The October Bank Holiday (last Monday in October) marks the end of the “tourist season” in Ireland and is fast approaching. So, now we are busily planning our own holiday to Germany. A new trip always excites us and reminds us that we have now been in Ireland for several years. After a few years we no longer easily see the “new” or “fresh” things about Ireland, we love it when the people we escort remind us of the reasons we love Ireland. This blog is a short list and description of the “new” and “fresh” things that our guests pointed out this season. When you visit Ireland I’m sure there will be other fresh and new things for you.
The items below are generally in the order you will encounter them after arriving … but not always.
Cream - Generally there is no cream (1/2 & 1/2) in restaurants or at coffee shops. There is only "full fat" milk (with the “L” pronounced). If you ask for cream, and the waiter/Barista hasn’t waited on many Americans, then you will get whipping cream. In general the only cream in a restaurant is heavy cream. Yes, you can get low fat milk in many restaurants, but the Irish generally have the attitude of “why?” towards low fat and skim milk.
No “mixer faucets” - Most of the faucets in Ireland are a single water temperature, hot or cold. If you want a temperature in between, then mix it in the sink. To satisfy my wife’s “American sense of order”, we had to replace all the bathroom faucets in our house and switch them to mixer style faucets as in America. Some of the hotels and B&Bs are starting to adopt mixer faucets. I sometimes think it is because of all the “feedback” Carol has given along the way 😉.
Master Room Switch at Hotels - Almost all of the hotel rooms in Ireland have a “master switch” near the door. Few or none of the lights in the room work until this switch is turned on. Many of the master switches are turned on by inserting your electronic room key. This can be quite confusing if you have never encountered this “feature” and you are suffering from the effects of jet lag. Don’t worry we are used to being asked “why are the lights not working in our room” 😀
Bathroom Electricity - In Ireland there are no wall socket or switches within the bathroom. There is a low voltage electric shaver plug, and there is usually a light over the mirror that is controlled by a pull chord (or the equivalent), but that is usually it. This means the light and fan switch are just outside the bathroom door. It also means that the hair drier that normally accompanies an Irish hotel room is NOT in the bathroom and can NOT be used in the bathroom. As an aside almost all the hotels and nicer B&B’s provide hair driers in the room. They have multiple uses in a country with this much rain (think clothes and shoe drying). Another reason for this common amenity: American tourist. Most people who have brought a hair drier from the US have usually burned theirs out by the first day (unless they have a switch for 120/220 on the hair drier).
Beaches - Many people don’t associate Ireland with beaches. Almost all the pictures posted on-line tend to be cliffs and coastlines of rocks, but there are plenty of beaches in Ireland. I have only walked on these beaches because the weather and the water have only been warm enough for about 5 days out of the last 8 years … and no, I am not exaggerating. Bring your swimsuit to Ireland if you are a hearty swimmer or would be interested in a sea weed bath.
Lovely - IMHO, the word “lovely” is thought of as a “feminine word” in the United States… mostly females would use this word and it would be used to describe feminine things. Ireland is an equal opportunity country in this way. It is not uncommon to hear a 240 pound “gentleman” with tattoos and no sleeves referring to his Guinness as a “lovely pint”. On the other hand many Americans find the Irish conversation to be full of many vulgarities even though the Irish usually clean up their language for Americans.
Dogs - The smaller the pub and the smaller the town, the more likely you will see a dog in the pub (but only pubs that don’t serve food). Some people are concerned about the behavior of dogs in pubs, but almost all of the dogs are well behaved. I am reminded of my father’s comment when I was a kid, and we adopted our neighbor's dog: “the dog seems to be better trained than the kids, I guess we can keep her”. In general the pub dogs, and all the dogs in Ireland seem to be better trained than the kids …. but I can only say this because the dogs are extremely well trained. If you are a “dog person” like some of our guests, then you will love the dogs in the pub, and if you are not a dog person, the dogs are usually well trained enough and perceptive enough, that they will stay away from you.
Have you traveled to Ireland? Have you encountered any of these “new” and “fresh” things about Ireland? Do you have some others? Let us know!!!
See You in the Pub!!
Jet Lag Jack