Irish Lips are Smiling

The traditional review of the year is certainly an interesting one for 2009. Personally I had a few challenges to overcome when moving back to Ireland after working abroad. The biggest was answering daily queries on my sanity; who moves somewhere in the middle of a recession?

The other was staying cheerful. But one year on I’m still here; hanging on by my finger-tips maybe but still here. And now that Barbara has asked me to write something positive about Ireland for 2010 there’s actually a lot to say. So in spite of the pitch-black mornings there are still lots of reasons to throw off the duvet, let go of the hot water bottle and get out there:
Driving across the whole country. Sounds great and takes Americans days weeks to complete but we can do it twice in a weekend.

Train Friends – last time I took the train from Cork to Dublin the lady next to me talked for the whole journey. We did the meaning of life, the Church, the recession, arts and where to buy boots. The train arrived, we said goodbye and that was that.
Speaking Irish – OK not as often as we could but we try. And you can say things like ‘An raibh tu sios ag an sign-on place? Bhi an organizer i do lorg’ and everyone knows what you mean.
Sense of humour. Who else would greet a freezing swimmer crawling out of Killiney Bay with ‘Ah lads, I caught a mermaid’ as I got recently? Although wrapped in a wetsuit and hood I didn’t really fit the Disney profile …
Live music: the only reason Irish people hate Bono so much is because they want to be him. You can find the next guy every night somewhere.
Brown soda bread and salmon sandwiches – hot with melting butter. Who needs haute cuisine?
Brandy butter – speaking of butter. A Canadian friend here had never tried it before and her reaction confirmed that this is indeed a cuisine miracle.
Bogs – hike out to the mountains and jump into a pile of wet peat. Fun as long as you don’t sink in too far. One way to deal with the constant rain is just take advantage of the puddle-splashing and bog-hopping opportunities created.

And just remember that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. So never mind the Budget and the gloom; keep on smiling and we’ll get through this.


Niamh Griffin is a freelance writer and travel addict. For now she lives by the sea in Ireland rediscovering what it actually means to be Irish not Oirish.

Niamh’s blog is Writer On The Way Home and is a great read for natives (as it often gives us a quirky look at ourselves) and for new arrivals (who will regularly find very useful local information).