Addicted to novelty since 2001

The Odd Evolution of Domestic Technology

We’ve successfully arrived in Dublin, after three flights and sprints through both the Pearson and Heathrow airports (long line at Tim Hortons and a shortage of available gates were respectively to blame). We’re staying at the Ashling Hotel, which is on the edge of downtown, but has a Luas station (Dublin’s newish tram system) right across the street).

After a long nap and a shower, I got to thinking about how domestic and appliance technology seems to have evolved differently in Ireland and Great Britain. It’s 2007, and they still can’t deliver hot and cold water out of the same tap. Okay, they can, but they rarely do. The shower has a modern-looking single jog-shuttle type knob that you twist to the left or right, but it’s a lie. You can either have a scalding or freezing shower, but nothing in between.

On the other hand, nearly every Irish hotel I’ve been in has two things that I almost never see in North America: a trouser press (a delightful invention, if you ask me) and a heated towel rack.

I guess our priorities are just different. Us North Americans like moderated water temperature, while the Irish prefer flat trousers and warm towels.

Tomorrow I’m giving a talk at and participating in BarCamp Dublin, then we’re staying out at an aiport hotel, because our flight to Carcassonne leaves at some ungodly hour of the morning.

8 Responses to “The Odd Evolution of Domestic Technology”

  1. Zoic

    Carcassonne! I LOVE that game!

    Oh. You mean the actual city of Carcassone…

  2. Christine Rondeau

    Carcassone is an amazing city. Hopefully you’ll get good weather so that you can enjoy all of the great patios.

    Have fun.

  3. Adriana

    I’m a big fan of innovative ways that they have managed to get laundry facilities into older flats and coversions… imho better to have laundry in the kitchen than not at all – why it isn’t done in older condo buildings in Canada is a mystery to me.

  4. Olivier Ansaldi

    Hi Darren,

    I was at your talk at BarCamp Dublin, great job! Too bad the network connection (disconnection might actually be more accurate) prevented you from showing us your examples.

    Your comment about Irish taps is bang on. I’ve been living in Ireland since 99 and I still can’t understand how people manage to wash their hands without either freezing or scalding them! It reminds me of my military service: “in the army there’s only two sizes, too small or too big!”

    Enjoy Carcassonne and make sure to taste the Cassoulet! (I’m from Toulouse, just 1h away)

    Once again, thanks for a great presentation!

  5. Thomas

    I’ve also noticed that American hotels have a hair dryer while European hotels have a hot water kettle.

    The heated towel racks are a throwback to the days when central heat was circulated with water. Water pipes in the bathroom would exposed for exactly that reason. I had them in my old house in Milwaukee.

  6. Stephen's Thoughts

    Thank you Barcamp Dublin…

    I went along to Barcamp Dublin yesterday and as usually had a great day. The organisers Joe, Elly, Eoghan and Paul did a fantastic job. It was my first time in the Digital Exchange building, which provided an intimate atmosphere for the event. That …

  7. Lisa

    When I travelled to China last year, I did see the squat toilets as expected.

    But surprising to me:

    (con) Showers in the bathrooms – as in, no shower curtain or other separation, just a shower head that gets everything else wet.


    (pro) Hot water for drinking everywhere.
    On the trains, in the hotel room, in hostels. A common tap where you fill up your thermos. This is a big plus, since the tapwater isn’t recommended for drinking.

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