Top Ten Uniquely Irish Things
You know times are tough when Dublin’s Best magazine features the strapline ‘Emigration: the 12 best places for you to live’. Half the country has swanned off to Australia to work in tomato patches and try to avoid being mistaken for… well, a tomato, while the other half is attempting to get a Visa or spending their time at going away parties. Will the last person to leave Ireland please turn off the lights and switch off the immersion on their way out, please and thank you.
But wait! We are here to remind you of all the reasons why you should give the little country that could another chance. Yes, you may be able to get a job in the UK, and yes, you may combat that Vitamin D deficiency in Oz, but there are some things so goddamn Irish that you’ll miss if you go. So put down your passport, pop the kettle on and have a read of Ramp.ie’s eleven Top Ten Things That Are Unique To Ireland.
11. Possessing a cure for every ailment
Fair enough, if you need an operation in another country, you may have a better chance of getting out of the hallway on your trolley, but if you have a cold, what are they going to do for you? Recommend a nasal spray? Pfft. Only in this country will you prescribed a hot whiskey or some flat 7up, and it will make you better. Feeling down? Cup of tea, be grand. Bit queasy the morning after the night before? Stop moaning and shove a sausage roll and another pint down ya. Western medicine hasn’t a patch on us.
10. A higher level of education
Every country’s school system may have their quirks, but not like the Irish school system. Where else does the primary syllabus consist of playing with marla, singing ‘Zacchaeus was a greedy little man’ and learning the theme song to Titanic on the tin whistle? Even when you got to secondary school, there was still time to go see a play about a woman sticking her head in an oven, and to draw posters about littering for a state exam. Would that fly on the SATs? We think not.
9. Irish Mammies
All mammies are wonderful, we admit. But the Irish mammy possesses wisdom that is specific to our homeland. They have a knitted cardigan ready for any baby within a twenty mile radius, can make dinner for an army, and terrify grown men. They know everybody’s business even if they haven’t left the house in days, and can smell lies. They’re a breed in themselves, and we salute them.
8. An appreciation of sunshine
Let’s face it; for most of the year, outdoors in Ireland is pretty grim. An ominous grey cloud is hovering over the Dáil at all times, you can’t put the washing out because of that bloody hazy rain, and you’ve a stack of broken umbrellas in the hall corner that’s getting taller than your da. But then, that three-day-period in June comes around, and we make the best of it. The temperatures hit twenty degrees, the sun comes out and the shirts come off. Bray is overrun, there’s a shortage in Choc Ices in Spars nationwide and the amount of disposable barbeques bought makes Al Gore cry himself to sleep. We appreciate our brief summer, because we know what misery awaits us come Monday. Meanwhile, the Aussies balk at a bit of drizzle. Amateurs.
7. Groundbreaking TV
Thanks to the magic of Sky, anything the Brits can watch, we can watch too. But they are oblivious to our array of homegrown TV genius. Where else in the world can you delight in the scandals of Carrigstown, or reminisce about Miley riding Fidelma in Glenroe? Where else can you watch Spongebob Squarepants talking to Patrick in a culchie accent? And where else, pray tell, can you sit around with the family and watch the highlights of Italia ’90 on Reeling in the Years (i.e. the best show Ireland has ever produced)? Nowhere, that’s where*
*well, not to our knowledge.
6. Collective film-watching
If Four Weddings and a Funeral is being screened one night on Channel 4, it will get a high enough viewing in Britain, and I’m sure you could find one or two people the next day that watched it. But if The Snapper is being shown on TV3, you had better believe that about 80% of Ireland is staying in. Twitter accounts and Facebook pages are so chocker with ‘A1 Sharon’ and ‘Georgie fucking Burgess’ you’d swear we never seen it before. This is what televisions were meant for, folks.
5. Upmarket cuisine
Italy has their pizza and pasta. England has pie and mash. Australia has the best barbies. But Ireland – we have coddle. And that’s not all. If you move away, there is a list as long as the Liffey of food that you’re going to miss. Tayto (or King, whatever your preference), proper Dairy Milk, Monster Munch, Macaroon bars, Mint Crisps, breakfast rolls, chicken fillet rolls, basically anything from the Spar counter, 3-in-1s… Seriously lads, it’s not worth it.
4. Love of the session
Yeah, so everyone likes to party. But there’s something special about an Irish session. You enter a pub at one or two in the afternoon for a few quiet socials with the family and friends. Fast forward a few hours, and the place looks like the scene in Titanic where Jack takes Rose for a dance with the peasants. Fast forward another few hours, and you’re face down in a field, surrounded by Druids cans with a bodhrán in your bag. And people would judge you if you weren’t in that state. Going home sober is a sign of weakness.
We may mock it, complain about it and sob while trying to learn the modh coinníollach, but we will not let anybody touch our precious Gaeilge. There’s something quite sweet about a nation that, in their native tongue, can only ask where the toilets are or tell you that there’s clouds in the sky.
2. Unbridled joy whenever we do well
The rest of the world is full of such over-achievers that they don’t know when to really appreciate a win. The Irish do not have this problem. We got into the last sixteen of the Euros (we of course won’t mention what happened after that) and spent the last money the country had on bunting and inflatable hammers. Katie Taylor won a gold at the Olympics and the entire nation claimed to have been in Bray or London. We are still hanging on to those seven wins in the Eurovision (suck on that Sweden). We’re the underachiever of the Western World, and we really enjoy that position.
1. Finding humour in everything
We’re not trying to say the country’s not in ruins. Everyday there’s a new tax, there’s anti-abortion posters on every lamppost, and it’s near impossible to get a job. But the thing is, we can still laugh about it. Even though the news is depressing, it’s alright because Aengus Mac Grianna is there putting on his make-up. People are starting fights on the street, but it’s fine because there’s some aul wan shouting, ‘Ah heyor!’ Horsemeat in our burgers? Neigh bother. They may break our piggy banks open for the last few cents we have, but they will not break our spirit. You hear that Merkel?