People always say the grass isn’t greener on the other side. I say that when it comes to Ireland, that statement is entirely false. I know the grass is always greener there. And I’m not just talking about real grass, even though the rolling hills are always lush. After living there twice for half a year each, there is an irreplaceable heart and attitude about the Irish people that you can’t find anywhere else in this world (trust me, I’ve tried).
Sure the Irish may have a bad drinking rep. and their relationship with the British is always interesting to consider, but when you find yourself trying to make a home in a foreign country, no country is easier to settle down in than Ireland. Here are the top three things I miss about Irish life:
1. The Irish sense of time: In Ireland, there is no being late for anything. You show up 10 minutes later than you were supposed to? No big deal. If you make a date to see a friend, you ask them what time you should meet, they’ll say, “how about tomorrow, in the afternoon?” And you say,”great, so what time then?” and they say, “In the afternoon”.
2. Irish driving and teeny tiny roads: We were there on a college program my dad taught for, so naturally we had several college students to cart around Ireland. We did so by hiring a coach bus and driver for the six months we were there. The very first time I climbed onto the coach bus I was in 5th grade. I vividly remember sitting upfront staring out the huge glass window and the slithering concrete road, just barely as wide as the bus. The driver held that thing at 100 km per hour zipping around turns and narrowly missing sideswiping the mirrors on the stone walls that lined the road. He only slowed for sheep and cows that might be crossing the road, and when we came at another car head on, it was a miraculous effort of shimmying each vehicle as far left and right as possible to squeeze by each other, hardly breaking speed.
3. Farm Life: The first time we were Ireland, my family befriended an Irish family, the O’Tooles, who had special ties to Minnesota. We’d heard about them from mutual friends and sought them out upon our arrival. Of course, with Irish hospitality, they’d beaten us to the punch. We arrived at our little cottage from the airport to find a grocery bag full of fresh baked scones tied to our front door from the O’Tooles. From then on, our families were best friends. We’d go out to their farm a few times a week and play in the fields, ride the horses to the beach, feed bottles of warm milk to baby lambs, give carrots to the grumpy donkeys, chase the chickens, you name it. One day, Dave O’Toole called my dad and told us to come quick. We loaded up into the minivan and raced out to the farm just in time to witness a cow give birth. It was the grossest but coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Dave stood there in his wellingtons and huge birthing suit with his arms elbow deep in placenta and birthing goo. he was quietly whispering in the cows ear, and after loud grunting and mooing, out of this huge mother cow came this little scrawny calf. Incredible. That year, the O’Tooles named six of their new born cows for my family: Bill, Lori, Patty, Rachel, Joe and Ben. Since then, I believe the boys have been sent to the butcher shop and the girls are still alive and well.