We were in Ireland last week. The Emerald Isle had been on our list of places to visit, and when our niece said she and her boyfriend were going to be there, it gave us a reason to make it happen.
We flew from Poznan to Dublin on Ryan Air, an inexpensive way to get around Europe. Our return flight was rather peaceful when compared to our flight to Ireland. We were near the end of the line boarding and had to grab any available seat. Mine was in the middle of the screaming preschooler zone.
I feel like I should start packing a travel goodie bag for children whose mothers come unprepared. What’s with these women? They seem surprised and helpless when their children aren’t willing to sit quietly for two hours while cooped up. Whatever happened to a juice box or lollipop to help their ears pop, a bag of Cheerios, a new toy or book to provide some distraction?
There’s a lot of the island we didn’t see, but we enjoyed Ireland immensely. It was nice to be able to read the signs and understand all of what people were saying for a change. (The Irish are much more understandable than the Scots!) And the people went out of their way to be helpful and welcoming. In a small way it felt like we hadn’t left Poland. Everywhere we went we ran into Polish nationals – the woman at the Avis counter, the Avis van driver, the owner of the wine bar, at the hotel front desk, at the Ryan Air counter in Dublin. Their English sounded very Irish to our American ears, but something always gave them away.
Our niece and her boyfriend enjoy trying new restaurants as much as we do, so planning our meals and trying a variety of dishes were a big part of our trip.
After our return, I stopped by the local florist to get a bouquet. I was very relieved that the young man working in the shop spoke excellent English. When he said “okey-dokey” to my flower selection, I knew that wasn’t a phrase he’d picked up in school. He’d worked in Ireland for a while, so we started discussing our trip.
I mentioned many of the things I’ve discussed above. He agreed with my assessment of their friendliness; it took him a while to get used to that. He’d be waiting for a bus and would be taken aback when a stranger at the bus stop would ask “how are you doing today?” Having grown up in Poland, he said his first thought would be “what do you want from me?”
I also had to complain about the roads, little, windy roads and the speed limit was 100 km per hour (60 mph)! No kidding, no shoulder, just a stone wall at the edge of your lane. Without missing a beat, he said, “oh, you went to the Cliffs of Moher.” That was the road! When I told him that it was foggy on the day we visited, he said he’d been there three times and it’s always that way! It makes you feel like to photos you see in the visitor’s center a sunny, cloudless sky must be Photoshopped.