Interesting Things I have learned (so far) about Ireland

Before my trip, I was mentally preparing for the struggle I would eventually have to deal with when faced with homesickness, and the likely lifestyle change I would have to adapt to. I hadn’t blinked an eye at the thought of culture shock. I wasn’t going to a third world country, after all. I had been to Europe in 2005, and I don’t remember being shaken up by anything really. That was until my friend Paul (who spent a few months abroad in England and travelled around while he was in Europe) mentioned something about reading about possible culture shock 8 days before I left for Ireland. After that, I put a little bit of thought into it, but for the most part, I was too busy to even begin to wrap my head around what might be so different that it could shock me.

WELL! Landing in Ireland and fending for myself after an exhausting travel experience was a very different experience than the school trip I took to Europe in 2005.

I figured that after a couple of days, I am in a better state of mind to be able to take a step back and lay out a few of the things that are different in Ireland than they are in Canada. Some of these are cute or funny. Others, not so much. Bare with me!


1) Taps. Yes, the hot water, and the cold water. In Canada, in 99% of cases (in case there is that one case that debunks my 100% theory), the hot water tap, and the cold water tap are combined into one single faucet in which the water temperature can be adjusted by maneuvering the hot and cold as needed. In Ireland, especially in washrooms, you make a decision. Either you will scold your hands with blazing hot water, or, you freeze them and wonder for the rest of the day if your hands are REALLY clean or not. This is especially confusing because showers are normal, kitchen sinks are normal, and some updated public washrooms offer the ‘single faucet special’, so why on earth is this still a thing!?

2) Jaywalking. Jaywalking in Ireland is legal. Imagine my horror when the busiest intersections are suddenly flooded with pedestrians when the walking light is red. Here, they have a stoplight colour system for pedestrians. Why they bother, though, is beyond me. I have watched people time and time again cross the street in front of double-decker busses, and, more dangerously, cyclists. I shit you not, the bicycles here can do more damage than the largest vehicles. This is because they do not have to follow the rules of traffic. They are trusted to make sound decisions while operating their pedal powered vehicle. I am NOT used to this yet. I never know which way to look, so generally I run across streets after looking around about 400 times. So far, so good.

3) TV License.  I found this out today. I went through the local orientation program for working holiday participants landing in Ireland. Apparently, back in the day, there were only 4 television stations in Ireland. All publicly funded. The government decided then that it would; be a brilliant idea to issue licenses to television owners across the land in order to fund these stations. Things in TV land have changed here, as they have everywhere else, with the introduction of Netflix and other similar products. The TV license remains. It is a 60 Euro fee, payable every year by TV owners, regardless of whether or not you suscribe to cable television. While this seems laughable, there is a job here called ‘Television License Officer’. This person essentially knocks on doors, and checks to make sure TV Licenses are paid up. Should you answer the door to this person, and not have proof of having a TV license (even if it’s not your television), you will be charged a 2000 Euro fee. I am not kidding. This is a thing here!

4) Chips, Crisps, Minerals, Jumpers and Beanies.  Most of these, I was able to figure out, or knew already because I have lived with international students in the past. But still, it’s always fun to translate foreign expressions for Canadian ones. So here goes:

Chips are fries, crisps are chips, minerals are pop, jumpers are sweaters (and hoodies), and beanies are toques. Other expressions have popped up here and there, but these have been the predominant ones so far. Mineral is my favourite. It makes pop sound like a health food! Hahaha!

5) Population Stats. SO! Ireland is populated by roughly 4 million souls. 1.6 million of these reside in Dublin. The rest are scattered mostly among the other main centres (Cork, Galway and Limerick). The inner counties are fairly empty except for the agricultural specialists that tend to fields, animals, etc. I suspect the sheep population outweighs the human population in these areas, but I’ll have to ask a farmer to be sure. Also, only about 9% of the (human) population has naturally red hair.



6) Luas. Let’s conclude with something light and cheery, shall we? Luas is Dublin’s light rail tram system. In Ireland, all signs are bilingual. Irish and English. Busses display their destinations in both languages, and pretty well everything that is publicly owned here has both languages. I know basically no Irish, but, today I found out that Luas means Speed. So there you have it. Luas = Speed.


Written by Work in Ireland Participant; Geneviève Laurent. Read her more of her Blog Chasing Memories:   


5 Most Instagrammed Places in Ireland

As popular a tourist destination, Ireland is just as loved on Instagram. Images that have made home on the social media site have attracted potential travellers to Ireland for years now solely based on how picturesque the location really is. With historical as well as contemporary destinations merged with architectural wonders and natural beauty makes Ireland a desirable tourist spot just as much a photography-lover’s haven. Some of the best shots can be taken in numerous places of Ireland so here’s a list of the top most Instagrammed locations in Ireland that are guaranteed to make you pack your bags.

  1. The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare


Photo by Becky, CC BY 2.0

The number one most Instagrammed location in Ireland is the Cliffs of Moher solely because it has been the filming location of movies like Harry Potter, The Princess Bride, and Leap Year. The cliffs offer a brilliant view of the coast and have simply taken the world of Instagram by storm. The innumerable pictures of the Cliffs of Moher located close to the Wild Atlantic Way have made it a rather amazing getaway in Ireland. The dense forest region with a Cliffside view of the beautiful coast is popular on Instagram through images that require next to no filter while sharing.

  1. Titanic Exhibition, Belfast


Photo by Titanic Belfast, CC BY 2.0

The sinking of the Titanic was one of the most historically well-known tragedies of the world. The Titanic exhibition in Northern Ireland pays tribute to the ship that took everyone’s attention in the world at the time it tragically sank. Titanic Belfast is the largest Titanic Exhibition in the world, with millions of visitors wanting to see it at least once. You can shop here for souvenirs, dine in elegant restaurants and witness the historical tragedy that was the tale of the sinking of the Titanic, which was built in just as much incredible circumstances. If this doesn’t attract an Instagrammer to Ireland, there is nothing that ever will.

  1. Glendalough, County Wicklow



Photo by Irish Welcome Tours, CC BY 2.0

This is probably the most camera-friendly place in Ireland. Glendalough is known for being a stunning glacial valley in Ireland which has attracted people like nobody’s business. The Wicklow Mountains of sheer excellence coupled with the ruins of monasteries over a striking backdrop of the coast makes for a photogenic location that has charms of its own that can be found all over this place. If you haven’t got enough of it on the various pictures posted by Instagrammers, you’d be completely entranced while visiting it even once.


  1. The Wild Atlantic Way


Photo by Greg Clarke, CC BY 2.0

Filters are strangers in the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland because there is really no modification needed to showcase this deadly stunner on your Instagram. The world’s longest coastal route has something new to offer at almost every turn. Be it the rocky enclosures, the flowery stoppers, or that pigeon sitting on top of the lighthouse, Instagram loves The Wild Atlantic Way like no other. You’d be surprised at the number of gorgeous pictures you can get while at this most popular tourist destination in Ireland, and there is no filter that will be able to capture the depth of this unmatched destination.

  1. Connemara, County Galway



Photo (cropped) by The Library of Congress, Public Domain

Described genially by Oscar Wilde as ‘savage beauty’, Connemara is a colourful attraction in the County Galway region of Ireland. You wouldn’t argue with it being such a delightful location because of its looming mountains, incredible waterfalls and woods full of unseen exploration opportunities. This naturally bountiful paradise gives amazing points where photographs can be clicked with various angles. With this sensational backdrop to your selfie, why wouldn’t you want to carry your camera along while visiting the wonder that is Ireland? And once you’ve seen images of Connemara on Instagram, Oscar Wilde’s words will resonate all around you, and even more so when visiting the destination. Hashtag savage beauty, anyone?

Along with being a historical location, Ireland has also been used as a filming location a lot of times, which has increased its tourism business tenfold. It is just as much a traveller’s haven as it is that of a local’s.

Author Bio:
Rohit is a passionate traveller who shares his experiences on from his various expeditions around the world.