August 7, 2008

My Last Days of the Celtic Tiger

Filed under: eire — SiKing @ 2:03 pm
Tags: ,

Apologies if you’re expecting some summary of the play, but I thought the title fitting for my situation.

I have only a few days left in Dublin and last night I took one last stroll on the Boardwalk along the Liffey. I thought about past two years of my life. On the personal side of things, completely unrelated to Ireland, things did not work out as I had hoped or even anticipated; but life is like that sometime – that’s what keeps it interesting. Overall I am very glad of my time in Ireland, but after two years it is time for me to move on. Ireland is beautiful, but it’s a country that “only a mother could love.” :mrgreen:

One thing that I must clear up. Lots of people have mentioned that the weather, specifically the rain, is what forced me out. That is not true. I must be probably the only person on this island that did not mind the weather. I actually like a cooler climate. I like that once in a while it rains, it gives you constant green grass and (afterwards) clear blue skies. Joking aside: my top three are at the bottom of the following list.

Things I will miss

  • Guinness! Unfortunately, the black stuff does not travel. Just as I no longer drink Sam Adams outside of Boston, or Staropramen outside of Prague, I don’t think I will enjoy a Guinness outside of Dublin. It’s not just the local atmosphere, it actually tastes different.
  • Irish people. I am normally no good with people, but Ireland was the easiest place for me to make new friends – I don’t know what that says about the Irish. 😆 They are some of the most tolerant and friendly people that I have met anywhere.
  • Lots of very kool things to see. I thought it was great, that most (not all!) of the historic sites have free admission and you can actually climb all over them. The kids especially loved this.
  • The country. Dingle peninsula, Wexford, Giant’s Causeway, and others. Apparently I have seen more of Ireland than most Irish. 😀 Sorry I did not make it out to Achill Island, but I guess I gotta save something for next time?
  • For their size (of the country, not talkin’ ’bout obesity here) the Irish will not be just swept under a carpet. The recent Lisbon Treaty vote in Ireland proved that they are a serious contributor to the EU, and they will voice their opinion.

Things I will do without

  • Bulmers – sorry Paul, but this stuff is mangy.
  • Irish drivers. One thing that the Irish are very bad at, and they will be the first to admit it, is driving. Horse and cart, not a problem. Once you remove the reins, and replace them with a wheel and pedals, that becomes a huge conundrum. The department of transportation tries to help them out a bit, with things like putting traffic lights at roundabouts, which only confuses the heck out of foreigners. Even parking is a mystery to the Irish. As far as I can tell, the rules are as follows. No lines on the road: it’s a free for all. White lines along the side, usually painted in the shape of a box: paid parking. Once you pay, do not let yourself be restricted by the white lines, be creative, see if you can cover as many lines as possible with the car, after all you paid for it! Single-yellow line along the side of the road: no parking. Double-yellow: seriously, no parking! OK, you can park here, but only if all the available space designated by the single-yellow line is already taken up by parked cars. Zig-zag yellow: this time we really, really, really mean it, please don’t park here … for too long. Exemptions are: mamys wielding an SUV who really have talk to their girl friend about the fabulous new sweater they just saw in the store for sale yesterday when coming home from a Mary’s house oh and did you see how much weight she gained….. Rich snooty people driving expensive Mercedes. Anyone who would be inconvenienced by walking the extra distance. And lastly, anyone who is just plain lazy.
  • Constant wailing of alarms in the background. Several people tried to convince me, that house and car alarms are a theft deterrent, while standing in front of a bank, alarms blaring, police cars idly driving by as if nothing is happening. They were unsuccessful at convincing me. Alarms in Ireland, or at least in Dublin, serve only one purpose that I can see: very effective noise pollution.
  • Dublin sidewalks. They actually created concrete tiles, that are slippery when wet (did I mention it rains here often?), and they build the entire sidewalks in Dublin centre out of this stuff!?!? Not sure what is wrong with pouring concrete on the spot and then ruffing up the surface before it sets, but someone in Dublin apparently thought they could invent a rounder wheel. 😕
  • Irish cost of living. It’s an island, it’s out of the way, it is expensive. Buying a new house here today, is simply out of the question.
  • Irish medical system. Don’t get sick here! You will be worse off coming out of a hospital, then going in. Visit to a GP: €50 on the spot. Visit to a specialist: €150 just to see you; don’t forget that a GP had to refer you … for a €50 of course. The Irish think it’s a good deal, when the insurance kicks in €30 for that visit! I actually got given out to about bringing healthy children to doctor for an annual checkup! “We don’t see healthy children here, we don’t have time to see all the sick children!”
  • Irish school system. It’s the 21st century people, there is no place for the church in a public school system! Schools are overcrowded and underfunded, staff is young and inexperienced.

Slan agus beannacht


1 Comment »

  1. Bulmers – it puts hairs on your chest, man! For the sophisticated knacker amongst us (though I do not count myself amongst them I do recognise the drink’s reputation).

    Comment by Paul H. — September 1, 2009 @ 10:01 am | Reply

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