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Ireland’s financial crisis hit the capital hard, but the city of Joyce, Wilde and the movie Sing Street is recovering


IT IS THE premiere of the 41-year-old Irish director John Carney’s autobiographical film Sing Street, a musical set in Dublin in the mid-1980s, that brings me to the Irish capital. Carney tells me before the movie showing that he’s nervous about how his hometown audience will react to his portrayal of their city in what was a very troubled decade. Sing Street is a charming, upbeat musical, but it portrays a bleak landscape that barely resembles the Dublin of today. At the time, many young people escaped the poverty and economic gloom by fleeing to Britain, the U.S. and Australia.

“The city’s changed since the ’80s, and I’m grateful for that,” Carney says. “Dublin in the ’80s felt like Britain in the ’50s—emotionally, architecturally, aesthetically. The church still ran the schools. Everyone just wanted to get away. Today, the city is multicultural, cosmopolitan, international.”

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