1. The Food
I am a real lover of food so the cuisine is always an important part of my cultural experience. I have been to a couple of different pubs with authentic Irish meals and boy are they good! As a potato fan, coming to Ireland was a great idea because they often serve two different kinds with one meal!
2. The Language/Dialect
One of the most prominent things that I love about Ireland is their accent. Everyone from the States seems to like the different accents over here, but the best part is how everywhere sounds different. Similar to the south in the States, Ireland has several dialects all over the country. No matter where you go, you will always hear a different one!
Back home in New York a typical February or March day would consist of snow and cold. But here they rarely ever get snow! Though it’s still chilly, the weather is not unbearable by any means, even with the constant threat of rain. Honestly, I can’t complain about this, rain is not snow and I am happy with that. At home we get the most snow in the country; this change of weather is perfect for me.
4. Scenery and Buildings
As a quintessential American, I love to soak in the sights and the old buildings. That is one thing that Irish people find so funny about us; we gawk at their castles and churches. It’s hard for them to understand that they have buildings older than our entire country, of course we find it cool! I am a sucker for history and the beautiful landscapes Ireland is full of!
Of course the roads here are backwards from how they are back in the States. For me, it has been one of the hardest things to get used to. I drive a lot at home so not being able to even understand how the roads work is a challenge for me. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have a car over here, huh?
6. Pubs and Bars
It’s not what you’re thinking. Sure, the Irish are known for having good alcohol, but Irish Pubs are so much more than that. They are one of my favorite things about Ireland because you can still have tons of fun without even needing to buy a drink. They are a social place where family and friends go to hang out and have fun, not like some bars in America, that’s for sure. Sometimes if you’re lucky there might even be live music playing, giving you the full Irish experience.
7. Food Portions
This is a whole category by itself. I never realized just how much food we eat in the States until I came here. Comparatively, portions of food come in much smaller packages than they would at home. I kind of like this because I psych myself out while eating; I feel like I am eating more than I really am.
8. The Local’s Friendliness
As I have mentioned before, the local Irish people are very kind. But this goes farther than just the Town of Maynooth. Whether I am in Dublin, Kilkenny, or Cork, the people have been pleasant and incredibly helpful.
I have always loved traditional Irish music, the kind that makes you pretend you can Irish Step Dance just for a little bit. There is music everywhere in Ireland. In Dublin you can walk down one of the best shopping districts, Grafton Street, and see countless people busking on the sidewalks. And they are good too. They range from playing guitars to accordions. And at night you can go into a pub and listen to traditional Irish bands perform with banjos, guitars, and Bodhráns, the Irish drum!
10. Education System
It is more common for kids to go to a private school here. I only know a small hand full of people from home who went to private schools. And even the colleges are different here. For the most part, they don’t give busy work like homework. Sure, you still have to keep up with reading but they don’t assign worksheets or anything along those lines. Midterms, one or two papers, and finals. That’s about it.