Growing, Not Dying

Welcome to my insights, ponderings, and experiences. Hopefully they will enrich you in some small way, or at least make you laugh.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

American view of Ireland - Part 1

What a fun experience. My sister, Holly, and her husband planned a trip to Ireland. He ended up not being able to go so I got to fill in. :-) Due to timing I arrived in Ireland the day after Holly. She met me at the airport with all her bags. She was "done." Here's why: We flew into Dublin Airport (which is actually just north of the city.) Holly had rented a car the day before and gone into Dublin to "let a room" for the night. In Ireland you drive on the opposite side from the US. The roads are much narrower, being originally built for foot & horse traffic. Being used to their own roads, the natives drive faster than she was comfortable with. This opportunity also brought out a sense of claustriphobia in her. Add to this hitting 2 parked cars. All in all her 2 hours in Dublin were a nightmare. She was able to get out of the city and get a hotel near the airport for the night. Now she was feeling very beaten down. Obviously she needed some support.

So, I suggestted a new plan. Avoid Dublin for now. Drive around the outside of Dublin and go tour all the sites we wanted to see throughout the south of Ireland. That seemed safe enough and became our plan.

Before even leaving the airport, we got to begin to observe some of the traits of the Irish people. Holly left her purse sitting on the seat when we got up and walked away. Apparently 2 people tried to get her attention and tell her, but she didn't understand what they were talking about and choose to ignore them. We found out about 30 minutes later during a paniced search that the cleaning lady ended up taking it and giving it to the Airport Police. It took 2 people giving us directions to find the office. Both gentlemen were happy to help out. Neither made us feel bad about asking at all. When we wet into the Police Office there was a sign stating there was a 6 Euro charge for the return of lost items. Holly told the officer she had lost her purse. He responde, "Would that be this handbag here?" She was so relieved to get it back. The officer did not ask for id, verification, or the 6 euro, just sent her on her way. Leaving the airport, Holly had also lost her parking ticket. The attendant asked what time she had arrived, had her sign a paper and charged her according to her word. Very good people.

Our impression of the people in Ireland did nothing but improve throughout our trip. Overall, they come across as a rather reserved people, but very friendly when engaged in conversation. They are always happy to help out, give you information you might need and answer questions, even if you randomly stop them on the street!

The countryside was very beautiful. It really is very green, even in the middle of December. The soil is rich reds, blacks, and browns. There are rock walls everywhere with moss growing on them. There is rich vegitation everywhere and tons of sheep. Narrow country lanes connecting quaint towns, each with a pub advertising Guinness. In short, it looks just like the television shows and pictures show it.

One thing pictures can't show is just how cold it is. The wind bites and when it rained it soaked right through our coats, all the way to the skin. Thus all the sheep...for wool, it's stays warm even when it's wet. I'm from Idaho so I have experienced cold before, in fact it's 20 F at 1pm. But this was different. Even though it was 30-40 for lows-highs, you are always cold. There isn't the modern insulation and central heating we enjoy in U.S. so going indoors doesn't improve things much. Burying yourself in the warm duvet helps your body some, but leaves your nose feeling like ice as it pokes out. Showering may or may not help. Plumbing is still being brought up. Often the showers were either cold or hot, often switching back and forth during the same shower.

More to come later.

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