Making Connections

Making connections

Twenty years ago, if we wished to contact someone, we simply made a phone call.

Ten years ago, we were more likely to send a text message. Now, increasingly, we are likely to make contact through email, Twitter or Facebook. Which is fine if you’re sitting at home, logged onto your home network. But when you’re out and about, keeping on top of your messages can be a difficult, and frustrating, task.

A lot of us have probably found ourselves lurking outside a café or pub at some point, attempting to steal their free wi-fi in order to check our email. Those days should soon be behind us as Dublin City Council recently began rolling out free public wi-fi across the city centre.

For now, the service is limited to areas of heavy foot traffic such as Grafton Street, Henry Street, and Smithfield Square. Maeve White of Dublin City Council’s Economic Development unit, told NewsFour there are plans to expand later this year should the current sites prove a success. “We hope to have 12 initial sites up and running across the city centre by the end of May,” she said.

The service is provided by Gowex, a Spanish company responsible for similar public wi-fi networks across the continent. Dubliner Nicholas Trant has spent the last ten years in Madrid, a city which has been availing of this service since 2009. “The free wi-fi in Madrid is fantastic,” he told NewsFour. “The city has hundreds of newspaper kiosks which all act as connection points. For me, the best part of the wi-fi here is that every bus and train in the city is equipped with it.”

The free wi-fi sites here in Dublin are marked by distinctive mosaic tiles, featuring familiar Dublin characters, from both real life and fiction such as Phil Lynott, Molly Malone, and even a “pyjama girl”, all rendered to resemble old-school video game sprites.

Left: One of Dublin’s new free wi-fi mosaics, this one featuring a depiction of a tourist.

By Eric Hillis
Picture by Eric Hillis