Leprechauns, shamrocks, and everything green. That’s what Ireland is known for. Stores have been lined up with these trinkets that sing of the magic the Irish culture bring, inscribed with Irish wishes to bring you luck.
I’m not into luck because I don’t believe that blessings come in chances (and because our good Father in heaven gives His ever-increasing favor and blessing to those who will ask). But I appreciate the culture Ireland brings, one thing you can learn as you travel.
An aunt of mine told me to experience culture. This is one advise that I will never disregard. In order to appreciate another nation, one must endow himself into its lifestyle, food, music, and language. This is how I began to love other nations, as well as cherishing the friends I have from these nations I’ve visited.
Because Ireland is totally different from the Philippines, here are a few points I noticed.
The fashion sense. Never, never go to a cold country in only t-shirt and jeans.
Bringing layers of clothes can add weight to the luggage, but this is how you can survive or you won’t be able to get around town. Ireland has rainy weather on October, as cold, biting winds prevail even when it’s sunny. So, I have to wear long sleeves, boots or rubber shoes and leggings when I wear dresses. It would be good to wear a scarf and gloves that match your clothes. It would make you look classy as well as warmer.
The transportation system. If Manila is swarmed with jeeps, trycicles, and pedicabs, Dublin has a lesser transport system. Usually, they have buses and cabs that can take you around. But they are not awake 24 hours! In fact, they have scheduled stops, so it’s better be street-wise or you won’t catch up that ride! Because that’s a usual thing in Europe, my aunt said that it would be advisable to learn how to bike in case you’re too late to take a bus ride. It’s no wonder we would walk around the city to get to the next destination in the conference. But I loved these walks. It’s good for the heart. 😉
Food Trip! Mashed potatoes, poached potatoes, and all potatoes. That’s real Irish diet. But they also have varieties
though, like pasta, pizza, and sausages. In almost all their meals, they have bigger servings, which was quite a bit heavy for an Asian like me. But because of their weather, I believe, I even became hungrier. Fish and chips is one of the commonly popular meals in Ireland. But I was surprised that the “chips” were actually french fries!
Work and life balance. Most malls in Manila would close at around 9 or 10pm. But in Ireland, at around 7pm, most malls and businesses are already closed. The Irish people value family time, so most of the work would really cease at 5pm. The only ones open are pubs and restaurants (for those who want to extend the nightlife). I believe that workers here are well-compensated, so they don’t need to work overtime. My aunt, who studied in Netherlands, noted that the European working condition is not that pressured, compared to the American working culture which the Philippines has adapted.
The warm people. You don’t have to ask, they’ll approach you and ask if you need help when they see you looking at an open map in your hand. The warmth of these people is so contrast to the cold, biting weather of Dublin.
The Celtic strain. It’s no doubt that the music and culture of the Irish people still has the tinge of the Celts, which I’ve fascinated me through literature and movies. Until now, I can hear the sound of the Irish jig in my head. Even pubs would play traditional Irish music. Enjoy your fish and chips while listening to it.
The Irish people no doubt has preserved history. Old churches and buildings attributed to great writers like Oscar Wilde still stand to this day. Even modern day pubs echo ancient Celtic ambience within its walls and furniture. One thing I regret is not dancing the Irish jig before going home. I just wouldn’t know if I’d get it right.
“So how does Ireland smell?” A friend asked. I couldn’t give her one concrete description. As the sights and sounds vary, so does my beautiful memories of this country. I believe that our one week stay was too short. So, I swear to myself I’ll return to Ireland even by myself.