* yes, there should be FIVE sets of boots but Allen ignored my advice to get adequate rain gear...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Come on over, come on over, baby.

Now that I've gotten some Christina (or if you prefer some Rosemary) stuck in your head...

I get a lot of comments about how jealous people are of me.  To be honest, I'm jealous of me!  Well, except for the last couple of days where it's been around 7 (45') and pouring.  It's supposed to clear today due to the "fresh to gale force" breezes.  So.

I think Ireland makes a great tourist destination for Americans especially if you've always dreamed of going to Europe but cost and language have held you back.

  • In my experience, Ireland is a European country that really likes Americans.  This is a country with a long memory which mostly works to our advantage.  Among other things- we both fought our way out of colonialism and the US was the first country to establish diplomatic ties with Ireland.  America is still a land of prosperity and opportunity where young people think about going to start a wonderful new life (Friends is popular here)
  • The Irish tend to be astoundingly friendly, helpful and kind- unless they are driving and then a friend summed it up best.  "Well, if a driver actually hits you he would definitely be in trouble."  Generally, though, they exhibit a depth of good grace while you figure out which one is the correct coin; they tell you the best place to get a pint; or they take your picture in front of a statue/building/scenic view.  
  • The country is around the size of West Virginia so you can actually see a pretty big hunk of it in a week or so- especially if you take some of the great rail tours. 
  •  The costs in Dublin are a little higher than in my small town but aren't out of line for big cities.  I find most of them reasonably commensurate with New York city pricing.  Plus, the Euro is on the weak side of the dollar at the moment.  
  • Being lost is a part of the local culture and won't mark you for a mugging.  Dublin is over a 1000 years old and the layout of the city shows it.  The only place I've been with more odd twists, turns, and alleys that don't go anywhere is Cairo which is, notably, even older.  The streets and "corners" (it's rare to find a 90' angle here) aren't terribly well marked, the bus schedule is considered to be fairly inscrutable and the local rail system only posts the final destination for the trains.  This means that anyone who isn't hyperlocal is often slightly lost.  I get asked regularly what the next stop is and how to find XYZ street by people who are clearly native.  Bus drivers, train staff, and locals on the street would find it odd if they didn't get asked for help.
  • The fare to Ireland is not a pittance but it's not completely out of reach if you plan and save up- think once every 10 years sort of trip rather than never in this lifetime.  It looks like a fare of around $800 is pretty achievable and it occasionally dips into the 700s.  That's more than a week at Disney (for one person) but not that much more and about the same if you fly to Florida rather than drive.  It runs neck and neck with prices for flights to Hawaii and I'm reasonably certain hotels and food are a lot less expensive here.  I get the impression that Ireland will be pushing for more flights (and perhaps a drop in prices?) for the next year or so in anticipation of The Gathering  If you don't ever take a vacation, maybe now is the time to start.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder!
Dream big and pack an extra sweater!

and maybe some long underwear

yes, even in July


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