Demelas and Martino Perlini in the Coffeeangel branch at the Exchange Building in the IFSC. Photo: Frank McGrath

Karl Purdy with Jessica Demelas and Martino Perlini in the Coffeeangel branch at the Exchange Building in the IFSC. Photo: Frank McGrath

An empty street on Dublin's quay. Photo: Frank McGrath

An empty street on Dublin's quay. Photo: Frank McGrath

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Shane Boyd of The Natural Cut hair studio on Wicklow Street in Dublin. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The scene along the Silicon Docks in Dublin city centre is so quiet that you can't even hear the familiar drone of traffic on a grey Wednesday morning.

There are more seagulls and swans milling about than software engineers and tech workers, and most of the coffee shops have only one or two customers.

There are lights on in the vast gleaming Google complex that straddles Barrow Street, but almost everybody seems to be at home, bar a few security guards at the entrance.