The weather and deaths. Topics the Irish love to talk about. In Ireland the locals tune into the radio station at 9am, 12 noon and 6pm to hear who has died. I even found myself talking about the weather every minute I could. It was generally on the lines of “where is the sun?”. The radio broadcaster kept referring to “four seasons in one day” but quite frankly I could only see one…winter!
I was visiting Ireland for the first time ever this month to see my Cuba room mate Sharon. A crazy bird watching Irish lass who still communicates with an old flip phone that has rusty erosion spots over the exterior. She lives with her Mam in the quiet town of Dungarvan.
Being Irish Sharon is a fast talker and most sentences contain a “fecking this” or “feck that” which if an English person did I would find it quite rude but the Irish say it with such charm. I would even go as far as to say I find it very endearing! When bring introduced to neighbours, friends and family as another Sharon it did make everyone laugh. One guy even commented “gosh they’re not cloning you now are they Sharon?!”
I met numerous relatives; Mam…cousin Morris…Aunt Chrissy a wonderful 85 year old and when Sharon had exhausted all the living relatives I was then introduced to the deceased! Yes a visit was made to the graveyard. The graves were ginormous. Big plots for big families I suppose.
Mam was an extraordinary 73 year old lady who was mowing the back lawn when I arrived. This was no normal sized lawn. It looked like a football pitch. Later the same day she was out at the local swimming pool doing her laps. This was in between making us freshly squeezed orange juice and cooked breakfasts every morning and a Sunday roast dinner! She was a remarkable and modern lady who had a smart phone unlike her daughter Sharon.
Sharon drove us along the Copper Coast Drive stopping at many of the bays to try and take in the stunning scenery. It was allegedly amazing, however as the rain and fog rolled in all I could see was a wall of grey. Not an ocean or piece of sand in sight. Sharon kept promising it was amazing and a few “what the feck?! It is stunning. Honest!” Our mantra over the few days was “next time”. Next time I would see more than just fog. Next time we could do more walks. Next time.
Lismore Castle Gardens were beautiful. Fortunately the entrance fee was a reasonable €8 unlike my pint of Dungarvan Pale Ale. This local craft beer cost me nearly €7. It was was first and last pint as I switched to the more acceptable €4.50 for a pint of draught Guinness.
The gardens were packed with flowers and vegetables. Lush grass walkways led you through trees and shrubs into vegetable and herb gardens, fruit and flowers for making chutneys and even random sculptures including two sections of the Berlin Wall!
Ireland is such a beautiful country (the bits I saw between the mist and rain). My top tip when travelling to Ireland would be to pack all your waterproofs and check the price of beer before you drink it!