Ireland’s culture and little idiosyncrasies
Before I came to Ireland I expected it to be very much like the UK because they speak the same language and they were once a part of the UK a long time ago, however, there are many differences which add to its charm. In fact the only things the same are they drive on the same side of the road as us and they speak English.
I would say in most other ways they are nothing like us, I see more similarities between Ireland and the USA or to some European countries such as Spain, Italy and France, which I have visited.
They are very much like Wales in that they have their own Celtic language which they are trying to preserve and all the children in school have to take Irish language lessons as part of the curriculum even if they might never need it, there are mixed feelings amongst the people of the country over this issue.
Their public health service is not very good and most middle class people tend to pay for private health cover which means they need to pay an excess for every time they need to go into hospital for anything.
When someone dies they have an all-night vigil almost immediately after the death, usually on the same night, where friends, family and neighbours all go around to the house of the family where the bereavement occurred to see the body in the coffin and pay their last respects, everyone takes food and this goes on throughout the night, the following day is called the removal day where the coffin is removed from the house and taken to a public place for everyone to pay their last respects before the funeral which will be on the next day. This means that when someone dies they are almost always buried within 2 to 3 days.
This pic is to support the All Irish football final with Mayo against the Dubs!
Their school and team games are different from ours, in school they learn how to play hand ball, which is played with a small ball the size of a tennis ball but different texture and they play it like volley ball. The boys play a game called football but it is not like our football which they call soccer, it’s like a cross between basketball, football and rugby, it is played with a football, the players are allowed to run carrying the ball, or bounce it, or kick it. The goals are a football net with two posts that extend upwards like rugby posts attached and they can score both in the net and by kicking over the post with different points scored for either. They also are passionate about Hurling which involves a hockey type stick and ball but the ball can fly through the air not just on the ground!!
Their road markings are very much like Spain and France, some of their road signs also are more European but some are also very unique to Ireland and I really don’t know what some of them might mean lol!! Their traffic lights are different and they have this weird thing with traffic lights where the red light flashes which means you can go, apparently, as I found out last week when someone behind was beeping and gesturing for me to go. Also the amber flashes sometimes and other times it goes straight from Red to Green no amber at all, (note to self, find out what the flashing red and amber is all about), the flashing red happens when driving in Spain and France too, I know they mean you can go under certain circumstance but I don’t know what those circumstances are.
Matt Molloys pub, traditional Irish music every night.
Listening to the radio or watching TV and it is all Irish, there are some UK TV programmes which are shown over here but it’s mostly their own programmes, also every radio station is Irish, which I suppose it should be being a separate country, I’m not sure why I expected it to be the same as us, or at least similar.
It’s funny when you speak to people too, a lot of them who have not been to UK assume you are English because you are British. I have had to explain that I am from Wales which makes me Welsh not English, in that way it’s just like being in a foreign country.
Great sense of humour!
These signs can be seen all over the West coast and they denote the Wild Atlantic Way, a coastal route that runs all the way from the North West to the South West!
The music scene is very much their own too, mostly traditional Irish music is played in every bar, every restaurant etc., I haven’t heard any UK stuff over here at all apart from what I play in my own car.
Their number plates on their cars show the year of purchase first and like us they have two release times per year so if it in the first half of 2016 it would be 161 or second half would be 162 then there is one or two letters which show where they are from usually, unless they bought the car in a different county to where they live and if it shows a D it’s Dublin but if it is a MO it’s Mayo, they sometimes use the first and last letter of the county, then the following numbers denote which order they had their plates appointed.
Another difference is their fireplaces, they don’t burn wood in this part of Ireland they burn peat they got from the bog, but that is a whole other blog post I have written.
There are also a lot of derelict houses just left to rot at the side of the road; I’m trying to find out more about this as I think it will make an interesting story.
They are also a very religious people, mostly catholic and most of them go to mass quite often, well the people I have met so far have anyway. I would say more per town and village go to mass here than do at home. You will come across statues of Mary in very many places at the roadside and in the towns with flowers and ornaments around the statue.
Lovely girl I met washing pots at the hotel!
They are also very friendly people and will go out of their way to help you. I have loved every minute of my stay in Ireland and I will definitely be coming back, the people have been wonderful, even the ones who gave me crappy jobs lol, maybe next time I will drive the whole Wild Atlantic Way which is 1500 miles.
View from the back garden one evening!
Oh yes I forgot to say almost everyone drinks Guinness!! LOL, got to say I’m quite enjoying a glass meself every now and then!!