Now that our long awaited trip to Ireland is finished, it’s time to reflect upon what I learned while we were there. Here goes!
10. People surf in Ireland year round. It sounds crazy, but surfing is a thing in Ireland. Where we stayed, a person could sign up for lessons. And they were very reasonably priced, too! I think I saw a sign advertising an hour lesson for 25 euros or so at the bar next to our little cottage.
9. W.B. Yeats is buried in County Sligo. As a former English major, I couldn’t help but take note that the famous Irish poet is buried in Sligo and you can stop and check out his grave.
8. A lot of Irish bars play terrible pop music. This may not be the case for every bar in Ireland. I just noticed that really bad pop music was playing in quite a few of the bars we visited. I have a new appreciation for the Auld Rogue!
7. Irish people say “you’s” a lot. As a southerner, I have noticed when I go to Pennsylvania or Maryland, I often hear people say “you’s”, as in “You’s need to come over for dinner sometime.” I noticed the same thing when we were in Ireland. I’m sure it has to do with the number of Irish immigrants who settled in the northeastern United States.
6. Free WiFi is ubiquitous in Ireland! Coming from Germany, where free WiFi is rare, it was quite a treat to find Internet connections so wide open in Ireland. Even at the airport, it was free to surf. Germany needs to get with the program!
5. Ireland reminds me a lot of America. Of all the countries I’ve visited in Europe, Ireland reminds me of America the most. I thought England reminded me of the States, but Ireland tops the UK in terms of similarities. I heard American accents on the television and radio and saw a lot of references to American culture. Every bar we went to was selling Budweiser and Coors beers, too.
4. Shopping is a thing on Sundays! When we were in Dublin the first Sunday, I was surprised to see that many stores were open and it was a bit of a madhouse. The lady who rented us the cottage in Sligo said that Sundays are when a lot of people who work all week get to do their marketing. I was surprised by that, since Ireland is also very Catholic!
3. Before you go looking for famous Irish cliffs, it pays to check your GPS. We spent a long time driving to a town looking for cliffs. Sadly, we ended up in the wrong place and missed our chance. The weather was too horrible to try again later in the week.
2. There are areas where Gaelic is the main language. When we drove north on our failed mission to see Irish cliffs, we ended up in an area where all the signs were in Gaelic. It was pretty cool to see how the Irish are holding on to their language, even though English has really taken over there.
1. Sometimes it pays to talk to kids on trains. I will confess that when we ran into a large group of youngsters on our way to Kilkenny, I was a little perturbed. But they turned out to be a highlight of our trip for making us laugh hard and often. I will always remember that group of boys on the train very fondly as they expressed incredulity that we’d want to vacation in Ireland because “it’s awful!” Too funny!
We really didn’t do as much as I would have liked while we were in Ireland. However, I will say that we found a fantastic rental by the ocean and being there to smell the salt air, watching the tide and the surfers, and taking lots of gorgeous photos was not a bad way to spend our time. I hope we can visit Ireland again. Now I want to venture to the south!