Ireland’s a funny place these days. Well it always was, but every time I go back now (once a year or so) something sublime has altered in the fabric of reality. And this time it’s coffee shops and Polish people.
Coffee shops are suddenly everywhere. In the past, a business not doing very well in Dublin would be hastily converted into a fake “old” pub with a sign proclaiming it to be “Established 1675” or suchlike. Today it will be turned into a coffee shop. They have Starbucks in Dublin now, for God’s sake, and in my local shopping centre in the town of Tralee I asked for coffee and was presented with something one might very well present to the Queen of Norway. I was rather impressed as in the average cafe in Sweden, a long-time coffee country, you will still be offered coffee that is closer to soup and bitter enough to un-clog your drains.
And then the Polish people. Since Ireland was one of the few countries that actually allowed Polish people, Europeans as they are, to freely travel in Europe, the Poles have arrived in great number. And a good thing too as we get a bit more variety into Ireland, some new and interesting foods, and a whole bunch of hard-working decent people in need of a break. The fact that they are generally raving Catholics means that they are sure to fit in quite well.
When I lived in Dublin in the early 90s, the place was awash with Spanish girls. I am sure there were also Spanish men around, but being in my early twenties and randy as a buck, I did not really notice the men. Spanish tourists had a great time as they could book their hotel, order their coffee and complain about the standard of the service entirely in Spanish. Today it’s the Poles who hold that position, and if I were a single lad living in Dublin today, I would be brushing up on my Polish in the fervent hopes of getting my trousers loosened.
Note: I am not saying that I learned Spanish just to get it on with Spanish girls…well actually I did. That’s how it was in the 90s, honest, ask anybody.
Other things of note:
Wind turbines are sprouting up everywhere, a bit of a no-brainer in the country with the second highest wind-speeds in Europe, but very welcome.
Everybody—and I mean EVERYBODY—is building a house, and the builders are pretty much Stonemasons, setting their own prices, appearing when it suits them and greeting each other with funny handshakes (except for the efficient and cheap Polish builders, whom the Irish builders ignore and hope will go away).
However, on the down side, there is still no food given to schoolchildren in School, the public health system is a fucking joke and the Irish drink and eat enough to level a pachyderm.
And one final thing…a notice from a local paper, offering the services of a well-known and possibly insane hypnotist, showing that the Irish are still just a little bit too gulliable for their own good:
I can’t help but wonder-why is the baby floating in the air? What gift exactly was he born with? And why in God’s name does anybody, anywhere, want to win a luxury weekend break in Cavan?
I guess we will never know.