That means “Ireland” in Gaelic, the mothertongue of Ireland. So I’m visiting the family here for at least 3 months (intended, time-frame subject to change), working in m’cousin’s supermarket, taking a break from the stifling, highly-stressful and semi-United States, and just gearing up for Life.
I’ll be writing periodically about my experiences here, including readworthy cultural tidbits, accidents, awkward happenings, and the like.
To give you a taste: I caught 2 mackerel (first fish catch ever!) with my uncle in his dingy (they call ’em ‘punts’ or ‘bád’). Also, swans are plentiful in Europe. Two of the suckers live in the small fishing village where I’m staying. Suffices to say my stomach growls every time I pass ’em.
Overall, the Irish are quite a progressive people. Small “eco-shops” can be found in towns as small as 1000 people, like the one I’m staying in, Castletown Berehaven (we have 1.5 eco-shops here). Also, I think the Irish are extremely sarcastic, though it could be amplified in my family. Teasing through sarcasm — “windin’ ye up” — is the norm here. I’m not used to it so it can make me involuntarily angry. I’d say my stay here will wittle up my sense of humor as opposed to whittle it down. But as I made perfectly clear with that last sentence, I don’t need any help with crackin’ jokes. I’m too witty for my own good! =D
Unsurprisingly perhaps, Ireland’s a very rural island. Almost half of the entire elf population — about 1.8 million people — live in the Greater Dublin Area. These days the country is suffering a greater economic crisis than the United States, with housing prices having dropped to 50% of their pre-recession levels. They’re saying that the crises in Ireland and Greece could disrupt the entire global economy. What better time to visit a nation on which the angry missiles of 190 economically-unstable countries could be trained at any moment!?
beyond the Greater Dublin Area, it’s probably — though not certainly — worth it to mention that 100% of the country’s Brian Murphy-descended-23-year-old-capoeira-studying-recently-graduated-from-university-self-described-tomfool-silly-bloke population is concentrated right here in Castletownbere, a quaint “drinking village with a fishing problem” as one charming tourist-trapping shirt reads (other towns have used the same exact shirt design as CTB, a major let-down to be sure. I though it was original Irish wit!). Nah, in fact CTB’s been a prominent fishing port in Ireland for about a century.
Another observation is that people here are generally much more friendly than back in the States. It’s apparent not only in the language they use, but their tone of voice as well. The Irish are often soft-spoken and almost always very congenial — if you can consider teasing sarcasm congeniality. Hahaha.