On our vacation from Dublin to Galway, there were daily observations made by Thom and I on the uniqueness of Irish culture that I thought I would share:
AS SEEN DRIVING
Barak Obama car plaza near Tipperary, between Dublin and Limerick on motorway. I guess he has relatives here and has been honored with a gas station named after him. I am sure he is thrilled to celebrate his Irish heritage with this useful store vs. a museum or other nonsense.
Seen as we entered the motorway on big reader board: “Project Edward Day” sign, which is acronym that means European Day Without A Road Death, with current tally at “0”, which will hopefully stay that way with us driving on the wrong side of the road, I mean: Left, left, left.
No fancy cars, no trucks, no SUV’s or mini vans. Just standard manual transportation to get you where you need to be. Lots of dents and scrapes on cars and no wonder because everywhere but the motorway, the roads are just too damn narrow.
SOS boxes on the side of the road. What? Not everybody has global cell coverage??
AS SEEN SHOPPING
Shoe repair/locksmiths everywhere as well as tailors, signaling a culture that repairs vs. disposes of their wardrobe.
Bookstores-small independents-also on every street but not big chains and mostly featuring Irish authors vs. worldwide blockbusters.
Newspapers, they are still relevant here with multiple different papers offered in all the grocery and book stores for your reading enjoyment. Love it as we still enjoy a daily newspaper delivered to our door in the States but we are the only ones in our building to do so probably because we are also the oldest residents as well. Blah.
Resale/consignment/vintage stores are plentiful. Thrifty and trendy at the same time. We stopped by the Salvation Army one and browsed the wide selection of clothes, housewares and some vinyl. One small gallery of shops had not only a great vinyl shop but a vintage clothing store and a variety of stalls selling everything from nuts to posters. Love places like this!
Gyms are few and far between with the main sport being lifting a pint. Irish excel at that sport. True-I’ve been to many a pub on this trip and witnessed this sport first hand.
Knobs and Knockers was one of the best titled stores, selling, you guessed it, just door knockers and door knobs. The doors of Ireland are beautiful and a subject of many photographs. Thom told me a red door means the house is paid off. Now when I see a red door, I’m thinking to myself, “well done” to the occupants and enjoy no more mortgage payments.
Travel agencies are still around and, based on the number of them, I would say fairly popular. Thinking the “seasoned” generation is not tech savvy and needs assistance scoring a ticket or reservation.
Grocery shopping with the locals is always a great way to understand a culture. At Aldi’s, there were literally bulk stacks of meringue circles. In the bread aisle, always a huge focus here where carbs rule, there were packages of pancakes and waffles in with all the other items we would normally see. The cakes/buns/jelly roll selection was wide and varied. Tea time! Beside a stack of goose fat jars, you could also find baked beans in ready-to-go single service packs. Yum. Irish yogurt is tasty and comes in tiny glass jars. Cute.
In many groceries, there are loaves of bread, scones, etc. heaped in open air baskets. Kind of yucky to us uptight Americans who are used to everything being covered up or behind the counter vs. everyone can touch and feel and explore the pastries with their grubby, germ-infested hands. No thank you.
Smoking restrictions inside pubs are more of a “guideline” with many drinkers huddled outside around barrels and on adjacent outdoor patios enjoying a pint and a puff. No restrictions here about staying 25 feet away from the building to inhale carcinogens. That would be very inconvenient for the pub staff to service the refills.
300,000 people attending the Ploughman Competition outside Dublin where they do farm games. Headlines daily in the newspapers-big deal here.
Sheep are sometimes spray painted blue or green or yellow. What. The. Hell.
Hen Parties for bridal parties and Stag Parties for the guys are HUGE in Galway.
There is a two day bus/rail strike planned for Thursday/Friday. Thank goodness we have a car and aren’t reliant on public transportation as we usually are when we travel. Then on Saturday there is a huge “Repeal” protest in Dublin to protest the strict abortion laws. Thom usually attracts protests so surprised we won’t be there for it. In this very Catholic country, they are fighting with the church which never goes well.