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Things you might like to know about Ireland

I lived in Ireland for most of my life. If you'd like to go there or learn something about the country, here are a few things that I think are nice or specific about Ireland. I also have a similar page about Belgium.

  1. Culture:
  2. Where's nice
  3. Annual events
  4. Great Irish whiskey
  5. The sad story of Irish beer
  6. Customs
  7. Bookshops (for various languages)
  8. Philippine community

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Recordings of Irish music

Ireland has produced a lot of musicians, but most of the ones that foreigners know are international pop musicians, not very Irish.

Some musicians that are good are:


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Film and comedy

The best comedy series about Ireland was Father Ted.

Some good non-comedy films about Ireland or Irish history are:


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Literature and poetry

Ireland has produced a disproportionate amount of high-quality literature and poetry. Poetry seems to have gone out of fashion. I find that if I just read one poem, I won't like it, but if I read ten or twenty pages, then they start being enjoyable.

Some good authors:


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Pat Ingoldsby

Pat Ingoldsby's a poet who sells his books on the street in Dublin city centre, and sometimes in Galway and other cities in Ireland. He's published about 20 books of poems and they're all great. He's a nice guy, so if you see, him go up and say hi and buy a book. He'll recommend one if you ask him. I recommend starting with one of his earlier books.

He's in his 60s and wears a wide brim hat and sandles, but you can't really miss him. He's the only guy sitting on the side of any road in Dublin selling books of poetry. He's often on Westmoreland Street, but the best way to find him is to ask a road sweeper where they've seen him.

Some of his poems are about him, and others are about Dublin and Ireland. I think that after reading a lot of his poems, you get an image of Dublin.


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Sport

I'm not a big sports fan. The two most popular sports in Ireland are Gaelic and Hurling.

Ireland has produced great boxers.


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Where's nice

Dublin is like most capital cities. I go there regularly because that's where my friends and family are, but I prefer the West coast. Galway City has gotten a bit touristy. Some places I like are:

The Aran Islands are often highlighted in tourist guides, but I don't recommend going there. You'll just end up feeling like a tourist. They're lovely islands but they're too remote and too small. In tourist season, tourists probably outnumber the residents.

If you want to see a culture, you have to be able to be there without changing the place by your presence. You need to be able to blend in, and that means you have to either be like that culture or you need to blend into crowds. On the Aran Islands there's not much to blend in with.

If you want to go to an island, maybe Achill Island or Valentia Island would be nicer. They're a bit bigger, but I haven't been to either yet.


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Annual events

The Irish music in Lisdoonvarna is great. I'll have to update this page when I remember the dates.


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Great Irish whiskey

Ireland produces some great whiskey. There's no one best whiskey, it's all about the differences, so I usually have a half a dozen bottles open. My price range is always €35-€50 per bottle and I drink it with a good mix of water. Most basic bottles of whiskey, €15-€25, taste roughly the same, but once you go up past €30, then you get great varieties.

Some of my favourites:

Not bad:

Disappointing:

Another nice addition is Hennessy Cognac, made by an Irish guy that moved to France. Canadium Club is another nice whiskey. Very smooth, maybe too smooth, but it's another way to add variety to an assortment.

Oh, and it's always a good idea to have one bottle of cheap crap whiskey, to avoid terrible waste when a cultureless vistor sees your whiskies and asks for a whiskey-cola.


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The sad story of Irish beer

The Guinness company are so powerful in Ireland that they are able to keep all smaller breweries out of the pubs. This is a big shame. The Irish spend massive amounts of their disposable income on beer, and in return we just get more of the same. No diversity, nothing interesting, nothing new. That's the sad story.

The small bit of good news is that if you search, you can still find a few real Irish beers. The Porterhouse in Dublin is one pub that brews it's own beers and stouts, and they're tasty beers at that. In supermarkets you can also find a few from the Dublin Brewing Company and the Carlow Brewing Company.

For beer, Belgium is a much better country for an Irish person to live in.


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Customs

Try not to be too loud on the buses. I don't know why, but we just don't do that.

If you go to someone's house and they offer you something to eat, you're supposed to refuse. It's just our habit - apparently it's a social remnant from the famine times. If the offer is genuine, the host will absolutely insist.


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Bookshops (for various languages)

I only have info here about Dublin. Dublin has plenty of really big bookshops.

Sections: Foreign languages, For language learning, English, Irish.

Foreign languages

(pending)

For language learning

English

Irish


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Philippine community


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