So you’ve decided to travel to the land of craic, St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness and some really fine whiskeys. Maybe the romcom ‘P.S. I Love You’ inspired you or maybe it was your love of nature, but either way you’ve made the right decision by going to Ireland.
What are you going to do (besides drink Guinness and whiskey)? Where are you going? What do you want to see? There are more than enough things to see and do around Ireland to have a good time (which i’ll discuss in future blog posts), but first things first: let’s talk some basics.
If you’ve ever seen ‘P.S. I Love You’, you know how beautiful the Irish countryside is. It’s not named the Emerald Isle for nothing! Of course, this could be one of your main reasons to visit Ireland, but bear in mind that there’s more grass than there are bricks. When going out to the countryside public transportation is available (albeit limited); one bus every hour isn’t much, so plan your bus rides accordingly.
As a tourist, don’t be afraid to go up to the natives. There are two kinds of Irish natives: the grumpy old men and the nice and talkative people. Fortunately, 99% of the natives you’ll meet are the latter. If you do meet natives, be prepared for some quick, inaudible conversation where you’ll ask “I’m sorry, what’d you say?” probably at least 5 times. Wherever you go, most Irish will greet you with “Hi, how are you?” but aren’t actually interested in how you’re doing. It’s more a polite greeting rather than your chance to pour your heart out to them. Don’t be afraid to just nod and say some variation of “Hello.
You can’t escape the Irish language (Gaelic). Every sign in the airport, street signs and even road signs have two languages: English and Irish. Don’t be spooked by it; the Irish see it as a market of identity and even though it’s taught in primary school, only a small percentage of the Irish population speaks it. A few words you will see printed everywhere are ‘Éire’ (meaning Ireland), ‘Fáilte’ (welcome) and ‘Slán’ (goodbye).
My last tip for today is probably to remember to first look right and then left when crossing a road; even though Ireland is not part of The UK, they did adopt their (stupid) habit of driving on the wrong side of the road.
Make sure to check back next week for a list of fun, tourist things to do in Ireland; but in the meantime let me know if you have ever visited Ireland and whether you liked it or not!