Usually the view from the top of a mountain is an enjoyable one.

But when that mountain is a debt pile of €205 billion that has to be paid back sooner rather than later, then the vista is not so pleasant.

That's what the Irish State is looking at when it comes to its national debt. A staggering amount of money equivalent to around two thirds of the entire size of the domestic economy here in 2017 - based on the most recent verified CSO figures.

The matter was the centre of discussion at an Oireachtas finance committee hearing today, and led to many raised eyebrows among the assembled TDs and Senators.

But should they, indeed should we, be surprised at where we find ourselves in 2019?

The answer is, not really.

Because a national debt of this size is an inevitable consequence of the crisis decisions made by those in power during the economic crash and the aftermath of it.

Decisions that involved borrowing vast quantities of cash to pay just to keep schools and hospitals open, buses and trains running, pay pensions and effectively keep the lights on.

Decisions that involved borrowing billions to bail out the country’s banks in order to prevent the financial system from collapsing.

Since then though the country has been weighed down with the burden of not just the loans themselves, but the interest repayments on them.

In fact we’ve paid €60 billion in interest in the last decade, €33 billion of which was in the last five years.

So if we shouldn’t be surprised, should we be concerned about the situation?

A decade on from the crash, many memories of exactly what was involved are starting to become a little hazy.

Indeed, we forget a whole new generation of young people, who were probably too young to notice or care that the country was in peril at the time, are now young adults.

So for many, learning that we have a €205 billion national debt will come as a concern.

And there are some reasons for alarm. Our debt to Government revenue stands at 251%, among the highest in Europe.

The interest bill on the debt, while falling due to refinancing, remains 6% of Government revenue - money which could we otherwise be using for investment and services.

We have been fortunate that the international interest rate environment has been very positive for Ireland in recent times, but that’s not guaranteed to continue forever.

We have a small, open economy. We borrow 90% of our capital from foreign lenders.

Yet at the same time we are facing into an unprecedented level of external economic uncertainty - from Brexit, to trade wars, to a slowing global economy and many others we probably don’t even know about yet.

But perhaps most concerning is that it is not exactly clear how or when we will actually start to make meaningful in-roads into reducing that debt pile.

Because so far, we haven’t yet started, as the priority has been to get the deficit under control.

So should we be concerned then?

Not to the extent we should be losing any sleep over it just yet.

But certainly being reminded every so often of where we’ve come from, where we are at, and where we need to get to is no harm at all.

Especially in times of growing uncertainty.

Comments welcome via Twitter to @willgoodbody