Mrs. BB and I spent the weekend visiting very good friends in deepest darkest Ireland. The minute the plane lands, I am speaking like a leprechaun. She shakes her head in despair at my rubbish Irish accent knowing I will be an embarrassment until we depart. I innocently claim it is the O’Beaverboosh lineage that is to blame, to be sure.
How do I love thee Irish? Let me count the ways...
1. The Irish are in a different time zone - When stopping to ask for directions, the response is unexpected, ‘well get yourself a pint and we’ll talk about it.’ If you think you will get all of the information you require over a pint, you are mistaken. You will arrive at your destination many hours later than planned, and singing folk songs, but with a wealth of local information to hold you in good stead.
2. Nobody walks in rural Ireland, it’s too far to the pub – When leaving the pub at the end of a late night Guinness sesh, the Garda is often waiting for you. This is daunting to foreigners, expecting a jail sentence is about to be dispensed. Instead the Garda helps you into the car and makes sure you are heading in the right direction to get home.
3. The Irish never lose their sense of humour, even in death - My friend’s parents unfortunately had to attend the funeral of very good friend. They phoned to see how we were getting on. I couldn’t hear for the laughing and music in the background, it sounded more like a wedding. When I sensitively asked if all had gone well, my friend’s father replied, ‘oh, it’s a right good crack, we’re givin’ him a good send off, it’s just the way he wanted it,’ and abruptly hung up to go and dance. The wake started at ten in the morning and went on well after midnight.
I could go on go on and go on.
As a proponent of progressive and constructive change, I am really a traditionalist at heart. It is easy to love the Irish truly, fondly and deeply! And it is pleasure.
If you have not had the privilege, go soon. If you have, I hope you get back regularly. If you don’t know anyone in Ireland, don’t worry, you will make many new friends. If you are in Mayo and your new friends are male, they will be named Seamus, Paraic or Micheál.
Your liver won’t forgive you but the warmth, hospitality and excessive laughing will add years to your life.