I recently went on a trip to Ireland, which is why I have been silent for the past few weeks. This vacation knocked another item off my bucket list, so I have a lot to say about my adventures to the Emerald Isle—more than can be said in just one post.
My first observation is that referring to Ireland as the “Emerald Isle” is truly apropos, because almost everywhere I went, with the exception of “The Burren” (more another time), the landscape was covered with lush green grass. I guess there is something to be said for rain, because my lawn here in South Carolina is an embarrassment compared to what I viewed there.
As I mentioned in a previous post (The Best Places to Pee), I am not a fan of American bathrooms, which are severely lacking in privacy, because people waiting for a stall can easily peak while you leak because our doors are just not tight enough. Observe a typical Irish stall:
I smiled while waiting for a stall to become available when I visited the famous Cliffs of Moher. It appeared to be a typical bathroom—lots of stalls and sinks—and a bit of waiting, but when the door opened up, out popped a man who headed to the sinks to wash his hands. It was a coed bathroom, and guess what, the sky did not fall and no one gave him a glance. I wondered how Vice President Pence and his wife, “Mother,” would react if confronted with a similar scenario.
Most of the toilets had two buttons to flush—regular and super charged. Sometimes you just don’t need the extra boost, so why waste water?
Moving on… I never saw so many sheep in my life. Cows came in a close second. The hills were alive with visions of mostly white sheep grazing peacefully in the fields and occasionally causing our tour bus to come to a halt while they crossed the street.
Irish kids really like blue hair, and they are into the puzzling-to-me-fashion of the ripped jeans look. I just don’t get it!
While all the restaurants were thankfully smoke-free, the same cannot be said for the streets. It appeared to me that there is just a lot more cigarette smoking going on in Ireland. That was disturbing and unpleasant.
Most of the people we met were extremely friendly and were particularly interested in expressing their distaste and puzzlement with our president. When we visited the town of Castlebar, they expressed hope that Joe Biden would become our next president, particularly because he had visited there in 2016 since he has roots in the area. It was personal for the townspeople. They even had a flower with his name.
On the return train from Belfast, two young women who were seated opposite us explained their shared shock with the rest of the world on hearing the election results. This led to an explanation of the disparity between the Electoral College results and the popular vote, which puzzled them even more. They just shook their heads in confused amazement.
During a cab ride in Dublin, when our driver learned we were from the South, he just assumed we were Trump supporters. When he learned otherwise, he asked us how the voters in the Bible Belt could support such an immoral, uncaring, heartless person. We agreed that we were perplexed as well.
A surprise to me was learning that some Irish people speak only Irish. I wrongly assumed everyone spoke English, and some spoke Irish as well. All the signs are in both English and Irish. It is an interesting language to hear and reminded us of the Hebrew language in which many sounds come from the throat, sounding to me like someone trying to clear their throats of phlegm.
And for those whose drink of choice is iced tea, I must say that while it was never a problem getting hot tea, I never saw what we in the south call unsweet or sweet tea. But Guinness is everywhere!