Monday, May 12, 2008

Thoughts on Ireland

Well, everyone's probably tired of hearing from Mauri, so I thought I would leave a post. The first stop on our trip has been the Emerald Isle, Ireland. Ireland is a very beautiful country, very green, and quite expensive. If you are a novice to traveling, Ireland is a good place to start because it is very similar to the United States in a lot of ways, such as language (they speak English), food (you can find Italian, Chinese, and hamburger joints everywhere), and media (I watched "Friends" and "Everybody Loves Raymond" on TV and listen to the Rolling Stones, John Mayer, and Red Chili Peppers on the radio). Here are some of my thoughts:

Driving: They drive on the left! That sounds like it would be hard to get used to, but it really isn't. You just have to remind yourself to stay left. My biggest problem is getting used to the controls being on opposite sides. For example, when I want to make a turn, I turn on the windshield wipers, when it rains, I turn on the turn signal. But, I am getting used to it. Another thing is that the roads are very narrow and they have ALOT of trucks and buses on them (kind of like Western Pennsylvania)! That can be a little hairy at times. Also, you have to remember on the superhighways in Dublin, traffic is supposed to stay to the left and pass on the right, which is the opposite of the U.S., however, this was not hard to get used because this is the way they drive on the Central Coast in California!

Pubs: The pubs are the center of all social activity. You want Irish food, you go to the pub. (There are not many restaurants that server Irish food). You want to hear traditional Irish music, you go to the pub. You want good beer, you go to the pub. In Ireland, Guiness is a very good beer. I don't like it much in the States, but is very good here. This is because "Guiness does not travel well" as the Irish say. It takes 3 minutes for them to pour it because they pour let it settle, and then finish pouring. The traditional Irish music is very good. It is kind of a mix of folk and country. It definitely will get your feet tapping to the beat. The Irish are proud of their music and are not shy to remind you that U2, Van Morrison, Sinead O'Connor, and Enya are all from Ireland.

History: Mauri and I did a Historical walking tour of Dublin and that was really need. We saw Trinity College, which was set up by the English to educate Protestants in Ireland; the old Irish Parliament building, which is where the Legislature of Ireland would meet in the old days, no Catholics allowed and no law could be passed without permission from London; Dublin Castle, Temple Bar, and plenty of info on Micheal Collins, Daniel O'Connell, the IRA and "The Troubles". "The Troubles" were really ignited by an event called Bloody Sunday, back in the 1970s when British troops gunned down about 30 unarmed Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2 is about that event. Last, they absolutely LOVE John F. Kennedy out here. He visited Ireland as President and the whole country shut down because everyone wanted to see him. He was supposed to stay for 3 days and he ended up staying five.

Well, that's all for now. I will leave another post later, maybe talk about France and D-Day. We'll be there in a few days. Thank God for the internet. It still get to see the Penguin scores. LETS GO PENS! BEAT THOSE FLYER JAGOFFS!

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