Irish Culture Part Three: Approaching Strangers
I absolutely LOVED getting answers to student questions. It didn’t feel like work on my vacation. It gave me a chance to talk to locals, and most people I met were super friendly and excited to chat about their culture.
Sometimes, it was a little awkward. I had a great conversation with a guy on the bus from Cork to Dublin, but when I asked him about being on video, he clearly got uncomfortable. I also had a great chat with a taxi driver on the way to the airport, but didn’t get any of that on film. I needed to be careful to make sure people felt comfortable, but overall, people were very receptive to my requests.
One of my favorites is below, when I wandered up to two locals selling their artisan products at a kind of small farmer’s market / craft fair in the famous town of Limerick:
In Dublin, I ran into a huge group of vegan activists on the street, and approached them to ask them some questions. Meat is a huge part of the Irish diet, as you can see looking at these photos of classic Irish breakfasts:
One item you might not recognize in there is the black and white pudding, which look like round paddies. They are actually a kind of meat sausage, and the black one has more animal blood in it! Oh, and the slices of ham are what they call “bacon” or “rashers.”
I thought the vegans would do a good job talking about Irish crops, and I was right!
And yes, as you can see, they talked about potatoes! I ate lots of potatoes while in Ireland.
However, in the big cities, like Dublin, it’s possible to get most kinds of food, from Japanese to Falafel. They even have American chains:
I thought this sign, at a BBQ place, was particularly funny:
Finally, on my last night in Dublin, I knew I needed to find an answer to Lincoln’s question about dance. So, I was excited when I saw this sign, advertising free admission to an Irish dancing show that night:
O’Sullivan’s Pub had fabulous music! I was so glad that I went. People at pubs in Ireland are very friendly, and I loved watching the show. In particular, the dancers were fabulous performers. Not only did they do amazing things with their feet, but they added lots of little things to make the show funny and quirky, like competing with each other and bringing in volunteer dancers from the audience. It was a blast!
If you ever get a chance to travel to a new country, I highly recommend speaking up and talking to locals. You’ll be glad you did!