Traveling around in Ireland

Traffic is Evil

Road-RageTraffic!  The Devil’s work.  The path to Zen and one of the many Catholic trials.  Once you conquer the road rage you are on the path to eternal glory.  Or at least that what we should believe instead of hammering frantically at the wheel or stupidly honk the horn hoping that the traffic will magically disperse.  Only your horn can provide the guidance the other drivers need to open up and let you pass.  It is the Devil’s work!

Most people get stuck in traffic at various times, and at times when you least need to get delayed.  Traffic is evil!  It screws with your well laid plans, whether these are business plans or romantic dates with your partner.

Funnily enough, people have different interpretations of what traffic actually means.  It all depends where they live and which areas they have visited.

Take my dad (bless his soul).  We are from a tiny spot in the picturesque Danish rural harbor village, where traffic is measured in how many people you can wave to when stuck at the local traffic light.  And, there are not many traffic lights to get stuck at, but you do tend to know all people who drives around.

One time I was visiting my parents, my dad and I had to go grocery shopping.  This is when I lived in Dublin (Ireland), where the M50 is a well-known car park.  Anyway, on our way to the local market, we got caught by the red light, with about 12 cars in front of us.  My dad instantly broke into cursing, blaming the economy for excessive cars on the roads, the European influence on rural Denmark and that my mum would be utterly upset with this delay.  After a pain staking 7 minutes we finally cleared the traffic light and parked at the super market.

I subsequently tried to explain to my dad that this was nothing compared to the M50 / Dublin city traffic.  It would take me an hour to drive 10 miles to work, each way, going about 20mph at top speed.

nyc_trafficWithin a few months my parents visited Dublin, which fueled pure road rage in my dad.  I’ve seen him upset before, but this was Saddam Hussein rage.  He was ready to nuke East coast of Ireland, and would happily live in the nuclear winter that follows just to avoid traffic like this ever again.  Needless to say we had a few pints when we finally made it back to the house and WALKED down to the local pub to watch Chelsea beat Arsenal (Gunners) – what a day!

Today we live close to New York City.  Population = 8.4 million souls … almost double size of Denmark’s entire population.  As a result, traffic is bedlam.  Sorry, let me rephrase that. Traffic is absolutely shite.  Please consider that this is the city that never sleeps, so there’s always traffic.  However, on the few occasions my wife and I went on date night to the city, we’ve got stuck in traffic.

  1. If/Then show on broadway – it took us almost three hours to snail through 6 miles down to Broadway, which resulted in us missing dinner, and had to settle for a lovely drive muffin as the door opened to the show
  2. Black Keys (Barclay Center, Brooklyn) – traffic prevented us from enjoying a romantic dinner, but thanks to “awesome” chicken at Barclay Center
  3. Ed Kowalczyk (City Winery) – we had ‘meet ‘n greet’ tickets, but missed the opportunity to meet the dude himself, but did have lovely Peruvian dinner

My dad is most likely sitting in the sky cursing, much to the amusement of St. Peter, blaming anything from Obamacare to Siberian Northern Lights that the traffic is not flowing well, almost causing his son’s (me) to miss out on romantic times with his beautiful wife.

Take care of each other.  Don’t let traffic bring out your bed side.  Be Zen. Be happy and avoid using the horn … it only brings more anger.  Anger leads to the dark side 🙂

Demystify the Irish

We’ve been in the US for almost three years and I must admit we are pretty much settled in.  Well, I still don’t understand the bloody health system and slightly overwhelmed with the oversized portions at the restaurants.  No wonder I’m gaining weight, when my mother always told me that I have to finished what I’m being served!

Anyway, one of the more amusing things about having an Irish accent and being familiar with many Irish sayings, are that many Americans have some difficulties understanding some of the phrases/words that I utter at times.  They politely smile or laugh, but I can tell that they don’t fully get the meaning of some of my words.

With the help from a few Irish sites (such as, mixed with my own experiences, I’ve gathered a few things that only Irish people get – please understand, I’m only taking the piss here 🙂

So, here are a few things and words you need to learn when chatting with a person from the Emerald Isle.

  • No matter the time of day (or night) there’s always time for a cuppa tea – and it would be an insult to any Irish mum if you refused a cuppa.  Some might even be very persistent about you having a cuppa.
  • If an Irish says he’ll put on his runners, then be prepared to stand aside as he’s about to go running for a few laps.  You see, you are using these shoes for running!
  • The word ‘yoke’ can be used for many things and often replace words we don’t know or can’t remember when trying to explain something.
  • “Where’s me jumper” is actually an emotional song about a sweater
  • Chipper is the local burger / fast food joint.  It’s also the local hangout for youth and the last visit when heading home from a night out on the piss
  • The boot is in US known as the trunk of a car, which utterly confuses people in the US
  • Stuffed means full after eating and not something one does to an animal after killing it
  • 7up has magical powers – it cures anything from upset stomach, relieves vomiting, cures hangover and can clean chrome of your Ford Focus
  • “State of your one” is perhaps a little easier, but it often means that a person is not doing great
  • Just having one pint does not exist when drinking with an Irish person.  Also, please note the rules about drinking with one or more Irish people; you all pay for a round of gargle aka beer
  • It’ll be grand can be used with any discussion or any event.  Everything will be fine … roughly translated
  • Spuds, or more politely known as potatoes, are used with most dishes.  Well, you cannot enter an Irish home without stumbling over a sack of potatoes.
  • Most Irish people like their meat is well done – close to charcoal coloured and flavoured.
  • Most conversations at gatherings involve some level of rain debates, or simply talking about the weather
  • As a matter of fact, most rain showers in Ireland last for about 10 minutes and the Irish will known when to seek shelter.  Always carry a brolly when visiting Ireland.
  • If in doubt, taxi drivers have all the answers
  • Lastly, but the best of all, is bollocks.  I’m not going to explain this in much detail.  You can look it up
  • Gobshite –  a cool and exotic expression for a person who’s utterly unpleasant

And for the record, please don’t show an Irish person a two-finger salute.

You should also be aware that many Irish people have an extensive vocabulary when it comes to using strong language – the beauty is, they don’t mean any harm, it’s just the way they speak.  So, don’t be offended if an Irish says “howya ye auld fecker!”

So, what’s the story ye eejit?  🙂


The real tourist

Tourism is important for any country and the best way to gain more free advertisement is from the tourists themselves.  The following video was created by Shannon & Stephen Parker from Canada, who developed this wonderful video … it actually made me a little homesick.  Kudos to the Parker team for creating this snippet of the Irish culture and countryside.

To see  more videos from Stephen, visit his YouTube site.