Sunday 22 July 2018

The urban cool of Grand Canal where you network - and play

The tech hub's cosmopolitan vibe and burgeoning party scene make it a magnet for bright young things, writes Donal Lynch

Aislinn Mahon and Lory Kehoe in the sunshine at Grand Canal Dock. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Aislinn Mahon and Lory Kehoe in the sunshine at Grand Canal Dock. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Donal Lynch

Donal Lynch

It's the hottest day of the year and, despite the number of parks and green spaces in Dublin, the epicentre of the city's summer cool now appears to be Grand Canal Dock. This is the fault line of old and new Dublin - most graphically evidenced by the redevelopment of Boland's Mill - a slickly designed modern interior belying its historic facade.

Handsome office workers bask in the afternoon heat and look on bemused as local kids go diving in the murky water. It's not only the weather that seems scarcely Irish. A cacophony of different languages is spoken on the terraces leading down to the famous Windmill Lane studios and the atmosphere is light years from the stuffy sterility of the IFSC.

This is where they serve the best coffee (il Valentino, where there is a morning queue for bread) and the best tapas (HQ, on the water) in the city. For about a quarter of a mile in any direction there appears to be hardly anyone under the age of 40. In this, Dublin's tech hub, the workers are mostly young, highly skilled and super-confident.

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