Soup is pureed, stew is chunky, and if you put a lid on your stew and finish it off in the oven, it is now a casserole.
You must ask for your check in a restaurant or pub. They do not automatically bring it, and I assume they think it would be rude to do so.
No one is in a hurry, so you shouldn’t be either. Slow down and enjoy. You are on holiday, right?
Mornings are quiet, and slow. Restaurants and businesses are not open early. It is a country that rises late so sleep in, then relax and enjoy your morning coffee or tea in your room.
You speak English. They speak English in Ireland also, right? It is the land of saints and scholars where the English language has been lyrically embellished since the dark ages. Ireland may be a predominately english-speaking nation, however, you may find interpreting your language dancing gracefully and coherently across the Irish tongue more challenging than you anticipated. It is a combination of slang and pronunciation.
First the slang. Some funny words and phrases:
Well – How are you? Is your day going well?
Sup – Hello
Deadly – Fantastic
Tool – Idiot (that’s where it came from)
Banjaxed – Broken
Like or Hi – Used at the end of almost every sentence
Jacks – Toilet
Ossified – Drunk
Thick as a plank, or not the full shilling – Stupid
Glunterpeck – Idiot
Fluthered – When you can’t keep your butt on your bar stool (drunk)
A pint of the black stuff – will produce an imperial pint of properly poured Guinness. A glass of beer is a 12 ounce serving (a girly beer).
On the rip – Bar hopping
Full as a Catholic school – Really sloshed!
Then there is the pronunciation of T vs TH. Most places in Ireland you will find that they swap these two sounds, depending where they fall in a word. When a word begins with “th” it gets changed to a hard “t” sound. This is not because they cannot pronounce the “th” sound, as some suggest. In fact, a hard “t” mid-word will get changed to a “th” in some regions, and a hard “d” sound in others. A bit confusing, but here are some examples:
Three – tree
Butter – buth-er
Other – udder
The – tuh
Better – beth-er
Brother – brudder
Confused? Don’t worry. They are extremely patient, and if you just smile, say “like” or “hi“, and ask for “a pint of the black stuff,” you will be fine.
Music is very important, but television is basically irrelevant. You will find live music in each town most nights in at least one of the pubs. It will start at 9-ish, go until 11:30 pm-ish, all are welcome, and the music is very good!
The pubs in Ireland are not like American bars. They are the town center, so to speak, where people meet to catch up, eat, drink, watch football, and listen to great music. You will find all generations at the pub, enjoying life together.
There are not many local stations offered on Irish television, and you will not find them on, constantly playing in the background, in homes or in pubs. If there is a football game on, the TV will be on in the pub. When the game is over, the TV is turned off, until the next match begins.
Driving in Ireland is tricky, at best. You are driving on the left hand side of the road, in what we know as the passengers seat, most likely with a standard transmission car, using your left hand for the stick, for starters. Add very narrow, winding roads bordered by rocks, cliffs and sheep, with oncoming tourist buses and Guinness trucks in the mix. This photo was taken by me, straight on in the passengers seat along the Ring of Kerry. Not for the weak of heart.
People are very kind and warm. Take the time to speak with the Irish and get to know them. You will not be disappointed.
The dairy products are delicious. The milk, the cream, the cheese; we find all of it extraordinarily unique and delicious.
The food in restaurants is prepared when ordered. I always laugh to myself when Americans talk negatively about the food in Ireland. The only bad meals I have had during my now three visits is when I made poor choices in restaurants. The food is fresh, and in my experiences, is obviously freshly prepared. The seafood is spectacular, if you order what is local, the vegetables are flavorful and not over-cooked, and the cheeses are not to be missed. This goat cheese appetizer is offered all over, and served with a salad of fresh vegetables. I love potatoes, but even for me, it is a little over-kill with the “chips”. There is a side of chips or wedges served with basically everything, even when mashed potatoes are a part of your entree, and we did have what appeared to be frozen chips this visit, which was a first.
The Irish have an excellent sense of humor. There is a twinkle in their eye and a smile on their face most often. Their stories are funny, their perspective on things positive and humorous. Again, stop and take the time to talk to them, listen, and make a friend along your journey.
I think they probably think we, Americans, are often pretty rude, but they are just too polite to say so.
Overall, what I was reminded of is that we love so many things about Ireland. If we can figure out a way to get Coco and Rooney easily in and out of the country (perhaps I need to contact Johnny Depp for some advice), we would love to own a small Irish cottage and spend part of our year there. A gourmet kitchen store in Kenmare, offering Made Fresh in Florida Sauces and Dressings sounds like a splendid idea. What do you think?
Slainte, my friends,
Janet Vaughn says
Robin, you have a unique ability to transport one to the place you are writing about! I felt as if I were in Ireland, sounds ABSOLUTELY MAGICAL!!!
Robin King says
Thank you so much, Janet, for reading along, and for your kind words. It is magical in so many ways and I am just so anxious for others to feel it. I am glad you “felt” it!
Your posts are like Calgon. They just take me away!
Robin King says
That’s sweet, Marsha! I hope it was a nice get away. Look forward to connecting soon.
Juliann McConnell says
Ireland certainly is a magical place!
Robin King says
So true . . . I am already pining to return!