One side effect of Ireland's current economic travails is that Dublin is now blighted by a great many empty properties – either derelict sites that someone was going to develop into something before the money ran out, or buildings that were built and now lie empty because there is no one who wants to use them.
Many of these properties have fallen under the control of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), a state-owned Bad Bank that has taken over dud loans from our cowboy banking sector. What to do with them has been a perplexing question. It is interesting to see, however, that NAMA is moving in a bold direction with some of these properties. One site on Aungier Street is to be developed into a ski resort, something the city has long been sorely lacking.
What particularly excites me, however, is the proposal to build a Zeppelin Port atop a now empty office building on Stephen's Green. It is some time now since air ships were able to dock in central Dublin, and the proposed development will greatly improve city centre transport options. One great advantage of zeppelins over fixed wing aircraft is that they can fly directly into city centres, avoiding all the faff involved in getting out to airports. The Dublin Zeppelin Port will be especially convenient for me, as it is only ten minutes walk away from my office. That said, the new zeppelin system does seem to be intended more as a replacement for Dublin Bus rather than for intercity and transnational travel, which would make it a bit less appealing to me.
An inuit panda production