Being Irish

So, my first proper post, intro didn’t count. No pressure…… as a lad once said “pressure is for tyres”.

I’ve been lucky enough to have done a little travelling. Not in the pikey sense, not in the global jetsetting sense either. Ya know, just travel, with my backpack and herself, mostly.

This has probably been said numerous times before, all over the net, but Irish people are well liked. Thank God for that or I’d be in serious bother. I’ve had people refuse to talk to me or give directions, ignore me or just be plain rude. Why? because they thought I was English! Now personally, I like English people. I have a lot of very good friends from England and the majority are among the nicest people I know. Yes, really. But for some reason, people in other places don’t seem to like them as much. Anyway, thats one for another time, back to being Irish. Yeah, people like us. Whether its the way we as a nation are portrayed in movies, plays, novels or tv, who knows. I’ve chatted a taxi driver in Dublin who collected people from Dublin airport to bring them into the city. Quickly they expressed their dissapointment at not seeing white washed cottages, stone walls, horses and carts and extras from the Quiet Man, just roaming about the place. I won’t say what country they were from, but I have met plenty more from the same country who think similarly about Ireland. I blame Hollywood.

OK, they were American!

So many think of us as a nation of raving alcoholics. (goes off to check the net for accurate stats….. finds out we are pretty high up on list. Damn) So, maybe we like the odd drink, and maybe we are closer to the top of the consumption scale in Europe than the bottom. But, does that explain why we are thought of as alcos? No. I think it has more to do with stories like this.

A lad started a job in Oz, back in the day. The boss told him that if he missed a single Monday or Friday he would be fired. He had employed Irish people before and heard every excuse under the sun for not making it to work on a Monday, but never the honest “I’m dying from a hangover”. Similarly, nobody ever said “I’m hitting the tiles tonight now that I got paid, so I won’t be in tomorrow”(Friday).

It was often said that a foot of counter in a bar was more valuable than an acre of land. The TV pummels us with ads about a huge variety of drinks, mostly alcoholic ones. The government makes a fortune from the taxes on drinks. The companies making the drinks aren’t exactly about to close either. When Irish people talk about socialising, they mean drinking. Its kinda sad that we think the only way to meet up with people is to go to the pub or club, but hey.

Go to any tourist destination, look for a pub. There is a damn good chance its an Irish Bar. I once went to work in a certain town in Northern Spain for the summer, along with some college buddies. We were a couple of weeks early for the big tourist boom, so work was thin on the ground. I spotted an Irish Bar, surprise, surprise. They had a notice looking for staff – Nice one. When I met the owner, a Pakistani gentleman, and told him I was Irish and would like a job. He nearly passed out with excitement. I was the FIRST, yes, first, Irish person to ever set foot in the place. Well, I was as surprised as you are. There were staff from Scotland, France and the Netherlands. It had a very Irish sounding name, no, I won’t say it. I just thought that was gas.

I’m going off course here, sorry. Where was I? Oh ya – pubs.

Why do Irish people seem to only want to visit Irish bars and eat in Irish restaurants when on holiday? Maybe other nationalities are the same? Are ye? Maybe its because the craic that can be had in an Irish bar in Ireland is too good to miss out on when abroad?

 

We are a funny nation. A gang of gobshites & eejits, messers and foolers but at the same time, some of the most brilliant minds in the world. Believe it or not, you’ll often find that the smart ones are the funniest. I could go on about the history of our scholars and world leading scientific, business and creative minds, but I’d fall asleep telling it, so you may do the same if you had to read it. I’ll stick to the funny business.

If you see more than 2 Irish people together, chances are, one is telling a story. We like to entertain one another. If we stopped doing this, and got on with our day to do work, we’d possibly be a super-power. But we’d be boring and that won’t do. Having the craic is something most of us like to do. Whether its telling a joke, taking the piss out of ourselves, watching others do something daft or just finding something to smile about in our day. Life is too short not to laugh.

Aon sceal? / Any story?                                                                                                           This was something I heard from people on a daily basis. Some were looking for gossip, nosey shites, some were saying it almost as a way to start a conversation, in a similar fashion to saying – hello, how are you?   Many were hoping you’d say no and then ask them the same, as they had something juicy to tell you. We all love to chat, bitch, moan, gossip and have a laugh. Whether it was something vital like who was late for mass on Sunday or perhaps what time Mr. X was seen leaving the pub the other night, there would be something to tell. I know a couple of guys, old guys, who will hold peoples attention in the palm of their hands. Those nearby wait on the next word with eagerness and just know the story will be a funny one. In the past, before the days of television, radio and “that feckin internet!” people would call round to the neighbours place. The door was always open, the kettle always on the boil on the open, turffuelled fire and the craic was only a moment away. Stories were told, songs sang, music played, grub eaten and either tay or something harder was drank. Some stories were total utter fibs. Some were so scary, that the babi childer of the house, who may have been secretly listening in the background, wouldn’t be able to sleep that night. Stories were told about previous generations and what they got up to, often not good stuff. All those fireside gatherings had one thing in common – entertainment.

 

A smart guy, great writer and fantastic source of literary inspiration, told me just the other day, that we shouldn’t filter or censor what we write. Jaysus, really? He reckoned that the bit you think will upset your auld pair or annoy somebody, somewhere, is exactly the bit you should include. And you know what? He’s right. Its feckin liberating to be able to say what you really think. If I offend anyone, I’m sorry, but the internet is a big place…..move on. You won’t need to put on your winter woolies, wellies and hat and brave the crappy weather to visit the neighbour. No, I’ll try to bring those stories to you.

So, to those that stay here for a little longer, I’ll start to share some myths, tales, stories and things I’ve been part of through the years, so call back, I’ll have the kettle on.

 

 

 

 

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