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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

253

Ask Someone Who Recently Traveled Around Ireland

A couple weeks ago I took a 10-day trip through Ireland, with long-to-very-short stops in Dublin, Malahide, Kilkenny, Killarney, around the Ring of Kerry and the Skellig Ring, Dingle, Portmagee, Athlone, Galway, and Belfast. It was great.

Question: I have wanted to do such a trip for a while! But was chicken about driving there. How difficult did you find it? (I looked into bus schedules but it seemed ... like I should get over it and just rent a car.)

The cars were hard! Probably the most unexpectedly stressful part, actually. The roads are about this wide ||, and the driving-on-the-left-side thing is not an instant natural fit for everyone [nervous laughter], and I spent a lot of the time staring at the road (on the passenger side) clutching my hands in catatonic terror. But then I loosened up [a very little bit], and it was fine! (My travel partner deserves lots and lots of credit for both never crashing and for putting up with me the whole time. "Careful." "Careful!" "CAREFUL." "Careful." "CAREFUL." "Careful.") Way more fun, in a different way, were the trains! Especially when you bring/buy booze on them. I think — I think — if I did it again, I might just go everywhere by bus and train, although that'd sacrifice the roamy, up-and-down-the-Irish-hills, windows-open part of it. But both options are great. Unless you crash and die. It bewilders me that everyone in Ireland hasn't already crashed and died. 

How were the TAYTO CRISPS?

Tayto crisps are THE JAM. My favorite were the prawn cocktail variety (or were those Lays?), but I had so many crisps, and all were uniformly fantastic, so I hesitate to shout out one brand over the others.

Also: "Converts into a cozy cushion shape." New heights in children's fashion!

So, like, if you have a type, and that type is "pasty, often drunk dude with an amazing accent who swears a lot," is traveling around Ireland like being in a porn movie basically? ASKING FOR A FRIEND WHO ISN'T MARRIED.

Ohhh my god! Yes?

My question is what kind of food does one eat in Ireland? Also did you see any of those really pretty people that have blue eyes and dark hair?

There was a REALLY beautiful girl with shiny black hair, pale blue eyes, and peaches-and-cream skin (ugh!) who worked at the car rental place at the Dublin airport, and she was so pretty it made me angry! I'm still angry at her! And at the terrifying car she rented me. No, she was lovely, and the car was great. It was just very, very small, which ultimately was good for the micro-roads. Wait, let me talk more about the cars and roads! That's a joke, but now that we're here again, the roads were actually really smooth, so that was nice. More on the roads shortly, I'm sure.

And the food was pretty surprisingly great everywhere, despite its less-than-glowing reputation. Although it depends a lot on whether you like fish. There's so much good fish! (Best I had: Out of the Blue, in Dingle. Get the John Dory.) Vegetarians might have a little trouble, though. And eating as much local Irish beef as I did fish seems tasty but maybe not as digestively pleasant, although that's just me. As long as you don't eat too much of anything, when you do have fish and chips, and beef-and-Guinness stew, and rustic brown bread slathered with ridiculously delicious butter and jam, and poached eggs, and black pudding, and Willy Wonka-style chocolates with hilarious names like "Pimbly Mimblies" and "Mumbly Pumblies," and swirly soft-serve ice cream cones that look like they came out of a cartoon, and everything else, it doesn't hurt your stomach too badly. Or do whatever!

Also do people really sing Irish music? Is that a thing?

Yes! Ahh! It's so great. The best I saw was one evening at an ancient bar in Dingle (Dick Macks), when this guy brought out a guitar and started playing sad old songs, while the crowd (about 15 of us) either listened or quietly carried on our conversations. Then later that night, at a different bar (O'Sullivan's Court House Pub), there was a rowdier, jiggier traditional music session, and after that, at the same bar, a teenage girl brought out a fiddle in the back beer garden and played some impromptu songs at a table with her mother and grandfather. It was really beautiful. Maybe it was a violin.

Here's a quick and awkward video I took at Sean's Bar, in Athlone, which is supposedly the oldest pub in Ireland (Guinness World Record certified), according to the carbon dating of stuff they found in the walls. It's also totally charming and warm and lovely and quiet. You can only just hear the music playing quietly up front.

Did you hear any U2 while over there?

I don't think I did! The last night, though, in Belfast, we heard someone, somewhere singing a stylized karaoke version of "Que Sera Sera" that was maybe the worst musical sound I've ever heard, although even that was kind of amazing.

How depressing is it over there, generally? Like, do people just seem sadder than people in America? Or are my assumptions about what the food, weather, and economy do to the national mood way off?

Hmm, I don't know. Everyone seemed pretty good, but I was only there for 10 days, tourist-ing it up. But what's definitely true is that everyone — truly every person I spoke with or otherwise observed — was incredibly nice. Went out of their way to be warm, helpful, open. So friendly, even when you ask stupid questions or drive embarrassingly Americanly (sorry, nice man on that bike!). If you go, talk to people! The people and the scenery are really the best parts of the whole experience, and the reason to visit. Also the beer and whiskey. (But the Jameson distillery is skippable. Kind of. Actually it's pretty hilarious, if only for the strangely pro-America, propaganda-style video screened at the beginning.)

There was no cloud of depression, although they have a good, dark sense of humor about things.

Also they made fun of the country and its weather constantly, asking, jokingly [ish], why we even came there in the first place. But no one seemed glum. Also I loved the weather! But I love rain and darkness. There was plenty of sunshine, too. Just not for too-too many hours at a time, usually. But the weather was always in flux. SHALL I GO ON?

Where do people live? I heard there were more houses in Ireland than people, but nobody can afford to live in any of those houses after the bubble burst. So do people squat in those new, pretty houses? Do people drink lemonade on porches?

Ooh, I don't know! People seemed to live in houses, and apartments, normally, I guess? There weren't any abandoned houses or ghost towns or anything like that, although now that you ask, there were a lot of "TO LET" signs everywhere, although maybe those just stuck out because, to the end, I couldn't walk past them without imagining putting an "i" in there.

And there was no lemonade-drinking that I saw. Unless lemonade is code for Guinness and porch is another word for pub. In which case, yes, there was a great deal of porch lemonade, at all times, all across the country.

OH YEAH, speaking of porches:

COMPARE AND CONTRAST: New Orleans and Dublin.

Whaaat! New Orleans is the coolest place in the world, except that it's actually extremely hot, but in Dublin it's chilly and perfect, but not particularly "cool" in the hip sense of the word. I wore a jacket and boots every day. (For this mid-June trip.) And there's less variety. Charming pub after charming pub, but the vibe throughout Dublin (and most of Ireland) is pretty similar. (Although, again, this is just to someone passing through.) Whereas New Orleans is more beautifully feverish and weird. Wait, how can you even ask this question? This question is crazy! I'll leave it in, though, because of the jacket recommendation. My traveling partner had to get a sweatshirt (to wear under his jacket) while we were on the road. Layers! And umbrellas.

What are the single best and worst things you ingested while there?

I had some really terrific salmon (cured and served with mustard and dill; baked and served with a trillion little sauces [mint, lemon, tartar, chili, horseradish, etc.]; fried and served with vinegary chips), and then just butter, every morning, on bread with jam. Oh butter. Also oysters and strawberries. Wait, yes, I take it all back — the best things I ate were Wexford strawberries bought on the side of the road. Tiny, ridiculously sweet. Perfect. Unlike any I've had in the U.S.

And for unappealing foods, I wasn't totally impressed with the roasted tomatoes that appeared with most Irish breakfasts — pale, mealy, and underripe, usually (see about three feet up). Sort of confusing, actually. Also they don't have much hummus over there, which was frustrating if ridiculous to think, and to now put into writing. But when you find it, in wooden barrels, at farmers' markets, it's excellent. Here is some they sell on Saturdays in Galway — the basil variety has cashews in it, too. Delicious. (Incidentally, Sheridan's Cheesemonger and Wine Bar [upstairs] is really nice and bright, and right beside the market.)

Did even the best restaurants have hilariously bad websites?

Yes. They're seemingly all terrible. A combination website-designer/hummus-entrepreneur could potentially go far in Ireland.

Also is it actually green, or is that a myth?

It is the most gloriously, gorgeously green place I have ever seen in my life.

Does everyone look like the Boston Celtics' mascot?

What else would they look like?

What are the topics/questions that Irish people are sick of American people asking about? Did you, for example, ever start to say, "Lepre ..." and the whole pub groan, and then you go like, "I was going to say Leprosy! You don't know what's in my brain."

Haha. I'd actually go into pubs, yell "leprechaun," and run out too quickly to see how people reacted!

Did anybody beat you over the head with a shillelagh?

No one beat me over the head with that "wooden walking stick and club or cudgel, typically made from a stout knotty stick with a large knob at the top, that is associated with Ireland and Irish folklore," but I did almost knock myself out slipping in the shower. That's right!!!

Did you meet any Germans?

Huh. There were four older Germans at a pub at one point, but they were weird, and I think making a big deal over a coin? One of the men, who had a twirly ended mustache, was holding it up and smiling this semi-freaky childish smile, and the rest of his party were grinning glazedly at it, too. Or maybe he was showing it to us? I don't remember, but I think at one point I smiled and nodded at his coin, too. Wait, maybe I was drunk.

Also I was pretty sure the couple sitting next to us on the plane home to New York were German, because they were speaking in German to each other (and "ein bier," the man said to the flight attendant, who thought he was with us, so instead of responding to him she looked at us in confusion and said "what does he want? What is 'beelk'?" And we were like, "ahh, he's not with us, but I'm pretty sure he wants a beer?"), but then they had American passports, so who knows. Anyway, I didn't notice a lot of other Germans, and I'm sorry if I'm missing the point of this question!

What kind of music do they listen to in some Dublin nightclubs on Saturday nights?

It's all a blur, but I took this video and forgot about it until going through my phone just now and fake-asking myself this question! This place was great, and I don't remember what it was called, but it was like four floors, with indoorses and outdoorses, and endless people, but not in an unpleasant way.

Was it expensive?

Yes. New Yorkish prices kind of everywhere. AirBNB would definitely be a good way to go if you're spending more than a couple nights anywhere (although there are some really charming hotels with lovely breakfasts — basically all of them, as far as I can tell — so ideally a trip would consist of some nights in one place and others in another), but being on the go is the most fun part. For me, at least. The country is tiny. You can zip from one side and back, and from the top to the bottom, in a day, basically. Trains are great for this.

I went to Belfast a few years ago and it was a total trash heap.

Nooo! Belfast was actually my favorite. After a week of picturesque, impossibly charming towns in "regular" Ireland — old men in brogues riding around on vintage bicycles eating ice cream cones, literally — Northern Ireland was a slightly grittier, really nice change of pace. Which is easy for a random tourist to say, I know, but I loved it. Plus the accent there is harder. Sexier. But the people are just as nice. I met a couple of Hell's Angels, and one of them showed me pictures of his children on his iPhone, and they were adorable.

Overall: Recommended!

253 Comments / Post A Comment

Vicky

I visited Ireland in March. Notable sightings include a million tiny horses and Cadbury Creme Egg ice cream.

Killerpants

@Vicky Johnson "Cadbury Creme Egg ice cream." THAT'S IT. I'm going to Ireland.

selenalynn

@Vicky Johnson I'm vegetarian but I can totally just eat Cadbury Creme Egg ice cream and butter the whole time.

Farin Schlussel@twitter

This was so spot on! I was in Ireland in January of 2011 and had a very similar experience. I'm a vegetarian and was worried that I'd be subsisting on buttered bread, but I was pleasantly surprised that most places had some substantial and delicious veggie options. I'm dying to go back, if only to make it to Belfast, Dingle, and Galway, because I only had a week the first time around.

martinipie

I have a significant amount of Irish blood and have always felt this "ancestral calling" or whatever to go there, and now that I'm in London for the summer it seem like it might be possible--what would be better for a long weekend? Dublin or a weensy little trip around the countryside?

Edith Zimmerman

@martinipie Oooh. Hm. HM. I'd vote weensy, train- or bus-based trip around the countryside! It's all so lovely. But both options are very, very solid.

meetapossum

@martinipie Countryside! Ireland is so so easy to get to from London. You can hop on RyanAir OR you can take a ferry over from Holyhead if you feel like taking a fun train trip. It's really pretty and everything on the ferry is named after James Joyce books/characters/people in his life.

rararuby

@martinipie Local here! you could fly to one of the regional airports and make your way by train to Dublin to fly out from there?

tessamae

@martinipie I also highly recommend Galway over Dublin! It gives you the fun of a city (though obvi not as large as Dublin) but it's out in the west surrounded by lots of country spots to drive and see! CLIFFS OF MOHER. Go to there, stare out at the ocean and pretend your handsome Irish husband just left on a ship to America to begin building a better life for you and your family and will hopefully send word for you to join him soon. Or don't, I mean, no one does that. (or do they??)

rararuby

@tessamae See, I would favour Dublin (even though I'm from the west). Dublin is properly metropolitan - diverse and exciting. And there's a bike share for getting around.
And the countryside around it is just WOW. Howth! Wicklow Mountains! Meath! Tara and Newgrange! All within an hour or two of the city centre!

Luckier

@martinipie Both? You can take a ferry over to the southern coast for the small village charm, then another time do RyanAir to Dublin.

tessamae

@rararuby Ahhhh yesssss agreed on the countryside around Dublin! My mom and I traveled about there on our trip. I frankly think that much more time than a long weekend is needed, we took two weeks and made a big loop by train, starting and ending in Dublin. But the first time I went to Ireland was for a long weekend, and we did Dublin with a big day trip to the Ring of Kerry. I liked the second time with mom much better as we were able to take our time and just sort of amble about. I guess Dublin wasn't as appealing to me as the country b/c I was fresh off a semester in London and live in a city as well. Grass is always greener and so forth. And your grass is really green. ;)

Mr. B

@tessamae GALWAY! That was my stomping grounds in my post-college Year of Irresponsibility. If you like drinking, reading, hashish, live music, street musicians, very old architecture, gorgeous seascapes in a provincial setting, Claddagh Rings, and barfights (in that order) -- Galway has you written all over it.

Ophelia

@Luckier OR, if you do the Dublin route, go back to the UK by ferry to Holyhead. It's high-speed, and Wales is gorgeous.

katemcd81@gmail.com

@martinipie Go for a long weekend and spend some time in Dublin, then head out to the countryside. Go out on Thursday, tootle round town on Friday (good atmostphere after work). Dont go drinking in Temple Bar - if it's sunny, drink in The Pav at Trinity College or beside the canal. On the Saturday, head out of the city. That's what's nice about living here, the sea and mountains are very close. You can go to Howth, or Dalkey, or head over the Wicklow Mountains (the stunning Sally Gap) to Glendalough, have some amazing food in Avoca on the way back.

falconet

My husband and I surprised his mother with five days in Ireland in April. I heartily recommend the restaurant Cornucopia Wholefoods in Dublin to those who are vegetarian types, even if my meat-and-potatoes mother-in-law was terrified of most of their entrees (she is allergic to garlic and suspicious of everything, especially New Experiences).

Also, my toddler knocked herself over the head with a shillelagh in a B&B! We made suggestive shillelagh jokes all week. When my MIL wasn't listening, of course.

Dubliner

@falconet Yes! Cornacopia is the best! And they have an awesome cookbook you can buy!

Q
Q

@falconet I third Cornucopia - my other go-to veggie restaurants in Dublin are Govinda's (COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF NOMZ) and Blazing Salads for takeaways.

Decca

@falconet I only go to Cornucopia sparingly because it's kind of expensive, but ohmygosh is it tasty.

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@Q I fourth Cornucopia and second those other recommendations. Govinda's is sooo good. And full of happy Hare Krishnas!

Megan@twitter

With all of the comments about the terrible Irish food, I found the food there (esp. breakfast) to be great. The only bad experience I had was at an Italianish place in Dublin, where my pasta came with a side of potatoes. Actually, not so bad an experience since I love carbs.

rararuby

@Megan@twitter Really, the secret is to just not go anywhere that is recommended to you as a tourist, or that is in a touristy part of town (this is especially true in the cities). We are so overrun with tourists ALL THE TIME that we jealously guard the secrets of really amazing restaurants. They are invariably down back alleys and side streets with minimal signage. We like it that way!

daisicles

@Megan@twitter I once got a side of potato chips with my baked potato in a restaurant in Belfast. It was amazing, like the pinnacle of 'potatoes as a side', and naturally I took a picture and texted it to all my American friends in town for their mutual appreciation. Sadly, the chips were actually a mistake (supposed to be a salad?) and no matter how many times I went back and ordered a baked potato, I never got them again.

mygoldies

@Megan@twitter It is a longstanding joke in my Irish family that everything in Ireland comes with a side of chips, even in nice restaurants. Although my grandfather would not have considered anything without potatoes a meal, so there is a basis to it, for the old heads.

carolita

@Megan@twitter All I ever ate in Ireland was fish n' chips, and buttered toast, with Guinness. I was happy as a clam. Probably could've used some more veggies, but that's what the grilled tomato's for, I guess! ;) I was bicycling from Cork to Baltimore (south east tip of Ireland) en route to Sherkin Island, so I needed all those carbs.

katemcd81@gmail.com

@Megan@twitter Lasagne and chips is a standard thing here.

shellymc@twitter

We absolutely have lots of hummus. I am Irish and I live in Ireland and my diet is like 40% hummus. And that nightclub seems to be Fitzsimons in TempleBar, by the looks of things. Also I find most of these questions to be totally bizarre? Like, we're just a normal country with normal things! Is the perception different? Are we supposed to be weird or something? *suddenly self-conscious*

Edith Zimmerman

@shellymc@twitter Ahhh, yeah, sorry most of these questions ARE ridiculous, but I hope kind of fun? I don't know. Now *I'm* suddenly self-conscious. Ahh! But also -- YES that's the name of it. Fitzsimons.

BUT ALSO I looked in every supermarket we went into, and no one had hummus, and I asked the guy in charge of the hummus pictured why there wasn't any hummus in stores, and he was like yeah not a lot of people eat hummus here! I don't know, and I'm sorry if I've accidentally misrepresented the hummus situation!

shellymc@twitter

@Edith Zimmerman Hahaha, actually now that you mention it I had a friend over watching the Eurovision last month (yes, I am not ashamed) and I had a plate of hummus and pesto and breads and crap out, and he was all "what is this delicious thing" and I thought he was joking because who doesn't know what hummus is?! Perhaps I'm just obsessed with it? Entirely possible.

Megasus

@Edith Zimmerman That is the WEIRDEST name for a nightclub. Not cool at all!

shellymc@twitter

@Megano! It's a hotel! So the bar & nightclub are just called the same as the hotel.

beeline96

@shellymc@twitter I've been there too! Fitzsimons. Thanks for bringing back memories.

living internationally

@Edith Zimmerman Seriously? Tesco and M&S have whole houmous sections - I and my entire class lived off of M&S houmous during our thesises. Also it's a staple of the bajillion farmers markets all over the country.

Dubliner

@Edith Zimmerman you should have gone to Tesco! They do so many amazing kinds of hummus! oh god, now I have to go buy more hummus and pita breads.

Dubliner

@shellymc@twitter I found the questions weird as well. Like the one about what books we have? Pretty much any book released in America is released here at the same time. Also, I prefer the food here to American food, I didn't know we have a bad reputation about it? Maybe because tourists don't understand that they shouldn't eat dinner in most Dublin pubs.

Edith Zimmerman

@lessis'more Ahh I'm sorry!

living internationally

@Edith Zimmerman Not tomention the truly smashing Cedar Tree restaurant near Trinity college and the Silk Road café in the CHester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle.

Sorry - I'm passionate about houmous

Decca

@Edith Zimmerman I once did an interpretative dance to Enya's "Orinoco Flow" on the roof of Fitzsimons to an audience about 40 strangers, before throwing my phone off the roof in joy / enthusiasm. Bad, bad night.

solaria

@Dubliner I'm thinking she just saw two books with funny titles and wanted to show us a picture of them? I don't think that it's meant to be taken that seriously.

Also, I think the food thing is likely related to the stereotype that the UK has bad food. Some of this is due to us being made uncomfortable by your breakfasts. Also, historically, Irish-American food tended to consist of things in a pot with no spices boiled into doom.

phipsi

@shellymc@twitter I'm really excited about this because I was also watching Eurovision in Ireland last month (on vaca) SO WE ARE PRACTICALLY FRIENDS (well, me and the rest of Europe watching Eurovision, I guess).

STILL.

katemcd81@gmail.com

@Edith Zimmerman Maybe the shops you were in sold out because I ate all the hummous? I can't believe you went to Fizsimons. I can literally hear the music coming from it now (my office is in Templebar). Never, ever linger in TempleBar.

shellymc@twitter

PS: I have no idea what a shillelagh even is.

Speaking of cake, I have cake

IRISH PINNERS - DUBLIN PIN-UP CURRENTLY UNDER DEVELOPMENT - WATCH THIS SPACE!

Edith, I'm so glad you had a good time here (minus the hotel spider). WRT the bestselling book, you may be interested to know that the second one is part of a distressingly long-running series, starting with 'Ma, He Sold Me For A Few Cigarettes'. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Martha-Long/e/B001JOWPB8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
I used to work in a bookshop in Dublin and there was endless appetite for this series and all similar ones. In the words of Mrs Doyle 'Maybe I LIKE the misery!'

rararuby

@Speaking of cake, I have cake Aren't you worried that we might all already know each other, even indirectly and that meeting up would blow our online identities wide open, along with all our overshares on the 'Pin?

Decca

@rararuby Right, I'm going to head to the Pin-Up and realise you're all my co-workers, college friends and aunts. :(

solaria

@rararuby as a witness to what happens what happens when a bunch of Irish folks separately decide to work abroad and then wind up in the same bar, I can only assume that you 'pinners are all secretly connected. It amazes me how little time it takes people to discover that "OHH! In uni you lived with my older sister's ex-boyfriend's best friend! Didn't I go up there one weekend..."

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@rararuby I know, that is a very real risk! Might have to do some judicious deleting of some prior posts before meeting...

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@Decca Judging by Twitter we already have at least one IRL friend in common! Ah, Dublin village

Decca

@Speaking of cake, I have cake Oh, really? Who?!

ETA - is it Rob?

Decca

@Speaking of cake, I have cake Aha! Did you used to work in Chapters?

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@Decca Yes again! Back sometime in the Pleistocene era...

rararuby

@Speaking of cake, I have cake You guys! This is mental! And I go to the same university (different department) as Decca! Ireland village...

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@rararuby Aaah! I knew we'd all end up knowing each other! Email me on speakingofcake at yahoo dot ie for info on the Pin Up!

candybeans

@Speaking of cake, I have cake PS, if you figure out how to delete past posts, you let me know, because, I can't seem to sort it out, and I really would like to... sometimes the internet is a bit too instant of a way to communicate when you're alone with All the Wine :(

shellymc@twitter

@Speaking of Cake -- woohoooo Dublin Pin-Up!

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@shellymc@twitter Wooo! We've no google group or anything, we've just been making contact over email so if you're interested/free this month email me at speakingofcake at yahoo dot ie

Helena@twitter

@Speaking of cake, I have cake There were a couple of people who posted to the Google Group before, if I remember right.

rayray

@Helena@twitter Just butting in to say HELLO so I get email updates kthxbye see you at the Dublin pin-up

emm_gee

@Speaking of cake, I have cake Count me in too, if I can make it. I'm London Irish but often in Dublin visiting family, some non aged parent chat would be lovely!

wrappedupinbooks

I studied abroad in Dublin! I feel the need to point out that my field studies indicate on a population level the Irish exhibit an obsession with Rihanna, the ability spot an American at 100 meters, utter mystification at why Americans are so into visiting their country and no interest in traveling around it themselves. I took an archeology class (haha abroad classes) and the instructor would often show us slides of famous castles, tombs etc and ask who had been to see them. Usually basically no one had. Its a strange little country and this post has brought make my many mixed feelings on it!

wrappedupinbooks

@wrappedupinbooks ah now its too late to edit but that last sentence is a little cringey. sorry Irish pinners!

Helena@twitter

As a long time Hairpin reader and professional Irish person, it is really, really strange to see my homeland written up on here. Like overhearing your friends talking about you or reading a review of your mom's house on Yelp. Glad you had fun Edith! Gonna have me some Wexford strawberries to make up for the 59F/15C rain outside. P.S. If you found driving in Ireland scary, please do not ever visit the Mediterranean or you will blow a gasket.

shellymc@twitter

@Helena@twitter Heee, "professional Irish person".

datalass

@Helena@twitter This "reading a review of your mom's house on Yelp" is the best!

rararuby

@Helena@twitter Fellow Irish here - this IS totally wierd! Tourism is quite otherizing.

tessamae

@Helena@twitter GAH. I want your weather so hard! Care to trade your 59 and rainy for my 103 and so-dry-they-cancelled-4th-of-July-fireworks?

Helena@twitter

@tessamae You can have it! But it comes with a condition: it lasts 364 days a year. The 365th day is 70F and comes with the unavoidable sight of corned beef toned flesh and giddy joy as far as the eye can see.

anachronistique

@Helena@twitter I was in Dublin during a freak heat wave and I have never seen so many sunburns in my LIFE.

BoozinSusan

@datalass I read that as "Reading a review of your mom on Yelp" and it was much funnier/more disturbing. Yo' MOMMA!

living internationally

@Helena@twitter THIS. WE are allowed to have mixed feelings about Ireland and make fun of it, but much like you talking about my mother (or her house) I won't stand for anything less than 100% compliments.

anachronistique

BELFAAAAAAAST. My best friend is from there and I've visited her a few times and I love it. I highly recommend the Ulster Museum, which was recently completely renovated and is now huge and airy and a little confusing but mostly amazing. Fossils! Medieval history! A really devastatingly great section on the Troubles! And it's in the middle of the Botanic Gardens which are absolutely gorgeous in summer.

The weirdest thing about Ireland: PALM TREES.

Ophelia

@anachronistique There's a pub there called I think the Morning Star? Something with "Star" in it anwyay, and it had seriously the best mashed potatoes I have ever had in my entire life. I was starving and soaking wet after missing the last bus from tromping around w/a friend of mine, but I think it would be delicious even without the extenuating circumstances.

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@anachronistique PALM TREES. In Connemara! Whyyyyy

anachronistique

@Speaking of cake, I have cake The first time I visited my friend was in January of 2005, and I flew out of Boston in a massive snowstorm and landed in a place with blooming daffodils and palm trees. I thought I was hallucinating from jet lag. NOPE.

HereKitty

@Speaking of cake, I have cake The Gulf Stream. Seriously.

Tuna Surprise

The first time I did right hand drive, within minutes of picking up my rental car I pulled into a round about going the wrong way. Oh, the honking!

rararuby

@Tuna Surprise I have anxiety dreams about encountering left-hand drivers going the wrong way around roundabouts (I'm Irish).

KatPruska

"Like German tourists, the stupid are everywhere." -AJ Rimmer, BSC,SSC

Doesn't Germany have a civilized number of weeks per person for holiday time? For whatever reason German tourists have gained a reputation for a certain ubiquity in highly-traveled areas. I think it's a fairly-neutral stereotype (sociologists, is there such a thing?), but my perspective is one of total outsider, so, you know, buyer beware and all that. My brain just now made a leap to a negative spin, as in, "Germans still trying to take over the world" (THIS IS NOT WHAT I THINK), but that seems like a reach to me.

Unless you were being facetious, in which case, egg ALL OVER my face!

Heike

@KatPruska 6 weeks holiday a year. Very shortly my particular area of Germany is going to be entirely empty apart from a few Russians and Poles. And any day now, my friend in NW Scotland is going to email me as she does every year, to point out that All The Germans are in Scotland right now.
You can't go anywhere without tripping over a German.

Susanna

@KatPruska I live in Berlin. Last summer my family and I nearly got run off a tiny coastal road in the far, far, far, north west of Scotland but a giant SUV from... Berlin.

sorry your heinous

Jots down "ideally a trip would consist of some nights in one place and others in another" in margin of Lonely Planet travel guide.

Edith Zimmerman

@sorry your heinous You heart it here first.

Edith Zimmerman

@Edith Zimmerman HEARD ugh

sorry your heinous

@Edith Zimmerman But I did <3 it.

breccia

DINGLE?! I BARFED IN DINGLE.

True story.

yarabollocks

@breccia
Replying while reading this post a MONTH later because I had to share that I barfed copiously in Dingle as well. Bad evil (many) pints of Guinness.

meetapossum

I'm really sad you had such bad roasted tomatoes, because they are usually DELICIOUS.

Did you go to the Aran Islands? The Aran Islands are THE BEST. I had the most wonderfully bizarre experience there that involved a Frechman with a yellow raincoat in a wheelbarrow. It is gorgeous over there.

cd
cd

@meetapossum Yes, the Aran Islands are amazing!I visited Innismore a few years ago in the winter when it was completely dead. We saw no other tourists, no cars; it is seriously like going back in time 100 years. Plus puking on the ferry! Falling off bikes in the wind! Almost falling off the cliffs of the fort!

PatatasBravas

@meetapossum

So much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

with a yellow rain
coat

upon a
Frenchman

Ophelia

@cd Oh! When my friends and I went to Inisheer, there was NO ONE around, and there was this ruined castle, and we climbed up in it? I am not 100% sure we were supposed to be there, but there was no sign, so we did.

cd
cd

@Ophelia Yes I saw that castle and climbed it too! That island is magical, although I think the visit nearly killed my then-16 yr old sister I dragged there with me.

MALLROY

@meetapossum Yes! I went to Inishmaan (Inis Meain?) with my class while I was studying abroad in Cork. They had everything: pre-christian forts, cars held together with duct tape, kindly underground b&b owners who wanted to feed you every scone ever, reclusive sweater factory owners that bought my friend and I drinks all night before throwing a 20 pound note on the fire, calling the queen the c-word, and disappearing into the night without another word. Really, it was the best four days of my life.

Q
Q

@MALLROY either spelling is fine, just one is English (Inishmaan) and one is Irish (Inis Meáin).

every tomorrow@twitter

My boyfriend is an Actual Irish Person From Ireland so I get to go visit his family and it is awesome. Except for the roads, the roads are terrifying and even though I learned to drive in Los Angeles where all the drivers are completely evil, I am too scared to drive in Ireland because the roads are seriously like four feet wide. And people drive really fucking fast on these tiny country roads and if you pass another car you'd better hope your side mirrors are at different heights or you're going to have a bad time.

Also my boyfriend is one of those obnoxious people with dark hair and blue eyes, and so is half of his family. The other half of his family has dark hair and gray eyes. As a dark-haired brown-eyed person I AM SO GODDAMN JEALOUS of these people and their light-colored eyes.

Although it seems like dark eyes are way less common in Ireland, so people there seem more impressed with my brown eyes than I am.

Ophelia

@every tomorrow@twitter Yeah, I'm a redhead of mostly Irish extraction, and when I lived there, people seemed surprised that I have (very dark) brown eyes.

beeline96

@every tomorrow@twitter Genetic mutations, northern climes, etc. etc.

Jinxie

@every tomorrow@twitter My parentals are also Actual Irish People from Ireland (the brother is, too, though I was, boringly, born and raised in the USofA) and Pop has dark hair and light blue eyes and Ma has dark hair and green eyes. Well, they HAD dark hair. Now they're both cute old Irish grandparents with grey hair. Anyway, somehow Brother and I got the blue eyes but totally got screwed on the nice shiny, dark hair front because we're both mousy/ashy brunettes (naturally, that is, I'm currently pretending I'm a natural red head).

tessamae

@Ophelia I am a redhead with green eyes and I used to want brown eyes so bad that I even tried to get brown colored contacts (which they didn't make for people with light eyes). My mother thought I was nuts, but I always thought they looked more mysterious.

Ophelia

@tessamae Ooh, that's very good. I'm going to go for "mysterious" over "common" all the time now.

rayray

@every tomorrow@twitter Ha, I came down here to boast about my dark-haired, blue-eyed Irish boyfriend, but your post has got me round to think thinking, yeah, actually it IS kind of obnoxious! How dare they be so pretty?!

Susanna

@every tomorrow@twitter It's not specifically Irish. It's 3/4 of my family, and we're English/Scottish.

PistolPackinMama

@Susanna My BFF is Scottish from the Northeast. She has loooooooong silky black black black, black as a raven's wing hair Her eyes are HUGE eyes that look like they took a cue from the North sea on a sunny day and are this blue-grey color. And of course, pale skin of the sugared-rose-petals paleness.

I think looks like hers are the reason Scotland has so many good eerie stories in its folklore. You can't look that mysterious and not have a body of literature devoted to giving it a story.

Megasus

OMG so basically you experieenced that scene from Once when they all just start singing folk songs at the pub? That is awesome. Once is awesome.

werewolfbarmitzvah

I went to Cork and there were palm trees everywhere. What is that about!!

rararuby

@werewolfbarmitzvah Salt

HereKitty

@werewolfbarmitzvah The Gulf Stream.

stormageddon

The fresh air in the Irish countryside is the best thing I've ever smelled. Still remember it, 13 years later. If you could bottle it, you'd be rich.

ba-na-nas

I stayed in Ireland (Waterford) for 3 months a few years back. I was there January-March. All of these warm feelings I hear being expressed seem weird to me, because I was there at the most unpleasant time of year, in (from what I have been told since) the most unpleasant town. Except for those about the bread and butter. The bread and butter are next level amazing.

living internationally

@ba-na-nas Waterford - why? Seriously - why?

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@ba-na-nas Waterford is one of the quietest places I've ever had a night out in, Seriously, you walk ten feet from the main square with the late bars and the place is filled with a Marie Celeste-like silence. There's some lovely underappreciated countryside in the county though , friends of mine live in Ring and it's gorgeous

Ophelia

My Irish Nightclub Experience is forever rooted in repeated trips to the Turk's Head in Temple Bar at the age of 19. Where every weekend night at 1am there are lots of drunken 18-21 year olds solemnly downing a last pint of Guinness to "Hey Jude" as the club closes, and then everyone gets kebabs.

Oddly, that is probably my strongest/clearest memory of living in Ireland.

Lucienne

@Ophelia Kebabs haven't caught on in the US and it is a tragedy.

living internationally

@Ophelia That was me singing Hey Jude - sorry

Q
Q

@Ophelia ZAYTOONS KEBABS OM NOM NOM.

Decca

@Q Zaytoons is best enjoyed with three bottles of beer smuggled in the crotch of your jeans. I...don't know how I know this but it is definitely true.

Scandyhoovian

This post just made me hungry. I'm Finnish, though, so "meat and potatoes and other heavy starchy things that put you in a food coma" is TOTALLY MY BAG, BABY, YEAH.

Also, I went to Ireland in May with my fiance and we had SO MUCH FUN whirlwinding around Dublin. The Kilmainham Gaol was most definitely the greatest tour ever, if you want to learn about something you NEVER HEAR ABOUT if you're not from the area.

Also, Guinness Brewery. But, uh, duh.

cd
cd

@Scandyhoovian The Milmainham Goal is such an interesting tour. Its so creepy and sad at the same time. The chapel where prisoners could marry right before execution? Ughhh too much

Scandyhoovian

@cd My favorite part was when my tour guide did an aside about how the only successful riot the jail ever had was a women's riot. Instantly I wanted to find all the information I possibly could. INSTANTLY.

cd
cd

@Scandyhoovian I dont think I've heard that part! I actually visited 2 or 3 times, a few years ago. Time to google away the afternoon...

Scandyhoovian

@cd ALSO my tour guide was this tiny dark-haired woman with the most fantastic plaid wool coat I think I have ever seen. If she hadn't been so charmingly full of information, I might have jumped her and taken it.

rayray

@cd I went to Cork gaol two weekends ago and it is legitimately creepy. I even got a cold from walking around there and am convinced it's the cold of some 19th century prostitute that was lingering in the cells.

cd
cd

@Scandyhoovian I brought it up to a woman who owns a paranormal bookstore (which I dont really believe in but I ended up buying a bunch of home decorations from her?) and she said something about how limestone absorbs a lot of energy and that would be common in those prisons. So maybe you rubbed against the wrong part of a wall and caught her old-timey cold haha

living internationally

@rayray Went there one Hallowe'en as a child - legit nightmares

cosmia

UGH THIS IS GREAT AND SO RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS. I'm saving up to do one of these Go Abroad By Yourself trips next year and I've always wanted to do it in Ireland ever since I read this trashy book about this American woman who goes to Ireland and has sex with one of those black-haired-blue-eyed pretty people in a fairy ring and gets drunk at a pub and passes out in a cow field in the West Counties.

tessamae

@cosmia OH HEY NORA ROBERTS. ;)

cosmia

@tessamae LOL I KNOW RIGHT

tessamae

@cosmia Have you read the other two books in that trilogy? Because they are equally as great and really make you want to bang it out all over the West.

cosmia

@tessamae Yes, yes I have, and Nora Roberts, gurrrrl. THERE ARE ONLY SO MANY PERFECT IRISH SISTERS AND THEIR PERFECT HUSBANDS I CAN READ ABOUT. But I am so down with road tripping around County Clare.

tessamae

@cosmia FACT. RUDE, NORA. But also: when is it my turrrrrrrrn, Nora???

rararuby

So regarding the empty houses - there are totally ghost estates all over the Irish countryside and definitely more houses than people.

But it's not that we can't afford to live in them, it was that they were built for people who do not exist, which is what contributed to the 'bubble'. It was justified because of rising populations, but populations were rising because of the migrant construction workers coming to build all the new houses! Once they were (badly) built, they all left (or most of them - some have stayed and contributed to a new diverse and more attractive population. Yay!)
We do have homelessness here but, as with everywhere, its causes are more complex than the absence of housing.

questingbeast

@rararuby I heard the empty houses have been filled by Shane from Westlife's tears.

Clarence Rosario

We spent 8 days there last summer, with a 9-month old and can happily report:

* Driving in Ireland was awesome. Especially south of Cork towards the water, and around Howth. Right-hand drive takes some getting used to, but it was a very pleasant experience. Google Maps on the iPhone was a life-saver.

* The Guinness Storehouse is surprisingly very kid-friendly.

* Most pubs let you know where/when it's OK to have kids with you. The smoky, old-man section where horse racing is on every TV is not one of them.

living internationally

@Clarence Rosario Smokey? I would report that place to the Gardai so fast. I <3 the smoking ban.

Also did you know that Ireland was the first country in the world to ban smoking in all workplaces?

Clarence Rosario

@lessis'more Oh, for sure, folks were smoking outside. I just felt like those ends of the pub had a general smokiness to them. Years of atmospherics. It was charming.

living internationally

@Clarence Rosario You weren't here when the years of smoke dissapated and the actual smell of the pub first appeared then. Those were rough days - it was truly shocking how many places smelled like the toilet

cd
cd

You can get Taytos at a few places in NY. Why they created chips to taste just like roasted chicken is a mystery to me.

Helena@twitter

@cd What you had was not a bag of Taytos! Or "package o' crips" as they're known where I live.

cd
cd

@Helena@twitter Imposter Taytos?! I live in a very Irish neighborhood so the stores carry a lot of Irish brands. Maybe its a crappy American version made to imitate the Irish one?

Helena@twitter

@cd Oh my God! I just saw the website! They do exist :O My apologies. Possibly they are a flavour made for overseas market? I've never seen them on sale here.

cd
cd

@Helena@twitter hahah you had me doubting myself for a moment. It sounds so strange I thought maybe I DID make it up.

RK Fire

Imposter (or Doppleganger!) Taytos sounds like a good name for a band or a video game character.

liznieve

@cd
Ha, the native Angeleno in me giggled at "package o' crips," as I imagined a bright green bag filled with gang bangers.

tessamae

I will forever associate Taytos with Conan O'Brien. Taaaaaay-tooohhhs.

PatatasBravas

@tessamae ...or Samwise Gamgee?

tessamae

@PatatasBravas Nice!

RK Fire

@PatatasBravas boil 'em, mash'em up..

Luckier

I went with my Mr. and my Dad to Ireland at the end of May/beg of June and it was lovely. Driving is scary, but the countryside was beautiful. If any 'Pinners are planning a trip (or live there, for you Professional Irish People), our best dinner in Dublin was a Le Bon Crubeen and outside Dublin was in Kinsale at someplace I don't recall. Cobh was my favorite little town, and I hear it is the secret getaway weekend place for Dubliners who are in the know, so don't tell anyone.

boyofdestiny

I learned how to play the tin whistle for work-related reasons, and I always imagined how awesome it would be if an Irish session just burst out at a bar I was at, and I could fill in for a few jigs. Of course, I'm an awful whistle player, and this never happens ever.

HereKitty

@boyofdestiny "Work-related reasons," HOLY COW WHAT KIND OF JOB DO YOU HAVE?

C.SanDiego

@boyofdestiny I was once in a bar in Westport, County Mayo (which is insanely adorable and gorgeous and I highly recommend) and when the bar went on break, this (also insanely gorgeous) guy walked up with his buddy and started playing the band's guitar while his friend sang along.

So, all you have to do is move to small town Ireland with your tin whistle and wait for the band to go on break.

Kirsten Hey@twitter

Those aren't roasted tomatoes with the breakfast. They're grilled, or more likely, fried.

melis

"That's no roasted tomato. That's a space station."

Edith Zimmerman

@Kirsten Hey@twitter Ahhh my bad!

katemcd81@gmail.com

@Edith Zimmerman Yes. The old fried tomato with breakfast. Very traditional. Very gross and watery. Until not-so-long ago, all tomatos in Ireland were as blech as that.

pizza

I feel like I'm travel following you, Edith. I went to Iceland about two weeks after you and I just booked a trip to Dublin last week.

If anyone from NYC is looking for a sweet deal to Dublin:
http://www.aerlingusvacationstore.com/vacations/dub-cty-pkg-4star-jfk?utm_source=TravelZoo&utm_medium=NewsFlash&utm_campaign=28June2012

Edith Zimmerman

@pizza What!!! Amazing.

frigwiggin

Mmmm, accents. I try not to objectify people too much based on one trait that they can't help, but mmmm accents. Has anyone in the history of forever found a non-Southern American accent sexy? (My accent is definitely not sexy, but that's more to do with my nasal, grating voice than anything else.)

RK Fire

@frigwiggin: I've wondered this too.

"Oh baby, say 'warshing machine' or 'wooder' again!"

PatatasBravas

@frigwiggin Wicked northeast accents! I grew up there but don't have one myself, alas.

frigwiggin

@RK Fire Oh man, my boyfriend's father says "warsh" and my boyfriend has no idea where that came from. He's from California! His parents are from California! Nobody (that I know of) says that here! Maybe he's pretending, like John Fogerty.

RK Fire

@frigwiggin: I still don't fully understand the "warsh" thing. Growing up in Baltimore, people would say it was a DC thing and yet there were always longtime Baltimoreans around who said it too. And people randomly living around Maryland. My big sister (9 years older) was super-prescriptive when it came to language so I had a lot of potential accent shamed out of me. Like saying "libary" instead of "library."

Sometimes I feel like "warsh" is more of a country thing, but that wouldn't explain where other people picked it up. Maybe it just rubs off on people willy nilly.

tessamae

@RK Fire I'm from Missouri and have always thought warsh is just a regional thing here!

As for me, I think northern Midwestern (Wisconsin/Minnesota) accents are h-o-t. It's weird, I know.

Ophelia

@PatatasBravas Yes! Not Boston accents, but kind of inland New England? The main guy on Burn Notice has one, and it's hot.

camanda

@frigwiggin I'm from Rhode Island and have a reasonably stereotypical local accent -- I pronounce my Rs but I do basically everything else we're supposed to do. And I am pretty sure nobody finds Rhode Island ("Rho Dylin") accents sexy.

I love listening to particular accents but I am not generally attracted to any of them; still don't get the common lust for an Irish accent (where I live, this lust is a product of the place being loaded with drunk people claiming Irish descent). That said, I love listening to Ed Byrne talk, so maybe I have no idea what I'm on about.

Judith Slutler

@frigwiggin The only people I ever met who thought my american accent is sexy are some pretty creepy dudes who tend to have a slight fetish for correcting my German grammar. Take that as you will...

meetapossum

@camanda One of my bartenders here has a really strong RI accent (she doesn't pronounce her R's), and it has caused a lot of unintentional hilarity.

@RK Fire My dad also says "warsh", and he grew up in Western PA, so I have no idea where he got it.

I was told once in England that I had a "nice accent". (I'm from NJ, but I have a pretty neutral accent, with the exception of "wooder" occasionally.) I called him a liar. Then again, I was also told that I couldn't be from New Jersey because I didn't "sound like a gangster."

RK Fire

Did you have the orange soda with actual pieces of orange in them? I played gaelic football in the US for a year and when I went to nationals* that was one of my favorite parts of the tournament. Well, that and the curry chips. Anyway, my teammates who had been in previous years were talking up the soda like there was no tomorrow. And it was totally worth it.

*not hard to do, all you have to do is be able to field a team. also, we can claim to be the East Coast Junior B champions of 2010, what what!

mygoldies

@RK Fire Club Orange! It is the best orange soda, although I am partial to Club Rock Shandy, the combo of orange and lemon.

RK Fire

@mygoldies: Yessss!!! I don't really like soda but I will drink Club Orange if it's available.

living internationally

@RK Fire Club Orange, a mars bar and a package of Tayto is my ultimate hangover cure

mygoldies

The butter is ridiculously delicious. When I was there last, my cousin asked me if butter in the US was "some horrible, bland, pale, unsalted stuff" as she was eating a slab of bread thickly spread with Kerry Gold.

Also the way to eat bread and butter in my dad's family is to slather the bread in butter, then after each bite spread more butter on the newly exposed edge. Maximum butter!

shadowkitty

As an Irish person, this entire post is hilarious to me (I am really glad you had a nice time, though. Also judging from the places you went, I think you drove past my old house?)

rayray

@shadowkitty If she went to the Jameson factory, she was practically in my apartment building which, EDITH WAS LIKE METRES FROM ME AND I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW?

Logos

Ooh! You went to Ireland, and saw some Germans, which brings me to the logical concluding question ... Did you see the ineffable combination of the same: Michael Fassbender???! :D

Katherine Farmar@twitter

I'm always a bit nonplussed when people expect Irish food to be bad. (What do they think we are, English?*) Then I remind myself that Irish food was uniformly horrible until the 1990s or so, when a bunch of Irish people who actually CARED about food and didn't think of it as something you shoved into yourself to keep from dying got into restaurant management, and gourmet food retail, and artisan food production, and small-scale-high-quality farming, and there was a slow but dramatic revolution in the overall quality of Irish food. So that now it is a lot easier than it has ever been to eat well and with pleasure in Ireland.

I have to echo the observation from other Irish people that some of these questions seem really weird. Note to American readers: IRISH PEOPLE ARE SECRETLY BORING. And not that different from you. Though our butter is genuinely so much better than yours that we feel sorry for you whenever the subject comes up.

*j/k I love the English and their food full of raisins and flour! Om nom nom saffron buns.

dontannoyme

@Katherine Farmar@twitter Our raisin food is great. I had great food in Dublin (decades ago, the best Eggs Benedict ever at Cafe En Seine - does it even exist now?). But I think I need to make a general point about strawberries. And apples. Something weird happens to American strawbs and apples to make them the size of small cars and I don't think it's right. American pinners, I am worried that if you eat those American apples the size of my head you will get contaminated by alien dna. for the sake of the future of the American people, please only eat imported English/Irish apples and strawberries. Thank you.

eraserface

HOW HAS NO ONE MENTIONED CHAMP YET? Basically best. food. ever.

Also, totally on board with the accent. Gives me feelings in the nether regions.

OwlOfDerision

@eraserface I love champ; in fact I had it for dinner on Sunday. Also, fun fact. In England, spring onion are, well, spring onions; but in Ireland they are scallions.

Dubliner

@OwlOfDerision Scallion is the official name apparently (and by that I mean according to wikipedia).

babs

Edith! Those tiny, impossibly sweet strawberries are grown in Oregon! If you ever get a hankering to go berry picking on a bucolic island with snowy mountains towering in the distance, then caallll meeee.

('Pinners from Portland know where I mean!)

Edith Zimmerman

@babs Oh my god!!!

IceHouseLizzie

@babs I was going to say the same thing about the strawberries here in Washington state....they are tiny, red through-and-through, and incredibly sweet. We have been making jam and preserves all week.

notfromvenus

@IceHouseLizzie Reminds me - I went to WA to see my brother a few weeks ago, and we totally stole some strawberries that were growing in somebody's front yard and ate them and they were like that. The best strawberries I've ever had. MMMMM.

eanlaith

Ah! My family lives in Athlone. Seans is lovely. Did you go anywhere else local? The best food I've had visiting Ireland was at The Fatted Calf in Glasson, just outside of Athlone proper. Yum.

OwlOfDerision

I was born in Belfast. WHO'S CALLING IT A TRASH HEAP???!!!1???

*prepares for Irish bar-brawl*

étaín

Wow, I'm a Dublin girl and visit this site every day. Love it and love Edith! Very strange seeing this post and some of the questions are a bit odd alright! But very glad you enjoyed your time here. A typical greeting to anyone you meet is hello, how are you or more likely just 'how are ye?' The only possible response to this (unless it's a close friend or family) is, 'Grand, how are YOU?" and so on and on and on...I found this very strange when I moved to Vancouver for a year, worked in a deli and was met with detailed and sometimes disturbing honesty in response to my usual greeting! Soon learned to stop at hello....kept the "thanks a million" bit though - they love that!

whimseywisp

@étaín If you ever find yourself in the American South, you will be just fine. We don't expect you to tell us how you are, either ;). "Oh honey, I'm just great, and you?!"

Katheringasaga

The West coast is the best coast. And you'll never hear me say that in relation to anywhere but Ireland.

katemcd81@gmail.com

@Katheringasaga I agree and I'm from Dublin. The West is the Best.

living internationally

I haven't read this - I just came down here to say a) IRELAND amazing b) if you are rude about it I will personally smack you and c)What no Cork?

living internationally

@lessis'more Having now read this and commented on ALL THE COMMENTS I would like to share some thoughts.

On lack of variation and coolness - there are some really cool places to be found - and it's not that hard but they won't be in Temple Bar or Dingle (although I do love Dingle). If you are going out in Dublin there are much more authentically local places along Georges St and Camden St. There is also a little free scheme called http://www.cityofathousandwelcomes.com/ where you can meet and have a coffee/pint with a similar local (who has been vetted by the Gardai) and they can point you in the direction of some fun stuff that is off the beaten path.

On the driving I just want to share one of my favourite memories which is driving down Blarney St in Cork (which is legit not wide enough for 2 way traffic) with 3 friends from the South and having them scream their lungs out because I was going fairly fast and close to other cars. Na yanks - Bíonn siad craiceáilte ar fad, nach mbíonn?

MALLROY

@lessis'more I know! Cork is my favorite!

Q
Q

@lessis'more Bíonn siad as a meabhair - ní raibh sé sin aon fadhb duit, táim cinnte:)

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@Q @lessis'more Iontach ar fad lads! :)

living internationally

@Q Níl aon fhadhb agam leis sin ar chor ar bith

questingbeast

Hey, I was wondering: Is it really depressing in America? You know, with all the fundamentalists and unemployed cowboys and having to sell your kidney for a heart bypass and the obesity epidemic, the misery of which no longer alleviated by Man vs Food, and having to wear a stripey top hat all the time? ARE YOU ALL REALLY SAD? P.s. do you have houses? That whole mortgage thing, you all live in tents now right?

Chelsea Morning

@questingbeast Thank you, for thinking of a response that my tired and work-addled brain couldn't put together. That question...confused me? I mean, I'm an American and I've lived in Ireland for a few years now and I hear variations of it kind of a lot. "Oh, what's it like there with the economy?" Umm...much the same I imagine it is in the States. Some people are getting through it okay, some people aren't. I'm lucky in that I have a great job that gives me 25 vacation days a year - for that reason alone Ireland > America for me. *

*I'm being facetious, internet. Ireland's got issues, but I still prefer it over here.

Cat Jail

I can see Ireland from my house!

NB, I do not live in Ireland.

rararuby

@Cat Jail Do you live on the Isle of Mann, or somewhere near the Mull of Kintyre? Or are you just using google maps?

Cat Jail

@rararuby West coast of Scotland! I can also see the Mull of Kintyre.

Q
Q

As an Irish person, I loved this and it made me smile a lot - thank you! Our butter really is that delicious, people, and the grass is that green. Our cows are the best.

Decca

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH *faints*

Waiting

Oh my gosh, that picture of the breakfast - mushrooms, tomatoes, eggs, and toast - made me sooooo nostalgic for Britain!! I actually loved the shrooms and tomatoes every morning. With a cup of strong tea? Ugh. Where's my hunky Irish dude to whisk(ey) me away back to the island?

Centipede

Woah, fitzsimons is a shitbox!! You should have asked us Irish readers for suggestions!

rararuby

@Centipede TOTALLY! I'm embarrassed that our beloved Edith was subjected to that monstrocity

katemcd81@gmail.com

@rararuby I am sitting at work (yes, on a Sunday afternoon) and it's right beside Fizsimons. To any person visiting: DO NOT LINGER IN TEMPLE BAR

notandersoncooper

That was fantastic and joyous! I have some followup questions:
1.) I generally don't like the Irish and can't stand that accent but every time I fall in love, they end up being Irish. What's up with that?
2.)Was there a contest to be your travelling companion because I would have totally written an essay and entered it if there was.
3.)We're there a million questions about Lena Dunham?

katemcd81@gmail.com

@notandersoncooper "I generally don't like the Irish."
Wow, thanks racist person!

Bebinn

Violins and fiddles are the same instrument! I mean, there might be slight structural differences in some of them, but it's all about how you play it. Violin is classical; fiddle is bluegrass, country, folk, dance, etc.

Also aaah I want to go back to Dingle so badly! It was kind of touristy, but there was music coming out of every doorway. Someone told my dad that Tom Waits owns a pub there and sometimes plays, but none of the locals were saying anything.

anachronistique

@Bebinn According to my mom the violinist, a fiddle has a flat bridge and a violin has a curved one. That's the main difference.

LucyPepys

I think I was probably in Ireland at the same time as you (mid-June), and I could not have had a more different experience. I think this was largely due to the fact that we mainly went to the cities, rather than the countryside, but I've never been to a more unpleasant place. Terrible weather, unfriendly people (we actually had gangs of youths yell things at us on several occasions, mostly about my boyfriend being ginger, which is ironic since half of Irish people have red hair!), gross food, and the ugliest cities I've ever seen. And I say this as someone who has spent the last four years living in London, so I'm used to crappy weather/food. Plus we never even got to take in any Father Ted sites, which is probably the best thing to have come out of Ireland. :( I'm sure there must be lots of lovely things to see there, since everyone else seems to love it, but I didn't get to take any of them in.

Karl McDonald@twitter

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0705/breaking37.html

They found ghost estates there this morning. 2,000 ones. Imagine how many ghostbusters they have to employ to keep them hidden from tourists.

WaityKatie

Another (slightly) cheap(er) way to get lodging is to stay in the dorms at Trinity College Dublin, if you're going during the summer. They rent them and it is pretty much like a normal hotel - you can get an ensuite bathroom if you want and they give you towels. Although you have to bring your own toiletries and all. It's a little bare bones but honestly nicer than the dorm room I lived in for four years in college. Cheaper than a hotel though not as cheap as Air Bnb, but then you also don't have to stay in strangers' apartments. And the campus is beautiful, centrally located, and you can be first in line for the Book of Kells!

I found the weather to be completely aggravating, but if you like rain for five minutes followed by beating sun, followed by more rain, repeated at random intervals forever, then I guess you have better hair and better packing skills than I do and therefore you probably win at life anyway.

katemcd81@gmail.com

@WaityKatie The weather is just as aggravating if you've lived here all your life. Got to work in flats and a jacket, need an umbrella and wellies in the afternoon, strip off to sit in the sun that evening, back to scarves and jumpers that night. GAH!

andeescoffield

To have some trip for relaxing is a rewarding thing for yourself.. You can also try kayaking for a different kind of adventure. In order for you to get some deals on your kayaking equipment, it would be best for you to look for deals online. By looking online, you can find a kayak which suits your needs for a very low price and not only that, there are other kayaks you can buy at low rates.

phipsi

Yesss! I just went there in May. Fantastic all around. We only rented a car for a few days, and driving was certainly an adventure! I didn't mind the wrong side thing so much as the tiny road thing. Also, renting an automatic is almost twice as expensive as renting a manual...and I DON'T drive a manual AT ALL let alone shifting with my left friggin' hand. NOPE.

I also LOVED Northern Ireland. We took a train and then bus from Dublin and it was just a day trip along the Antrim Coast. SO rugged and fantastic. And the accent is sexy. Wish I could have spent more time in Belfast, as we just sort of whizzed through on the bus. It looks like a vibrant city with a very young culture. I said to my travel partner: "Well, I'm not saying we'll be taking a bus tour around Kabul in 15 years, but it's nice to know that a city can come back from being a terrorist hotbed." Oh look! The most oft-bombmed hotel in Belfast! And a blast wall! Yikes.

katemcd81@gmail.com

I would LOVE if we a) had porches to sit out on and b) had the weather to sit outside drinking lemonade.

I mean, we sometimes do but not often. Porches + lemonade seems like a quintessentially American thing from movies to me!

josep

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usama

The cars were hard! Probably the most unexpectedly stressful part, actually. The roads are about this wide ||, and the driving-on-the-left-side thing is not an instant natural fit for everyone [nervous laughter], and I spent a lot of the time staring at the road (on the passenger side) clutching my hands in catatonic terror. But then I loosened up [a very little bit], and it was fine! (My travel partner deserves lots and lots of credit for both never crashing and for putting up with me the whole time. "Careful. HGH

danialkhatri

A couple weeks ago I took a 10-day trip through Ireland, with long-to-very-short stops in Dublin, Malahide, Kilkenny, Killarney, around the Ring of Kerry and the Skellig Ring, Dingle, Portmagee, Athlone, Galway, and Belfast. It was great.Tarot

gaster23

My heart goes out to the families of the passengers, they're sad, angry and frustrated, and rightfully so. But please understand this, no government would intentionally make an bad situation worse. If they have found something, anything, they'd have no reason to keep it from the families or the world. On the contrary, they wouldnt waste any time to announce/share it just so to smooth the situation, and to enjoy the publicity. You, we, are not getting anything from them, that's because they're not getting anything. What the Australian government stated in the news conference yesterday said it: We're not looking for needle in the haystack here, we're trying to find the haystack first.

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