PLEASE be careful when crossing the streets!! Remember in
Ireland we drive on the left side so checking for on
coming cars when you are about to cross requires looking
the opposite of the way you would in most places. Luckily
the Irish know this can be a problem and reminders are
often painted on the street at crossings to LOOK RIGHT.
Breakfast is a bargain here. Many places offer variations
of a full Irish breakfast for €3 or less. An Irish breakfast consists of
an egg (if you don't like your eggs over well be sure to specify how you want
it cooked as most of the time you will not be asked), rashers (fantastic
'bacon' that is 99% meat, not fat) sausages, a black and white pudding (another
variety of sausages is the best way to describe the puddings) and toast. Some
places also include tomatoes, beans and maybe mushrooms. Breakfast is th eonly meal of the day where potatoes are not a big part.
Anyway you look at it it is a lot of food for the money!
If you order coffee with cream it will come with a big
dollop of cream that has been whipped to a stiff consistency, so if you don't
like cream be sure to specify milk. Speaking of coffee ... most coffee is
stronger than American coffee but very good.
In pubs, if you order a pint that is what you get - a full
pint. American beers are readily available but no trip to Ireland would be
worth it without a pint of Guinness. If
you order any type of mixed drink be sure to ask for ice as it
is normally not served, though that seems to be changing. A pint runs €2.50 -3.80 +
depending on where you are and what you order. Also all beer in Ireland, even Armerican beers,
have a higher alcohol
content so beware.
You CAN drink the water! I have noticed moving from state
to state, or even city to city, it sometimes takes some time to adjust to the
change in water but there seems to be
no problem with that here. The water is cold, sparkling clear, pure and tastes
wonderful. Many brands of bottled water are available in shops, eateries and
Tipping is not required in Ireland, nor really expected.
Some places have a small tray or saucer near the cash register for you to leave
change, which is divided among the employees at the end of the day. If you
have a very helpful taxi driver or get exceptional service in a restaurant a
tip would be nice and no one will take offense.
It is not unusual to see a van pull up and a man in a white coat get a side of
beef or the carcus of a hog from the back of the van, hoist it on his shoulder
and carry it into a butcher shop. In butcher shops you will see the meat
hanging and the butchers cutting off what they need to fill an order.
In shops and grocery stores you will see unwrapped loaves of bread and rolls
and you pick out the one you want.
In cafes and resturants there are open bowls of sugar and often small pitchers of milk left on the tables.
On homes you will see open drains outside the house where
'clean' used water, such as from the washing machine, drains.
In America we are conditioned to believe these things are unsanitary. This is
NOT the case in Ireland. Ireland as a whole is one of the cleanest places you
will ever see. The food handling practices are very strict and safe. Many of
these people have University degrees in food handling and their health
standards are very high. Resturants are extremely clean and most American
resturants would not be able to pass the strict inspections here. I have yet to
see a dirty public toilet. The Irish people are extremely clean and are very
proud of their country and do everything to ensure visitors have a pleasant and
Even though English is the language you hear most often
there is American English and European English and there are a few words that have a different meaning. For
- If you hear someone mention 'crack' they are not
arranging a secret drug buy! It is spelled 'craic' and is Irish for
- Cheers (and on the rare occasion ta) means thank you.
- Something that is
really good can be brilliant or grand.
- In restaurants,
especially fast food, you will be asked if it is for here
or take away. In Ireland it is not to go or take out, but
- French fries are 'chips' (except in Burger King and McDonalds) and
potato chips are 'crisps'.
- If you need to find a rest room ask for the toilets - usually the bathroom is the room in a house where the bath tub resides.
- A pitcher is a jug, like a jug of milk or cream (or even beer)
- Diapers are nappies and a baby bed is a cot, not a crib
- A day care or nursery is a creche
- Homes in Ireland do not have yards, they have gardens. A yard is an enclosed, sometimes paved over, commercial area.
- There are no parking lots either. There are parking spaces or car parks (most often a parking garage)
- In most areas there are no parking meters but parking is NOT free. You must go into a shop and buy a parking disc which is a piece of paper that you punch out the date and time you parked then place it on the dash of your car so that it can be read through the windshield
- Which brings up they are not windshields here but wind screens. The boot is the trunk and the hood is called a bonnet. Oh, and tires are tyres and gas is pertrol. Gas stations are pertrol stations. If you ask where the nearest gas station is you might get either a puzzled look or directions to the nearest place that sells natural gas for heating!
If you hear something you are uncertain about,
ask. The Irish have a wonderful sense of humour and are
very friendly and out going, and they are pretty much used
to tourists asking all kinds of questions or directions.
Be prepared to fall in love with Ireland and finding
yourself a bit sad when it is time to head home. Many a
visitor has a tear rolling down their cheek as the
plane soars out over the coast, leaving the Emerald Isle
behind, including me everytime I head 'home' to the states for a visit.