Here is a list of things I learned in Ireland, be they oddities, surprises, or just interesting tidbits!
1. There does not appear to be grilled chicken breast anywhere on the island. All chicken is breaded and fried.
2. There are no outlets in bathrooms. Do the Irish not do their hair in the bathroom? Apparently not. They do have shaver outlets, but that’s it.
3. There is little recycling here.
4. Both skeleton keys and internet cafes appear to still be all the rage. We had at least two skeleton keys for our different accommodations. And we actually used an internet cafe to get online for 15 minutes before realizing that our hotel had internet. The internet cafes are everywhere!
5. There is a disproportionate number of cute bartenders here!
6. Everything closes VERY early. Shops and malls are closed by 6:30-7:00pm. Food is finished being served by about 9:30-10:00pm.
7. On that note, apparently when a restaurant’s sign indicates that it will be serving food until 10, it can decide to stop by 9:30. So frustrating. Loren and I frequently did not eat lunch until 2:00-4:00, so we didn’t want dinner or weren’t ready to go out until after 10:00. This necessitated a lot of take aways for dinner!
8. They say, “safe home” instead of “goodbye”.
9. The Irish are well-versed in American politics. Almost everyone we encountered asked us about Obama, the election, or the economy. They all wanted to know who was going to win the election. I mean everyone. Loren and I were walking down the street after 10:00pm in Dingle and observed a Ron Paul bumper sticker on an Irish vehicle. I pointed it out and a random man walking down the street saw us, so he stopped to ask us who was going to win the election. He also had this advice to our politicians: “They both have good ideas, they all need to grow up and set aside their differences. They are running a country and they need to grow up.” But it was very obvious that they realize the impact that our country has on the world at large and they know a lot about our politics. More than most Americans. Which is sad.
10. Finally, one does not wear a hat in Ireland. I wore one twice. And I got so much crap for it. Basically, the comments were, “what are you hiding?”, “why are you hiding your eyes,” “you are a beautiful girl, you need to show off your face!” But the general consensus was, what are you hiding? I can’t even tell you how many times that I was asked that. A female I met said she loved my hat, but that one just does not wear a hat in Ireland. She wished that the trend would change, though! It was the most eye-opening thing, I think, for me.