What’s he yelling about?
Oh, he’s yelling at me. It’s the McDonald’s security man. I’m to come down those steps right away, and so is the old man behind me, and the young lad in front of me. We’ve not bought a €1 burger between us, and the blue-shirted man is a wise one, with eyes in the back of his head. ‘Buy something or get out’
So, I get out.
It dawns on me then that Dublin, a major capital city, has pretty much no public toilet facilities.
A quick look online reveals this problem is a longstanding one, with a number of issues present even when Dublin had a number of public toilets available to the public. In 1956 The Irish Times reported that the Irish Housewives Association complained that, even in light of the outbreak of polio, one had to pay 2d to clean their hands in one of the capitals public toilets. How very Irish. Still, at least they had public toilets.
The one people pass all the time (and don’t even realise they’re doing so in many cases), is the public toilet facility beside the Thomas Moore statue at College Green, opposite the Bank of Ireland. Still used as a jacks by many drunken Dubliners at the weekend (from the wrong side of a chained gate), it is one of the great ironies in the city that the man who wrote ‘The Meeting of the Waters’ would find a public toilet right next to his statue.
In Dublin, it seems we’re left with three options.
1) Museums. Of course, any visit will also involve a walk around.
2) Hotels. They say few toilets match The Weston.
3) That really, really horrible walk in the Jervis Street Shopping Centre to the jacks there. You know the walk. Feels a bit ‘Terminal 2.’
A recent visit to the Moore Street Mall revealed that the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre mentality has crossed the Liffey, with a bloke employed to charge you 25c to use a substandard bathroom. In a city with no public toilets, can Dubliners really be expected to have to enter a commercial premises and fork out money for a product they don’t want to be allowed up the stairs to use the toilets? In fairness, it’s more than fair McDonald’s don’t want Joe Bloggs using their bathroom if he’s not a customer, but who can blame Joe for trying to sneak up the stairs past the ever vigilant security man?
For a capital city, it’s pretty shameful.