I also love the way most of the people in the shops/restaurants are foreigners. It just makes me feel the city is becoming more cosmopolitan.
There is 'still', of course, the usual obsession with money and big houses, and as coincidence would have it, I bumped into the chap who bought the old family farm when I visited Loch Dan. He seemed like a nice guy to me, not arrogant at all. It's funny because some of my family are 'annoyed' that the farm could have been sold for 'millions' more than it was (people in Ireland only talk in millions these days). I sometimes refer to Ireland as 'the land of the greedy and corrupt'. Hundreds of years of spiritual and socialistic revolution seems to have been brushed aside, without the blink of an eye. A true irish 'shame'. This i feel will change eventually, it's just a phase we must go through.
When I first went to London as a young man, people would say' "Oh I guess you moved because of work", and I would reply, "no actually, I had a good job in Ireland, I left to broaden my mind". In fact, financially, it would have been wiser for me to stay in Dublin. But that was not my aspiration. The longer I am away, the more I appreciate Ireland for its good points, and the more glad I am that I live in two worlds, cheap flights and all.
In Holland money and 'status/class', as with most, is still dominant in society, but there are many other factors respected and encouraged. Such as intellect, modesty, creativity, rest (rustic aan), social conscience etc. etc.
Not to get too 'alternative' on you, I did - in materialistic fashion - pick-up a new Peterson's pipe in Grafton street for ONLY....wait for it...€35! That would have cost me at least €70-80 over here. The dutch will tell you they are great traders (don't believe a word of it ...this usual means they charge whatever they think they can get away with. Most of the buyers in the dam are tourists...'they won't be coming back'. If you do try to bring the price down, they just say, "NO, that's not possible!" 'Some other fool will buy it for this, so why should I sell it at a cut down price'.
No, the dutch can be greedy too...and far less generous than the ol' Irish. So the next time I am back in Dublin I shall buy another Peterson's pipe, and not a house or a farm. As for tobacco, a tin of peterson tobacco in Dublin will cost €14 and here, only €9. Thank heavens for the tobacco taxes in Holland, at least that.