Ballymun Things to Do
Ballymun is NOT a tourist destination. It was built mainly in the 1960's as one of the biggest (probably the biggest) social housing development in Europe. The seven towers were sung about by U2 (see another tip), and although six have now gone vast blocks of flats still remain.
The government has put vast amounts of money into 'regeneration'. This is a mis-nomer - their policy is based on 'slash or burn' or more accurately napalm. The centre of Ballymun now contains nice new shiny buildings. The police station and a row of betting shops seem to dominate.
The shopping centre still has to take part in this programme. Destined for demolition I visited it in February 2009. If ever you wanted to see a vision of a post nuclear holocaust existence then this comes close. Mainly boarded up a few charity shops, Tesco's and a grotty pub still eke out an existence. They say 800 million will be spent on the new centre - but will the recession put paid to that ?
Ballymun Local Customs
Bono was born looking at the seven towers of Ballymun (but not actually in the district you understand). The seven tower blocks were all built in the great need for social housing during the 1960's. With the exception of the Joseph Plunkett they have all bitten the dust (wasn't that a Queen song) after just 40 years of life.
They were all named after leaders of the 1916 uprising, but I doubt those heros of the Irish state would have been proud of the rat-infested, grafitti ridden, junkie heaven hell-holes that they became.
Bono, inbetween saving the rainforest or the third world penned a wonderful lyric (fifth track on the Joshu tree album) about a heroin addicted mother in Ballymun...."I see seven towers/But I only see one way out." Not much has changed apart from six towers disappearing.
Ballymun Warnings and Dangers
There are various posters hanging from the lamposts proclaiming that Ballymun is the first 'Fair trade' town in Ireland. This all sounds very worthy until you realise that the two main products sold in Ballymun are Heroin and Cocaine. I somehow suspect that the livelihood and welfare of third world producers are not uppermost in the minds of these particular niche retailers.