Ahhhh, Gaeilge. It may not be evolving, but it’s still there, on ATMs, at bus stops, and in some parts, it’s still thriving. Seeing as every Irish person has to take it for their Leaving Cert, it enables even the least fluent of us to have a solid linguistic back-up when travelling. We can bitch and moan about people in our immediate vicinity without them having a clue what we’re saying. Granted, slurs don’t get much more vulgar than “Póg mo thóin” (Kiss my ass), but regardless, it’s something we’ve got that no one else does. So there.
We’re friendly as fuck. The fact that we don’t even hate the English anymore is proof that we can make amends with pretty much anyone. Anyone visiting our fair nation will come back with tales of invitations to dine with the natives, breaking bread, swigging whiskey, and singing songs until the wee hours. The weather may be shit, but we make up for it with our good vibes and open door policy.
Ireland’s political neutrality has safeguarded us from war and diplomatic red-flagging. The Irish are natural fence sitters, choosing to keep the peace rather than rock the boat, which leads larger land masses to welcome us with open arms, saying “Come! Tend our bars, heal our sick, pick our apples! We know you mean no harm!”. They say the our army is the fittest in the world, training around the clock for a battle that will never be fought.
The rain in Ireland is practically perpetual. We don’t even really have seasons anymore, you can just tell what time of year it is by the quantity and temperature of the drizzle or downpour. However, the rain bestows on us a particular hardiness, an all-weather resistance that those from more tropical nations lack. Nothing can phase us. No yoga class shall go unattended, no party un-partied, no barbeque un-grilled, and no school missed. We are Irish, and we brave the weather without raincoats or umbrellas, baring our chests and legs to the elements in defiance of Mother Nature’s constant test.
Our island may be small, but culturally speaking, it is a giant. From literature to music, Ireland has produced some of the greats. Joyce, Yeats, Beckett, Shaw, Wilde, Sinead O’Connor, U2, Brendan Gleeson, Francis Bacon, Neil Jordan…I could go on, but gloating doesn’t become us.
Ireland is tiny, so you’d think we would see more of it, but until recently the roads were too crappy to traverse the island that much. The Cliffs of Moher carve a zig-zag out of the Clare coast, The Burren is a vast limestone wonderland filled with bogs housing our ancestors and preserving them perfectly, if a bit leathery. The Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (although technically in Northern Ireland, not the Republic). And I can guarantee you you’ve never seen so many rainbows in your life. That’s because of all the leprechauns. Seriously. (Or the rain, but whatever…)
The Emerald Isle is very safe. Since the recession things, like phones have become a hot commodity for thieves, and say goodbye to your bike if you leave it in town overnight, but apart from that, it’s fairly chill in terms of danger. There’s no large-scale drug racket like in Mexico, no sprawling slums like in Brazil, no man-eating bears like in Canada, and no spirit-crushing dictators like in North Korea. The most perilous thing you’ll encounter at night is a drunk stumbling home after a night’s drinking, and he’s too busy worrying about the holy show he made of himself to bother with you.