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Ireland, A Visitor's Guide

Popularity 9Viewed 3883 times 2014-3-11 02:51 |System category:Life| Ireland

As an Irish man living in Chongqing, I am often asked to tell Chinese people about Ireland and the Irish ways of life but how can I do this? How could anyone describe, in a few brief sentences, a land with a people so contrary and perverse that they can only agree to argue with anyone and everyone about anything? For example, I have argued a point with someone at a party, (ok, debated) yet, twenty minutes or so later, was heard to be arguing the exact opposite. There are fewer than seven million people living in Ireland, can you even begin to imagine how many arguments there are on a Friday or Saturday night when we try to slake our famous thirsts?
Irish people love to talk and will chat with anyone who has even just half an ear which is handy because we have what's known as 'the Gift of the Gab". It has been said that an Irish man could tell you to feck off in such a way that you'd actually look forward to the sex.
Ireland is an island but it's not very big. It's only the third largest island in Europe and twentieth in all the world, excluding Australia which is such a big island that it's now a continent. Ireland isn't big enough to have mountains so we have to make do with some hills but that doesn't matter, we still like to call them mountains.
It is said that, whereas China is like a cockerel, Ireland is shaped like a dog but, to be sure, 'tis a beautiful dog at that for everywhere in Ireland is green. Except the towns and cities, of course but we don't have suburbs for where a town ends, the countryside begins. Ireland isn't big enough or rich enough to afford suburbs.
It is said that God gave whiskey to the Irish to stop us taking over the world and, while that may or may not be true, it has certainly worked so far. Ireland has never declared war on anyone except, of course, the English but that's to be expected. Even then, there has never been an official declaration of war, more of a tacit understanding between the two countries. The Irish people hate loving the English but they do anyway. They love hating them too but, well, that's quite normal for us.
To cope with the whiskey, God also gave us 'the thirst' which we make valiant efforts to quench on a regular basis but, mostly, fail to do so and have to go back to the pub and try again. Guinness is Ireland's creamy black beer which is actually a stout and is more of a food than merely a drink. Sure, when my own mother was in hospital once, didn't she ask the doctor if she could have a wee drop of Guinness every day and didn't the same doctor say that he would insist on it?
To help while away the time in a pub drinking Guinness, we can enjoy listening to traditional Irish music being played by a few locals who have nothing better to do of an evening. We actually like our traditional music and, if it doesn't set your feet a tapping, we'd advise you to check your pulse for you might well be dead or, at least, in a severe coma.
Bearing all this in mind and being at a loss as to how I should tell Chinese people about my country, I have decided to include a Visitor's Guide to Ireland. I hope you'll enjoy it....
Ireland is an island to the west of Britain but Northern Ireland is just off the mainland - not the Irish mainland, the British mainland.

The capital of Ireland is Dublin. It has a population of a million people, all of whom will be shopping in Newry this afternoon. They travel to Newry because it is in the North, which is not part of Ireland but, still, they'll pay in Euros.

Under the Irish constitution, the North used to be in Ireland but a successful 30-year campaign of violence for Irish unity ensured that it is now definitely in the UK. Had the campaign lasted any longer, the North might now be in France.

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. It has a population of half a million, half of whom have houses in Donegal. Donegal is in the north but not in the North. It is in the South. No, not the south, the South.

There are two parliaments in Ireland. The Dublin parliament is called the Dáil, (pronounced "Doyle"), an Irish word meaning a place where banks receive taxpayers' money. The one in Belfast is called Stormont, an Anglo-Saxon word meaning placebo, or deliberately ineffective drug.

Their respective jurisdictions are defined by the border, an imaginary line on the map to show fuel launderers where to dump chemical waste. Protestants are in favour of the border, which generates millions of pounds in smuggling for Catholics, who are opposed to it.

Travel between the two states is complicated because Ireland is the only country in the world with two M1 motorways. The one in the North goes west to avoid the South and the one in the South goes north to avoid the price of Guinness.

We have two types of democracy in Ireland. Dublin democracy works by holding a referendum and then allowing the government to judge the result. If the government thinks the result is wrong, the referendum is held again. Twice in recent years the government decided the people's choice was wrong and ordered a new referendum.

Belfast democracy works differently. It has a parliament with no opposition, so the government is always right. This system generates envy in many of the world capitals, especially Dublin.

Ireland has three economies - Northern, Southern and black. Only the black economy is in the black. The other two are in the red.

All versions of the IRA claim to be the real IRA but only one of them is the Real IRA. The North's biggest industry is the production of IRAs. Consequently, we now have the Provisional IRA, the Continuity IRA and the Real IRA. The Real IRA is by far the most popular among young graffiti writers simply because it is the easiest to spell.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (12 comments)

Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2014-3-11 03:56
Hilarious yet all true   . " How could anyone describe, in a few brief sentences, a land with a people so contrary and perverse that they can only agree to argue with anyone and everyone about anything?"  I ASKED AN IRISH MAN FOR DIRECTIONS. HE REPLIED ... IF I WAS GOING THERE, I WOUDN'T START FROM HERE!
Reply Report laoren1234 2014-3-11 04:29
Hahaha! DUI might be against the law in many places, but I'm definitely for WUI.   
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2014-3-11 06:30
   Mick, I wonder if you are THE Irishman living in Chongqing? After all I gather it is a small place - a municipality overall of over 32 million.  So there's probably only room for one!  
Reply Report ExileMick 2014-3-11 16:33
ColinSpeakman: Hilarious yet all true    . " How could anyone describe, in a few brief sentences, a land with a people so contrary and perverse that they c ...
Thank you! The Irish logic is wonderful and the humour is unique. I'm glad you enjoyed the article.
Reply Report voice_cd 2014-3-11 18:23
Thanks for sharing your story here! We have highlighted your story to the homepage.
Reply Report Maierwei 2014-3-11 23:29
Informative, and liked the humorous tone!
Reply Report ExileMick 2014-3-12 05:01
ColinSpeakman:    Mick, I wonder if you are THE Irishman living in Chongqing? After all I gather it is a small place - a municipality overall of over 32 million. ...
So the ratio is 1 : 32 millions. Do you think I have an unfair advantage?
Reply Report banalban 2014-3-12 11:09
I wondered how long it would take you to decide to blog about this.  Having shared previous adventures together, and which I reflect on often, I'm looking forward to when I can share an experience in Chongqing with you!
Reply Report 紫竹三生 2014-9-5 17:21
wow,Erin's isle!what a beautiful island!I really would like to visit there,everywhere in Ireland is green,so pretty.the Visitor's Guide you wrote is great.   
Reply Report ExileMick 2014-9-6 00:08
Thank you for such kind words. I am glad you enjoyed the article
Reply Report LovelyA 2014-9-6 15:20
thanks for you sharving, teacher,I have known more about Ireland

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