03.07.2016 - 03.07.2016 13 °C
Never having been to Ireland but having met so many colourful Irish people in New Zealand it was hard to know what to expect. As the plane landed and we gazed out the window it reminded us both of West Auckland of the 60's. We arrived into a tired airport to be met by real people... quite a contrast from our last airport encounter. One poor girl was very unwell and people ran around comforting her. We had our passports stamped by someone who enjoyed her job and obviously loved her country and was interested in the people visiting it. This makes quite a difference to your feeling about a country. Although systems seem overly complex for simple tasks... for example just getting into a taxi .... it works out in the end and people are always there willing to help. Our taxi ride from the airport was entertaining. We should all give taxi drivers much respect as they are often our counties first ambassadors. Our cabbie was well up to the task. He ensured we turn our watches back a hundred years and sit back and enjoyed the irish experience. Don't over think it we were told. Just obsorb yourself in it.... so we did. At first glance there seemed to be a lack of brash colour. Yes it was cold but people tended to wear dull colours and houses were very subtle in colourings and similar in shade. However as you got used to things uniqueness was everywhere in the form of colourful flags, amazingly colourful shiny front doors, flowers around windows and the people. This city has always been full of colour being the birth place of people such as Oscar Wilde and now with its sculptures and amazing bridges telling stories of past history, great endurance and passionate national pride. The many bridges crossing the rivers are a great example of this with the half penny bridge and its wonderful history to the new bridges representing an opened book ( to celebrate the great representation Dublin has had in the literary world) and the harp a symbol of Ireland. This amazing bidge can swing up to let boats through as well as actually play music when its strings are plucked. We stayed in Feet street part of the colourful part of the city (Temple Bar) and had a great night in a three story pub. The bottom two floors had live traditional irish music. The place was full of energy, laughter and music. This was interrupted only when Wales got a goal in the Euro 2016. We were told ...our lads are out so we are throwing our weight behind the Welsh.
The hop on hop off bus as always was very informative. Especially around the subtlety of showing class in georgian times. The number of steps to your front door would tell people how well to do you were ... 7 meant you were pretty much walking on water. Even the number of the street you lived on let people know how well off you were.
Now you may believe the Irish speak english...well they do but also Gaelic and most street signs are bi lingual. However the spoken language is a colourful combination of the two. As common one language kiwis we could understand but we needed to concentrate or we were lost. Since arriving here we have smiles on our faces . These people have suffered great hardship but are always keen for a chat, are so willing to help you and laugh more than any country I have visited. Now that can't be a bad thing. We have started saying m'heath when we toast at our evening meal. Although this city is unique for us there is a familiarity about it...we feel comfortable and we have a realization that in good ole New Zealand there is much Irish that we call our own.