The Irish Experience
Posted by Neil Hand on the 5th of September 2014 at 10:03:32
This piece was originally posted a couple of years ago. It was very popular at the time, so for all of you who missed out, here it is again, with a few new bits included. Enjoy!
So what is the Irish Experience? With so many poets, musicians and writers hailing from our shores – is it their wise words and haunting melodies? Or is it the breath taking views from atop the Cliffs of Moher or your first tentative steps across the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge? Could it be the learning of our history and culture – perhaps taking a guided tour of one of our cities or towns and seeing how this small isle has contributed to the world in so many fields – politically, socially, culturally, musically and historically?
It is all of these things and so much more. It is the pride we feel when we see the tricolour raised at sporting events and hear the thunderous chorus singing the anthem. It is seeing the sun set on the Atlantic coast – a myriad of reds, golds and pinks and…….. it is also some of the below!
Whiskey and Red Lemonade - a phenomenon localised to this fair isle as red lemonade has not made much of an international splash! This particular concoction has been enjoyed for many a year by Irish people – not too sure how it came about – but it is certainly something which most Irish people have partaken in.
Tayto Crisp Sandwiches - again another thing unique to the Irish – fresh white bread (the brand usually decided upon by the Irish Mammy) – lashings of butter and Tayto – a brand of crisps which despite having several flavours is still called Tayto and in regards to sandwich ingredients only the cheese and onion variety are expressly used. To use another flavour would certainly make you stand-out as a non-native.
Craic - many a tourist has being mislead by this one – no we are not a country of drug pushers but merely seeking/seeing the fun somewhere – whether through someone telling a joke – “that fellas great craic all together” or looking for the craic – i.e. – “where’s the best pub?”
Meeting random Irish people - in the most far flung destinations and having friends in common – ten degrees of separation does not apply to the Irish - we generally work on two degrees of separation – three if we are only part Irish.
Tea – a national obsession and is produced/offered no matter the occasion. I lost my job – have a cuppa, I got a job – have a cuppa – Ireland’s losing/winning/drawing – have a cuppa – you get the picture – quencher of thirst and a veritable comfort blanket to the Irish we are surely single-handedly keeping the tea manufactures in business
Self-Deprecation- Although not a strictly Irish trait, Irish people are world-leaders at not taking themselves seriously. This can also extend to not taking friends/family too seriously either, so don't be alarmed if you see two Irish people insulting each other with smiles on their faces. They're most likely very fond of one another!
Cheering our national athletes/ teams despite not winning – we keep the Olé Olé going until the bitter end. In the Euros 2012 the Irish were voted the best supporters - a testament to both our loyalty and eternal optimism that the game could turn in our favour.
Understanding Irish directions – an Irish country mile is anywhere between ten steps and ten kilometres and a “ just around the corner” – could actually mean – down the road and around several corners – if we ask how long it is to where we are looking for – generally told “not too long”!
Dropping EVERYTHING when the sun shines - Ireland's weather couldn't be fairly described as 'extreme' by any stretch. Mild, slightly damp and occasionally PERFECT would better sum it up. And so, when the sun shines on our pleasant land, we drop everything and find the most unshaded piece of soil we can find, and sit in it. Please do not disturb us until the sun disappears again!
Dressing for the Irish Weather – We pay a heavy price for our beautiful green fields and each year the Irish summers perplex our tourists– the sun is beaming but yet the rain is bucketing down! To equip yourself for the Irish summer – one must layer up – sweater, rain jacket and t-shirts, invest in a heavy duty umbrella and wellingtons and carry your sunscreen and sunglasses - essentially covering yourself for every eventuality - rain, hail or shine! Only the innocent embrace the Irish summer with shorts and flip-flops!
So, these are just some of the things which in combination with enjoying our spectacular natural beauty from Glendalough to the meanderings of the River Shannon or to the man-made creations of the mystical Boyne Valley monuments or the breath-taking Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin all make up a true Irish Experience! To sample all of these delights and many more why not check out our Ireland Experience Tour and book yourself in for a trip of a lifetime!