Summary of Ireland

Ireland is an interesting place because everyone thinks they know everything about it before even visiting.  It’s got to be the best-marketed country in the world- they even got all these people who aren’t even Irish to celebrate their holiday!- so it’s neat to show up and realize the actual place doesn’t follow your preconceived notions.  Which in hindsight you should have realized would happen but we all get caught off our guard on occasion.

Highlights-

– The pub life.  I list this first because back at home whenever I went to an Irish pub I’d find myself saying “you know, I really want to visit Ireland” and I am proud to report the stories live up to the expectations!  The Irish are remarkably friendly, and great musicians are a dime a dozen (they don’t play Irish trad normally though- it would be the same as us listening to She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain When She Comes or other folk songs in the bar).  I’ve always been a traitor to my generation in that I like to hear myself think when going out or at least having good music instead of base  pounding my head, so Ireland was great for this.

– Dublin was a bit meh, just another big city, but i met cool people there and got new pages for my passport.  I am including the above so you guys can see why I needed one- pretty much the whole old part looks like this by now!

– My favorite place in Ireland, though, has got to be Galway.  Seriously, go to Galway as you won’t regret it.

– Killarney I will write off as a necessary evil to go see the spectacular Ring of Kerry.  There’s nothing really wrong with Killarney, it’s just an incredibly touristy place that pales in comparison to the other fun towns Ireland has to offer.

– Learning Irish fiddling from Theresa and exploring the dime-a-dozen ruins in Loughmore.

– Another thing I liked after so many months on the road is how this was the first place I’d been where they spoke English!  I never realized just what a great asset it is to assume everyone can understand you until I came to Ireland and realized just how great I’d gotten at pantomiming these past few months.

Lowlights-

– This is the problem with Ireland- eventually you will come across a point in this nation where it is pouring rain and you just arrived in a strange place.  There’s a hostel, where’s the hostel?  The rain makes things seem longer than they are so maybe that guy you asked directions was just trying to mess with you.  Eventually you will come across the hostel but not before you are completely soaked despite umbrella and rainjacket, which sucks when you’re me and only have one pair of close-toed shoes.

To be fair about the Irish weather it’s not like you haven’t received enough warning about what you’re getting into (that’s one preconception that will remain firm!), and traveling to the U.K. afterwards will seem positively sunny in comparison.  Plus the Irish have long ago realized that all you want to do on a rainy day is disappear with a coffee or pint at a nice pub, and have accomodated accordingly.

– On the other side of the spectrum, I got sunburnt while reading in the park  in Limerick one afternoon.  I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing, though to explain there was a lovely five day stretch of perfect weather I will not complain about otherwise.

– The fact that my camera finally broke and I needed to shell out lots of Euro to get the replacement.  RIP camera…

– As a final note this is one thing I will never, ever get used to in Ireland- the pubs close early!  Really early, as in 11:30 on weeknights and an hour later  on weekends (clubs are until 2 and 3, respectively, but I’m not a fan of getting kicked out of the comfy pub!).  They have this curfew by law.  The only other country I have been to where there was a national law dictating a curfew was Laos, and I find it odd that Ireland is in the same boat as a communist country on this.

Anyway, that is Ireland.  What a great little place!  I think it gets the distinction of being the second country I’ve visited on this trip that I wouldn’t mind setting down in for a little while, so I hope to be back someday.

2 responses to “Summary of Ireland

  1. Galway was my fave, too. I always wanted to disappear there to finish writing my masterwork. Maybe one way…

  2. Hi Yvette,

    After searching for that mysterious looking Wikipedia Ham Girl (I didn’t think there was such thing as a Ham “Girl”) I came across you’re blog. You seem to be really making the most of your travels and you have been to some cool destinations. Being from Ireland myself I was curious to read your comments about our fair Isle. On balance I think you had a good experience here for the few days you had here. You definitely took the right approach on where to visit in Ireland, and the West is definitely where you want to be going, although I would advise anyone to visit the West either just at the very start or very end of the season because as you experienced in Killarney, we get a LOT of tourists for such a small island and most of them flock to the West.

    It is a shame you didn’t enjoy Dublin much, although I can see why. Dublin can appear to be just another big city especially if you watch where everyone congregates, which is mostly the shopping streets. However, I would see Dublin as more of a big Town. It is a very residential city and in order to see the real gems of Dublin you need to get a bit lost in the back streets and talk to the locals and you will surely enjoy it. Unfortunately one of the areas of Dublin I used to enjoy the most growing up was Temple Bar because it seemed so unspoiled by the over-commercialisation of the high streets. This soon became the defining characteristic of Temple Bar and thus was marketed as such by our city tourist office which in turn drove herds of tourists to it, which in turn attracted businesses looking to cash in on tourists, this drove up rents in the area on all the smaller shops of old record stores, hippie clothing and book shops were driven out by inflated rents. So no longer the Culture Quarter in my opinion.

    If you ever do make it back to Ireland and particularly Dublin I would be more than happy to show you around the city and what it has to offer, from a native’s point of view. I’ll even introduce you to my Hungarian neighbours. I bet we’d get sunshine then too 😉

    I found your comment that Ireland is definitely the most marketed country in the world interesting. I would have never thought it was, we don’t see much of the marketing campaigns that our tourist board push to the rest of the world, but I am sure they’d be glad to have read that comment.

    Best of luck with the rest of your travels.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s