Five Things I Hate About Dublin Ireland

After living in Dublin for just a month, I don’t claim to have the full measure of either the city or country. But I am starting to form some solid opinions about things.  Here’s a list of the top five things that grate on me after a month of expatriate living in The Republic of Ireland.

Number Five: The Cat Litter

As with last week’s post, those of you without cats won’t get this.  But for anyone who scoops a cat box with even semi-regularity, the choice of litter in Ireland is maddening.  They have plenty of the stuff. They even have litter that purports to be scoopable.  But, run your scoop under it with anything approaching actual movement, and said ball breaks apart and scatters to the wind.  What to do?

Upon questioning numerous shopkeepers about this, I was met with noncommittal shrugs, and a general vibe of “Well that’s just how it is here” attitude (said attitude contributing nicely to disgruntlement #1 below).

I even had one shopkeeper tell me that the stuff I’d purchased clumps well when the cat has “gone#2”, but not for “#1”.

Sigh.

Number Four: Separate Hot & Cold Water Taps

Over the years I have occasionally run across some old farmhouse, or other venerable institution, with plumbing that dates back to Moses and invariably includes separate hot & cold taps.  And, quaint as this may be, every single time I’ve encountered this my reaction has been the same.

WTF were they thinking?  We’ve put men on the moon.  We’ve got a polio vaccine.  We’ve found a way for Taco Bell and Pizza Hut to exist in the same building.  Surely the radical luddite building owner responsible for this monument to inefficiency realizes that we can run hot and cold together and get warm water without resorting to some Ebola-coated rubber stopper.

But you find these dual tap faucets in apartments, homes, and businesses all across Ireland. You may even find dual taps in homes that have the normal (intermixed water) taps.  This can only mean that someone made the decision to use the merged waterline taps for one application, and then consciously made the decision to install dual taps in another place to lie in wait for some poor unobservant soul to come along, blithely turn on one of the taps, and alternately freeze or scald themselves.  But that’s not the worst of it.

The worst part of this is that you’ll also find some modern houses with high style, top of the line dual taps.  This means that not only are they still in use here, but some sick bastard is hard at work designing new ones to meet the latest design fads.

When you ask the Irish about it, they agree it’s backwards assed, and not very good.  But it’s what we’ve got.  (Again, see #1 below)

Number Three: Bad Sausage

I may live in Dublin, but at heart I’m from the American South.  I like my sausage.  So when it became clear to me that we were moving to Dublin, I thought, “They have Irish Breakfast there, don’t they?  And that has lots of sausage in it.  Me thinks, I’ll like this move, or least be able to cope.”

Then, in May, when we came to find a place to live, I had some Irish sausage. Actually, I had quite a bit of it.  And it was (and remains to this day) relentlessly bland and unseasoned.

Is it too much to ask for a little cumin, or even some garlic?  Nope. Nada.  Nothin’.

I spoke with a sausage vendor at one of the local farmer’s markets and he told me proudly that they make their sausage with only the finest pork, and oats.

“Really”, I inquired.  “You mean, pork, oats, and spices, right?”  The response was “Yeah, sometimes we use a little spice, but mainly it’s just pork and oats.”

It might be a bit bland, but it’s our way.

Argh.  (See #1 below)

Number Two: Atrocious Bus Service  

Another thing I looked forward to when moving to Dublin was access to good public transportation.  It’s Europe. It must be good, right?  Not so.  Don’t get me wrong, Dublin mass transit is better than most of the United States, but it falls well short of the rest of Europe.

Some parts of the Dublin mass transit system are very good.  The LUAS (light rail) ROCKS.  The Dart, while old and rickety seems fairly well organized, except that their station maps are a nightmare of incomprehensibility (in the Mercator versus Peters Projection sense). Yet map issues are just the tip of the iceberg for the bus system.

Dublin buses are terrific when they come.  While smart card readers on busses are nice, is it too much to ask that the route schedules and maps posted at bus stops actually correspond to the bus lines that stop at that shelter?  And once you’ve tackled that problem, perhaps you could attempt to hang the maps right side up.

Again, this is just accepted, tolerated, and assumed by the locals.

Number One: Institutionalized Disorganization & Shameless Lack of Accountability –The Irish Goat Rodeo

The thing that grates most about living in The Republic of Ireland (particularly in Dublin because it has so many more ways to express itself in the city) is the laid back Irish way of just accepting poorly designed, executed, and delivered goods and services at all levels of life.

On one hand, there is a nice easygoing way about the Irish.  They are all very nice and extremely relaxed. But they’ve got such a casual outlook on life that they seem to have stopped expecting things to be done well, or, in some cases, at all.

You kind of expect this attitude from governments the world over.  But in Ireland everyone expects to have to ask landlords/banks/public offices two or even three times to get anything done.  Even if someone tells you to your face that they’ll take care of something, you MUST follow up because it’s likely they will “forget” to do it.  This is accepted practice here.  The attitude seems to be, “It’s okay. They’ll get to it eventually.”

Yes, the Irish are all very relaxed.  But they also don’t seem to excel at anything, or care about doing so.  It’s a relaxed attitude that’s not exactly laziness, but a kind of contentment born of sucking economic and social hind tit for decades.  They don’t expect better of themselves, and as a consequence aren’t surprised when that’s what the world hands them. And then that’s how they themselves treat the next person.

There’s no reward for excellence, so why bother going the extra mile?

One apologist I spoke with explained it like this:

“It’s all very well to have a plan (and goals).  But plans often go awry.  So the Irish would rather be flexible than focused and driven.  It’s better to have nothing planned and be adaptable than disappointed when your plan doesn’t work out.”

For a moment I was caught up in the bald-faced hippy dippy live and let live laid back way of this.  And then I realized,  that’s how NOTHING gets done.

And that’s why the delivery of most services in Ireland function in a manner kindly referred to by military personnel the world over as a complete “goat rodeo”.

Things to look forward to in upcoming posts:

  • 5 Things I Love About Dublin/Ireland
  • The Logistics of International Moving
  • USDA Insanity

About Glenn Kaufmann

I'm an American freelance writer, photographer, and web publisher. I specialize in writing about travel, food, arts, and culture. I also write dramatic scripts for stage and screen. I'm based in Ireland.
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500 Responses to Five Things I Hate About Dublin Ireland

  1. Susan Ross says:

    Glenn, sounds like you need to have a plan… and that plan needs to be… to get nothing done! Sounds good to me right about now. Hey, you could be back here in the ladder climbing, back stabbing, inconsiderate, superficial, inconsiderate world of So. Cal!

  2. That sounds… maddening.

  3. Kim Smith says:

    My two cents on the cat litter dilemma… this is a wonderful business opportunity. If you feel driven to improve the availability of decent cat litter for yourself and your Irish friends, you could start a business to address this problem. I bet you could make a pretty good living at it! The real question is, “do you want to be the “Kitty Litter King of Ireland”?

    • KIm,
      Thanks for commenting. And, you’re right. I’d thought of this myself. However, the word on the street is that, as a rule the Irish are more dog folk than cat folk. As such the stores tend not to invest in the higher quality litter because, well people will make do with the cheap stuff, and they might not sell enough of the expensive stuff to make it worth importing. Nothing is made here so everything must be factored through the import lens.

      As in, is it worth the hassle to import the stuff.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

      • Aoife says:

        Try this litter http://www.husse.ie/cat-food-products/cat-litter/ it’s the schnazz and they deliver.

      • Stephanie says:

        Just as a quick word about the cat people bit. I’m also American and I’ve been living in Dublin and studying in Kildare for a couple years now… I have never known sooo many people to hate cats. Especially the elderly women.
        I have met some old women who upon having a cat come in the house has thrown it out the window, including from the 2nd floor.

      • LBM says:

        I’m a cat person myself. I sort of thought their probably dog people. Evidently, they don’t always recognize quality when they see it (Ha, Ha,) Sounds like cat discrimination to me. Europeans are in general all dog people and Asians/Middle Easterners are the cat people. My sister had a cat named Monty, and her neighbor was a cat litter developer for some company. He is from India and one of his projects was developing cat litter. My sister was able to get a commercial deal for Monty through him. Her cat was going to be in a commercial. He already won the award for the most spoiled cat in Atlanta (and that’s saying something to win that, the city is filled with animal freaks) Not that my sister is a weird animal freak, but her cat still won. The cat got an agent. Somehow it fell through, however, but he still had an agent. Her other cat got to be a highway billboard model for a car dealership. I don’t know why, I tell that, it’s just the litter story made me think of it. I don’t like cats being given second class citizenship compared to dogs.

      • You do know our water is drinkable right? so how would having just one tap produce clear hot and cold water work? you sir are a fucking retard

        • Gee, Sean.

          Let me think on that. Maybe you could have two pipes feeding one tap that controls both.

          At least that’s how they do it in much of the rest of the world (at least in First World countries.)

          Have you not traveled enough to have seen how that works? We’ve also got indoor plumbing and have sent men to the Moon.

          • Sib says:

            This IS a first world country. You are complaining about first world problems. Non-first world water related problems are usually a lack of water. Not the incredible inconvenience you must have of manually mixing them. In some, by no means all, houses. Being well-travelled or not has nothing to do with that. The DART maps are a single line – hardly that difficult to figure out. Irish sausages have a great reputation internationally. The bus service is actually quite decent – even in comparison to other European countries. And the Luas is a tram not light rail. You’re welcome to have an opinion but seriously, the bane of your life? I work with several hundred foreign nationals on a daily basis, from all over the world, none of them gripe like this.

          • Rose Adraneda says:

            Ha ha I agree. I’m in dun Laoghaire right now and stared at the 2 faucets in the sink..,what the? Lol

        • Nancy in New Jersey says:

          Two different taps is simply the worst idea in the history of water delivery. See — you have ONE tap. Then you have this HANDLE on the top of the tap. I believe this was invented approximately 100 years ago. You pull the handle forward and water comes out. If you push it all the way to the right it’s cold, all the way to the left it’s hot, and somewhere in between its exactly whatever temperature you want. I have only seen the two tap thing in antique houses that you take tours through. When I went to Ireland I saw them everywhere. I’m thinking “these folks have gotten to the safety pin stage of industrial design — what’s up with these faucets?” Honestly, I loved Ireland but the faucet thing had me dying to go home just so I could wash my hands like a person from the 20th century!

          • john says:

            you Americans are responsible for so much waste in the world and you whinge about having to turn two separate taps to get the water at the temperature you require……this must be so stressful for you.you don’t have much to worry about

          • bashorama says:

            @John “you Americans are responsible for so much waste in the world and you whinge about having to turn two separate taps to get the water at the temperature you require.” Just had friends over throughout the month from France, South Africa, Czech and England and they ALL complained and laughed at our taps and how far behind it was compared to their countries. Other countries that the Irish often love to complain about. The complaints aren’t uniquely American. It’s 2016, people don’t only want the choices of freezing or boiling hot water.

      • noel o' dunadhaigh says:

        glenn , people like you ,we don’t need in Ireland with your racist views on our people laid back well that’s ok better than a money grabbing hungry mad America who sees the $ is king and who don’t even know who they are at the end of the day, but claim to have irish blood every st patricks day.
        sausages, well your surname sounds Germanic and we all know they love a big wiener,
        when I lived in usa i met so many fake people.. basically I think you are a messed up race if you could call it that. yes irish in ways have been brain washed by England and dare I say it American in the material view of the world. your blue chip companies are not needed here we survived thousands of years without your bullshit. as your talk of cats litter real men don’t have cats you pussy. feel free to comment wee plumbs

  4. Flipping hysterical – good stuff Glenn!

  5. jonathon says:

    It’s, let me say a tad hypocritical, to make outlandish, lazy, illinformed and sweeping statements about Irish people and Irish Infrastructure given the culminating focus of your blog seems to rest on the myopic perception that listlessness and lack of drive and discipline are general character traits of Irish people, such that it’s infrastructure reflects this. Without even beginning to address the underlying issue in your article that points to the obvious inability to properly understand and recognise other veritable but incompatible value systems to your own, let me at least point out (without wasting anymore time on you) that it is hypocritical to make sweeping statements that the Irish lack drive and focus, when your very ‘blog article’ displays you (as a *recent* american immigrant) lack such qualities yourself when it comes to carefully researching, contemplating and writing. Perhaps some drive and focus might make for an excellent follow up blog, ‘5 Things I love About Dublin/Ireland’. Here’s to wishful thinking!

    • Jonathon,

      First of all, let me say thanks for taking the time to read the post, and thanks again for taking the time to post a comment.

      I knew I was setting myself up for a verbal thrashing by writing this. But I feel strongly that over time the only way this blog will have any real value, texture, and weight is if I’m brutally honest in relating my observations and impressions. I hope that in a year or so I may have a deeper grasp of the underpinnings of why Ireland (and the Irish) are the way they are. Until then, I can only call it as I see it.

      Additionally, I felt okay (but not great) about making these generalizations only after hearing from both expats who have lived here for 2-8 years, and fromquite a few of the Irish themselves, that lack of accountability and organizational excellence are indeed systemic problems here.

      Please also note that I made it clear in the first paragraph that (after only a month in country) this is in no way intended to be an in depth analysis of the culture.

      Please also note that your careful analysis of the bottom of my post might have revealed that the next topic to be covered is indeed “5 Things I Love About Dublin/Ireland”.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

      • twillytz says:

        My Dear American ,you gave only 5 things and only Dublin, as someone who has lived here 16yrs now and in many counties I can assure you of at list another 95 things that “do your head in!!!!” In this place. also I regret to report that they only stand to get worse, try to live in the countryside and your bus worries will vanish there is no Bus,no public illumination,no sod all around here except for a couple of idiotic pedantic neighbours from Dublin who think they bought the village. as for the cat litter there is one that clumps everything yes, but you be better off with the wood pellets,most of the problems of this country arise from the lack of education,the people in genera is good at heart borderline naive ,their acceptance and reliance on paying more for services they do never receive is a long loyal habit and is inherited ,chronic, mediocrity and irresponsibility is the result, the island of Ireland is a beautiful enchanted place ,but bear in mind one thing should you ever consider taking up citizenship here as I did ,the one and only sure thing is that the Irish people get treated like shit all of the time, as for the sausage problem try a trip to Cork to the English Market ,go to the French shop there you sure to find something of your liking, if you in any time find yourself in Enniskillen in the North, try the “Black bacon of Fermanagh” shop they do wonderful different types of Sausages there too, shall I find any more nice sausages I let you know ,I heard of places in Dublin I shall try, you see the trick in Ireland and food is different places for different things if you are particular about your food as I am, see .
        the cold and hot taps are a pain although it is not as bad as living in the country being victim erm..customer of such thing as a group water scheme,those villains supply for 200 Euro plus a tantamount of lime scale that will block any tap ,corrode any pipe and in the winter you incur on the risk of end up as I am now with a house that flooded in January ,an insurance company that still haven’t finish paying a settlement and a builder that made a balls of a job left without finishing and is threatening me for money,so your tap hot or cold will be the list of your troubles ,ever watch that movie “The Money Pit” yes I live in it.
        To be a tourist in this country is one thing ,to live here is another,like I said Ireland is truly beautiful but we don’t get to enjoy it ,we get to pay for everything and anything all of the time . A thousand welcomes my ass!
        So my only advice to you is to develop a sarcastic appreciation of the surreal ,the absurd,you will find that very helpful,specially should you decide to read about things such as the RSA,the TV licensing,FAS,or experience any such things as buying a house,go in to any public service office such as the Motortax office,the County Council ……. yep like a farmer friend of mine says “because you’re in Ireland”.
        Have fun! best wishes Willie

        • jimmyglass65 says:

          Fuck off home if you don’t like it.

          • Expat says:

            Should all irish in the States and Australia fuck off home if they wouldn’t like there?Why the fuck do they left?

          • liam says:

            yeah i sure trump makes good sausages and will definitely make the buses run on time.

            to expat below –

            yes, if they dont like it they too should fuck off. why would anyone stay somewhere if they didnt want to?

      • Elik says:

        Dear Glenn and others who relate to Glenn’s observations and experiences.

        I am a recent import (spent last 10 years in the US but originally from continental Europe) to this ‘GRAND’ country and have found many wonderful things about Ireland that I fell in love with, such as the land, vegetation, relaxed mentality of the people, fresh air etc.

        However, and I felt a compelling need to inject this into this thread: Glenn is largely if not wholly on the mark. What triggered my response impulse after reading his ‘5 Things …’ piece was my daily and incessant obsession with two things – the separate hot & cold water taps and the systemic (culturally entrenched?) lack of accountability and organizational excellence. My wife and I arrived at the same exact wording and conclusion entirely on our own.

        While I have seen exceptions to these valid generalizations, I must say that Glenn’s sentiment is heart-felt: as for the example of separate water taps – an unjustifiable path-dependent anachronistic phenomenon; as for the cultural lack of accountability – the Irish’s biggest problem in this global and competitive world and clearly a huge opportunity for innovator and reformer types to come here and seize on it!!!

        Best,

        Elik

      • LBM says:

        A lot of people generally agree with that observation Glenn. It has been said before about Ireland. I think it really comes from the fact that Ireland has never really had any investment in it (except in the 90s and the early 2000s). So, they, like most Europe never had the industrial revolution and the economic momentum that brought like in England, U.S.A, and Germany. Most of Europe never really got any of that. Then, when they started to try for that, they (like us) couldn’t compete with Asian imports, to spite their socialism. Competition was always more fierce in Europe for those jobs, because it’s a much smaller country, like in England and Germany. So, people always found themselves between rock and hard place. Europe is just too small, there’s not enough opportunity. You would think, since Europe is more socially focused that they would have used the government to make investments in Ireland and develop themselves, but that didn’t happen for a long time. Now, the scam of 2008 has really convinced them that as you said somebody said “plans often go awry, so be content with what you can get.” It’s too bad rampant “capitalism” has collapsed the moment they got to experience it. The Irish youth in the 90s and the 2000s have been perty career oriented and ambitious in their schools. It seems like their kids have a lot of pressure from their parents to perform good in their schools, maybe even more cultural pressure than in the U.S. It seems like they believe in getting those accreditations big time, even if they don’t know exactly where they can go after graduation. I think their very academic, but not necessarily materialistic. And you know, the CC always emphasized the “be content with what you have” philosophy and that’s been entrenched for 200 years, that’s a little different than the Protestant emphasis that says the more industrious you are the closer to god. I’m sure you already know a lot of this stuff, so I’m just boring you with facts you probably learned being there. I don’t have anything to do with Ireland but I learned a lot about it because I’m interested.

  6. Bad sausage? Are you kidding? There’s plenty of great Irish sausages, in fact what you call sausage in the US is disgusting to me. (I lived there for 2 1/2 years). Just because you went to a shitty market with a shitty butcher doesn’t mean all the sausages in the country are bad.

    P.S. you’ve just made broadsheet, expect a shitstorm tomorrow.

    • Actually, this is probably more a language thing than a food thing – what the Americans call sausage (especially things like country sausage and breakfast sausage), we simply just don’t have in Ireland and never have had, as far as I can tell. Things like breakfast sausage really do have a lot more in them than our sausages do, and it’s a lot closer to salamis than our sausages are (though the salamis are cured while american sausage isn’t).

      Same way that we don’t have what an American would call barbecue in Ireland and never have (our barbecue is a grill in the US, our grill is a broiler in the US – US barbecue is food cooked in hot smoke for a long time (as in 8-12 hours) instead of over direct heat. We simply never started doing that here, the closest we got was smoking (which is done with cold smoke to preserve, not hot smoke to cook).

      That’s not to say our sausages are bad by the way (frankly, our pork is far better than american pork which has been bred until there’s no fat in the pig at all and their manufacturers wind up injecting it with brine so it doesn’t arrive in the shop as jerky – which again, is something we don’t have over here); it’s just that we’re not talking about the same thing so when an american asks for sausage and gets the best we have, they’re not getting what they thought they’d get; and when an irishman in america asks for sausage, the same thing happens.

      • Elik says:

        I could not agree more with Mark. Right on. Irish meat is excellent. US meat largely sucks (unless it’s farm to table) because it is allowed to contain up to 30% nasty brine, which alters texture, flavor and appearance. Irish style breakfast sausage is unique without a real US equivalent and the Irish are not big on Sweet Italian (US style) sausage which is different. But again, I lived 10 years in various places in the US and only found meat and sausage products approximating European caliber in specialty stores or butcheries.

    • jimmyglass65 says:

      Agrees, in act most American food is loaded with additives and sugar ie. the bread is inedible. No wonder they have such obesity problems.

    • Another arrogant angry aggressive (pls inform on stereotype I've missed) Nigerian says:

      Profound logic right here (Just because you went to a shitty market with a shitty butcher doesn’t mean all the sausages in the country are bad), for a country so blatantly racist.

      • IceGreen says:

        You missed “entitled, loud and lacking in self-control”. You find Ireland racist, so go somewhere which isn’t. Bye.

  7. mozzastar says:

    You’re here a month? You’re a bit arrogant, aren’t you? I’d ask if you had seen the entirety of the city before you wrote the above… but you can’t figure out the bus timetables.

    And you’ve got that awful American habit of calling a city ‘Dublin, Ireland’. Like it’s ‘Springfield, Ohio’. Ugh.

    • Mozz,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Actually, the Dublin Ireland thing is a bit calculated. As most of my readers are American, I want to make it clear that I’m writing about Ireland and not Dublin, Ohio or Dublin, California (and others). Sorry, but we’ve kind of run out of names over there and have to do that to distinguish where we’re talking about.

      More importantly, I’d like to be clear that I’m talking much of the time not just about Dublin, but about Dublin and Ireland as a whole.

      I hope you’ll keep reading.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

      • mozzastar says:

        Do you honestly think that when people hear ‘Dublin’, they’re thinking ‘Dublin, California’? Can you please remove my name as it’s not included in my username but rather my email address which should not be published?

      • moe-man says:

        been to Seattle [Tacoma] for a months, god it was the shit place, no sugar,, just sugar cane, sausages your having a laugh,tea is shocking as well, cant go for a stroll as there no footpaths, and no buses at all,its also fecking freezing, when I visited the city every corner you had winos druggies, and when i asked for directions,[not of the corner dickheads] you just got a vacant stare, bit like dougle in father ted,as for animals well i do say you do look after them well with a animal are dog shelter on every turn,big fucking deal, my experience off a city in the U.S. boring mundane soulless and vacant,your football is stupid not football at all as the don’t really use there feet,also your TV is shit, advert after advert,also the people I did meet and see where over weight[to many sausages I suspect] but i guess you can only notice these things when you come from a country that’s far more older then the USA with far more history culture
        ect,

        • Moe,

          Good points, but your math is a tad off.

          People have lived here for a thousand years, but Ireland ( the Republic) itself is less than a hundred years old. That’s part of the problem. The country is very young, and is still making very immature decisions about governing itself.

          • HARD MAN50 says:

            he wasnt talking about the government, he was talking about the country geographically,which
            means we have had people for 2000+ years,
            and unless your native american, you cant say your
            people have been around longer than ours

          • jimmyglass65 says:

            It would appear by your comments Glenn that American educational system is failing.

    • Dawn says:

      When did including country with city become an “American habit”? And what’s so awful about it? Forgive me, but I didn’t realize Dublin was the only Dublin in the world, and everyone should automatically assume the one in Ireland is always the one being referenced.

      It was pointed out to me by an Irish tour guide that Americans are awful for calling it “the Civil War” as if it were the only civil war. So which is it, Irish? Are we supposed to be specific or not?

      • liam says:

        generally when you say dublin there’s only one place you could possibly mean, again with americans its a bit different though because ye struggle to come up with original placenames.. theres plenty of different combinations of letters so theres no need for 14 places called dublin!

        theres only one!

  8. ljr says:

    a Dubliner responds (you made it on to http://www.broadsheet.ie)…
    5. – cat litter: try the Lidl cat litter, clumps for me 90% of the time.
    4. – taps: what a weird complaint. can’t help you here. doesn’t bother me – I have both mix taps and non mix taps in different rooms, can’t say I find one more useful than the other.
    3. – sausages: standard Irish sausages contain few spices but there are dozens of “gourmet” versions in the better shops which will have spices. Kearns is a popular Dublin standard sausage with a lot of white pepper which you might like. you need to look in the likes of a large SuperValu (e.g. Churchtown) or Fallon and Byrne on Exchequer St. or talk to sausage maker supreme Ed Hick at one of his market stalls. http://www.hicks.ie/ (oh, and try some of Irish black puddings which tend to have more spice – e.g. mccarthys, kellys or bradys).
    2. – buses: agreed. they are pure sh1te to use a local expression. if you are unlucky enough to live on just one bus route, I pity you. From town I tend to stand between a few bus stops and run to catch whichever one comes. Otherwise I cycle (the dublin bike scheme is fab), walk or drive (and put up with the outrageous parking fees).
    1. – bad services: believe it or not it is much better than it used to be. at least now you can easily move bank a/c’s, utility services etc. I would threaten to move my business, ask to speak to a manager etc., and be very polite but damned firm and demand results. as for landlords well you are pretty screwed – almost all are total sleeveens (http://www.slang.ie/index.php?county=Dublin&entry=sleeveen)
    finally, I would say just one word…

    Relax… (couldn’t resist it!). it will get easier!

    • Thanks, ljr.

      Actually, despite those five things, I’m really happy here. Tune in next week for the “Five Things I Love About Dublin Ireland”, and you’ll see that I’m not as cheesed off as it might appear.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

  9. Jim says:

    Glenn,

    Seriously? I agree with you on the bus service, but other than that I think you just like whining mate.

    You can buy decent sausages all over the city, so maybe you’re just being a little bit lazy yourself by not having the initiative to go out and actually find decent paces to buy produce.

    Kitty litter? Seriously dude – you move to a new country and you write blogs about how the consistency of the kitty litter doesn’t impress you?

    I know all too well Ireland isn’t perfect, but I’ve had bad experiences and lackluster service in plenty of other developed countries.

    I’m sure there’s room for improvement in any society, there’s plenty of thing’s I would change here if I could, but one thing I’ve learned is that being a “nay-sayer” and whining about everything here is something I would reserve for conversations with malcontent cab drivers on my way home. It’s too easy to get caught up in things about Dublin/Ireland that could be improved, besides; you didn’t even mention how the North Inner City looks like Night of the Living Dead, except with junkies instead of zombies.

    Don’t worry, you will come to appreciate this place eventually. There are small perks to living here.

    Not enough to keep me here after I finish college though!

    • Jessica Gunn says:

      What’s the betting he bought “Irish sausages” from a certain shop that makes their Irish sausages more like english sausages and at that english sausages during the war! Their so grizzly it’s disgusting shouldn’t even be called a sausage let alone Irish! You want something with serious flavour try the puddings if you can’t face a blood pudding I seriously recommend Shaw’s white pudding it’s mouth watering! And as for cats being second class good lord man the countries about 50/50 with way more cats being owned than dogs but unlike most cats in America that are completely indoors due to predators or extreme temperatures etc most cats in Ireland are indoor outdoor mixes my present girl won’t go out the door unless I’m with her my last fella was a !ix and my little girl before him would only come in if it was freezing! As a result there is very small call for a lot of cat litter in Ireland just as if you moved to the Bahamas you would have a lot of trouble trying to buy snow shoes! Our buses maybe a bit all over the place bit at least we have lovely drivers that if they spot you running will always wait for you and certainly down the country will help you with bags or buggies or any problem you might be having as for the taps I’ve had both and prefer separate taps personal preference! But as for our laid back attitude be greatful for it because it’s what stops us from slapping whining Muppets around the place!

  10. Paul says:

    Just got here via Broadsheet.

    My reaction – have you lived abroad before? The apparent stupidity when you come to a new country is horrific, wherever you go.

    For example when I moved from Ireland to downtown New York, I had to put up with the nonsense stemming from features of NY society. Not having a credit score and having to put huge deposits down to get a phone or apartment. Useless bank tellers and banking services (bank tellers in Ireland are far more helpful, even if internet banking is mind bogglingly awful here). Sleazy, call-avoiding, money grubbing landlords. The obscene cost of health care.

    Welcome to a new country, Glenn! Hopefully this will be a growing experience for you.

    • Paul,

      Thanks for reading the blog and taking the time to comment.

      Having spoken with many friends who have immigrated to the U.S. from other countries ( China, Chile, Spain, Germany, Brazil, etc.) I know that immigrants have adjustment issues to deal with and massive bureaucratic hurdles to be cleared that have nothing to do with the specific country left behind or the country to which they’ve emigrated. It’s hard no matter who, no matter why, and no matter where. That’s why I’m writing this blog.

      I realize that I have the benefit of going though this process in a fairly well funded way, with little to no language barrier, in a friendly country, with all manner of technological advantage (Internet, cell phone, electronic banking and credit cards), and with no political pressure to have to leave somewhere. Even so, it is not an easy process. Why? What is that invisible border that seems to exist with no regard for technology, class, or caste? That’s why I’m writing this.

      What is the modern immigrant experience?

      Please keep reading and commenting.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

    • bashorama says:

      I have lived in a few countries and I have to disagree on the bank tellers being helpful in Ireland. It was such a huge pain and took weeks just to set up an account. They asked for triple the documents compared to other countries I had lived in. I had to make an appointment just to set up the account and that took nearly two hours (you don’t need to make an appointment in North America or many Asian countries and it takes 30 minutes maximum). Even after I set up the account, I had to wait another week for approval and another week for card and another week for a pin. I then had to set up internet banking which was just a joke. When I called with a problem, they were horribly rude. But that’s generally all customer service over here (rude and incompetent). Don’t even get me started on my taxes or obtaining a PPS. I nearly ripped my hair out. It took me MONTHS to get a PPS, utilities, Internet, new mobile phone set up (since they won’t accept anything besides an Irish bank card- these kinds of places won’t simply accept Mastercard or Visa as payment like other countries- and they had me pay around 300 euros deposit for a phone since I didn’t have Irish credit and my boyfriend had to pay 500 euros for a bill plan mobile that was advertised as free. I even brought in my pay slips, bank statement and credit score from my home country and they would barely look at it). I still love it here, I just avoid government offices and certain companies like the plague.

    • betty burke says:

      Well said Paul, I have lived here for 74years and wouldn’t live anywhere else. We have come a long way in recent years and I feel this is a lovely country. I would hate to live in America, where everyone seems to be hugely oversized, eating non-stop, loud and showing no signs of culture. Americans love to have a family connection to Ireland, when they find one they make a great deal about it. As for the sausages – well that’s how WE make them, it is our recipe, and much sought after the world over. I know when I visit Germany (and boy! do they have a selection of sausages) I always bring some with me – they love Irish Sausages and black and white puddings. I really hate to see our country berated in such a way. We have some of the best scenery in the world, and the friendliness to go with it. You can ask anyone here to give you directions, and not only will you get what you asked for, but a friendly bit of chat to go with it, usually ending with the words God Bless – and don’t the Americans need all the blessings they can get right now. Our “two tap” systems, Glenn does not realize, are in real family homes, where houses are not just glittered up showhouses, where everyone speaks with “attitude” – one only has to look at the American childrens programmes on TV where nobody can say two words to each other without this dreadful “attitude”. I really don’t think Glenn should stay on in Ireland, we really don’t need the likes of him here, he looks for holes in the system, I would love to know, in all his travels where he has found the country that has everything absolutely perfect. He failed to mention.We are a very multicultural society here now, with excellent restaurants, top class hotels, excellent taxi services etc. ok, there are things that need to change, we know that. We don’t carry guns around in our bags, we don’t have fast food cafes that serve oversized portions to oversized people, mostly we are happy, honest caring people. Get a grip Glenn – that is on your seat on the plane back to the wonderful U S of A.

      • Hi, Betty.

        Thanks for taking the time to read the blog, and especially for taking the time to comment, and contribute to the discussion.

        I disagree with almost everything you had to say. But that’s the beauty of this forum, we can share differing viewpoints.

        Now, because I was raised to respect my elders I won’t go through them all. But I’ll say it appears you’ve bought into all of the stereotypes about Americans. I’d caution you not to believe them lest you want the world to cling to all the stereotypes about lazy, uneducated, racist, white trash Irish.

        But, seriously, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

        • betty burke says:

          Hi Glenn,
          I note your reply to my remarks. I can see you are not too happy about my comments, so you will understand how I felt about your remarks regarding Ireland, having spent my entire life living very happily here. I worked all my life, had a large family who are all educated and employed. By the way, they don’t spend their time in the pubs. I have traveled extensively and experienced many cultures, respecting the differences, and always enjoyed coming home to this country. I have family members living abroad and I would be horrified to hear them talking about the country in which they live, in such a disrespectful manner. I would like to think that in time, you will enjoy Ireland and its people and perhaps write something really positive about us. I agree to disagree with you also.
          Kind regards
          Betty

          • Hi Betty,

            I respect your views. But, please keep reading the blog.

            You’ll see that I’ve written a lot of positive things about Ireland.

            But I have to say, though that first blog post as over four years ago, I still pretty much stand by everything I wrote.

            With personal experience (and confirmation from others) I’m amazed at how more or less spot on my observations were.

            That in know way says that I don’t accept Ireland for what it is. It’s possible to do both (respect and criticize) at the same time. I’m just calling it as I see it, and making a point (for other immigrants) about what to expect when they relocate.

            Cheers,
            GK

      • Rosie says:

        Sorry Betty,but you really need to get out and travel more.The facilities in this country are woeful and I think the “friendliness” you speak of is surface deep.People are really not that interested in learning about any other cultures,as they have a superiority complex which really covers up a country that does not have any real sense of its self outside general stereotypes of drinking,pubs etc etc. I wish it was different as I gave up my home to live here with my spouse.I really miss the genuine honesty of people back home and the mix of cultures that sadly does not exist here.I have never seen such rampart greed than I have here and the sad outcomes of people who lost the run of themselves,and they were many not few.The outright racism is disgusting and surprising since Ireland had so many who left here themselves.I find myself often wondering if things will change,but I really fear that this country will forever be stuck in a boom and bust cycle which I really believe is the result of apathy and Irish people not really wanting what is best for the community and only the them self..A little less of the “it will be grand” attitude and some real effort and thought for others is really required.Ireland may not always have foreign investors to buoy up the economy and god help everyone if they disappear!

        • Hi Rosie,

          Thanks for reading, and for taking the time to comment.

          You raise somer interesting points.

          Not that it matters in the lightest (you views are valid and welcome here regardless – I’m just curious), but how long have you lived in Ireland?

          Cheers,
          GK

          • Rosie says:

            Hi Glenn,thanks for the response.I have lived here for probably 7 years altogether after first visiting in 2005.I was home for just under two years from 2010,and unfortunately my irish husband couldn’t settle away from home so we left Sydney nearly four years ago.I have lived in Dublin,Kerry and now Cork.After much deliberating I have recently purchased a house in what is considered a very good area after selling some properties back home.I am hoping that it will help me feel more settled as I am setting up some b&b accommodation.I had a retail business for a couple of years here but nothing could ever convince me to do that here again.Wow,people were challenging here compared to working back home.We have the concept of the “tall poppy” attitude back home regarding keeping your feet on the ground,and it should be followed here.Thankyou for setting up the blog,I thoroughly enjoy reading it and truth be said it has kept me sane the past few months when I could have thrown the towel in! Life here is a constant challenge.I could regal you with an interesting experience I am having to take on the inept local constabulary after being threatened by the local bully,but I won’t go into detail here suffice to say that it would not happen anywhere in which common sense prevailed.Take note,you can be the most law abiding citizen and have no protection in this country if a known trouble maker decides to pick on you.No one takes responsibility for anything,that would entail intelligence and work.Look forward to future posts and feel free to contact me via e mail if you would like.Keep up the good work!

          • Rosie,

            I’m sorry to hear of your trouble with the locals. But it sounds like you’ve got the right attitude.

            I’m glad people like you are staying.

            I love the tall poppy attitude.

            Thanks for sharing.

        • Peter says:

          Hi Rosie.
          I’ve been living in Australia a long time now and I’m heading home to look after my parents. I agree with you regarding people in Ireland wanting what is only best for them.
          Regarding retail business its the same all over. I was in business here and people have high expectations all over. Going off topic…its probably the same in Ireland now but over here one day runs into another. Sunday is Bunnings day.

        • Marie says:

          In regard to your problem with the policeman and the bully, you will probably find they went to school together and they are related. Don’t waste your time.

  11. SO says:

    The cat litter rant is fairly hilareous. I think Americans are far more obsessed about their pets than Irish people which may explain it. Also pretty hilareous is the water taps thing. I mean really why would you give a crap about the taps? On the sausies front it’s all very subjective but possibly they have to add in all those spices in America to mask the poor quality of the pork, surely you want to be able to taste and savour the flavour of the meat itself?! Dublin Bus is a law unto itself alright, although I like to call this character. The whole value systems thing is definitely very interesting but you seem to make a bit of a mess of it. “But they also don’t seem to excel at anything, or care about doing so. It’s a relaxed attitude that’s not exactly laziness, but a kind of contentment born of sucking economic and social hind tit for decades.” What you said there is a bit of a joke in fairness, maybe Irish people just arent so obnoxious about shoving their achievements in people’s faces. You may find that subtlety is a big thing in Ireland. Anyway I think you could do a better job of it in the future perhaps, especially the idea of seperating the professional sphere from the social sphere which I think Irish people in general are quite good at (work hard in their job but have a laid back outlook to life in general) while American people in general are not . Interesting stuff all the same. Keep it up, look forward to the next post.

    • SO,

      Thanks so much for reading the post, and for taking the time to comment.

      I couldn’t agreemore with your point that “Irish people just aren’t so obnoxious about shoving their achievements in people’s faces. You may find that subtlety is a big thing in Ireland.”

      I’m definitely still coming to grips wit this, and what this says about both me and the Irish. And I’m also still coming to grips with “seperating (sic) the professional sphere from the social sphere”. It’s a very American thing to blurr that line. I suspect it’ll take quite a while for me to appreciate the nuances of living another way.

      Thanks again for following the blog, and I hope to hear from you again.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

  12. Steve says:

    Glenn you Legend. Will you run for President man.

    And Jonathon, sush now. Dont talk when your eating a dictionary – tis bad manners buddy

    KAUFMANN 2012!!!!

    • twillytz says:

      Steve you so right !! W

      • NotLaura says:

        I found your post fun Glen and as an Irish person agree with the relaxed attitude, though personally I would call it laziness myself combined with a downtrodden psychology that makes us reluctant to complain about much of anything. But I have to say Steve’s “Dont talk when your eating a dictionary – tis bad manners buddy” was so hilarious, I laughed out loud (I know on the internet one is in the habit of using “lol” but in this case it’s apt). 🙂

  13. Sinead says:

    have to disagree with you on the sausage, best in the world, ex. pat living in Los Angeles x

  14. ribena says:

    http://www.dublinbusapp.com/dbmaps/Dublin_Bus_Maps.html should help you out with number 2, you read as a moneyed fella who no doubt has an iphone.

    • Thanks, Ribena,

      I’m looking forward to getting that app., but haven’t gotten my iPhone from the U.S. set up here yet. And while that will help me, it’d be great if the bus system were set up so you didn’t have to have a smart phone for the system to function at its best.

      Thanks again, and take care.

      -Glenn

  15. Jack O' Halloran says:

    Hey,

    This is a great blog, really enjoyed reading through it, and I am looking forward to further posts.

    Regards
    Jack

  16. VH says:

    Dear Glenn, welcome to Dublin. My mother had an American neighbour for a few years who had the following issues with Dublin and Ireland and Irish people in general:
    1. The mixer tap issue. This seems to be a real problem for Americans, who all seem to like their water “just right”, rather than making the choice between hot or cold. Fair enough I suppose, but it seems to annoy Americans A LOT. I am not sure why.
    2. Not being able to pay for take-away pizza with a credit card, and generally having to use cash more than she had to in the States. I personally haven’t ever noticed this. Do pizza delivery guys really have credit card machines in the States?
    3. The way Irish people give directions by either supplying the name of a pub or, say, a crossroads that only Irish people know the name of e.g. the KCR or Lamb Doyle’s. She felt it was exclusionary. It really isn’t though, it’s just the names of the places. So don’t be offended when people mention the names of suburbs or crossroad or pubs when you are looking for directions. Though I would completely admit that you have to know in which general direction you are going in order to get anywhere in this country.
    4. The use of Irish slogans such as “Slan Abhaile” in the shops, which she also felt was exclusionary. Again, not exclusionary, just a different language (our national language in fact).
    5. The unrelentingly miserable and dark and miserably dark Irish winter. This will be your first Irish winter here, so good luck with that. Apparently it’s miserable and wet and kind of cold (but not like an American winter which is totally wintery and snowy and freezing and a very definite season in its own right). It was after her fourth winter that she decided she couldn’t live here anymore.
    6. Our laid-back/lazy attitude. Also a factor in her repatriation.

    So: you’re probably right about most things, except the sausages. We have fantastic meaty tasty sausages. American sausages taste plasticky and are of dubious provenance, but each to their own.

    PS Given your comments above, I would advise not ever trying to deal with NTL if you could avoid it.

    • bashorama says:

      The separate tap issue bothered my friends visiting from France, Czech, South Africa and England. This definitely doesn’t only bother Americans who like their water “just right,” but most visitors I’ve met have brought this up in converstion because they just can’t understand why. I’ve only seen this in my country when a house is very old…my house in Ireland is new and has this. I lived in China for several years and never even saw that there either. My friends were genuinely perplexed and asked what the point of it was….the water was too hot or too cold for them. Washing dishes in scalding hot water is not fun.

  17. Keith says:

    Hi.

    I’m not sure you’ve been living here long enough to realise that there are two Irelands.

    One Ireland has grossly overpaid, disorganised, lazy and unaccountable Irish people –
    government, local councils and civil service. Unfortunately this is the Ireland you’ll be
    living in most of the time.

    And the other Ireland has dynamic private businesses full of harding working Irish people.
    Hopefully this is the Ireland you’ll remember when you’re gone.

    Enjoy your stay.

    Regards
    Keith.

    • Cathal says:

      yeah those private sector banks and property developers really did the business, and this dynamic Irish private business must be why we are so reliant on foreign investment and US multinationals.
      Much more honest to say that in each walk of Irsh life (esp in public sector) there are dynamic people but due to small insular nature of our society they get overwhlemed with the time wasters that are difficult to fire due to our intrinsic smallness

      • Cathal,

        I think you may be on to something here. I’m sure this is a case where size does matter a great deal.

        This ( and your comments) are something I plan to keep an eye on in the coming months/years.

        Cheers,
        Glenn

      • Elik says:

        scale and insularity two correctly identified factors here – I agree with Cathal about the fact that anybody in government who aspires to be more efficient and customer-oriented hits a ceiling quickly and sees no incentive to make any waves. Government employees in all countries fit this stereotype – it’s all a question of degree in the end. I also have met people representing dynamic Irish businesses, and the contrast between them and their government systems could not be starker.

    • Just sayin' says:

      Keith, your a dick. Stop stirring.

  18. shane says:

    Regarding sausages, Superquinn is your best bet. They have a fine variety. There are also many independent butchers that enter competitions with their own sausages, many of which involve spices and herbs not found in the popular brands. That said, Clonakilty sausages and Rudd sausages were handed down to us from heaven.
    Public transport – fair points. It’s not exactly Eurocapital standard, but it’s worth remembering that only a million or so people live in Dublin – this is clearly one of the downsides of a country with half the population it once supported.

    Mainly though, I think it’s worth pointing out that there are plenty Irish people who are not like this, and who do expect better of their compatriots. There’s a lot of “they” usage in this that is comes close to tarring us all with the same lazy brush.

  19. Hey Glen,

    As a Canadian living in exile in Dublin, I share many of your sentiments. Adjusting to Dublin can be a trying experience – especially when you have to deal with the original rednecks and crackers who run the country. I would be interested in your take on how to improve this god foresaken rock!

    • Lucy says:

      Just go home then, problem solved.

      • Anon says:

        …aaaand that’s the biggest problem: nationalism.
        This constantly present thought pattern of “this is how we do things here, if you don’t like it go somewhere else” is the epitome of provincialism.

          • Johnny says:

            It’s really last century attidude instead of it being well let me learn from you, how can we do it better? What do you think so? Good points but there are some challenges … We have tried that before … We can try a new way … Etc instead it’s like go back home…not even school kids in a playground would carry this mentality … Many of us were shipped here for work and we have to suffer this narrow mental mindset … Its not the most intelligent or strongest species who survive it’s those most responsive to change Darwin

        • bashorama says:

          I was told by groups of guys to go back to where I came from when they heard my accent and then they harassed my friend because she’s from Croatia. I see a lot of street harassment and xenophobia in the cities here.

        • Peter says:

          I’m an Irish man living in Australia. One day I was complaining out loud about my boss.
          My Australian work mate thought I was complaining about Australia in general and told me “if you don’t like it here why don’t you go home” . My point is if the shoe was on the other foot?

  20. Fred says:

    Glenn

    Don’t worry about all the grief you’ll get about your blog. The Irish are highly sensitive to any criticism of the Irish, unless it’s made by the Irish themselves – in which case it’s a wholly legitimate discourse on the state of the system, the inherent unfairness of monolithic societal structures and the incompetence of those in power.
    You’re also dead right about the ‘goat rodeo’. Getting things done here is very difficult. People say they will do things even though they have no intention of actually doing them – indeed they can seem surprised, if not downright offended, when you ask them whether they’ve done the thing they said they would do.
    Also: you’re right, the separate taps thing makes no sense. Nor does the lack of postcodes (zip codes to you, Yankee!) Or the fact that when you book a train seat online, other people just sit in it anyway. The casual attitude to punctuality can be grating, along with the fact that it’s hard to get a good pub lunch for less than €20 when the true cost should be a fiver.
    I know nothing of cat litter. You can get good sausages. And taking the bus is considered a mini-lottery, in which everyone buys a ticket and a lucky few win a bus ride, so don’t be surprised when you don’t win.
    HOWEVER…..
    It is precisely this casual, laid-back approach to life which makes this the most fantastic place in the world to live. Nowhere else will you find people as friendly, charming, good-natured, welcoming and funny. (They are also extraordinarily politically aware). They are largely well-read, interested in the world, often well-travelled and usually well-mannered. People you don’t know are happy to talk to you in pubs, shops and during the interminable wait to see whether your buslottery ticket is a winner. Irish people may not chant ‘have a nice day’ robotically in shops, but they often stop and chat – and they actually really would like you to have a nice day.
    People here know how to party, and are not afraid of staying out late, having a few drinks and meeting people.
    There is no class system per se; people judge you by who you are and how you act, rather than how much you earn or where you went to school. An Irish funeral is a celebration of life and the achievements of the deceased; an Irish wedding is a celebration of life at which you may risk death (from alcohol poisoning).
    The Irish are deeply loyal, committed to the notion of family – and above all else, they are really, really good fun. We may not be as go-getting as some, but we’re not out there rioting and looting either. Our economy isn’t world-beating, but then again we don’t invade other countries so as to strip them of their natural resources because we’ve decided we deserve them more. We think there is more to life than just money (drink, for example, is far more important). As one of our many great national poets put it: ‘We are all in the gutter: but some of us are looking at the stars.’
    So the thing is this: you’re right about all the things that drive you mad. You’ll rail against them. You will literally want to bang your head against a wall. Nothing will change. Your protest will dissipate as the ripples on a pond. And gradually, you’ll stop being angry. You’ll enjoy the good stuff and learn to work around the bad stuff. You’ll fall in love with the very quirks you once hated. You’ll fall in love.

    And then, my friend, you too will be proud to be Irish. Enjoy.

    • Elik says:

      Hey Fred, reading your blog entry was utterly therapeutic. Thank you. I now definitely feel that I am not alone with my experiences. cheers

    • kburrows39 says:

      How eloquently put. I am planning to move to Ireland in the summer of 2012. I can’t wait!! I think that hot and cold running taps will be a small price to pay for living in a beautiful country so richly steeped with history. I look forward to living in a place where people still look you in the eye when they say hello. (Something not done very often here in America). I hope to be accepted by this country and these wonderful people, and I am certain I can adapt to a slower paced life.

    • Richard says:

      Finally…….someone hit the nail on the head.

    • Austinfeffa says:

      This was the best comment I have read! Well said. I’ve been to Ireland once and loved ever bit. I could.definitely see myself living in Galway! I love the people and everything that comes with them. Thanks for the good read!

  21. Dear Glen,

    Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, a twister has carried you over the Rainbow and delivered you to munchkin land. The native munchkins are a peculiar sort, inhabiting a country with one foot in the 21st Century and one foot in their collective mouths. Afterall it was an Irishman, Jonathan Swift who coined the word “Yahoo” and it applies to 70% of the Irish population. Once you figure out that the little islander mentality of the munchkins and learn to accept second rate service, you’ll survive or just about!

    Some observations about the munchkins.
    (1) They have an enormous sense of entitlement, expecting the sun, the moon and the stars from the state without doing anything to deserve it – like work for instance!
    (2) The Irish media is populated by half literate former socialists, so don’t expect to receive an informed or educated view of the Irish malaise.
    (3) If you think that southerners (Americans) are racists, the munchkins put them to shame!
    (4) The munchkins suffer from a severe form of pathological jealousy – known as begrudgery. They hate to see anyone with talent succeed, and would rather put an idiot into office than someone with ability.
    (5) The Irish political class are clueless, corrupt and incompetent, some of them spend more time on the golf course than they do in the parliament.
    (6) Don’t expect any riots to break out in munchkin land, the natives are (1) Too lazy to riot (2) They already have plenty of trainers (3) Have every conceivable gizmo, courtesy of the generous social welfare system which rewards laziness.

    • danc says:

      Yeeouch, that stung this munchkin just a bit..

      But I regret to say I actually agree with everything you have just said. Maybe that makes me one of the non-Yahoo munchkins?

      Please note that we are not actually *all* like this, despite how it may seem.

    • louis lefronde says:

      Of course, I forgot to mention one of the major problems with Ireland is the nepotism. It’s so backwoods out there, take the state media channel (avoid if you can) it’s inhabited by a collection of banjo players – who are invariably related to the civil servants who run the place. In America and indeed in Canada, we would have fired their asses a long time ago! The competition is not much better, they just employ people from the same small town in the south called Cork!

    • kathy says:

      So I wonder how do black people get treated there? Coming from the pacific northwest in america, namely seattle, it’s very diverse and therefore, not much racism. I have met numerous Irish and heard everything from you’ll get looked at and have things said to you, all the way down to nothing much will happen unless you go into the country. I myself am not black but do have some family who are mixed with white and black and would love to know the situation. Thanks

      • Kathy,

        I wish there were better things to report. But sadly, I think a fair number of the stereotypes about racism and the Irish are true. Of course they don’t hold for all of the Irish, but in the time we’ve been here, we’ve heard and seen some shameful stuff. It’s odd to me. You’d think that as a nation prone to immigration, they’d be more open about these things. Collectively that seems not to be the case.

        Here’s a blog entry about one of our encounters:

        http://anamericanindublin.com/2012/03/07/feeling-other-racism-and-racial-profiling-in-ireland-and-elsewhere/

        • maria.atkins@mail.com says:

          I am appalled at how black people beat their children and think its discipline. The rude loud entitlement behaviour a nd how their asylum seekers yet go home regularly on holidays. Yet we(simple minded) people have to put up with their criticism of our country

          • Hi Maria,

            First of all, I want to genuinely thank you for reading the blog, and for taking the time to comment.

            While I have no idea why the “Five Things” post moved you to comment on a racial issue, and although I find your comment completely repugnant, I think it’s important to include it. Clearly it gets to the heart of your sense of Irish insecurity, and, offensive or not, I want to encourage conversations of all kinds.

            I find it odd that you’d use domestic violence as a meter to measure Irish civil society. It’s odd given we all know the Irish have no (absolutely zero) history of using assault or violence.

            Now, given the level of open racism in your comment, I wonder if you’ve seen this post yet:

            http://www.anamericanindublin.com/2012/03/07/feeling-other-racism-and-racial-profiling-in-ireland-and-elsewhere/

            I genuinely welcome your comments on this one as well. But, first please read the existing comments so that you can see where this extensive conversation on Irish racism has already taken us.

            Thanks for weighing in.

            -Glenn

          • bashorama says:

            Ha! Are you for real?

        • Alan says:

          the Republic of Ireland is a very open country to all people we have a vote on same sex marriage coming up and racism is scarce, unless provoked . As for this thread HOW DARE YOU CANADIANS AND AMERICANS come to Ireland and complain over taps when there is people in the world who don’t have water at all never mind cat litter. You people wonder why the world and the Irish hate you all and its because you’re very rude and don’t get me wrong not all Americans are rude and I feel sorry for those that have to share America with you . If Ireland is so shitty why don’t you fuck off home or better yet hop over the border there into the north and try living up there for a while just be weary of the bombs, IRA, and giant berlin like walls separating communities . Maybe then you will realise that fucking cat litter and water taps isn’t the biggest issue on Irish peoples minds

          • JJ from Galway says:

            ^He says racism is scarce in Ireland (it isn’t, by the way), and in the next breath paints all Americans and Canadians with the same brush. Sure he backpedal a a bit, but the sentiment is there.
            Prejudice, xenophobia, and hypocrisy – you squeezed them all into one post. How pathetic.

      • zach says:

        I’m caught in a bind here because what Americans call racism doesn’t really happen here, there is a steady stream of Western African, polish, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants coming into both north and south ireland and they have have no problems, what the Irish are, is ethnocentric, we make light of other peoples differences but don’t generally commit “racial hate crimes”

        By the way I’m an American with dual nationality and resident for 20 years.

        As for everything else in this blog’o’rant, having two taps is supposed to be aesthetic. Cats poop outside here, hence the different shades of green. Buses always come in two or never. If you need something done then just keep hassling, at least your not having to deal with an Indian far far away.

        Sausages here are generally pork, salt and rusk, but this blog is about two years old so you’ve probably gathered that by now and learned to love them. I just wanted to comment about the racism.

        • Dear Zach,

          Thanks so much for reading the blog, and particularly for taking the time and effort to respond.

          While I’m happy that you’ve never had to experience an incident of racism in Ireland, I have to say that I think mileage may vary greatly on this issue. I believe that if you spoke to the “steady stream of Western African, polish, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants” that you refer to in your comment, you’d probably hear quite a different story. I’ll also refer you to Ireland’s longstanding not so pleasant treatment of its Traveller population.

          Finally, you may want to glance at my earlier post about racism and racial profiling in Ireland, in which my wife was the victim of blatant racism by Dublin Bus inspectors, and was later told by Dublin Bus management that they “never” have racial problems with, or issues of racial insensitivity on the part of their employees.

          In particular, I’d like to draw your attention the comment from “David on April 25th, 2013 (I believe) in which he seemed to imply that it was somehow tolerable, or understandable, for the Irish to be racist because there are so many people of color and non-Irish ethnicity in Irish prisons. It, of course, never occurred to David that the prison population in Ireland is so skewed in that direction because of systemic racism.

          My initial reaction to your comment is that I’m sorry you believe that America is one big ball of hate crimes, because America is not at all that way. Furthermore, your belief that racism has to be a “hate crime” gets at the very root of the reason why I think Ireland actually has an extremely bad, unacknowledged, and potentially worsening race problem.

          Sadly, racism the world over has become a far more insidious and subtle problem than just beating (or killing) people. Casual slights and remarks are the regular and consistently damaging way that racism wounds people these days. For example: a shopkeeper commenting to a customer from Tokyo that she’d “love to have Asian eyes because men go crazy for them” is not a physical assault, but it is a racial slight/slur nonetheless.

          To say that “what Americans call racism doesn’t really happen here” is, I believe, to be woefully unaware of the modern face of the problem. And, sadly, it is the vey good-natured way of the Irish, who believe it’s all good craic, and their belief that everybody is so happy and well received here, that allows the problem to remain unacknowledged and unchecked.

          • Peter says:

            Get onto U Tube 2016 and check out the (Far Right) Polish anti muslim rallies. Hungary has put up fences to stop refugees.

        • JJ from Galway says:

          A dark – skinned Brazilian friend of mine came to Dublin, and we met up for a coffee. While chatting, an Irish man approached demanding to know what I was doing mixing with an “African” and screaming at my friend to “feck off back to Nigeria.” My friend was rather upset about the incident and it unfortunately gave him a negative first impression of Ireland. I also have friends from Poland, Nigeria, India and Africa who have experienced their share of racism/xenophobia. This has included both verbal abuse and unprovoked physical attacks. Of course not all or even the majority of the Irish are racist, but to say racism does not exist in Ireland is simply inaccurate.

          • Hi JJ,

            Thanks for reading the blog, and for taking the time to comment.

            I’m sorry to hear about you and and your friends’ experiences. But, sadly, you are right. There is most definitely racism in Ireland.

            -GK

  22. Clark d'Hazarde says:

    An American has difficulty integrating outside America? This surprises me, as Americans are usually so good at integrating in other countries and generally don’t expect everything to be exactly the same abroad as it is at home. I guess you must be unusual in that regard, and lack the tact, sophistication and open-mindedness for which your fellow-countrymen are so well-known.

    • M says:

      He was merely stating his observations after his short time in a new country – there is nothing wrong with doing so. It takes a long time to integrate, no matter where you come from or where you go, and you are bound to have your own opinions and comparisons to make. He is simply expressing his on a public forum. There is no need to get nasty and sarcastic.

  23. the Ross says:

    HA HA!

    Dont deal with NTL! best advice ever!!

    in fairness the mix taps things upset people from continental europe and the states (in fact most “developed” countries)
    i HATE when you’re trying to wash your hands and one tap is ice cold and the other is skin-removing-hot!! mix taps all the way!

    good luck Glenn – keep your sense of humour, and enjoy your time out of your comfort zone.

    and start drinking heavily – works for us.

  24. Mark says:

    Hey Glenn! Mark here from NewsTalk Radio, I sent you a mail with regard to getting in contact? Just basically wondering if you might be up for a little chat. Anyhoot, looking forward to hearing from you. (was this right address? mail@glennkaufmann.com

  25. Dave says:

    Glenn,

    It appears that broadsheet.ie has made you a local ranting superstar, good job! Always interesting to hear an outsider’s perspective on their new home. I hope you’ll find that the friendships you forge in Ireland compensate for the quality of the cat litter and the inconvenience of two separate water sources. My favourite part of the whole blog entry, though, was your response to Fionn:

    <>

    Insisting on including “sic” and then immediately misspelling a word as easy as “blur”. Delicious.

    Hope you find the excellent sausages – there are plenty out there!

    • Dave says:

      Oops, the formatting swallowed the quotation from your response. Which was as follows:

      And I’m also still coming to grips with “seperating (sic) the professional sphere from the social sphere”. It’s a very American thing to blur that line.

  26. kara says:

    I disagree with your thesis that the Irish are easy going people who can never complete anything on time. I’ve lived and worked in the US and other countries and this is not my experience. Also I worked for the Irish division of US multinationals and we outperformed other divisions including the US. I moved to Germany once and had great difficulty with the bureaucracy there despite the German rep for efficiency. Irish people may have an easygoing manner but there is a difference between appearance and action.

    sausage: I like the sausage they sell in J Hick butcher which is in dun laoghaire and in the city centre at Essex St West. Tastes differ and an alternative to spicy food is to use sauces, to season to your own taste or to appreciate more subtle flavours.

    separate hot/cold taps: agree with you here. I have no idea why people buy these things. They are stupid. Same prob in UK

    bus service: the problem here is that Dublin Bus is state owned (like Amtrak) and operates to suit political ends rather than serving the public. Result is heavy unionisation and a culture of knowing you get paid the same no matter what service you provide as there is no competition. There has been an attempt to improve services: smart cards will integrate with Luas and DART smart cards later this year. There is a tracking system installed on buses now and you can see when the next bus is coming by typing in the 5 digit bus stop number into http://www.dublinbuslive.ie. Sure, you shouldn’t have to do this and the bus should be able to follow a timetable but it is an improvement. The bus route network is being reconfigured for the first time in a million years and this process is halfway through so there is some confusion. The maps at bus stops are new and an attempt to copy successful ‘spider maps’ in London.

    banks: the banks are in chaos at the moment. Thousands are due to be fired, they are being amalgamated and the staff are taking a lot of flak from the public who resent having to bail them out. In addition, money laundering requirements oblige them to collect utility bills and other documents when you may not have these items yet. When I moved to the UK I found that the banks were considerably worse to deal with than here, I had great difficulty opening an account despite having a large salary and the branches were staffed by mentally subnormal people.

    landlords: landlordism in Ireland is very amateur. Every second retired mom and pop thought they could live on the proceeds of real estate investment. Following the house price crash, many of these people are struggling to make payments and only now realising the difference between the net and gross yields they expected on their investments. You can expect that your landlord in Ireland will be a disillusioned moron. They do everything they can to avoid paying out any money to fix problems in their properties. They rarely give leases longer than a year. Tenants in turn treat their rental properties like complete shit and move frequently. There is a poor culture around renting in general and a presumption that decent people should own their houses. There have been attempts at legislative change but I think it’s more of a cultural/traditional problem.

    public services: a lot better than they used to be but recent cuts are putting everything under strain.You would need to be more specific in your criticism. My interactions with govt are very easy and trouble free and mostly online.

  27. ExPatBrit says:

    Hey Glenn, ex-pat Brit here, coming to your blog via broadsheet.ie. You’ve only been here a few weeks, it’ll get worse before it gets better. I’ve been here over a decade and now wouldn’t like anywhere else.

    The times on the bus timetables?They’re when the bus starts on the route. There’s (usually) estimated journey times between stops given and you’re supposed to work out when the bus is due. I agree that this is utterly insane and I often find myself explaining the system to tourists waiting at the bus stop with me in town.

    Taps are the same in the UK, and much of mainland Europe. Deal with it. I spend far too much time in the States and I still have my head-wrecked by how low the toilets are there and how close ones arse is to the water. Ugh.

    Sausages – try British ones, we like to flavour ours too. M&S should have some.

    Goat Rodeo – dear god, if it annoys you here never, ever move to Italy.

    5 things I hate about the US (since I’ve spent about a month there every year for 10 years):
    1) What’s with the tasteless cheese on everything? Wouldn’t mind if it was good cheese but that plastic stuff just seems to be there for the sake of adding extra calories and fat but no flavour.
    2) Why is all the food so sweet? It’s like food aimed at picky 5 year olds. Even the bread is sweet. After only a couple of days I crave sour.
    3) Muffins are cake, not bread. When I order a salad and the ‘bread of the day’ I do not want a sticky piece of cake with it, even if it claims to be a cranberry muffin. And don’t get me started on the breakfast place whose specialty was coffee cake so that was you got with your scrambled eggs. *nausea*
    4) Get Out Of The Dammed Car Once In A While. The hotel I and my colleagues stay in for work is 10 min walk from the office. It’s California, even when it’s cold and rainy it’s still nicer than it is here. So why the f**k do all my American colleagues drive to work? Factor in parking and IT’S QUICKER TO WALK. Also, when I walk back from the restaurant to my hotel after dinner (I do not want to drive at night, with jet-lag, on the wrong side of the road, in a car with not enough pedals, after a glass of wine) I do not appreciate the cop car following me. I am a middle-aged European business woman, not a bloody hooker. Yes apparently that’s what the assumption was; I asked female colleagues why the police were so interested in me walking the 2 blocks back and after they expressed their horror that I would walk alone at night through UpperMiddleClassSuburbia that’s what they said the police thought .
    5) Just because I am sitting in a hotel bar at 9pm drinking Bushmills the way it’s supposed to be drunk (no water, no ice), rather than some fruity cocktail aimed at women who don’t actually like alcohol it does not mean I’m a drunken lush. You may not be able to handle your booze mister thanks to that lemonade you insist is beer, but I can. It’s just been a really long day and I’m winding down – I do not want your cellphone or your room number..

    • ” Just because I am sitting in a hotel bar at 9pm drinking Bushmills the way it’s supposed to be drunk (no water, no ice), rather than some fruity cocktail aimed at women who don’t actually like alcohol it does not mean I’m a drunken lush”

      This reminds me of a friend’s story about when she lived in San Fran (hardly the midwest) and wouldn’t be served a caffeinated drink in Starbucks because she was visibly pregnant. Ended up in a 10 minute standoff with the server; they eventualy compromised and she got a half-decaf.

      San Fran for heaven’s sake!

      P.

    • Cormac Eire says:

      HaHa Ex Pat you make me laugh. I’ve read all the posts and comments but this one cracked me up…..
      Although I do agree with Glenn’s observations and as and Irish man living between here the States,UK and Australia I can completely understand his frustrations. But the water to ass proximity blew my mind away and that god awful cheese on everything plus the sweet food flavouring …haha I can relate…!! I found myself checking the contents of every-thing I was consuming…

    • Richard says:

      Ah your one of us alright……There’s no better public transport than yer legs on a nice night……especially after a few drams of whiskey haigh…….

  28. mozakca says:

    You seem to be describing living in Turkey, nothing gets done if you don’t insistently follow up on them. Even commercial businesses seem to have unbreakable bureacratic walls. Things are broken and/or badly designed and other people seem to be OK with it. Rationality and professionalism are hard to find. I wish people were relaxed here as well though.

  29. Always Wright says:

    One of the things about travelling that most non-Americans enjoy is the experience of finding how things are done in the rest of the world. As Vincent Vega observed, it’s always the little things that hold the greatest fascination. Why is it so many Americans love to point out those differences as though the Eeew-Ess-Aye was the only place getting it right? Is the rest of the world really trying (and failing) to be like the blessed yanks? I’ve never lived in the states, but I spent a lot of time there at one point in my life, and I travelled around Eastern Europe with two perfectly nice chaps from Seattle, who always seemed to meet each new place with disappointment. They weren’t disappointed with the beer, or the scenery, or the food in particular. They always seemed vaguely disappointed that they had come all this way, and what they had found was… well… not American. They were good friends of mine, so I humoured them. I refrained from pointing out them that the cure for their particular case of misery-guts was to feck off back home.
    I know it was expensive to bring your pets all this way (and yes, I have pets and no kids) but it doesn’t seem to be working out for you. Have you considered fecking off back home? You’re going to have to either do that, or wait until you’ve been here long enough for your observations to matter.
    Also, it’s “make do,” not “make due.”

    • overlydramaticamericanloudfatguywholikesplaticycheeseandsweetstuff says:

      He wasn’t saying only USA has it right, Obviously is that was the case he wouldn’t be there. He pointed out the differences that affected his life and the differences he experienced and is having to adjust to. No where in anything I read did he say USA was better. BUT our faucets are better than yours, your faucets do suck.
      He has been giving his first impressions and experiences. He isn’t bashing Ireland, so quit being crybabies. Put your big boy or girl panties on and grow up. There nothing wrong with expressing his first impressions and things he is finding difficult to adjust to. Our country, while we have some great things…is crap majority of the time and any American with any drop of intelligence will be more than happy to admit it and even go as far as to tell you why they think so. I would like to spend some time in Ireland and I am thinking about going for a couple years with my company to experience a people I think I would love. But seriously, he’s giving first impressions, saying what he does and doesn’t like.
      Most people on here are getting it. Some people are too blinded by their own Nationalistic insecurities to see that observations and personal likes or dislikes are not attacks on its citizens or quality of people.
      Keep up the good work, I am finding this very educational. I am considering the move myself.

  30. Ulick Magee says:

    Why not go home to your racially segregated country and enjoy a good sausage session there? Are you are waiting for the call-back re: interview in Starbucks in Dawson Street?

  31. Padraic says:

    If you think the Dublin Bus service is bad, god help you if you come down to Galway. At least Dublin buses turn up! =)

  32. Mary says:

    Ah here! Why is everyone giving out about taps?? TAPS! Is it really that much of an inconvenience??? If so then I find that a bit sad really.

  33. HappyBunny619 says:

    To be honest, I think your comments make sense to an outsider. I am Irish and proud to be it. I am driven and have hopes and plans for the future. We do not all lack motivation simply because we are easy going. Irish people just take life as it comes, but we are constantly working to improve services such as Dublin Bus. Not all Irish people are relaxed about the transportation services we have and many complaints have been lodged against both Dublin Bus and Irish Rail. I guess your real problem is that you don’t understand our system. The reason most dubliners are so laid back with regards to Dublin Bus is because most of them know all the routes that they use off by heart and don’t get lost or find themselves standing at the wrong bus shelter.
    As for the sausage dilemma, the reason you don’t like our sausages is because we don’t use a million and one additives and flavour enhancers. Our sausages are not composed of pig meat from several pigs either. Our butchers work hard to produce good and healthy food with a quality taste. You should try Clonakilty Sausages or Black Pudding from Clonakilty, Cork. Rumored to be the finest sausages in Ireland. They can be bought in most supermarkets nowadays.
    The hot and cold tap thing? Really? Its just a good old fashioned way of doing it. Its not like it takes a scientist to figure out how to get the water to the right temperature by using two taps. I really think that you should rent or buy a house with a hot and cold tap and see how it really doesn’t affect your quality of life and nor does it cause a nuisance.
    I really don’t mean to pick at your personal opinions but I figure that because you are not Irish, you just don’t understand. I’m serious about those sausages by the way. They are to die for 🙂

    • David says:

      I must comment on the sausages. First, the pork here, I think, is superior to the pork in Australia. Probably the pork in America as well. I think your pork is fattier, which is a good thing. Full marks for pork.

      As for additives, I feel compelled to disagree. A common additive here, at least as far as I can see, is MSG. That is unbelievable to me, an Australian. It is also more difficult to find gluten free products, including sausages. But that is true in most rural areas.

      While I am here, I should put in my 2 bob’s worth on the Irish immigrant experience. Like it or not, everything is more difficult here. There is a lack of maturity in processes and in the provision of basic services. It is maddening, and often people you speak to don’t have a clue how anything is meant to work either. Often, your luck turns on whoever it is you are dealing with, and you need to be ‘in the know’ to get it done. I suspect corruption is the norm here, a lot of behaviour that is accepted would be considered criminal in other first world countries.

      Despite this, I’m making a go of it. If my observations don’t ring true to you, it is probably because you are not genuinely well travelled, or perhaps are a bit one eyed about things.

      PS The coffee here is like Australian coffee was perhaps 30 years ago. Dreadful.

      • David,

        Thanks for reading te blog and taking the time to comment.

        Your comments do ring true.

        But I’d caution you away from assuming that just because someone may disagree with you, they are not worldly.

        I’m quite well traveled, but may still not agree with you.

      • Peter says:

        I’m Irish living in Australia for a long time. My mum has been here to Oz and tasted the coffee here and she would agree with you.

  34. terrymcd1 says:

    My name is Des Bishop. Stop ripping off my act.

    (Also interesting that you’re working in UCD. Get used to the public service bashing – you’re one of us now).

  35. ISeeYou'reJustanotherAmericanIdiot says:

    Hahaha! You are ridiculous! Cat litter and taps? How incompetant are you? I mean cat litter is just litter for god’s sake! You must have a very uninteresting life to dwell on such things. Also hot and cold taps are extremely easy to use, you turn them BOTH on and adjust to you’re liking.

    As for the DART, the maps are simple. It only goes in two directions, it branches off ONCE. Most European Metro maps are extremely complicated compared so good luck if you ever move.

    Which, you really should do if the Kitty Litter is bothering you so much. Life just can’t be worth living without adequate kitty litter after all.

    Idiot.

    • Master of none says:

      That’s because European Metros are more useful, in that they can actually bring you to most places. The DART doesn’t.
      Come on, it’s no secret that the Irish transport system is a joke. Dublin is the country’s capital city and yet you get huge bus delays and so many ghost buses.
      It comes from the people’s attitude that doesn’t strive for excellence but settles for mere ordinary.
      This can also be seen in every stage of their education system, too.

      And please don’t try and justify the hot and cold taps, we’re not in the 1920s any more

  36. rachel says:

    you should change your blog post to ‘the great sausage debate; the thick american vs the lean irish”

  37. DPS says:

    Great job Glenn, you know your doing it right when you get so many panties twisted ;o)

    Litter solutions, I could only find these two…

    They say its the best, I don’t think they would lie
    http://www.pet-bliss.com/acatalog/copy_of_World_s_Best_Cat_Litter_Wood_Pellet_3kg.html

    Your closest Costco… England and Ireland are the same place right?
    http://www.costco.com/Warehouse/Directions.aspx?Address=30%20Waterloo%20Rd%2CLiverpool%2C%20England%2C%20L3-7HY&Latitude=53.4142&Longitude=-2.999

  38. Mary Ellen Davey Marino says:

    Well, you ‘represent’ the U.S. quite well, Glenn. Tanks fer dat.
    I’m an American born Irish citizen currently living in the States where we hold the Kardashian clan in high esteem, “The Bachelorette” garners high ratings, and Congress celebrates our current economic crises by (literally) taking a vacation. I’d trade places with you anyday. With regard to cat litter: trade up to a dog.
    Slan abhaile, dood ; )

    • overlydramaticamericanloudfatguywholikesplaticycheeseandsweetstuff says:

      She’s right about the dog thing Glen, unless you are a redditor.

  39. DU3M4N J!E says:

    Glen,

    Taps, yeah, I hear ya, fair comment…
    It’s totally ass-backward but it’s a European tradition.
    A bit like historical architectural ‘features’ you hear about in newly converted apartments made from churches and homeless shelters of the celtic tiger days.

    The same reason why people even from France have asked me,
    ‘WTF avec le Taps du Irlande etc. etc. etc.’
    going back about ten bloody years now… is simple..
    We are about ten-to-twenty years behind London, Paris and New York etc.
    but it’s ok, don’t sweat it, the gap is closing faster every year.

    No one in Ireland will ever fully understand your frustration with this and you will seem pedantic and anally retentive(in your language) the more you bang on about it.

    Like religion, love it or hate it but it’s better if you just keep it to yourself.

    Cat Litter..? Recently inherited a cat and he’s insane, a real mental case.
    A Tom cat, about 4 years old, likes attacking things,
    thinking about himself and general mayhem etc.

    Least of your worries, just go to the Pet Shop or order online.
    Don’t worry, the munchkins can read addresses and post codes
    …unless your a moany Canuk on the lamb from a fatwa or whatever.

    Or, If you’re game for a laugh you can train your cat to use the toilet…
    Seriously, cat’s can be trained to do this in about a month or so.

    Sausages…. Enough has been said on this already.
    Ireland’s homegrown Meat and Dairy products are so much better than the US.
    FACT.

    Buses are a philosophical concept in Dublin.
    More of a riddle, to tease the foreigners into talking to us
    and make it easier for us to find out why they are here.
    Just enjoy it in the spirit of chaos theory or get on a bike or walk.

    Goat Rodeo, I like that one…. Look at the US though.
    Yeah, I’ll take the Goat Rodeo any day,
    After about five years here you’ll have accepted that the US is FUBAR by comparison.

    You need to Jailbreak your iPhone get it Unlocked and then buy an Irish SIM.
    Or , sell it online and then buy an Android phone
    Free yourself from the cult and catch up with the curve.

    I like hearing what others think of us Irish,
    wrong or right it’s a healthy change from the usual spin we have ourselves.
    Best piece of advice I can leave you with is don’t listen to any advice…

    Think about island mentality though,
    It explains much of why we are seen as(or like to perceive ourselves)
    as very outgoing, friendly and good at mixing with people from around the world.

    We do have an innate curiosity but as a kind of self-defense mechanism
    because we are only a couple of hundred miles apart, coast to coast,
    in a one and a half degree of Irish bacon sort of way…

    Bacon…?

    Hmmmm… Irr.. isshh… Bayy..ccon… Bay-con…..
    Mmmmmm Nom.Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom …..

    ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……………………………………………

  40. Clur says:

    I was reading through some of your previous posts, is this really the first thing you decided to share with your readers about Ireland, what you don’t like about it? I feel sorry for people like you. As an Irish person living and working in China for a few years I can understand that sometimes you miss the way things are at home, but the ones who start their complaining about how things work locally from the get go are usually the first ones to leave after their comments are met with a resounding “well if you don’t like it here, go home!”
    Try and focus on the positive before indulging in the negative, sure isn’t a little difference great? If everything was the same everywhere life would be so boring. And it’s only Ireland, for christ’s sakes, it’s not THAT different surely.

  41. Guy Flaneur says:

    Drive up to Northern Ireland and shop at ASDA – it’s a Wal-Mart owened company. You’ll find many things there from the US, like good cat litter.

  42. Ken says:

    You see the dual taps thing is a manifestation of Irish hardiness and desiciveness (ok i dont know how to spell decisivness). You see for years us Irish lived in hard dirty conditions where we ate coal and you’d never see boobs on tele. Consequently our choices in life were very basic. Eat whats there of starve, sing or go home, go to work or call in sick and yes hot or cold!

    While you Americans with your fancy pants choice of different shoes and fancy pants had let to an indecicivness (dammit!) recently in your congress where you couldnt decide on whether to cut spending or increase taxes which nearly destroyed yourselves. Similarly with your choice of water temperature. Should you have it cold, hot, a mix of the two, maybe more one than the other? Make a decission man! Hot or cold, youll be washed either way, theres things to do!

    Its this decisiveness that led the Irish to defeat the British empire and invent the submarine.

    “yes, were going under the water”
    “why are you doing that? Its much easier to go above the water”
    “because fuck it! thats why!”

    This is also why we had had such a stable financial system without a glitch for decades. If you have heard anything else that was just French propaganda (you guys hate them too right?)

  43. David Scanlon says:

    The public transport system in Dublin is a joke and anyone who disagrees has spent any time abroad hung over during the day so only use taxi’s in a foreign city. Most modern cities (lets not forget Dublin made itself one of the most expensive cities on the planet) have a one-ticket system, a ticket that uses any form of public transport within the city. The fact that Dublin doesn’t have this makes it backward, its down to institutionalized disorganization as said. The shocking thing is that this attitude is one of the main reasons the country is suffering now but will lessons be learned, no, there’s as much chance of getting nutritious food in America.

    • Master of none says:

      You can only pay coins to get the bus. In a capital city. Let’s ignore the fact that most of these workers are troglodytes.
      It’s just beyond ridiculous, the country’s people don’t really have any direct experience with other countries and different ways of living (two-week holidays don’t count, where they would just pack their bag with clothes and food from here, too scared to try something new!) and thus settle for all these sub-mediocre service supply. Culture? Try continental Europe. While it’s similar in the US, there’s very little culture here. Try living in continental Europe.
      Or are you not open minded enough? Or maybe don’t get paid as much?
      I get it.
      Oh, and classic, “[insert nationality] people are so [racist stereotype they only know]”.

      The sausages argument is also a joke. Irish sausages contain so much stuff that’s so not genuine pork meat. Ever been to countries like Italy or France? There’s literally no comparison.
      Gastronomically speaking, it is a mess. Sub-par food at supermarkets with high markup price. Expensive restaurants, low quality food. But why bother wasting so much money on expensive food? I need it for this weekend’s Budweiser 24-pack.

  44. Guy Flaneur says:

    CORRECTED VERSION – PLEASE DELETE PREVIOUS POST

    The sausage here IS bad, excepting Hicks and other regional producers. Dennys, Galtee, and the other main producers are no longer as good as they once were. Hicks can be found at Avoca and Fallon & Byrne. Look for O’Doherty Black Bacon products from NI.

    Drive up to Northern Ireland and shop at places like ASDA – owned by and like Wal-Mart. Many products from the US.Cat litter there, or was. Costco is good.

    Get used to the idea that most of the BEST meats in Ireland are exported. That and because few Irish will pay what the best meats and products cost.

    You might try some of the online butchers like Jack McCarthy in Cork. He wins contest in France no less and Queen Eliz was served his black pudding. But 100 euro and you have free next-day delivery to Dublin. His chicken and beef are excellent and cheaper than Tesco or Dunnes. http://www.jackmccarthy.ie/shop/

    You may have seen Jimmy’s Farm on TV. They ship to Ireland: http://www.jimmysfarm.com/shop/

    For cheap phone calls, try ww.jajah.com – free calls if both parties are members – also free.
    Many airlines allow you to bring pets with you on the plane in the cabin at no charge. It varies on international flights. Aer Lingus is very backward. I brought over my 170-pound dog but went through London and drove over here. Much easier.

    Try http://www.citizensinformation.ie for the correct government information. Don’t rely on the bureaucrats.

    I moved here ten years ago, after twice-year visits since 1975. Ireland has gone downhill in the past ten years. What hasn’t!

  45. Aoife says:

    Welcome to Ireland! I hope you enjoy your time here, that your pets have settled in and that you’re not scared off by all the fist shaking. Most people are secretly agreeing with you because you know what – those things annoy us too; we just don’t like “blow-ins” pointing it out to us.. 😉 As you’ll discover, most Irish under the age of 45 and who went to college have spent summers in the States, have reference points (experts of EVERYTHING, us Irish) so you can expect some more backlash. I *could* write a 5/10 Things I hate about Boston, San Diego or Seattle but I won’t because I want to go back, they’re overall, pretty fantastic cities and I wouldn’t dream of offending my friends there..

    Most of the things you complain about are fixable (except the buses, and if you think they’re bad now, wait till it snows again…)

    Cat litter: Husse.ie. They deliver, have great staff and at Christmas they deliver free gifts for your pet. I <3 them and it's the best, clumping litter I have found and it actually clumps.. no, really.

    Mixer taps: This IS ridiculous but you can actually get hand basins with mixer taps. I nearly lost it when I moved into my new house and they had the old fashioned kind. I'm changing them. Dual taps should be banned for safety reasons.

    Sausage: You should try http://www.hicks.ie/ – they have a stand in Temple Bar Meeting House Square every Saturday. Their Chorizo is particularly good. We don't do the flat sausage patties you get in the US, because come on now, they're a sin against pork, but can always make your own. 😉

    Dublin Bus: I tweet them on a weekly basis; try it. They do respond with useful information. They're a bit jaded but then again, that's a complaint one could make of nearly all public transit workers, globally. The system is improving with the live timetables and new routes are being added this Autumn. But seriously, wait till it snows again this year.. then you'll really know the extent to which it sucks.

    Lack of accountability: Who *are* these people you are talking to? You can probably tell from the ire you've generated with your post that Irish people are a lot more passionate than you first thought. The country has come on a lot in the last 10 or 20 years, and that didn't happen without the people. Gay Marriage, for example. How many US States have that? Make new friends and stop talking to the people who have been giving you this impression.

    Anyway, welcome. 🙂

  46. Conor says:

    Hi there and thanks for writing the post. I’m always curious about visitors observations about Dublin.

    I started reading through the comments and saw a sensitive Irish backlash beginning. When I’m out with friends, conversations tend to be absorbed and respected but (like we all know) not so much on the internet. So I’ve learned to expect a ‘well feel free to leave!’ comment to follow any serious critique of this country on the internet and it can be disheartening. The Irish appear to be very sensitive to anybody picking holes in the way the country operates. I find it’s another reason things don’t progress too quick.

    Anyway, I’m Irish. Born and living here. I don’t have many encounters with kitty litter (no cat) and sausages (don’t eat too many of them) but I completely agree with you other opinions and make them often myself. It’s frustrating. Although I’m not fond of generalisations, it seems like most people in this country take a way too laid back approach to things and expect everything to be slightly wrong. I rant about it to friends far too much. Everything is ‘grand’. Dublin bus is a perfect model of this and always feel like it’s quite dazed and bewildered by information delivery. The buses own customers have often made websites to display more helpful information than the buses own and that speaks volumes. A lot of things don’t reach a higher standard because of the joint problem of people here not caring enough that it could have been done far better and that there’s a lack of appreciation of achieving the highest standard that can be done. Too many people are pat on the back for getting a job done quickly and cheaply, with short-term solutions rather than slowly and with a larger budget to leave a long-term solution and overall cost-efficiency.

    Again, I expect some Irish people to be annoyed that I’m picking holes in the way that this country works and others to think I’m too tightly-wound over it, that I should relax, there’s more important things. Few recognise that the things that appear to be unimportant feed into the things they count as important.

    I do love the country though and there’s a lot right with it.

  47. ben says:

    Glen,

    In relation to the tap issue, they are separated for energy efficient purposes. Your hot water tap is sourced from your boiler which is always located on the ground floor. Therefore convection currents are used to rise the water through the pipe. Your cold water tap is sourced form your cistern tank which is always located in the attic space and simply gravity is used to move the water through the pipe. A dual tap requires more expensive and energy consuming techniques to source the water. I hope this helps clear up the situation and I look forward to reading the 5 things you love about Ireland.

    Ben.

    • Nancy in New Jersey says:

      Ah…no Ben. See…you still have two PIPES coming from two different sources, but when they get up to the sink they come out one TAP.

      Are you telling me you have two taps in the shower and you leap back and forth between them frying and freezing yourself while you shower? I kind of doubt that. 🙂

      • David says:

        Yes….. Do not doubt that one tap is possible. I have seen it in third world countries, so I have confidence it is on its way once here the economy bounces back. In fact, I noticed in a fellow’s house on the weekend in Kilkenny. But then he is a successful fellow who was no doubt introduced to the technology in Australia in the 70s when he lived there and fell in love with it (the technology, that is).

  48. David says:

    Hi,
    It’s interesting to read your perspectives on life in Ireland.
    Just a few tips:

    1) Cat litter:
    Go to a large pet store like Maxi Zoo and you will have a lot more choice. However, it’s worth remembering that most Irish and British cat owners tend to let their cats outdoors. There are no serious cat predators here and the climate’s not too extreme. So, in general our cats come and go as they please. Ours even has a magnetic key for the cat door. The only thing that you must do is ensure that your cat is properly wormed, as if he/she does poop somewhere, you do not want to spread Toxacara Cati (cat worms) which can be dangerous to children.

    I live in the United States and quite honestly I was horrified at how cats are kept locked in doors all day and also utterly speechless when someone told me that they’d had their cat declawed. Any vet doing that here would be struck off and booted out of his/her profession!

    2) Mixer taps.
    Older Irish and British plumbing never bothered with these. It’s annoying and I don’t really know why. I guess it’s just one of those old plumbing traditions! More modern installations generally do have mixer taps.

    4) Public Transport:
    This is not continental Europe and in general public transport absolutely sucks. It’s often high-tech and nicely branded, but it rarely actually operates in a way that would constitute a public service.
    Basically, in short, get a car. Ireland’s not navigable by public transport. We have very low population densities once you get beyond central Dublin and maybe Cork but, the rest of the country and even the suburbs are entirely car reliant, in very much the same was as most of the United States.
    You need to think of Irish transit systems as more comparable to Eastern US than they are with continental Europe. Car ownership rates here are generally very high compared to most of Europe : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_vehicles_per_capita and outside of those few urban cores, you really will not be able to function without one.
    Also, the main public transit operator, CIE (Cycling Is Easier) have been driving the public mad since 1945! They’re a very heavily unionised, totally unreformed publicly owned company that has never put the customer first. Any attempts at reform have resulted in prolonged strikes, system shut down for weeks etc etc.
    They’ve been so bad for so long that they have basically conditioned the public into acceptance of low standards. In many areas, bus routes are so badly organised that people just don’t bother using them. E.g. many areas of Cork City have some of the highest car dependency in Western Europe.
    The Luas is publicly owned, but operated by a franchisee i.e. it’s private enterprise. Almost other public transport is run by CIE (Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and Irish Rail (Intercity/DART/Commuter).

    Tips:
    Irish people enjoy moaning about Ireland and can be quite harshly self-critical. However, it’s very dangerous to assume that just because they’re bitching and moaning about absolutely everything that you can join in. They tend to suddenly turn quite defensive and patriotic. So, tread carefully!

    Broadband: If you are in Dublin, definitely get UPC “fibre-power” cable broadband. You will be perpetually disappointed with DSL services.

  49. Ruth Kennedy says:

    Glenn –
    Just heard your interview on Dave Fanning. Very interesting. You are so right about the lack of efficiency in services in Ireland – that’s why we need foreign influences like yours to take up the cause! Or indeed Irish-born folks who have lived in the States to shake things up. One of the reasons people are complicit in all of this is the sheer size (of lack of it) of the country. People are CONNECTED to each other, and the consequences of making trouble for “your own” are at best a nuisance, and at worst, very intimidating. This is a serious issue, because it can affect very vulnerable people. There was a medical scandal some years ago where some crazy ob/gyn doc was whipping out womens’ utereses like they were going out of fashion – on utterly bogus medical grounds, and he was only rumbled by a Scottish nurse working in the hospital. Now you may not think ‘Scottish’ sounds all that foreign, but it was enough of a remove to make her able to speak up with relative impunity. I don’t think it was an accident that she wasn’t Irish.

    What you say about the “system ” in Ireland dovetails with an ongoing discussion I have with friends and family – here’s the jumping off point – ” Is it better to have a super-efficient system, run by assholes/nasty people, OR a really crap, inefficient system run by people who are terribly nice, loving and human?” Ok, the polarisation in the question is very stark, and doesn’t exactly represent the reality in any country, let’s say, Ireland, the U.S., German or Argentina, to take an interesting four; but it can shed some light on thinking about the way these countries are run. I and one of my sisters have lived for good chunks of time in Germany, she has also spent 15 years in the States and now 2 years in Argentina, our other sister is in NYC for the past 10 years and we have a brother in LA for 20 years and 2 more brothers here – so lots to chat about! I usually argue for the good system, as nobody is either served nor protected by a crap system, no matter how lovely the smile, but then I remember back to my time in Germany, and the total relief I felt at landing in Heathrow and meeting an Irish Aer Lingus worker who related to me as a human being! I have German friends, of course, who are the most loyal in the world, but the impassive wall of authority you meet everywhere there can make your soul shrivel. So back to the argument again…….

    On a happier front, we totally ROCK at lots of stuff, as you will realise the longer you stay here! I am not a sports expert, but I do know that on the rugby front, we punch so much above our weight it is astounding. I guess rugby doesn’t come on the radar in the States? We are really superb on the music front and are over-represented there and in the literary field too, relative to our size. We also give masses more per capita to developing countries that most other western countries and are also over-represented in education and health in NGOs in those areas of the world. (Although of course there is an argument that “giving” is not the right way to solve those kinds of issues) And lots of other stuff I can’t think of right now…

    I really hope you and your family, including pets, have a really wonderful time here. A few words of advice – don’t believe everything you hear – Your American accent is a very welcome sound in Ireland, but you may be getting some answers more tailored to what people think you want to hear. Your powers of observation might serve you more than your ears in the long run. Irish society is superficially so overwhelmingly friendly, it can knock you over. When you find that this only goes skin deep with some people, please don’t judge us all like that and go to the other extreme and conclude that we are all flakes. It takes quite a while to really penetrate the society in any meaningful way – it can be done, but you will need patience to make genuine progress – I hope you will find it rewarding!
    All the best,
    Ruth Kennedy

    • Valerie says:

      “Irish society is superficially so overwhelmingly friendly….When you find that this only goes skin deep with some people…”

      Hi Ruth,

      I’ve heard this criticism from a non-Irish person before, in relation to getting talking to people in a pub and then being blanked by them the following day. It surprised me a bit but, when I thought about it, I realised the guy was right – it does indeed happen.

      The reason I guessed was that either the person(s) had been blind drunk and couldn’t remember (no comment on that particular cultural trait!!) – or else it was due to our “inferiority complex” – some strange mix I’d describe as being quite inhibited in some situations/a sort of innate shyness or self-consciousness/low self-esteem/a desperate need to be liked.

      This latter quality, I came to recognise when I heard an interview with an American comedian on the radio years ago. He was saying “What’s with this Irish need to know that everyone likes you…everyone constantly asks me ‘Do you like Ireland?’…’Do you like the Guinness?’…’Do you like Ireland?’, and they desperately need to know that I do”…
      Well, I was crying laughing – he was SO right – I find myself doing it all the time with non-Irish people who are living in or have been to Ireland! 😀
      For those who have not, I start my Bord Fáilte routine of “selling” them the country…”You must go sometime – you’d love it!”. I’m not the only one either – all of my Irish friends living abroad do it too. Maybe these traits are present in many other cultures too, but to me they seem particularly exaggerated in our own.

      We seem to be a curious mixture of having a sort of low self-esteem (in some aspects) as a nation – as shown by our desperate need for approval – and a very strong national pride in our culture our good qualities and our achievements as a small island nation.

      …just a couple of the elements that make it so interesting 🙂

  50. Steve says:

    Regarding the sausages you should check out the Brazilan shop on Moore St where you can find very tasty pork sauages which are great for BBQ.
    Remember, there is a reason why you don’t find Irish restaurants in other countries!

  51. Henry Barth says:

    In Ireland, treated cold water from source (the public source) goes directly to the kitchen tap and other places such as the cistern in the attic. Drinking water should ONLY be taken from the kitchen cold water tap.

    Cisterns in the attic are not things you want to see. They are seldom, if ever, cleaned and are just open tanks. In the country we often find bats, bat guano and the occasional rotting dead bats in the cistern. The cistern in my house is now covered; I asked a local builder why cisterns weren’t covered and was told it was too costly to add a cover.

    • Henry,

      I’ve heard the “separate taps are for health reasons because the cold water in the kitchen is potable” argument before. But that makes even less sense. You’ll notice that many/most kitchen taps are merged taps (hot and cold together). So, if the cold water line to the kitchen is one of the only potable sources in the house, why would you contaminate that source by merging it with the hot water in the place where you cook your food? Unless I’m missing something, it’s complete idiocy.

      • Ken says:

        Either a different cistern structure or because the uneducated keep insisting on having dual taps because the alternative is ‘stupid’

        Either way I think your issue with the taps is whats commonly described as a ‘First world problem’

  52. Seoda says:

    Glen, firstly, welcome to Ireland and I hope you enjoy a very positive experience overall for your time here. Secondly, don’t worry about the oversensitivity IMO from some people regarding the 5 things you ‘hate’ about Dublin. You’ve pointed them out, so you’ve set yourself up for a brace of ‘attacks’ from some posters. I think in the grander scheme of things you’ve been fairly clutching at straws looking for things to ‘hate’ if 3 of the best you could come up with were kitty litter, sausages and types of taps available here…..go to other countries and you’ll be lucky to even find a tap, kitty litter is just unheard of and sausages of any type simply don’t exist !!! I agree with Dublin Bus being way below par, I’ve fallen foul on many occasions of it’s inefficiencies, who hasn’t!! Have to say i disagree when you say that we really don’t ‘excel’ at anything, we have one of the highest standards of primary and secondary education in the world, irish third level professional degrees are generally recognised worldwide, we have some amazing sporting heroes musicians and artists for such a small nation, perhaps you’re unaware, you’re only here a month so will give you the benefit of the doubt !!! There are many things I hate myself about Dublin that I could list which would make your blog look tame, but won’t get into that…..and I’m Irish through and through !!!! Looking forward to reading your 5 things you love about Dublin.
    Seoda

  53. Clare says:

    While I agree that adjusting to a new culture/country is tough, to hate on your new home over relatively insignificant things seems a bit much, no? Generally speaking, the Irish palate is much different from the American one, so you’re going to find a lot more spice issues with a variety of food – trust me. When my Irish friends to to the states, they are digusted by our “baked beans,” which is a completely different thing to what baked beans are here. Same goes for the milk (Irish is fresher, creamier) and gravy (Irish gravy is dark and thin; American is thick and light brown).

    Believe me, I know how hard it is to get used to living here – I came from Los Angeles 17 months ago and every day brings a new surprise. But to write a list of things you hate after being here such a short time…maybe you should open your mind a bit and give it a chance. You can’t insist on things being the way you’re used to, that’ll get you nothing but high blood pressure and a massive headache. That said, you can vent – that’s your right. I just think “hate” is a bit strong.

    You are allowed to hate on Eircom and the Irish government – most Irish people do with passion!

  54. Sheree says:

    Hi there, I was taken to your Blog through a forum.

    I am Irish and yes, I agree with you that things are a bit upside down. But your blog above has angered me. I always wondered why people seemed unhappy in places and yet stayed for whatever reason that trapped them there in the first place.

    I don’t mean to be blunt but… If you dislike our way. Leave. Simple as. And we won’t ask you any questions as to why. You’ve actually done something typically Irish yourself, you’ve complained and found problems and have neglected to acknowledge anything positive. I’d hate to be your room mate. I really would

  55. Bren says:

    Like the Borg say in StarTrek – ‘resistance is futile, you WILL be assimilated ‘ !
    Look up a little book in the ‘Irish’ section of Hodges Figgis on Dawson St – Lonely Planet ‘Irish language and culture ,great cráic’, then go to Mulligans on Poolbeg St to read it, or Doheny and Nesbitts on Merrion Row /Baggot St. Finish off the trek with a Battered Cod and Chips with salt and vinegar from Leo Burdocks in Rathmines / Werburg St / Phibsboro
    And try to lower your voice by 20%, Americans always seem SO LOUD overseas !!
    AND ,WHy do Americans not tip when on holiday here ? I always thought they were the no.1 tippers in the world !

  56. Enda H says:

    Jaysis, Glenn. No offence pal but this post is now going to be my reference point when I try to explain what I mean when I say someone is “really American.”

    Right, a few things.

    First, when someone comments on your blog with a name like mozzastar or SO, you’re breaking Irish data protection law by replying to them as Mary or Fionn. They provided their personal details (via their email address, I presume) and you are not permitted to share this private information with anyone else (i.e. people on your site) without their prior written consent. No worries that you didn’t know this law: just a heads up.

    Second, the first point should be taken more generally. Things are done differently in Ireland to the United States. (No shit; I know.) Ireland is its own independent country, with its own history, laws, culture, and idiosyncrasies. That said, you will not be mistreated in Ireland. It is an extremely modern, open, democratic country. Each and every human and/or civic right you are entitled to will be respected and upheld. Any and all of your complaints are/will be things that bug you. Nothing more.

    Now, you’re welcome to things that bug you. However I think it’s a bit silly to go to five thousand miles and then complain about things being different. I am *not* making a “You’re free to leave” argument here; rather a “You chose to come” argument.

    Since you’re new to Ireland, you’re not expected to know, for example, that landlords in Ireland are all amateurs because historically landlordism in Ireland is as touchy an issue as race is in America. Landlords are amateurs because the alternative, people who earn their income solely by managing properties other people live in, has distasteful connotations to the Irish psyche. You’re not expected to know this or perhaps even to fully understand it but, at the very least, you should not jump to the conclusion that amateur landlords are tolerated because of apathy or laziness.

    I apply this equally to myself. As you will see from my email address (which you are not to share with anyone without my written consent!) I am currently living in the US. I moved here last year. There are plenty of things that are done differently here. But it’s not really my place to complain about them. This is America. This is Americans’ country. I’m a guest. All my rights are respected; thereafter I simply do not really think it’s my place to tell Americans how things in their country should be. Nor do I necessarily jump to conclusions about Americans as a result of differences I see, either. I was in the library at 11pm last Friday night and I noticed that everyone else there was Asian. Without understanding the cultural context inherent in that situation, I could have jumped to silly conclusions. I think your blog post has these silly conclusions in spades.

    Now, there are plenty of things I don’t like about America. Here’s a short list off the top of my head: how the price displayed beneath a product is not what I’m going to be asked to pay at the counter; having to show ID and provide proof of address whenever I’m buying pain killers; having to opt-out of being cold called by answering machines; when I drift off in the library with a book on my lap, being woken by a security guard with a loaded gun on his belt; the fact that there’s cheese on everything; the fact that cheese cost an extra 50c on my sandwich from Jimmy John’s, but that they didn’t mention when they asked “with or without cheese?” (sneaky bastards); sugar-coated bread; overly-sweet milk; being generically greeted with a “Hey! How are you?” marketing ploy when I walk into a clothes shop, even if I have headphones on; the death penalty; filibusters; the over-the-top patriotism and ignorance of the dangers of over-the-top patriotism; that Iowa has a disproportionate say in
    electing the President; that the Presidential election is not decided per capita; the refusal to debate that it might be a good idea to make some changes to the Constitution after 250 years; the gross income inequality which leads to the high incidence of crazy people walking the streets; the culture of “take what you can get” rather than “enough is plenty”; the overbearing sense of middle-class entitlement; the lack of community spirit; the distaste of the notion of “the public good”; the distaste of the notion of a clean environment; the lack of a self-deprecating sense of humour; the indifference to hardship; the costs of healthcare; having to pay to receive a phone call; the antiquated electoral system that encourages tactical (rather than truthful) voting; the ridiculous faith in the efficiency of free markets; the ridiculous faith in creationism; the ridiculous rejection of climate change; the discriminatory treatment of non-Christian faiths; the oath of allegience to the
    Constitution I need to take before I am allowed to teach calculus to college kids; the vulgar displays of affluence; the iron-clad association of income with merit; the casual racism; the explicit racism; the unreal levels of classism; the snobbishness, Christ almighty, the snobbishness; the inability to pick up on subtlty; the hyper-sensitivity to banter; the social expectation that laughs be loud rather than nice and genuine; the volume of teenage girls’ voices; the volume of everyone else’s voice, for that matter; that there’s always one warmongerer that gets invited to every dinner party; that that warmongerer thinks the 20 year-old who has served in combat is not old enough to drink alcohol; the misuse of the word ‘socialism’; the hysteria about what music the kids are listening to; the hilariously biased media; the indifference to the notion of the sanctity of a human being; the assertiveness of one’s rights but not their responsibilities; and, last but certainly not least,
    the almost complete and utter ignorance of the world outside of North America.

    (Looking back, I’m rather glad to have got that off my chest.)

    However, I accept America is perfectly entitled to all of these things. This is not my country. I don’t know the laws on data protection here so although I don’t like being cold-called, I have to learn what American laws are, ask for help about how to stop being cold-called and accept that maybe there’s a reason that’s the way things are done here. I understand this country has evolved in different ways to what I’m used to and I shouldn’t expect things to be the same as home. In fact, I should expect things to be considerably different. Maybe America does some things better than Ireland does (and vice versa) and I shouldn’t be so set in my ways. Maybe you should think about this too. So although I take your point on Dublin Bus and I hate ’em too, in terms of taps, cat litter and sausages, America’s ways are not definitively better than ours — it’s a matter of taste. (And yes, lower quality but cheaper cat litter is a legitimate choice for a market to make.)

    However, imho, you are neither qualified to make your claims on ‘The Irish Goat Rodeo’, nor are you correct about same. Factually, some of your assertions are simply incorrect. Almost certainly, they demonstrate an ineptitude at understanding cultural difference. And arguably they completely miss the point.

    Let me take your substantive points.

    “Yes, the Irish are all very relaxed. But they also don’t seem to excel at anything, or care about doing so.”

    Ireland is a country of 4.5 million people. That’s a million less than Wisconsin. So when thinking about Irish achievements, use Wisconsin as a reference point. Since it’s 20% smaller, if Ireland is keeping pace with Wisconsin, it’s doing well.

    The Irish doesn’t have oil fields, or diamonds, or gold, or the large fertile plains that America boasts. We have some cliffs, a few cows, and Cavan. Our only resource of note is our people. Are we smart people? Well, in the sciences, we produced Hamilton (who developed the mathematics needed to land a man on the moon), Boyle (the father of chemistry) and Walton (who split the atom). Academically, we are world-leaders in the social sciences, immunology, nanoscience, pharmacy, software production, and (of course) the arts. Indeed, in literature, we produced Beckett, Joyce, Wilde, Yeats, Bernard Shaw, and Goldsmith to name but a few. How many Nobel Prize-winning authors can you name from Wisconsin? (In fact Ireland, with five million people, has won ten Nobel Prizes. Japan, with 120 million people and hardly known as layabouts, has won nineteen.) Commercially, you may think we don’t excel, but the chief executives of Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett-Packard etc all disagree. There’s a
    reason why Facebook and Google chose Dublin to base their European Headquarters and no, it’s not just for tax breaks. Our population reads more newspapers than any other nation, though I recognise that an American may not the appreciate the importance of that to Ireland’s civic and political life ;). However, getting back on topic, your point is simply incorrect – Ireland excels at a remarkable number of things.

    “It’s a relaxed attitude that’s not exactly laziness, but a kind of contentment born of sucking economic and social hind tit for decades.”

    This is a ridiculously ignorant comment. Ireland lived under the thumb of a empire that decided to revoke any notion of self-determination just as the Industrial Revolution was taking foot and thus is subsequently largely passed it by. Forty years later it was struck by the largest economic catastophe of the 19th Century which saw its population cut by 25% (how would an under-developed, largely agricultural America react to losing 75 million people over a couple of years?) and continue in a negative spiral for over a century.

    You talk of decades of sponging. In 1950, Ireland was one of the poorest countries in the developed world. Fifty years later, Ireland was one of the most dynamic, richest, globalized economies in the world. Americans work longer hours but, per hour worked, Irish people earn as much as Americans do. That type of economic revolution does not come from “sucking the economic hind tit”. (But, if it did, maybe America should give it a try.) Again, your point is factually incorrect.

    (BTW yes, Ireland is in the shitter now as a result of a massive banking crisis. Rather than protest (ala Greece) or riot (ala London), the Irish people electorally destroyed its government and has been quietly taking the largest fiscal adjustment ever recoreded on the chin (the Fed’s payout to AIG equated to about $300 per US citizen; the Irish banking bailout will cost of the order of $50,000 per Irish citizen) and is working with Europe to prevent spreading further financial panic throughout the world. Would you really rather we were less laid-back?)

    “There’s no reward for excellence, so why bother going the extra mile?”

    This statement encapsulates much of what I think is wrong with your perspective. Irish people are not driven by money to the extent that Americans are and, yes, we value time with family and friends more than Americans do. However you may be surprised just how excellently the country rewards itself. Per hour worked, we earn as much as you do. We live longer than you. We have much lower rates of mental disorders. It’s hard to measure, but I think it’s fair to say our working poor are an awful lot happier than yours. By most surveys, on average we’re happier than Americans anyway.

    You’re right that going the extra mile will provide you with less consumption in Ireland than in America. But if you level that as your most stringent criticism of Ireland, then frankly I think you’re missing the point of Ireland.

    • Annie says:

      Enda, I tip my hat to you. I have been trying to compose a level-headed response to this blog post for several days, but I continuously lapsed into angry ranting.

      Glenn, this man speaks for me too.

    • Enda,

      Be aware that I’ve received an equal number of posts from locals saying that I’m right on the money. I don’t pretend to be 100% right. I’m very clear that these are just my observations after being here a month.

      I realize I overstated my case by saying the Irish don’t excel at anything. What I was trying to get at ( and obviously I failed in trying to do this) is to say that many of the Irish seem content not to excel in a moment to moment day to day basis. Good enough is good enough. And, beyond that, in talking to many of the Irish you’d never know that they’d done all of those things you mention. You don’t often hear them blowing their own horn. And, while that may be a good thing,t it contributes to the feeling that they are not driven.

      And I did NOT say that the Irish were sucking on the public tit. I said they were sucking hind tit. Perhaps you’re not familiar with the expression, so I’m happy to explain it to you. Typically the runts of most pig litters are forced to suckle the hindmost teat on their mother. This is the teat that provides the least amount of nourishment. As a result the runt stays the runt, and is forced systemically to do with less. You’ll note that I didn’t say why Ireland has been sucking hind tit for so long. All of those things you note may be reasons why Ireland has been on the “malnourished” end of Europe economically and (arguably) socially for decades. But there they are nonetheless.

      Don’t get me wrong, I really like Ireland, and know that my understanding and appreciation will deepen over time. That’s the point of ethnography. i don’t claim any formal training, but what I am doing is an informal ethnography over time. This is a snapshot at one month.

      Finally, I’d like to point out that your statement “what I mean when I say someone is “really American” makes it clear that you do a fair bit of cultural generalizing yourself. And I believe that point (about you generalizing) holds true in your assumption that my statements came out of some random ugly American screed and not from having actually interacted with quite a few of the Irish themselves, or from having heard many of these same complaints from them as well.

      Thanks again for your comments.

      Keep checking back.

    • Teresaa says:

      Dear Enda.

      Wow.

      Thank you for that. I couldn’t have said it better myself. xxx

    • Dawn says:

      Enda’s response really annoys me. Maybe because it’s so long. Maybe because he criticizes you for your observations about Ireland, then goes on to make his own about the US.

      So Enda, I’m just wondering if you enjoy the ability to be in a library at 11PM. Must be nice. The only place I can be in Dublin at 11PM is in the pub. Everything else closed many, many hours earlier. Are you spending your evenings in the Library of Congress? As far as I can recall, I’ve never met a security guard in a public library who was carrying an actual gun. Guess you never know how violent those paperbacks might get though. Also, what kind of painkillers are you using that require an ID to purchase? I know some allergy medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, but I don’t know of any standard painkillers that could be used to make illegal drugs, therefore requiring an ID for purchase. I will say though, that you must enjoy being able to pop into Target at 10PM and pick up a 200-tablet pack of Advil instead waiting in line to ask a pharmacist for painkillers and only receiving a pack of 10. My advice is to get over yourself with the cheese on the sandwiches. At least sandwiches in the US won’t leaving you wondering where the heck the meat is.

      And lastly, over the top patriotism? REALLY? You can’t be serious? I’ve never met anyone more proud of his country and heritage than the Irish. When did pride in one’s country become a bad thing anyway?

      I agree with those other locals…Glenn’s post is right on the money. I’ve lived in Dublin three years with my Irish spouse, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the Irish are too proud to admit that they are doing something wrong. You’ll never hear an Irish person apologize. “Sorry” here means “excuse me, I’m trying to get by you.”

    • Nancy in New Jersey says:

      With all due respect Enda, 95% of what you say is nonsense. For example — “the refusal to debate that it might be a good idea to make some changes to the Constitution after 250 years.” WTF? The Constitution has been amended 27 times in the past 250 years. Even if you don’t count the Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments) it’s still been amended 17 times. The last time was in 1992. In 1971 it was amended to guarantee the rights of 18 year olds to vote for exactly the reason you mentioned — because they can be drafted at that age. Drinking age, however, has nothing to do with “rights.” It’s simply a statistically supported measure associated with safety and public health. And since 18 year old can vote, they could vote to lower the drinking age if they wanted to.

      Most of the rest of your comments are equally ill-informed, but not as easily disproved.

  57. Stephen says:

    Completely agree on the public transport and mixer taps issue. Completely disagree on the sausages, they are brilliant here in Ireland.

    I have a couple of my own beefs to add though.

    1. Street signage. Abysmal.
    2. Estate agents. Incompetent.
    3. Pebble-dash. Who ever thought that would look good?
    4. Lack of selection of beer. Every pub has exactly the same selection….I’m surprised a micro-brew culture hasn’t developed here.

    But, having said that and having just returned from my first trip back to the USA in 2 years, I love Ireland despite these quirks, and I could never live in the USA again (I’m Canadian, but lived in the USA 7 years before Ireland). My list of problems/issues with living in the USA would be far longer than my list for Ireland. Every country has its quirks.

  58. Henry Barth says:

    I really am surprised that none of the outraged defenders of the Big Smoke has written a comment on the possibility the next Uachtarán na hÉireann (President of Ireland – actually, President of part of Ireland since Northern Irish can’t participate) could be an *American* named Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez.

  59. maryellen says:

    Oh good….Charlie Sheen’s da.

    I’m with Enda…and I’m an American. Glenn needs to do a fair bit of homework before he spouts off like this. The ‘ugly American’ is apt here.

    “Don’t get me wrong, I really like Ireland.” Who gives a shite and feck off.

    • Maryellen,

      Thanks for reading the blog.

      Your response assume that I didn’t do a “fair bit of homework” before writing the post. In fact I did. Perhaps we should, all of us, be careful about making assumptions.

  60. maryellen says:

    Thanks for reading and responding to my post; I stand by my comment.
    You are a newbie and, as such, should respectfully observe and absorb your current surroundings. Your ‘runt’ analogy is IMHO offensive and signals your lack of historical information, education or sensitivity. Perhaps I’m being overly-sensitive.

    • Maryellen,

      That’s what I’ve come to love about the blog form/forum/format. It’s about a conversation, and airing different viewpoints.

      I genuinely hope you’ll keep reading and responding.

      Best,
      Glenn

  61. Stephen says:

    Your comments about institutional disorganization and lack of accountability in Ireland are amusing to me in contrast to the sheer size of American institutions. While I agree that the public institutions in Ireland do need a lot of work, at least they are not as cumbersome as those of America (it is understandable for America, with far more people, to be more cumbersome).

    In my job I regularly have to deal with Irish officials from Immigration, Education, and Finance. The great thing in Ireland is, you can actually get them on the phone! Just try getting through to a person that can actually make decisions at the US Immigration department, or the IRS. Impossible. In Ireland I can do that, in fact I can make an appointment with various government ministers. Impossible in the USA.

    • Stephen,

      Your US examples are well taken, and doubtless true. But please also note, that I go out of my way NOT to compare Ireland to America ( or anywhere else for that matter). Though, I suppose it is inevitable that I may do that in my head to some degree, I try very hard not to do that (or even give the appearance of doing so) on paper.

      It’s important to me that the blog be about Ireland, and the process of immigrating/assimilating here, warts and all, good and bad. If my ugly Americanism hangs out on occasion, I’m sorry, but I’m American, and that should not be hidden, even ( and especially) if that means I have to take some lumps for it. But I’m trying very hard to keep it out of things.

      I challenge you to find any place in my post where I directly imply that Ireland sucks in comparison to America.

      If that’s what you’re taking away from my blog, I contend that this is your own interpretation based on the knowledge that I’m American. Ask yourself if you’d make the same assumption that I was comparing Ireland to America if I were a new immigrant from Nigeria ( or anywhere else) making these observations.

  62. Brian Laverty says:

    I listened to you on the Dave Fanning show and you sounded like an average guy who was having a bit of fun with us but on reading some of your replys it would seem you can give more than you can take. I think Enda has rattled your cage somewhat with his well penned response, so Glen be carefull what you wish for.Anyway enjoy your stay and when your going home ask Rory if he would like you to take the cup back.

    Brian

  63. Pier Kuipers says:

    Heard you being interviewed by Dave Fanning on 2FM and – being an immigrant myself – had to check out your blog. Funny enough, the items you highlight are very different from the things that struck me about Ireland. It took me 25 years before I started blogging about it, but then again – I would have had a hard time blogging in 1986, I guess 🙂

  64. Pier Kuipers says:

    Sorry – forgot to show you my findings about being a foreigner in Dublin: http://www.pierkuipers.com/2011/05/culture-shock/
    Not really “hate” or “love”, just – different.

  65. msouden says:

    Glenn,
    I have total post envy. In fact, I wrote my version of this several months ago, but never had the guts to publish it. We arrived here in November from Michigan. I’m with you on the taps, and my folks are home builders just about everything about construction here drives me mad. Does your bathroom smell like a gas station and lack electrical outlets too?

    The woman who ran the seaside B&B where we stayed when we first arrived (inadvertently) summed up the issue beautifully while explaining one evening why the living room lights wouldn’t all stay on at the same time. She said “Like so many things in Ireland, they kind of work.” It wasn’t really the words themselves though, but the way they just rolled out. It was clearly a phrase she used frequently, and has become one of those reoccurring shorthand phrases between my wife and I.

    All that said, I keep trying to find ways of articulating how the frustration with these challenges really does comes from a genuine love (or at least hope) for a beautiful life here in Ireland. How moving here is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and one of the greatest. Of how I agree completely with Edna’s litany of American idiocy, and how I feel like I have to protect my child from, and rail against, the crappy parts of “American” culture, and how I fear that less here.

    I hope the sparks keep flying, because it’s a great conversation, and one to be had with humor.

    Cheers, as they say here,
    Matt

    • David says:

      Hi,

      I think you have to compare like with like when drawing comparisons between countries.
      I’ve lived in quite a few countries, including Ireland and the United States and I would have to say that I simply do not agree with your sweeping generalisations about Irish construction standards.

      It looks like you’re comparing a crumby Irish B&B with normal modern buildings in the United States. The reality is that it would compare very badly with modern, properly maintained buildings in Ireland too.

      If I were to generalise about America based on my experience of older parts of Boston it would be something like this:

      Creeky old houses that all smelt a little weird – a combination of must, wood and overpowering air fresheners/Fabreeze masking smells. Air conditioners that rarely worked properly. Most rooms in many houses (and offices) had socket outlets that had no grounding and many people cut the earth/ground pins off appliances or used adaptors to bypass the earth. I received regular minor electric shocks from appliances and office equipment! Because the electrical distribution system in the area was rather antiquated, we had a lot of “brown outs” i.e. the voltage dropped to below 90V! This would result in flickering lights and all sorts of problems with IT equipment.

      I could, but don’t use that example to generalise about everything in the United States!

      As for your bathroom smelling like a gas station – That is most definitely not normal and I would suggest you have that checked out? Are you cleaning your bathroom with some weird product?

      Due to rather strict wiring regulations in both Ireland and the United Kingdom, electrical outlets are not allowed in bathrooms. The only type of electrical outlet permitted in those kinds of wet areas are special 2-pin shaver sockets which are supplied via an isolating transformer. You will probably notice that touchable light-switches are not allowed in the bathroom either i.e. the switches are usually in the corridor outside or operated by means of a pull cord. The regulations were designed to prevent people being electrocuted in bare feet in the bathroom while using plug-in electric shavers. These strict regulations were perhaps more appropriate before the 1970s. All socket outlets in Ireland since that era are protected by RCDs (GFCIs) making it rather difficult to get a fatal electric shock. However, the very strict regulations in bathrooms were maintained.

      In general in Ireland, buildings are a lot older than much of the US/Canada. They’re quite comparable to urban New England or New York however and you will certainly find plenty of “quirky” and “antique” setups there too.

      I do agree however, that there was a lot of crappy and rather badly regulated construction during the boom here in Ireland too, but most buildings are quite OK!

      In general, I don’t think there are all that many differences between Ireland and the US. I wouldn’t regard the differences as any bigger than those you’d find between say Heuston, Texas and parts of Massachusetts.

      I think this blog is really highlighting quite a lot of superficial differences and blowing them out of all proportion. Broadly speaking, Ireland and the US share a common language, a free, open society, long histories of democracy, they’re both republics, they both have incredibly vibrant media/cultural/music scenes, they even share the same principles and structures of their legal systems i.e. they’re all “common law” jurisdictions, similar business cultures etc etc …

      There are many things about the United States, that as an Irish person, drive me mad and I wonder why they’re not done the ‘correct way’ too.

      E.g. horrible cheese that looks like plastic, calling things the ‘wrong name’, washing machines that don’t seem to work properly, showers often have flexible hose, electrical fittings that seem to try and electrocute you and won’t hold heavy transformer-plugs in place, 4-way stop junctions, chinos and trainers, no Chip + PIN credit cards, excessive and completely over the top and often very unaccountable law enforcement by aggressive armed police, endless totally unaccountable bureaucracy in many areas, particularly immigration / customs, etc…

      There are many positive things about the US too and there are many positive things about Ireland.

      So, please, let’s not get focused on things like “OMG : the plugs are a different shape, they drive on the wrong side of the road and speak in a funny accent…” type stuff…

      When you move to a new country or even a new city, lots of small things will be slightly annoying!

      • msouden says:

        Yes, yes, they are David, but I’m generally pretty easily annoyed too, so… 😉 And I agree this shouldn’t become a nit picking of Ireland thing. I really do like it here and will comment on Glenn’s 5 things I love post with my own little list. What made me think of this thread and brought me back was a tweet from a friend I just saw; “Your loudest and most obnoxious critics are ultimately on your side. They want things to be better.” So I love Ireland enough to be a little obnoxious.

        I stand by my sweeping construction criticisms. We’re on place number 3 if you count the B&B – with a long long ‘once-bitten-twice-shy’ hunt for this new place. There’s a reason that the Irish Times runs that little comparison of high-end properties here versus the continent on Sundays – because housing costs (and by extension quality) are still way out-of-wack. I can list the issues but wont. It’s more than just one B&B though, and includes contractors, materials, and (of course) landlords.

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  67. Hm…that Number One…sure you didn’t move to Italy?

    Go get ’em, Glenn!

  68. Dr Doctor says:

    if you think the bus service is bad then never, ever, ever get sick enough to require hospital treatment

    • Mark says:

      Hospital service is fine, just clogged with too many drunks and perfectly healthy medical card holding welfare class, and the nurses are vastly overpaid.

      On the same note, people expect far too much of hospitals, they’re not magic.

      When it boils down to it, there just outlets to dispose of painkillers and antibiotics, most people on organ transplants die early as anyone with with severe disabilities.

      If your lucky you might gets a few extra final years of your life dragged out, blitzed off your tits in a comfortable junkie like state with endless smack.

  69. msouden says:

    Just to be contrary- our one trip to St. Vincent’s for a cut chin requiring gluing closed (teaching daughter to ride her bike) was at least as good quality and speed of care as we ever got at the “world-reknown” University of Michigan Hospital. We were in-and-out in under 2 hours I think. Granted UMHS is known for research – actual day-to-day care is kinda notoriously slow and done by overworked med students doing their residency.

  70. S. B. says:

    Wow, you have a lot of people reading this blog and commenting. 🙂 As far as cat litter – there is a Canadian brand they carry at Petmania here in Galway (they also have a store in Santry) it’s called Simplicity. Trust me, it’s what you want to get.
    And though there may be many people ready to tell you that your observations are invalid, don’t worry about it. I have been living in Galway for a year now, and am less than charmed with some of the realities of Irish life. Sadly, the only job for an American with a Master’s Degree living in Galway seems to be working in a Medical Devices factory. All the things that I liked about Ireland – the well-read, socially-engaged populace, and the laid-back attitude do not exist in factory life. Due to these circumstances, living in Ireland has largely become my nightmare. At the end of the day, all you can do is see the world through your own two eyes, and there’s no shame in speaking the honest truth.

  71. KAP says:

    Haven’t had time to read the numerous replies but totally agree about the lack of mixer taps. And to the person who said that a lot of Americans seem to be annoyed by that particular thing – I don’t think it is a cultural thing. I think anyone who has hot water that is nearly boiling as soon as it comes out of the tap might not appreciate the undeserved scalding. Seems like a straight forward issue.

    On the bus service I disagree but that is because the area I live is serviced by 5 different buses that run straight into town.

  72. Aidan says:

    Just to let you know, we enjoy our sausages as they are, and we HATE the Dublin Bus. That’s why we don’t use it anymore unless it goes right up to the front door of where we intended on going. If we want to get to town, Luas. And other places we have Taxis or the DART. Simple as that.

  73. IDontLikeSoccer says:

    As a central-European living in Dublin for a while now
    5) can’t comment
    4) I have mixer taps at my place, though the one in the kitchen basically streams hot and cold water simultaneously through the nozzle, it’s not actually mixed (that’s GOTTA be more complicated than just mixing it inside the faucet). I’ve managed to burn my hand with cold water running at the same time.
    3) Agreed. Though I’ve also had some that wasn’t that bland .. but all have been sort of greasy. Ah well, that’s a question of personal taste, I guess. The blandness is something I (and every visitor I’ve met so far) have noticed in a lot of dishes.
    2) Signed!! I’ve been to several European, Asian and US/Canadian cities as well has have been living for a few months in the Philippines. ALL of these cities had better public transport! The only places which were only a little better were the outskirts (not inner cities, mind you) of Toronto and San Francisco… but these are countries where you’re not financially punished for owning a car (local car insurance prices …. seriously?). I seriously recommend biking … it’s healthy and you get most places quicker than by bus (I dare any bus going through Dublin 6 to race me to the city center!).
    1) Basically, what you said. I was also told by other expats to match my expectations accordingly and it’d be easier. For example, I asked my landlady to have someone come and replace the moldy silicone in the bathroom, in my book that doesn’t mean apply new silicone over the mold and let it dry. I’ve come to fixing several things around the apartment myself … it costs my time and money but leaves me in the knowledge that it stays fixed.
    I also don’t get the general ‘meh’ mentality regarding some high potential enterprises: getting innovative with natural resources. Like meat … Ireland has really (!) good beef and lamb … why is this not an absolute export success? Why is Irish beef and Lamb not in central EU stores in the high price deli sections?
    The other one is milk and dairy products … Irish milk is fantastic. So, apart from butter, why is there no world renowned Irish yoghurt or even chocolate? Swiss and Austrian chocolate is not world renowned because they’re growing such great cocoa beans there! All that does require some study and a bit of ingenuity, but that can be learned and that means traveling. Drop the pride, go to countries that have had success in these fields and learn.
    Cheese, even? The local cheese is not bad, but by comparison very few types of local cheeses have actually been invented here (sorry, but cheddar is English, no matter where you produce it). Cashel Blue is rather tasty … why does nobody else know it?

    Other things that come to mind:
    *) build quality … now I know that traditionally in Ireland the thermometer doesn’t dip below zero degrees very often, but would proper heating insulation really hurt that badly? Having paid a winter’s worth of gas bills here … trust me … the savings would be astonishing! I know one can ask for a energy certificate for apartments nowadays, but that doesn’t help if 85% of the available places get an atrocious rating.
    *) bread. There’s ONE place in Dublin (that I know of) that sells bread that is not imported and doesn’t fall into the 2 categories of either a) Toast or b) Soda. There are plenty of types available, but they’re ALL just variations of a) or b) .. either with malt to colour it brown, with seeds thrown in, etc. That place is the Paris Bakery in Moore Street.

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  75. Big Bad Bob. says:

    Just read your article there my freind and if they are the five worst things about Ireland then we’re not too bad off at all. It seems more a list of inconveniences to you, than a list of hates. You obviously didn’t pick up on the most used phrase in Irish terminology; ‘Fuck it, it’ll do’.

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  77. f says:

    If you don’t like it here fuck off

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  80. Dawn says:

    Wow, I really just have to comment on the stupid water taps! I’m so sick reading comments that try to justify the two different taps with shoulder shrugs. Would someone just get some balls and admit that the two tap thing is crap?! Why should I have to choose between ice cold water when my hands are already numb from being outside in the middle of June or scalding hot water that will sizzle my skin right off? When I wash my face before going to bed, it’s a race to wet my skin, lather the soap, wash my face, and rinse before the hot tap goes completely 3rd degree burn on me. This nightly procedure involves a lot of turning tap on, turning tap off, and cursing. So annoying! Am I supposed to fill the sink with a mix of hot and cold, old-school pitcher & basin style??

    The responses to this perfectly demonstrate your point, Glenn. Most Irish people I know are okay with mediocrity when it comes to something like this. They don’t mind when things are slightly inconvenient. Why bother taking the time to make something better when it’s only a minor annoyance? I just don’t get it.

  81. Peregrinus says:

    Actually, there’s a reason for the lack of mixer taps.

    It’s down to the fact that Ireland (with Britain) was an early adopter when it came to indoor plumbing technology, and as a result accepted some standards which are now a bit out of date.

    Basically, standard Irish indoor plumbing works – or, at any rate, worked – like this: A riser from the water main carries water under mains pressure to somewhere high up in the house (usually the roof-space) where a storage tank is fed. Water from that tank is then fed under the pressure of gravity to (most of) the cold taps in the house, to the toilet cisterns and to the hot water boiler, which in turn feeds the hot taps. This means that water supply is maintained for a time if mains supply is interrupted, and it guarantees a constant pressure to the hot water system regardless of fluctuations in mains pressure.

    The thing is this: For obvious reasons, the storage tank cannot be sealed. Air has to be able to get in, otherwise water will not feed down to the taps in the house.

    And, if air can get in, other things can get in. And they do. So water from the storage tank is not considered safe to drink.

    So, any tap that you might drink from feeds directly from the riser- it takes water from the main, before it gets to the storage tank in the roof.

    Hence, separate hot and cold taps. You don’t want to mix the hot and cold water supplies because one is drinkable and the other isn’t – or, at least, isn’t reliably drinkable.

    This isn’t so much an issue in the bath – very few people drink their bathwater, even cold bathwater – but it is in the kitchen, and to a lesser extent in handbasins. (You don’t want to brush your teeth with water from a tank full of mouse droppings, do you?)

    Modern houses may in fact not have this system, but many do. And older houses nearly all do.

  82. Scalded hands Joe says:

    As a Swede (the nationality, not vegetable) living in Dublin for the past 12 years I found your entries so true. Not the sausage thing – you’re dead wrong there. And I’ve never owned a cat so I can’t comment on that. But the rest – true. The double tap thing still to this day annoys me like it’s nobody’s business. And what’s worse is some people don’t realise what an inconvenience they are! They’re a pain in the hole! Double taps haven’t been used in Sweden since the 70’s. Friends love to visit me here because for them it’s like visiting a museum. Where you can drink. And the buses. I’m lucky now because I either cycle, drive or take the train to work. (I do sometimes suffer the occasional Nite Link because there seems to be no other way of getting home on the weekend after midnight)?!? But despite these things (and I could go on for quite some time about things that nag me) Dublin and Ireland is a great place to live. It’s hard to put a finger on it but there’s something about the people and the way they know how to have fun, which by now, I’m sure you’ve figured out.

  83. K.B. says:

    So I’ve been living in Dublin for 7 years, working in other parts of the country for a few months also, but my base has always been Dublin. I loved reading your blog. I grew up in North America, so hence to say I was excited moving here. BUT, as you mentioned, there are a few things that are absolutely ridiculous and pathetic for a first world country to boot! You had four very valid points on your list (never had a cat so can’t vouch for the fifth, but I am in no doubt about it at all). I would add approximately 500 more points to it (more points more cynical one gets here). Needless to say, my patience with the zero accountability, post recession moaning and the standard of lifestyle has completely diminished into the negatives. I’m moving out of Ireland in two weeks, and bringing my boyfriend from Dublin with me. He’s never lived away and I’m sure will have a total eye opener when moving to North America (three words: consumer based society). With an Irish boyfriend, you must imagine, I must be sensitive when talking about such a controversial topic. But thank you for your blog. It proves to me that no, I am not alone.

    • K.B.,
      Thanks for reading the blog, and for taking the time to check in and comment. Good luck with the move. And, in the interest of furthering the immigrant/emigrant experience, please post here again and tell us about your experience going back to N. America (and with a Dubliner in tow).

      Best of luck, and safe travels.

      -Glenn

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  85. sonia says:

    Any chance of speaking about a few incredible life incidences occuring to me here in this apathetic country?

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  87. Frank says:

    Enda H – I agree fully with what you have outlined and you have done that perfectly for this seriously uninformed American.

    I have lived for several years in the US (Florida, Georgia, Washington State), Germany, France, Italy and Korea for several years and am currently living in Saudi Arabia and therefore have a reasonably good impression of the world in general. I thoroughly agree with your assessment.

    I have always been quite critical about Ireland, but some of the criticisms here are silly in the extreme. Cat litter? Sausages? Wow. That gets to the heart of the society you have chosen to live in – not. How superficial is that. Get real, my American friend – there is a vast world out there that you obviously can not even begin to imagine – and that is the tragedy of American interaction with the world.

    “American in Dublin “, you need to live in the real world – go to a place that is so totally different that “cat litter” is an unknown concept and where alcohol, proselytizing for other religions and any sausage with pork products is forbidden.

    I appreciate that you are giving your immediate impressions of somewhere you know nothing of but you always need to place your contributions in context.

    Kind regards

  88. Daniel says:

    Another arrogant American in Dublin, here to add to the list of your fellow countrymen and women ?Things will be different but moaning over hot and cold taps really it’s not that complicated one tap is cold the other is hot simple, and another thing us Irish are famous for our meat we export it all over the world so to call our sausages bland and boring that’s a big insult I’ve never been to America but I hope that the people I meet over there are not as arrogant and stuck up as you and your fellow Americans who I regularly overhear in tourist sites around Dublin complaining about how America is better.Goodbye God bless and have a nice day y’all

    • Daniel,

      First, thanks for taking the time to read and reply. I’m always happy when people contribute to the conversation.

      But I’d like to encourage you to read on (other posts). I think you’ll see that I’m not just writing about America vs. Dublin (far from it). The topic of discussion is far more nuanced that that. We’re talking about fitting in and what/why immigrants/emigrants find things to be different. You’ll find that I rarely (if ever) compare things just to America. If I do, it’s because that’s my frame of reference (as it is for many of my readers). I’m very careful (or try to be) not to assign “better/worse” judgements to things here or there. They are simply different.

      I think if you read more you’ll see that just as all of Ireland/Dublin isn’t bad,Americans are not all as shallow and crass as you lot enjoy making us out to be.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

    • Peter says:

      Going off tangent here but I remember when I was 9 back in the late 70s being at Dublin airport. I met Americans who were extremely nice to me…offered me lollies. The conversation amongst themselves were complaints about how small the towels in Irish hotels. I remember this as my parents had a small hotel / pub at the time. I rem my mum mentioned at the time how Americans guests complained about the showers and the towels.

  89. Daniel says:

    Sorry about the bad comments wasn’t thinking there, I have met a few decent Americans in town and other places in Ireland seeking their “roots” the vast majority have been very nice and well mannered but on one occasion I met a man and his wife from New York who was so insulting and was moaning about this that and the other I felt as if I wanted to punch this fella and I thought all Americans were like this again sorry about the rash comments but again as said in my last comment we are world famous for our meat, our sausages are lovely if one brand is a bit brand don’t assume that all our sausages are boring and tasteless so again sorry about the comments few bad eggs spoil the bunch right?

    • Daniel,

      No worries. No one comment can be expected to catch us at our best (our true selves). That’s why I try to encourage a protracted conversation from everybody.

      BTW – You are right about the meat in Ireland. I do love the beef and lamb. I have found a few brands of sausage that I like. And I’m making the conversion to rashers.

      Thanks again for commenting.

  90. I’m an Irish person living in Berlin and can see where you’re coming from. The Irish like to complain mightily about their own country, but God forbid when a foreigner points out the things they don’t like about the place, then the Irish get all defensive, don’t take it personally : )

    For many of the reasons you mentioned (bar the sausage and cat litter) I left Ireland and came to Berlin.

    I HATE the crappy transport system in Dublin, I hate that so many Irish people are tree-haters and are only content when any mature trees which soften the look of ghastly housing estates are all removed by house owners (usually in the dead of night, so the deed is done before anyone can stop them), so that they don’t block the view of more carbon-copy dire houses on their street. Speaking of housing estates, I hate how these ugly developments were allowed to be built non-stop, marching across the countryside with their ugly architecture. I hate the high rental prices and how buying a property is seen as the be-all and end-all of achievement. I hated – at the time when I left – 2007 how economic growth had changed much of the population into arrogant prats boasting about having bought their 3rd house and second yacht – although apparently this has changed somewhat now. I hate the Irish weather with the non-stop rain. I really miss the sea though.

    All places have good and bad points, I think as a foreigner living abroad, the bad points are usually things that you take for granted when you are in your home country, but are done differently in your new home town and these are the things that begin to grate on your nerves over time. Here in Germany they have great sausages and no doubt a wide range of ‘bio’ (organic) cat litter – they’re mad for bio stuff here (I bought fridge cleaner and noticed afterwards that it was made from organic alcohol), the transport system is wonderful, but in general the people are colder (until you get to know them), it’s difficult to make friends with the natives due to that, or engage and meet new people at all and as for any kind of flirting with the opposite sex, it just doesn’t happen here. The paperwork here is ridiculous, there is no German efficiency, you can get nothing done without providing 3 pieces of stamped paperwork and it takes weeks. I miss being able to have proof of ID being two household bills sent to your address : )

    I know if I move back a lot of things will drive me absolutely crazy once again, but ‘the grass is greener’ mentality that I had has definitely been wiped out by my years living in Berlin. So, I guess what I’m saying is, count yourself lucky, at least the Irish are mostly friendly (and I hope they are to you), they speak English instead of a language that is hugely difficult to master, and speaking personally as a fellow person living in a foreign country, I think feeling welcomed and a sense of belonging is the most important thing to have in your adopted country – the great sausages, reasonable rents and wonderful transport that I once raved about in Berlin now mean nothing to me, they don’t make you happy because it is hard for any foreign person to feel truly accepted in Germany. I’ve come to the conclusion that feeling welcomed and part of your adopted city is what ultimately leads to some sort of contentment and at least I’d have that at home (along with grumbling about the transport, rental prices, rain and the economy)

    • Mostly,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. Your comments are exactly the sort of exchange I’d hope to start here.

      I want to get input from emigrants/immigrants in a variety of circumstances.

      Thanks.

      -Glenn

  91. Pyd Pydper says:

    You are just what is expected of most: ignorant and trivial minded people. Who cares what you think? There are billions on the planet who also think.

    • Dear Pyd,

      As regards your first comment: Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m just sorry you felt the need to expend your energy writing something so angry and hateful that doesn’t move the discussion forward in a substantive way.

      As regards your second point: I’m not sure what you are referring to. But I assume it’s the message you receive after posting a comment that says your comment is awaiting approval from the moderator. That’s an automatic response from WordPress. If every comment were automatically approved, the message forum would be flooded with spam and foul language, etc. That, sadly, is the truth of what’s out there on the Internet (not entirely, but to a large degree). So, I reserve the right to approve/delete every comment, not as a means of squashing dissenting opinion, but as a way of keeping the crude and malicious off the board.

      Again, thanks for taking the time to write in.

  92. Pyd Pydper says:

    The word “moderate” is used. Why moderate? Are you all small minded people who cannot deal with what people want to write? Are you that immature to be offended by words in a world where killing is excused by many?

  93. cary says:

    i am completely irish, born and grew up in dublin. i pretty much agree with everything you said, except that the irish ‘don’t seem to excel at anything’ comment. this just isn’t true, and it’s quite lazy and offensive of you to say this. it’s so unrepresentative and predictable to make a list, but just off the top of my head – what about the irish authors / playwrights, sebastian barry, the late maeve binchy, beckett, yeats, wilde? the exceptional number of irish stars in hollywood, liam neeson, colin farrell, michael fassbender, cillian murphy, maureen o’hara? musical success – u2, thin lizzy, glen hansard, or sporting success considering the size of the country, sonia o sullivan, dervla o rourke, katie taylor? and there are so many more. it is a fact that as a nation with a strong history of emigration the irish excel abroad, and have one of the largest diasporas in the world. general world figures – mary robinson, john hume?

    • Cary,

      First of all, “Thin Lizzie”?

      Seriously, I’ve heard this complaint before, and you are right, my comment really wasn’t about individual Irish achievement, of which there is truly a long and impressive record. My comment was meant to speak to the overall pervasive attitude in Irish society that says “Things work well enough.” That’s the “don’t seem to excel at anything” that I was referring to.

      It’s the attitude that allows the Garda to show up 90 minutes after a break-in and everybody simply says, “Oh yeah that’s to be expected”, or simply accepts a general lack of potable water from most house taps. I’m critical of the systemic Irish tendency to not push themselves beyond “works well enough”. If it’s allowed to persist, that attitude becomes a cancer trickles down to way too many aspects of life overall.

      Thanks for taking the time to read he blog, and thanks especially for taking the time to comment. I hope you will keep reading.

      • cary says:

        well if that’s what you meant why didn’t you make it clear? what did you expect people to take from it?

        you seem like you want to have the last word. also, combination taps don’t really suit Georgian bathrooms

        • Cary,
          Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and the comments. And thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope you’ll continue to read and contribute to the discussion.

          You have, however, just made my point about the Irish being willing to accept the “things work well enough” attitude by tolerating less than their best from themselves and their leaders. In your comment you said, “combination taps don’t really suit Georgian bathrooms”.

          Really?

          It’s not possible to find attractive, Georgian style mixer taps? I find that hard to believe. And, if enough people insisted on it, I’m sure some enterprising Irish designer would make one, and that swanky bathroom showroom down the block would offer it. The truth is that people here are willing to make due without it, so there is no profit incentive. It’s more profitable to sell you what everybody else is using. As a result,nobody offers you the choice.

  94. Cathal. says:

    Great post. Interesting observations. Fair play to you for telling it as you see it. Also interesting comments. Why do people feel the need to attack you because you’re annoyed about bad cat litter or separate cold/hot taps? Relax folks – he’s allowed to be annoyed about these things. Totally reasonable. The tap thing is really funny – I’d never thought about it that much before. It’s funny that it’s something that you and seemingly many other North Americans find irritating. Speaking of Irish plumbing, my American friend thinks our radiators are funny and strange. He was describing them to fellow Americans when we were in the States and they all started laughing with disbelief! I couldn’t stop laughing at them due to my disbelief at their disbelief. And then I noticed that there are no radiators in America (or at least in Texas…)! You have magical houses wherein temperatures stay the same, come sun or more sun, and there’s always hot water in the taps. I asked our American hosts about how the water is heated and their response was basically, “don’t know, don’t care, why are you even asking us this?” I’m laughing now just recalling that.

    What I really wanted to say though is that I’m amazed that nobody has anything positive to say about Dublin Bus! I’ve lived or spent much time in Glasgow, London and Paris and visited many other places, and the bus systems in those cities were broadly on a par with Dublin Bus. I feel like I’m missing something when I hear people decry Dublin Bus. It’s pretty much impossible in traffic-congested, modern cities to accurately say when Bus A is going to be at Stop X. You can give an estimation – which is what the timetables aim to do. And with the introduction of the GPS system and associated apps, the new time information displays, and the improvements in the Dublin Bus website, I now find the buses more convenient and manageable than ever before. There are also about a dozen routes within 5-10 minutes walk from my front door, although admittedly I do live quite close to the city centre. There is definitely still a problem though at bus stops in getting the relevant information across to first time or infrequent users. Maybe I’m just glad that things are much better than they used to be. I remember getting the 46A into town in the evening in my first year at college in UCD; it sometimes used to take an hour and a half. I vividly recall inching around Stephen’s Green before they rerouted the traffic around it, 20 mins plus from one corner to the other. Seems crazy now.

    Finally, I think you’re spot on about the Irish acceptance of mediocrity, as are your allusions to the historical reasons for that. I think you’ll find this article by Fintan O’Toole very interesting: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2012/0417/1224314822905.html

    • Cathal,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. And thanks for the article link. It offers a very interesting perspective, and one that takes a much longer view than I can offer.

    • Dilbert Little says:

      The bit about saying Dublin Bus is on par with that in London or Paris is ridiculous. First of all, a lot of people that live in those places never even set foot in a bus. Paris-proper has subway stops every 500 metres… if you compare those cities’ bus systems with that of Dublin, I think you’re missing the point. Modern cities have these things called metros / undergrounds / subways, i.e. forms of rapid transit transporting people fast and away from the road surface such that they are independent of traffic congestion. We can’t even build two tramway lines that connect together. Nearly every bus route has to pass through the city centre at its most congested point, and yet we are surprised that the system is always late. One can go hours discussing how truly awful Dublin Bus as a service is, from its punctuality (!!!), its customer friendliness, its user-friendliness and its convenience… I know very few people who can go through that without laughing out loud.

  95. pg12 says:

    Well if you don’t like Ireland and what we have to offer, go somewhere else. In all due respect our country has flaws but it has its good points too, ever thought of going outside of the greater Dublin Area? Thought not….

    • Dear Pg,

      I’d like to thank you, sincerely, for taking the time to comment on the blog. But, I think, if you wouldn’t mind reading a few more entries, you’ll see that I’ve found and praised quite a few of those good points you mentioned. And, in the year that I have been here since that post, I’ve traveled quite a bit in Ireland, and would have to say that those five complaints have proven themselves to have been fairly well on the mark. That said, I wouldn’t live anywhere else at point in time. That’s what this blog is about. It’s about embracing a new home (warts and all) as an immigrant, coming to the experience with other life experiences, and learning to put all of it into some sort of context.

      Seriously, I welcome your future input, but I hope your next comment will be a bit more insightful than simply saying, if you don’t like it then get out.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

  96. Ben says:

    One bad thing about Ireland – whiny Americans!

    • Gil says:

      And racists/xenophobes.

      • Gil,

        I can’t speak for Ben, but my comments about the level of racism in Ireland is based purely on lived experience, having a wife who is if Indian descent, and having heard numerous comment from others in similar communities. So, perhaps Ben can back up his own claims, but I’ll admit that (for good or bad) my perceptions are based on my experiences and those of others, not hard “facts”.

  97. Lucy says:

    Look, I see you’re point as an outsider as to why these things would annoy you, but I’m Irish and that’s just the way we are. For the 5th thing about the cat litter, that shouldn’t even be on the list. Have you been to PetsAtHome? More cat litter then you could need. For the 4th thing about the taps, not all taps are like that, but I personally like the taps. You’ve listed the some of the reasons why people might like them and that’s exactly it. We like them for those reasons and that should be enough. And as for number 3 about the sausages, I could barely bring myself to read that. Irish sausages are amazing. A nice pack of Denny’s should do you fine. The 2nd one, about the busses, they’re better then America so quit your complaining. I know 8 year olds who can comprehend those maps. And the last one. As I read that I thought ‘you have some nerve’. You talk about us as if we’re all the same person! The Irish are carefree and don’t expect anything to get done. You make us sound as if we have no goals in life! We are all different people and we all think differently. I know this was written over a year ago, but this seriously bugs me. We achieve. Sure some of us are lazy but that isn’t all of us! America is one of the most obese countries in the world, the whole country is split in two on every major conflict and has the largest history of war I’ve ever seen, but I don’t go around saying every one of you is obese or anything, I would like you to keep more of an open mind when posting again. I’m sorry for getting mad, but I have my reasons. You do bring up some good points and some things that could be taken into consideration, but if you could have a nicer way to put it possibly in future. It wouldn’t do any harm 🙂

  98. teresa says:

    Dear Glenn

    I’m sorry that Dublin is not living up to your expectations. We rely on the Americans and such to come to our country and are happy that individuals such as yourself will take an opportunity to stay on a long term visit. I really have to disagree that things are only done after asking a few times. I work in an agricultural organisation and if someone asks for something done, its done straight away as we again very much rely on farmers and agricultural consultants to keep us in business. However, that’s beside the point. We aren’t all very laid back. that’s what I’m saying.

    I do agree that there are bad sausages. I do have a solution for you. I think you should venture west some weekend. Im from Galway and if you don’t mind me saying so, I know my food. There is a pork butchers there called Herterichs. If you are looking for the most flavoursome sausages, you need to go there. I would be confident to put money on it that you would be truly happy with them. They dont really advertise as they do so well without it anyway.

    There are some very annoying things when visiting USA. We constantly feel the pressure to tip, its constant. I do realise that its the service industry and the money isn’t going to be good. No one tips me for my work. ever. I’m lucky to have a job. I got called all the names under the sun by a taxi driver in new york when I didn’t tip him. That was 5 years ago and I wont go back because that was the last straw for me. As I’m sure you know, salaries over here aren’t the best and when we go on holidays, we spend the money on ourselves because we earned it. It really infuriates me. period.

    Give Dublin a change Glenn, Im here 13 years so it cant be that bad 🙂

    Teresa

    • Teresa,

      Thanks for reading the blog, and for taking the time to comment.

      I’ve been to Galway several times now and really like it. I’ll have to look up Herterich’s the next time I’m out Galway way.

      I’m sorry you experienced the sterotypical NYC taxi driver. There’s no excuse for that level of rudeness.

      A quick note on tipping in America (and my deepest apologies if you already know this, but many of the Irish I’ve told about this don’t seem to know it):

      It may not be the case in all U.S. service industries (like taxis), but in food service (sit down restaurants and bars) waiters/waitresses are paid almost nothing (often $2-$3/hour)in terms of a salary. As a result, they really rely on tips almost exclusively for their pay. That doesn’t excuse rudeness to customers, but it’s the reason that tipping at bars and restaurants is expected. They really aren’t trying to fleece you of your money, it’s figured into the pricing and the economy. Food in general is pretty cheap in the U.S. One of the reasons for this is because they know you’ll also have to shell out 10-20% for tip (depending on how good the food/service were). It also tends to promote a higher level of service. Because the staff make their money from tips tips, they usually work a bit harder.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

      • teresa says:

        thanks for setting me straight! i never actually knew that, i suppose i thought they would be on the minimum wage like over here, definatly try the sausages, i drive over west every other weekend for them, hope you enjoy your stay 🙂 america has brought a certain amount of glamour and sparkle to dublin this weekend im sure you will agree!

  99. Peter says:

    i agree with what you said about everything but the sausages. cumin and chili and other spices would taste like shite in a irish breakfast. we still have spanish german polish ect sausages available in different supermarkets if you want them. im a big fan of chorizo myself. but the irish sausage tastes the way it does for a reason, you eat it with a full irish breakfast, not a tex mex chili.

  100. L says:

    Hi.
    I have three cats and I use wood pellet cat litter.
    I found it offensive that you said “the Irish don’t excel at anything”. That’s not true at all.
    Also, I’m certainly not “lazy”.
    I have an adjustable tap :P, but I understand where you are coming from with the two tap system.
    I don’t agree with you regarding Irish sausages. I’ve had much worse in other countries.
    Maybe people take your blog so personally because the Irish were heavily stereotyped for years as being stupid, lazy, drunk, peasant, violent…..etc. We were also called “white niggers” as well as other vile names, so I can understand why Irish people have taken your post to heart.

  101. Lisa says:

    Bit late coming to this party but let me say I took extreme offence to the idea that the Irish excel at nothing and dont seem to care. I see flaws in our system and many of our people, as I do in every country as I have travelled extensively doing voluntary work, and I think it a disgrace you could say a sentence like that. I can accept the rest of the article by gritting my teeth but that sentence was extremely prejudiced, offensive, ill informed and unnecessary. Good job.

  102. NightGames says:

    Hi fellow American, I really enjoy reading your blog but would like to add to the pompous cesspool of comments and let you know that people from Bloomington, IN are not true Southerners. You are a Yankee. I grew up in Alabama and am a true Southerner, and the sausage on the West Coast (San Francisco, Seattle) is better than any sausage I’ve had in the South. Southerners like that frozen Jimmy Dean slop. In reality American Southern food is full of butter and cheap meat with too much cream and cheese and fried and dipped in ketchup. The food in Milwaukee is better than most of the food in the South. So if you’ve only had sausage from one or two places in America perhaps the sausage in Ireland is very fresh and real. I would keep sampling different tastes.

    • Ahh, Nightgames, you wound me.

      I began this blog reporting from Bloomington, but am neither “from”, nor “of” Indiana.

      My formative childhood years were spent in Georgia, and my tastes are truly those of a Southern boy. and if you think southern food is all cheese and cream dipped in ketchup, it is you who, I fear, have not traveled. For in the southern cookbook you’ll find Hoppin’ John, black-eyed peas, crawfish, gumbo, etouffee, gator, possum, deer, steak, chicken, squirrel, fish, jambalaya, greens galore, cornbread, grits (both hominy and corn), pecans, strawberries, and peaches to make the mouth drip, and the soul weep. In fact, if you look at American foodways as a whole, southern food is one of the only (if not the only) well-established distinctly regional cuisines in American cooking. You can make a case for New England having a distinct cuisine, but I think ( but don’t “know”) that it would not have anywhere near the variety found in the southern recipe book.

      And, as for sausage, my friend, you’ve picked on the wrong person. I’ve enjoyed sausage all across America. I’ve lived in seven states (north, south, east, middle, and west) and have traveled extensively (visiting 35 of them). And, being a fan of the pig in all it’s breakfast goodness, I’ve had bacon, back bacon, side bacon, jowl bacon, scrapple, and dozens of types/mixes of sausage.

    • Fitz says:

      My cousins make our own sausage in here in Georgia, from their own hogs and pigs for generations now. It’s better than anything you could find in California. Actually, most things, anywhere else, are better than anything in California.
      Southern breakfast sausage is a regional thing, I prefer low-country spices, that’d be fennel, red pepper etc. The most marked flavor, would be the fennel, which is lacking in Irish breakfast sausage. For instance, the ‘yankees’ will put maple sugar sap in theirs. So, there’s not really an ‘American’ sausage, since regions vary in how it’s made.
      If I recall correctly, the difference Glenn found, was that the Irish sausage was bland, for lack of spices. Doesn’t matter where he shops, if the spice blend is different than what he is used to, the sausage will be different.
      Also, ‘yankees’ come from up North, that’d be “New England “, ie New York, Maine, Connecticut etc. Indiana, however, would be the “Midwest”.

  103. NightGames says:

    Haha thanks for the reply! You are so funny. Btw my comment was only in jest because this discussion has evolved into a hilarious sausage and cat litter debate. I grew up going to church potlucks and there were some very scary items spread on the table of the fried ketchup variety but I have sampled some incredibly succulent Southern cuisine and when done right it is worth the calories. I trust your taste and really like your blog. Keep it up because I hope to visit Ireland someday and your writing is very informative.

    • Nightgames,

      Sorry bout that. You caught me early, and clearly in a mood to defend the Po’ Folks of my youth.

      I’m glad you find the blog informative. I’m very pleased that you took the time to comment. It’s what makes a blog work.

      Even if/when I disagree with folks, I try to be respectful because I truly value the input.

      Thanks again.

      -Glenn

  104. Trevor Stynes says:

    Are you freakin’ serious????? Cat Litter, Water faucets and a goat rodeo, these are the things that make living in Ireland so unbearable. These are the things that supersede every great thing in Ireland. Cat Letter and water faucets? Please. Get a life man. I feel sorry for you.

    • Trevor,

      Thanks for reading, and taking the time to comment. But, you may want to read my very next entry ( Five Things I Love About Dublin…) before you get so worked up.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

      • Carl says:

        The internet is riddled with angry people who may have dragged up your article while searching for someone to yell at. I find this article to be fun.

  105. Carl says:

    Don’t even talk to me about terrible bus services haha! The US has some of the most embarrassing public transport I have ever seen. Is that a train from the 50’s?

    I actually hate sausages in the US and miss Irish ones. I think that is objective.

    And yes what is up with those Irish taps? Older Irish houses have 2. i dont know why 🙂

    As for the government, I work for your government. Its horrible and pretty much the same as Ireland. Don’t give me that 😉 I do agree though its impossible to get used to. I hope you realize its not worse, its just different. (I feel the same) I am moving back to Ireland with my American wife next year. Very excited.

  106. Alan Lee-levins says:

    I’m from Dublin and I live in Honolulu. I’d move back to Dublin in a second if I could!

  107. Agus says:

    To begin with, I want to say that I’m not either Irish nor American. But, I would be ashamed to write what Glenn has written. You should not forget that even though you are an American you are an immigrant just like anybody else in a new land and that you should be thankful to begin with. Of course, you may find many things that you don’t like about your new country or city, but I don’t think it’s a clever way to start by complaining. You are just messing things up and as far as I have read the Irish are very polite ,and by the way, you are complaining about really stupid things, sausages? taps? what is this? at least, if you complain, do it well and complain about more serious issues.

  108. pensatus says:

    Interesting and healthy exchanges, apart from those of Louis from Canada, which have a nasty, bitter, almost racist edge (I’m tempted to throw back: If the Canadians had invented the Rockies, they would have been flat).
    It seems clear that anyone who starts living in a new country has to adjust to a wide range of head-wreckingly crazy/stupid characteristics. Every country has its own particular history and thus neuroses and pathologies.
    Most of the problems covered above (excluding the cat-litter issue, perhaps!) can be attributed (surprise surprise) to history (socio-economic oppression, making it impossible for certain classes to rise in society no matter the ability or talent, actual penalisation of self-improvement efforts, etc) and more recently to the victory of a particular class in the early years of independence (few of the middle, business and professional classes engage{d} in politics).
    It’s worth stressing, though, that Ireland is a country of both/and. What you say about it is generally true and not true; eg, Irish people can be ‘great crack’ but they can also be a bore when they’re engaged in almost hysterical great-crack sessions as an escape from everything else. They can be inefficient in some spheres but incredibly efficient in others; it depends on the sphere and the motivation.
    The note about lack of excellence is odd; for a small country, the Irish have a remarkable record of achievement in many areas (certain sports, literature obviously, medicine {pity the health system is so dysfunctional, though}, foreign aid, peace-keeping, to mention a few). Find a city of 4m people or so in the USA and compare.
    The lack of organisation can be maddening, and yet get a rural community motivated and the organisation is extraordinary.
    There’s a huge public system and the country is too small to supply enough people of talent and ability to make it work well.
    As regards the taps, I like two taps, rather as I like a watch with a face rather than just numbers, and I’m obviously a stupendously patient person who can wait for the hot and cold to blend in the basin. It provides time for reflection and creative inspiration (which the manic micro-managing rush-rush ‘work-like-hell and the nightmare will turn into a happy dream tomorrow’ lifestyle of the US tends to obliterate).
    And the cat litter catastrophe? Get a dog, a nice patient take-it-easy canine that is infinitely tolerant of all your human foibles.

  109. Pingback: Ireland Works Well Enough – The Irish Tendency To Settle For Less Than the Best | An American in Dublin

  110. Alison says:

    I didn’t have problems with the things you dislike in your blog when I moved over from the USA. I adapted to the small things very easily, even the lackadaisical business ethic and the ability of Bus Eireann to only be on time at Busaras. My problems stemmed, however, from refusing to play along with social conventions I found completely illogical and morally questionable. These had to do with alcohol use, physical abuse, and the ra-fia’s ability to hold an unquestioning bully position in a nation which, with over 90% voters who don’t vote Sinn Féin, should have the cajones to stand up to such criminal elements with a lot more gusto than An Garda Síochána’s exclusive gusto in roughing up knackers.

    Now, I’m not talking about the decent Irish middle class majority. I’m talking about the Irish criminal underclass who act like they run the place, heaven help you if you turn on them.

    My awakening began a couple of months in when I was walking down Henry Street toward the train station, when this knacker male hauled off and literally slammed his wife in the head so hard, she was dripping blood from her nose, and had gone completely limp. And nobody did a single thing about it, they just passed on by. As an American female, you can imagine what I wanted to do to him. But if I had slammed him in the head myself I would have been burnt out of my house by a mob of them.

    And alcohol…holy crap, alcohol. In the United States, the thought of yakking in the street in front of everyone is a social faux pas equivalent to taking down your trousers in the middle of the road and doing a steaming Number Two. It’s mortifying. But not in Ireland. I’d be walking home on a pleasant evening and some dude would just HOOOOOOAAAARRRFFF right there in front of me. Once when I had stopped in a pub for my usual half pint of Guinness and cup of tea, this guy just walked past me and HOOOARRGGH on the floor, said excuse me, and kept going out the door. This level of drunkenness in small towns leads to people having intercourse in the streets at 1 AM in full visible view, and it’s far too easy as a sober person to be tempted at that point to go out and curbstomp them in their dripping gonads.

    The crowning glory was when I was working a trial job in Kerry and the alcoholic cousin of the Limerick TD decided to cozy up to me, and I found out after he shmoozed me relentlessly that he was a sweetheart scammer, (while I was just being friends) and I caught him going through my financial statements and looking for stashed cash. I got so mad I called his family in the UK and told them to come get this loser, and I got a visit from the IRA. Well, let’s just say that was enlightening, and set the tone for my utter failure as a human being in Ireland from then on, There’s a BS grapevine of whispers that follows everyone, and if you PO the IRA you are toast; they will do everything in their power to make your life fail to the point of extreme illegality. It’s so Modus Operandi in Ireland, that everyone here thinks that being terrorized by gangsters is just part of life. And, if you get the attention of the ra, it’s considered to be your fault for accidentally socializing with the wrong people. The politics of your cohorts is **EVERYTHING**, because being openminded and tolerant in this country is decidedly bad for your health.

    There’s very little genuine compassion in Ireland although they’re very nice to tourists. And judgmentalism here leads to a rampant taste for scandal, which is why they have multiple daily newspapers that are all tabloids for a nation of 4 million. People here will come up with the most outlandish theories on the scandalousness of your personal past, and heaven forbid they have their balloons popped with fact when they’d rather “know the craic” about you being a secret heroin addict, a rubber fetishist, or from a family of Texas oil barons who kill Palestinians on safari.

    I assert that this is caused by the lumpenproletariat having too much power, the cops being unwilling to take risks, the middle class keeping its head down, and making it a mafia balls of a crony banana republic disguised as a European nation.

    That, and my temper with the Catholic Church dictating over my uterus like a miter-headed army of Nazi overlords, caused me to become celibate for over 5 years. This put me in a decidedly grumpy and surprisingly hostile frame of mind, and eventually resulted in multiple death threats when I started throwing potatoes at them.

    I deserved it, however. I had moved to Donegal, arguably the most backward side of Ireland besides Limerick, Ballymun, and the butt end of Cork. The one comfort I have is that the bachelor farmers (“culchies”) are often so disgusting and unmarriageable, that 48% of all acreage farm property in Ireland has no family heir.

    And to Irish women: well, who can blame you? A nation pays for its misogyny. I’m your biggest cheerleader over here, and it’s probably why I’m awaiting my exit visa back home in a Loyalist estate in Belfast.

    No surrender.

    • Alison,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and to comment.

      Wow. Now when I think of “The troubles” in Ireland, I’ll think of your struggles.

      • Alison says:

        The nationalist propaganda in US cities definitely doesn’t match the reality, let’s put it that way. I think that if I had had family sponsors there who were middle class, instead of trying to muddle my way through and painting a target of gullibility on myself, I would have been safe and in a political camp which pointedly excluded the criminal underclass. Like Fine Gael.

        Patriarchy and parochialism from criminals in government is definitely something I will be at odds with to my extreme detriment. I came here to play trad music and speak the language, but am leaving through a Loyalist estate because I’m safe here. Ulster-Scots are a far more ethically stable and much less dysfunctional community even if they do love banging on giant drums. If Irish culture in the Republic had been capable of handling criminals, I’d still be there now. It seems only the bulldogs in the DUP are willing to do it to any forceful degree although Fine Gael’s hatred for the ra is second only to the DUP’s.

        Irish exports are nice, but they have a lot to work on and some b0110ck5 to grow in dealing with their scumbags. And Savita’s death as horrible as it was, made it obvious why I’m glad to have escaped to Loyal Ulster for over a year now. Being a woman is one thing, but being a Catholic woman my age in this country, with my attitude?

        Hello Pakistan.

  111. V. says:

    Seriously, talk about first world problems. Oh noes! No mixer tap! I might save some water!!!
    As for the sausages (did it ever occur to you to, oh I dunno, add your own seasoning??): At least we have real meat that tastes like it’s meant to and not pumped full of FDA-mandatory shite.

    Ps. Alison, what planet are you on?

  112. Molly says:

    Glenn, you are so right. I think most Irish are extremely provinicial but for some reason think of themselves and the country as modern and cosmopolitan. It’s not that they don’t experience other places – for some reason they just seem blind to how crap Ireland is in comparison. You’ve said that you avoid direct comparison and I understand why, but for me it’s valid to compare like with so-called like. You can get ideas seeing how others have found a way of doing things better.

    I’m from the north and the reality of living south of the border continues to shock, anger and depress me in equal measure. Sure, we have our problems up there, but the standard of living thanks to English money is on another level to here. And things are getting worse and worse with this never-ending eurozone crisis and the utter stupidy, ineptitude and cowardice of successive governments. Ireland, Inc. must be the laughing stock of anyone with half a brain. My only comfort is that we are such a small and insignificant island that no-one pays too much attention.

    Don’t mind the knee-jerkers whose energy could be put to better use by looking to improve what’s around them.

    I would also say that negativity is rampant because living here is crap and people have no way to change it (as you say, zero accountability among those who do). It’s not just idle moaning – it really is so frustrating being a long-term resident, tied here due to an Irish beau and newborn baby girl. Get out while you can is my advice! There is so much better out there in this fabulous world! :o)

    • Molly,

      Thanks for reading, and for taking the time to comment.

      I’m sorry that you are so disheartened. In many ways I am actually quite enjoying life here. My frustrations mainly come from seeing how good life is here overall, but how the simplest things seem to hold Ireland back. As I’ve said before, “think how great life here would be if Ireland could just fix those few things”.

  113. Sandra says:

    It’s nice to see u narrowed it down to 5. I really regret living hear and can’t wait to leave. Vomit on the streets, blackened buildings as living in a coal mine town, people are nice but some can be small minded, and narrow view of the world. It doesn’t feel like Europe … Little variety of restaurants. People not too elegant or sophisticated either it’s like they can’t be tasteful even if they tried. There is a little traveler in everyone. A small minority are though. Anyway it’s no where near Berlin Madrid London Rome Paris, more like a post communist/socialist Romanian town … It’s funny how some locals look at others in a patronising fashion … Especially the honest loving foreigners that have to tolerate ignorance … When the sun is out it becomes a lot nicer one has to say…that’s a couple of weeks per year!

  114. Sandra says:

    Thanks Glenn for your reply, and sorry for the typos.. This is a form of group therapy discussing these matters openly…there are many open minded locals that have lived abroad and experienced the world that I respect and I have to highlight this…and I feel people from the country side retain the irish generosity, humility, good will, and pure spirit. many also talk confidently and honestly about the country’s shortcomings and I like that …but the most amusing/annoying type are the blind ones that are in denial about how mediocre everything is, yet too proud over not too much really..almost to compensate…and often say: “oh everyone wants to be Irish” or “the whole world loves us” it’s kind of weird and funny to voice that about oneself, I mean yes true the Irish are friendly, but often associated in the US and elsewhere with being drunk and goofy everyone kind of laughs with them/at them really, it is that type of love…the same way u love a clown… On a totally different note I often also wandered how bland the architecture of the houses are in many parts of Dublin is. It’s like the most basic form of design. Brick over brick window…window…door…the longest almost useless front yard, then a backyard thats like a narrow corridor…the materials used also on the front are like a weird mix of gravel and cement plastered on the wall… It’s really really ugly…shrewsberry road ofcourse and parts of D4 /Dalkey / Co Dublin are an exception… The north side … seriously … one time a freind came to visit and we were on the north side …addicts everwhere teenagers pushing there children (I originally thought it was cute they were taking there smaller siblings for a stroll until a local Freind pointed out no thats their own baby… ) So my Freind not knowing the north / south divide at all innocently said how come people look different here than grafton street…like they are inbred or something…!!” Anyway don’t get me wrong I have encouraged so many people to come visit and they enjoyed their tour and time here but I tried my best to cover up or not highlight these issue ofcourse and portrayed the best image because I felt like a host…at times as much as I tried to sugar coat the place, I could see in their eyes them saying Sandra it’s nice for a short visit lets just leave it at that… But over time I have to be honest with myself…can’t wait to Leave this place it was good as it lasted…but I’m starting to regress as a person and accept the substandards as the norm and picking up bad habits…

    • Sandra, I do see what you’re saying. and, as for the denial, I recently heard of a cabbie saying “So what if we are all alcoholics. Who does it hurt?”

      And, to a point, the tiny libertarian streak in me agrees with him.

      The problem with that is that it hurts the Irish which is a damn shame. They are friendly and do have a lot of potential. But, it’s not just the people who are alcoholic. The whole country exhibits system traits of alcoholism. The systemic lack of accountability (that I referred to in my original post), the willingness to settle for mediocrity, and the binge when you have money then suffer when you’re skint inability to plan for the future are all classic traits of an alcoholic/addict.

      That’s what comes of Irish denial.

  115. Sarah Weakley says:

    Frankly, it’s probably better that you didn’t stay.We get so tired of people like you giving out about our city. You sound like an idiot
    .Don’t come back!!

  116. Mountain says:

    Couldn’t give a monkies about the cat litter, taps or sausage issue but as someone born and bred here in Dublin I agree 100% with our utter and complete lack of accountability. It is a truly moronic mentality, a ‘sure we would all be doing the same if we could’ way of looking at things. No public figure ever resigns or get’s fired, the nation just shrugs and accepts. Trust me, it will drive you insane … it filters through all aspects of life – Driving, services, building work, utilities. Kick up a fuss and you will be branded ‘stuck up’, point out that it could be better, you will be shouted down with stupid statements like ‘you’ll never beat the Irish!’ (you will in just about every sporting event known to man). Anyway rant over, suffice to say it won;t get better. If you are aware of the problem you are smarter than 90% of the people here, so flee while you can!

    • Mountain, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

      I too could give a monkey’s butt about cat litter. But five things seemed better than four.

      The problem that I don’t want to leave. I love Dublin. And, simply complaining is not my point. I would like to see things change. I know it’s weird to say I love Dublin, but I want to change it.

      But Ireland is a very young republic, and it will change over time. That is inevitable. The question is will the current strictures be further solidified, or will they be dismantled and be replaced with a system more worthy of the name ‘republic’?

  117. Milligan says:

    Really? Taps and cat litter? This is what constitutes a problem in your life? There are people out there with real problems who don’t take to the internet to whine about them – write about something that matters.

    • Milligan,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read the blog, and especially for taking the time to contribute to the discussion (thanks for commenting).

      It may well be that some part of my brain included those two because ‘Five Things I Hate…’ sounds better than “Three Things I Hate’, but I don’t think so.I included those two simply.

      As my blog is aimed at discussing problems of modern immigration, I want to help people understand what challenges they’ll face when relocating to a different country. As small as they may seem, these are hurdles to be overcome. And, I have had numerous requests from new immigrants for more information about pet care resources.

      As for the taps, aside from just being a cultural or convenience issue, it does speak to a basic hygiene plumbing issue. Separate taps are unsanitary. Basically if you have anything unclean on your hands, the only option is to either scald yourself in boiling water, or create a broth in the sink in which whatever that unclean/toxic material is the seasoning. That’s pretty gross in a Third World sort of way, could be easily fixed, and is completely unforgivable in a country that feels compelled to praise itself as the ‘best small country’.

      • Milligan says:

        Here’s my problem with your observations and I would love if you would actually think about this instead of issuing a knee-jerk, defensive response. This is a country with many serious problems, profound problems and in that we are no different from anywhere else, including your own country – only the problems are different. The fact that the tiny, superficial inconveniences of life are worthy of making it into your top five issues with Dublin is indicative, I believe, of an attitude common among American tourists, migrants and travellers. Whether it is borne out of a lack of experience of the non-American world or what, I’m not sure, but I’ve encountered it many times. What I’m referring to is this inate desire to try to ‘fix’ everywhere you visit so it more closely conforms to the place you have seen fit to leave. I know there have been a lot of quite rude and direct submissions to your blog along the lines of *if you don’t like it, go home” and while I would not be so rude, there is a certain merit to that blunt argument. The purpose of travelling to experience other cultures and traditions as they are, not as how you would like them to be. Your job is to adopt to your new surroundings, not for the surroundings to adopt to you. That’s why I find much of your blog and this post in particular, annoyingly egocentric and reflective of an attitude, an arrogant attitude, that sees the world and everyone in it only in terms of how it serves your own needs. Food for thought, I hope. And if you manage to adjust to the cat litter thing (you know you can by stuff on the internet now?) and the non-mixed taps (buy a newer house maybe?) you are very welcome in our little backward backwater over here : )

        • Dear Milligan,

          Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog. I genuinely mean that, because it’s that level of engagement and interaction that, I believe, makes blogging in any way constructive. And that, more than anything, is what I wish for this blog.

          Normally I would also thank you for reading my blog. But from your comments it’s not clear to what extent you’ve actually looked at my blog (beyond this one post).

          I say that because I find it supremely, toweringly, presumptuous and egotistical of you to assume that my responses to comments are “knee-jerk” and not considered. I think if you’d read more of my posts and comments you’d know that I do a pretty thorough job of responding. If my responses come off as defensive, perhaps that’s because I’m fairly sure of my positions before I post, and feel the need to explain (clarify) them further.

          I agree with you that the fact that separate taps and cat litter made it onto my list is indicative of something else. However, I don’t agree that they are indicative of American ignorance. I think they are indicative of my early experiences. Right, wrong, or indifferent, those were my observations one month into living in a new country. If you’d bothered to read more of my blog, you’d see that much of what I write is intended to inform and empower new, soon to be, or hopeful immigrants. From that standpoint my observations are completely valid. I also think that the fact that those were two of my biggest aggravations after a month speaks very highly of Dublin/Ireland.

          If you’d bothered to read more of my blog, you would know that I have discussed buying pet supplies on the Internet as a suggestion for immigrants relocating with pets. You might also know that I go on to discuss separate taps further as well.

          As regards your suggestion that I simply buy a newer house with better plumbing, I have two points to make:

          1.I’m way too smart to buy real estate in Ireland with the economy as it stands now, particularly with the Irish government doing profoundly stupid things with property taxes. We rent. But to answer your point directly, yes we could rent a place with newer plumbing, but that only solves about half the problem. Separate taps are still the norm in many businesses and public buildings because they are cheap and easily sourced in Ireland.

          Despite the fact that separate taps are decidedly unhygienic, my mentioning them was really getting at a much deeper problem in Ireland. Which brings us to my second point.

          2.Your unwillingness to admit that they are substandard, inconvenient, and unhygienic and eagerness to suggest that I should just see them as working “well enough”, ignore the fact that they are in use in many public spaces, and spend money of my own to get around the problem (because the original builders were too cheap and short-sighted to do a proper First World job in the first place) is entirely indicative of the Irish willingness to settle for substandard, low quality work. That’s what my separate tap comment was really speaking too.

          I also find it really presumptuous of you to assume that most Americans haven’t traveled, or are inexperienced and unworldly. You don’t know me at all, and have no concept of my life or experiences. I’ve been all over the world. Perhaps that’s why some of the things in Ireland frustrate me so much. I seen places with far less handle themselves better in many cases. Americans are just like the Irish. Some of us have traveled, and some of us have not.

          For the record, my “job” as a person may be to find a way to fit into Irish society, but my job with this blog is to capture the immigrant experience (warts and all) and to faithfully document it for other immigrants. From that perspective, I believe my post did the job quite well.

          I’ve received quite a bit of positive Irish feedback to support that belief.

          Again, thanks for your comments.

          Pax,
          Glenn

  118. Milligan says:

    Well done on not being defensive : ) Although you seem to have a lot of time to waste, I don’t want to waste any more of it. Farewell to you and your petty, first-world concerns.

  119. Jon Vegas says:

    And the most annoying things about this ass…
    1: He has been in Ireland a month and he is whining (that says it all right there)

    2: He complains about taps ,get a life or buy one that suits you

    3: This idiot keeps buying the same type of sausage just so he can whine,, in fact there is many many choices.

    4: Complains about buses.. public transport is public transport… get a car.. bike.. walk even.

    5.This one is for all you whiners and complainers…If you dont like it ..GO HOME. (or is home not so good, hence why ye moved to Ireland in the first place)

  120. Athena says:

    1. I am American and I find American sausage to be foul…for the most part. There is a tendency to over season dishes of all sorts in my area of the U.S. I’ve visited Ireland twice only on vacation but the sausage i had there was delicious.
    2. Kitty Litter?? turn your cat into sausage with spices and fatty grease that you so love. 2 birds with one stone!!
    3. Your knowledge of history is very poor. Ireland was first settled in 8000 B.C.E by mesolithic hunter gathers from mainland Europe….the same people you see today in Ireland are from this bloodline of hunter gatherers. The inhabitants formed culture, thrived, persisted in hard times, surviving till today. (NOTE: United States was not even an idea until shortly before the American Revolutionary War broke out. That date would be close to the 1rst Continental Congress in September 5, 1774). Bjarni Herjólfsson, and Leif Ericson settled the area on the northeast coast of America and Canada around 1000 A.D. their settlements failed…so that leaves us with the Spanish Conquistadors in Florida ect and the English settlement of James Town. Dates respectively are 1492 A.D and 1607 A.D.
    4. Embrace differences in ways of life. Without these varieties existence would be dull. Because you do not understand a system does not mean that it is wrong. This is a widespread disease of mind in the U.S, a sense of overwhelming superiority. Reside in Ireland for 10 years or 20 years then you can pass judgement with some foundation of validity. you lived there for 1 month…enough said.

    • Athena,

      Thanks for reading the blog, and particularly for taking the time to respond. I genuinely appreciate it, as I think the comments and commentary are the thing that give blogs their depth and really help to push the conversation forward.

      As for your comments:

      Taking the last first, I actually think it is not being open to fresh ideas (and not “embracing different ways of life”) that allows someone to say that the “immigrant’s point of view” after after one month is invalid. To this day, I contend that those opinions (acknowledged in the first paragraph as being early and incomplete impressions) are still valid representations of my experience, particularly given the fact that my blog is aimed at capturing the modern immigrant experience.

      As for Irish sausage, if you speak to the Irish, and their butchers, you’ll find that the Irish taste (overall) is for mild (mostly unseasoned)meats with lots of cheap fillers. This is a result of their having been skint so much of the time, and unable to afford to fill their sausages with high quality meat. I make no judgement in saying that, it’s simply fact, and has influenced the products found on the shelves today, and the predominant Irish taste in sausage. I am fairly confident in saying that. And unless your degree is in Irish charcuterie, I feel equally confident that I have to talked to (and been lectured by) more of the Irish about their sausage than most people.

      Regarding cat litter, again I’d say that for immigrants with pets, finding a supply of good products, and knowing the lay of the land with regard to this issue is/was helpful. I’ll let the number of comments I’ve received from grateful overseas pet owners speak for me on this point.

      And, as regards your historical harangue, I don’t know where to begin. First, I’m not sure what part of the “Five Things…” post it is directed at. I’m assuming the Irish Goat Rodeo (Institutionalized Disorganization & Shameless Lack of Accountability), though it seems to be a tenuous fit at best.

      Beyond that, your argument is,at best, hopelessly asymmetrical, and, at worst, factually challenged.

      You tell us that “was first settled in 8000 B.C.E by mesolithic hunter gathers from mainland Europe” and then go on to tell us that”United States was not even an idea until shortly before the American Revolutionary War broke out. That date would be close to the 1rst Continental Congress in September 5, 1774″. You’re trying to argue that Ireland had been around longer than the U.S. by saying there have been people living on the island of Ireland since before the American revolution.

      You are comparing two completely different things. Do you imagine that The Americas were unpopulated until the Founding Fathers popped into existence in 1774. What about the Mayflower ( 1492), and what of the Native Americans who lived there before them, and what of the Mayans who populated the Americas, and the other tribes who are known to have lived throughout North, Central and South America for thousands of years.

      So, for all intents and purposes, both places were probably populated for a similar length of time.

      But, if you want to compare “countries”, the U.S. has been its own nation for over 200 hundred years, while Ireland has only governed itself for less than a hundred. And there are those who would argue that they’ve really only (truly)done that since the 1960s/70s. But you take my point.

      I’m not saying that any of this makes the U.S. better. I’m just pointing out the inaccuracies in your historical account (which, to my mind, still has no bearing on the original post).

      cheers.

      -Glenn

  121. Pingback: A Pot of Gold or Not? Immigrant Property Ownership and Problems With Irish Landlords | An American in Dublin

  122. Can't Wait to Go Home - USA says:

    I arrived here with my Irish husband in 2005 I can assure you there are more than five things I could list.

    When I arrived, there was no Mexican food to be found at all…some popped up in 2008 and I could tell it was directed toward the Irish taste buds, which ranges from no seasoning to a bit of salt and pepper. Not until a California based burrito place opened in Dublin 2011 have I been able to eat good spicy Mexican food. Don’t get me started on the curry based Chinese food and tasteless pizza – I thought Italy was just an hour flight away? There are very few American products you would expect to see on a shop aisle, understandable, as it is another country.

    No Lays potato chips of any kind including BBQ, no cracker jacks, fiddle-faddle, rice-a-roni, absolutely no proper Mexican food products that most Americans would see on any Supermarket shelf. Tortillas here are called wraps and taste like cardboard Frisbees, no fresh corn tortillas and the salsa they use here is Old El Paso mix, the worst of the worst product on planet earth. I cannot find diet Ginger Ale anywhere or Hawaiian Punch. Candy canes do not taste like peppermint here either and I only found them recently via in shops a few years ago when Aldi opened. I could go on….It is the little things that I miss most.

    The work place is filled with gossips and saboteurs – especially if you are an American working here. Not like the States, they email and IM stuff about you while you are sitting right next them smiling in your face and chat in code on the phone or in Irish. I had the unfortunate situation of receiving a chain email related to me that a jealous co-worker accidentally included me on. The Employment and Discrimination laws are medieval so do not try fighting with the Irish, just get another job. They fiercely protect their own to the point of lying. They also have a funny way of calling in sick or taking vacation just before a major project arises or an important meeting needs to takes place. “The American’s here, can she not do it?” I once heard an Irish co-worker say to my manager. Oh, that’s only the little stuff said about non-Irish staff. Ireland is a frightfully discriminator country if you are non-Irish immigrant – they code it well..

    There is no 24/7 anything – (unless you lose a ATM card), food shops, etc. Restaurant/Bar staff are paid a wage and do not work for tips – hence why working extra hard to make your visit pleasant and service enjoyable is lacking?

    They swear – alot. Every other word can be coated with an F word or other. Whether it is at work or in public. I have actually sat with a Managing Director (women) who I counted 12 expletives in a “corporate banking meeting”. Yep sad, but true.

    Just on last note to hit this home – There are NO toilet seat covers here AT ALL for older adults or kids. Its toilet paper the old fashion way. Whether you sit or stand they do not exist in any establishment whether it be hotel, restaurant, bar or other. However, a good job ventures for an American to come over and start selling, as we are the entrepreneurial type.

    I am married to an Irishman and hope to be home in 2 years for good, so people…never ever say the grass is greener outside America. You have no idea how lucky you are or how good you got it.

    All the things stated I have witnessed or experienced – no bias here just the god truth. 😛

  123. Stephen says:

    I am obviously quite the latecomer to this post. My wife and I (and out four children and two cats) are working on our three year plan to settle in Ireland, most likely near Cork. I have a slight advantage, as my mother was born and raised in Ireland and I spent much of my youth there visiting. I have a lot of immediate family in the Dublin area. I’m eligible for citizenship, although this will require some legwork and phone calls on my part, as my parents were married in Germany and that is one of the required documents. Regardless, we are planning ahead and hoping with three years to go (the goal timeframe is based on when I can retire from my current law enforcement career in Texas) we can have all our ducks in a row and most of our questions answered. So i am grateful to have come across your blog so I can learn from your successes and your mistakes.

    On another topic, I love Irish sausies. I crave them constantly in the US and have even gone so far as to order them from expensive Irish food importing websites. But perhaps my perception is colored by a sentimental feeling. My father was in the military and we moved around a lot. Our regular trips to Ireland made it the one constant in my life. I love America, but I’ve always considered myself an Irishman.

  124. Almuzura says:

    Points number 4 and 5 sadly applies to Italy as well.

  125. jp says:

    Glenn, if you don’t like it here why don’t you piss off back to America!! You seem to living in quite an insular environment, socially speaking. As a society, Ireland is one of the most sophisticated in the world in terms of equality, freedom of press, expression of opinion, with a cultural depth and history that is sorely missing in the USA. The society I work in is one of utter professionalism where individuals take pride in their work, are dedicated in what they do, do it well, and are very efficient. Ireland has undergone huge social restructuring over the past 50 years and has thrown off the shackles of colonialism to become an independent and free thinking State that has contributed an immense amount to the world culturally and intellectually, especially if one considers the size of the country. In a political capacity Ireland is known throughout the world for it’s peacekeeping and ameliorating character. I’ve traveled the world and once people realise you’re not American or British (who are hated throughout most of the non-western world because of their bloody history of raping the integrity of vulnerable societies) a genuine respect can be seen in their eyes. I personally think this is a lot more important than a single tap, cat litter etc. You should really take a close look at your own society and perhaps you’re own priorities before writing this nonsense! As a guest in our country I hope you are welcomed, and I get the impression you are, but to start off a blog about what you hate about Ireland, especially after just one month, shows a lack of maturity and conscientiousness, and most of all, a lack of respect, that I find intolerable. I do not look forward to your ‘5 things you like’ as I’m sure it will be a ill-informed, superficial, and probably an inadvertently insulting piece. The embarrassment that was ‘American Exceptionalism’ is alive and well. I’m sure you’ll be forever freelance….

  126. Neil says:

    Please do the country a favour and return to the American south.

  127. nomdecran says:

    I’m a Dubliner myself, and prone to making a lot of the complaints you make about my home city. But I would say that your last point is a bit too sweeping to count as proper journalism. “The Irish excel at nothing” is the type of thing you could only think if you’d never opened a book in your life (James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, W.B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney), listened to any music (U2, Rory Gallagher, Gary Moore, Van Morrisson), or if you knew anything about economic history (in the 1980s we were “A Third World Country” according to the Economist magazine, before becoming a tiger economy. Recent setbacks notwithstanding, it’s an incredible success story that’s being widely imitated and sought after). Not bad, I’d say, for a country the size of Slovakia. What do you know about Slovak culture?

    I wouldn’t bother commenting if I didn’t think your other observations were right on the nose, so I see you care about what you write. The last point is the equivalent of me going to the States (which I love, by the way), and writing that Americans are racist, ignorant, morbidly obese creationists who watch TV all day and love shooting black teenagers. Just like you, I could have horror stories that would seem to prove my point, but what a silly and self-defeating generalisation that would be.

    • Thanks for grabbing the most offensive part of that post and taking it out of context. Of course, there are exceptions to that statement. Many Irish have done great things. And, I’m sure, many more will do so in the future.

      My point was that, overall, as a people, the Irish are not conditioned to push themselves to do more, and go further. Going “above and beyond the strict call of duty” is simply not a major part of this society.

      And, sadly, in many ways (corruption, plumbing, taxation and fiscal policy, etc.), I’d say that Ireland still is a Third World nation.

      Best,
      GK

      • Dez says:

        Dissembling at it’sfinest Greg. Nomdeclan straightforwardly commented on the very first point of what you hated about Dublin. To quote yourself:

        “they …don’t seem to excel at anything, or care about doing so…They don’t expect better of themselves…”

        If this was coming from a copy of Punch c.1890, I might understand it, but in 2011? The fact that you keep on digging when you respond “sadly, in many ways …Ireland still is a Third World nation” says a lot more about your perspective than anything about Dublin.

        I can understand a degree of culture shock. However, from the consistently critical tone of your blog even two years in, I’m just not getting the feeling that you’re really “feeling the love” for d’oul sod, or its people. It stands in marked contrast to other “fish out of water” blogs I’ve come across, Rory Fellowes being a wonderful example (http://roryfellowes.wordpress.com/)

        But to answer your question last July “Why Do The Irish Like Being Told How To Live?” Well this irishman doesn’t, hence this post.

  128. Alright Glenn,
    I happened upon this blog close to its inception, enjoyed it and its insight, and as a journalist with reluctant ambitions to begin a blog of my own, I thought at some point I would reference it in the future. That point is very close to occurring, and I decided to come back and re-read the post and read some of the responses. WOW! Somehow, a relatively light-hearted observation of a newcomer’s thoughts of Dublin/Ireland has ballooned into something, well, something so much more. I can’t believe some of the ridiculous replies above. Alison? Wow. Get that gal an editor and you’ve a bestseller on your hands with that vivid imagination and detailed storytelling.

    I do agree with nomdecran that saying “The Irish excel at nothing” is an exceptionally naive and ignorant statement, but I understand, to a small extent, where it comes from and that you meant no malice from it. Two years on, do you still stand by it? You suggest the Irish never go above and beyond the call of duty, don’t go the extra mile, and service industry people don’t work for tips so that’s why you get unexceptional service. What a load of nonsense. Most of my friends, in a variety of industries, work 50+ hours a week doing all they can to ensure their daily/weekly/monthly workloads are completed to the highest standards possible, in as efficient a manner as possible. Now maybe they have managers/executives above them whose incompetence is holding them back, but I know very few people of my generation, 30-40, who fit your sweeping generalisation above.

    I’ve enjoyed this post, the replies and some of your other posts and look forward to reading more fro you in the future. As an Irishman in the USA for the last two years, I’ll be posting a couple of lists of my own in the not-too-distant future, in which I’ll reference you, with your permission. Let me know if that’s cool.

    Finally, if you haven’t already, get to Sligo, it’s so much better than Dublin!

    • Dear Irishman,

      Thanks for taking the time to read the blog, and especially for commenting.

      My response to Declan was posted just a short time ago. So, yes, after two years, I would say that I do still see the many ways that the general Irish contentment with things that work “well enough” holds the society back, and keeps people from pushing themselves.But, I will also say that after two years of living around that attitude, I have come to see that it’s not all bad. Life here is generally far more relaxed than in the U.S.

      Sadly, during the Celtic Tiger, Ireland picked up a number of bad habits from other “successful” economies. From what I can tell (having only moved here in 2011), Ireland is far less friendly than it was even ten years ago. I’ve been told, that the sense of Ireland all pulling together is not very strong now, and that Irish identity has been weakened by the pervasive race to grab wealth for oneself, even after the crash.

      I have been to Sligo, but only briefly. Twas lovely. I intend to explore more of the west in the coming months.

      Thanks again for commenting, and please feel free link to, or refer to, the blog in your own writing.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

  129. Lisa Monaghan says:

    Hi Glenn,
    I’m not sure how it happened but I just stumbled across this blog. I just read through the whole thing and I found it really amusing. I liked what one person had said…. Why do Americans want to change everywhere they go and make it more like America? (or something like that) Americans are too caught up with ‘keeping up with the Jone’s. They are ambitious, motivated and eager to succeed. They are also the experts at customer service and getting things done, but they do lack the ability of acceptance for others that are not like them. I am an Italian American living in Ireland. My Irish husband and I with our 3 small kids in tow moved to this wonderful country over 20 years ago and even though it has many things that irritate the hell out of me I would never ever move back to the states. When I first moved to the west of Ireland in 1993, I was in total culture shock! No central heating, just a fire in the sittingroom,We only had two tv channels (which went off the air at around midnight), An emersion tank for hot water ( I never knew that something like that existed!) , mcdonalds and cinema were over 2 hours drive away. The only restaurant was the local hotel in town (17miles away) and the only dinner choices on menu were: turkey& ham, beef or lamb which were only served til 2 o’clock! Our only form of a social life was the local pub down the road which was mostly filled with very drunk old men with no teeth and smelly wellys on their feet. I didnt know what to make of the Irish at first. It wasnt until 3 months later when my husband had went back to the states to work for 2 months that my love affair with the Irish truly began. The locals somehow knew I was on my own with 3 small kids and morning after morning for nearly the whole 2 months I would find either a bag of potatoes, carrots, turf, mackeral etc left outside my gate. Once during a storm the power had went out and the owner of pub/BB came to my house and piled me and my 3 kids into her car and put us up for the night free of charge. It was then I knew I was in the right place. I had never experienced anything like before in America..Twenty years on and its still the same.I can leave my keys in my car, house unlocked and my kids ( 2 more) can play freely outside without a chaperone.I never had that luxury in America. We can complain loads about the Irish and say they are lushes, unmotivated and ok with accepting less but so what? I think they have it all figured out. They are generous, kind- hearted,helpful and funny.They would never like to see someone ‘stuck’ and they are always up for the ‘craic’. I love that events don’t start on time because I’m always late. I could go on and on and on but I won’t. Just want to end with…relax, accept Ireland for what it is. It’s only when you chill out that your love affair for this magical country will begin and believe me, it will never end.
    All the Best Glenn,
    Lisa

  130. Dara says:

    i read the whole thing just now and in my opinion your a fucking cunt! What does the cat litter selection have to do with this country and its people? so what if you cant find a good brand? its not the end of the world and its certainly no reason to judge this country and its people for!

    the hot/cold tap thing really isint that much of a problem… have you considered plugging the drain in the sink and filling it with hot and cold until you get it to a suitable temperature? you’d also be saving water in the progress!

    Our sausages are fucking delicious! they’re traditional and that’s why they’re not full of spice and shite! at least there is proper meat in them! but i understand your problem… heres a solution, go to a shop and buy some fucking spices and sprinkle them on top of the bloody things.

    as for public transport how about you check a fucking time table!

    now as for the Irish way of life as generalised by you how about you either A get on with it and quit your bitching! or B FUCK OFF and leave 🙂

    • Dara,

      Thanks so much for reading the blog, and particularly for taking the time to put together such an eloquent response.

      By, “read the whole thing just now”, I assume you don’t mean the comments and follow up posts, where it’s explained:

      1. The blog (subtitled ‘The Modern Immigrant Experience”) is intended mainly as a resource and for future emigrants, and, as such, the cat litter comment is a pretty good example of something small that you have to account for by finding a new source. It’s a good example of the things an immigrant will need to think about.

      2. Hot and cold water taps are flat unsanitary. Sure, I’ve plugged the drain and created the bacteria soup where you bathe your hands in the very things that you are trying to wash off of them. If you’ve ever changed a child’s diaper, you know “shit happens”, and, there’s no reason for it. Yes, I know it “works well enough”. But that’s Ireland’s answer to far too many things. And that’s actually my larger point.

      3. Irish sausages are filled with junk filler, not more meat. It’s a throwback to the days of scarcity. It’s what you’ve gotten use to. Don’t imagine that they are of a higher quality. Interestingly, if you buy Irish brands of gluten free sausage, they have no rusk, or grain fillers, and are actually quite good.

      4. It wasn’t the timetables I objected to, it was (and is) the fact that those very tables and the maps are poorly designed, and often don’t correspond to the stops where they posted (wrong routes, posted upside down, out of date, etc.)

      5. Funny, I’m not leaving, but it seems like quite a few of your countrymen/women are fleeing as fast as they can. Hmmm.

      But, all of that was in the post/comments you read so thoroughly. So, there’s no need for me to rehash it.

      Thanks again for checking in.

      GK

  131. J says:

    Hello Glenn

    Thank you for blogging. I enjoyed reading this. I am European and am well travelled. I have lived in Ireland for over 6 years and have to say that whilst some of your comments ring true, I think the fundamental issue here is lack of determination for modernisation and a better life. There is a severe lack thereof and for a capital city in Europe not to have a rail link from its airport to its city centre is confounding to say the least. The minuscule size of living space in terribly constructed housing winds me up as does the transport links where dart lines and luas lines are not interlinked so if you get off at Connolly station and want to get up to stephen’s green, you either walk or take a cab!

  132. Audrey says:

    Obviously u have never tried superquinn sausages if you hate Dublin then just go bk home

  133. Trionam says:

    Oh Dear Glenn, if all you have to worry about are cats, sausages, and taps you live a blessed life!
    Sure once your above ground your winning!!!!

  134. apt says:

    I’m an international student in Dublin and I used to live in continental Europe. I love the Irish people and how friendly and relaxed they are but landlords in Dublin are so annoying! They charge you so much and give you nothing; moreover, they complain about trivial things like what time you go to bed at night! Public transport is okay but it’s really expensive compared to other European countries where the networks and service frequencies are both better. The air is clean and the surrounding countryside is beautiful. So, Dublin is a mixed bag – though maybe it’s more suited for a holiday visit than for living and working in.

  135. Rosalma says:

    I just finished reading this blog, and found it quite interesting, and at times very amusing. Being American (of Irish descent); and having spent a week in Ireland a few years back, I fell in love with the Emerald Isle – I’d wanted to go there since I was a child. I found the people to be the most friendly I have ever met, as well as the laid back easy going nature of the people most enjoyable. I couldn’t take in enough or get enough pictures of the beautiful countryside. Also, being a vegan, I was amazed that I was actually almost catered to at restaurants, and they went over and above preparing a meal out of the ordinary. Here in America, no matter what state I’ve gone to you pretty much better assume you’re going to eat salad or pasta – no special treatment. And if you’re in the southern states – forget it – they look at you like you have two heads if you don’t eat animals. Coming from the fast paced, everybody out for themselves, gotta get it done now and get out of my way Boston area, it was truly a wonderful RELAXING experience being in Ireland, UNTIL we got into vehicles at different times with some of the locals – I can’t tell you how scared for my life I was each and every time, because every one of them drove over 80 mph on country back roads. I can’t respond to the transit system, as we didn’t use it (kind of wish we had)! I didn’t bring my cat with me so I can’t respond to that either, other than to say I’ve had indoor cats for 50 years, and have used clumping and non-clumping and don’t have a problem with either – can’t say that would bother me too much. Certainly, being on “vacation” and “living” in a place are two entirely different things – I understand that. Ironically, I found this blog while googling “Living in Ireland versus the United States”. We’re soon to be retired, and were actually contemplating moving to Ireland. I don’t know that I would let this blog sway me one way or the other because to each his own, right? We’ve also lived in the southern US and I can’t begin to tell you how much we hated it and no amount of money would ever convince us to retire there – but that’s an entirely different blog. (No offense, you stated you were from the south). I guess my point is no matter who you are or where you go in this world, there will always be something you don’t like – it’s human nature, but hopefully you can find some good too! By the way, I found the two faucet thing so charming – I felt like I was back in my grandmother’s old house.

  136. jk says:

    this blog has made me cry, literally. maybe i’m too sensitive. maybe because some of the comments from others do cut so very deep. i don’t think the irish are lazy, i actually think if given the chance the irish are very hard workers. all i want is for my husband to get a job. that’s all he wants. it feels like a constant battery of assaults, not just this blog but all the refusals for job applications and attitude towards the unemployed, but does being irish mean we get treated like shite (like one comment made). i know how desperate my husband is at trying to get a job, any job, anywhere. i’m still breastfeeding and thank goodness the government recognize how important it is to do this and to help financially, but doing this make us dirt? lazy? i’m just so sad now. it feels like we are trapped in a prison we can’t get out of and the prison guards are bashing our heads in with their batons that say ‘you lazy dumbasses’

  137. mark says:

    Hey there? kinda random question but just wondering whether there are any stores in Dublin that stock any American household products or an American expat store? Thanks, MWS

    • Hi Mark,

      thanks for reading, and for commenting.

      actually you’ll find quite a few “American” products in most supermarkets. I’m not sure what you mean by “household”, though. Are you referring to cleaners, and soaps, etc.?

      Most of the groceries in places that advertise an “American section” tend to be peanut butter, and Pop Tarts. In freezer sections you’ll ind plenty of American frozen products (Green Giant, Birdseye), etc. As for cleaners and things, you’ll find a few but not many. In the way of bath soaps, shampoo and drntal products, there are plenty of American goods.

      • mark says:

        Cheers, I am specifically looking for Irish Spring Soap.!!..lol…its along story but it not available here but might be something u’d fine in an expat store etc hence the question..!

  138. Seán mac * says:

    Hi Glenn,

    I’ve tried to have an opinion on cat litter, but have so far failed!

    You’re right about the taps though and right on your number one point.
    (Also, is “Alison” is a pen-name for Ruth Dudley-Edwards? She has the RA on the brain also.)

    As an Irishman, on a day-to-day level, what bugs me is our attitude to litter. Rather than take a can or wrapper home and bin it properly, we power down the window and f*** everything out the window. Quiet country lanes and beauty spots are awash with cans and plastic. It’s an everyday manifestation of our low self-esteem and our general lack of patriotism. See point 5 below.

    More generally, what gets me about here is our chronic fear of change.

    International commentators marvelled at how supine the Irish were in
    the recent tax-payer funded bailout of foreign bankers. This
    passivity is down to a mix of factors:

    1. Snobbery: nice people don’t protest. That’s for dreadful,
    perpetually-angry, dreary Nordies with clenched-jaw accents and mad
    French people. We’re above that. Also, interesting parallel – Irish
    consumers are the most brand aware in Europe – more inclined than most
    to buy established brands as opposed to “supermarket own branded”
    items. The same applies to politics. Even if the ‘rag bag’ newbies
    and independents have good ideas, if said ideas are under an
    “inferior” political brand, not interested.

    2. Conservatism: since De Valera, Irish people don’t rock the boat. Our
    two main parties both are centre right and have identical policies.
    Suits us fine: “OK, which conservative will we vote for this time …”
    It’s the old student cliché come to life: “if voting changed anything,
    they’d ban it”. We’ve been voting for nearly a century now; nothing
    changes.

    3. Catholicism: not many Catholics know that the section in the old Irish
    penny catechism dealing with the individual’s duty to lawful authority
    was written in collaboration with the British Government. In return,
    the British funded Maynooth Catholic seminary. Ingenious mind-control.

    4. Anti-intellectualism: Irish people distrust ethics. Too foreign.
    Literally, we don’t know how to think. Ethics, citizenship,
    metaphysics, governance – none of these are taught in our schools.
    Instead, we’re quick rather than deep thinkers; smart-arses rather
    than debaters; project managers rather than thought leaders. We react
    to events, as if events are politically-neutral. As a result, when
    we’re shafted by a nakedly-plutocratic (or plutarchic – take your
    pick) ideology; we’re too mired in self-preening cod-pragmatism even
    to put a name to what’s being done to us. Instead, do a Fianna Fáil.
    Pull some strokes; throw your weight around; crow atop your dung heap.
    For instance, we thought that the banker bailout is a value-neutral
    inevitability, a given; and we poked angry fun at anyone who dared to
    differ. After all, if SF is right, then the rest of us must be a right
    set of gullible eejits; and that’s unthinkable, right?

    5. Colonialism: being ruled for hundreds of years meant that Irish people
    tend to have an everyman for himself approach to life. We have no real
    sense of ownership of our own country. At national level, we have no
    tradition or culture of taking responsibility for the common good. In
    fact, such do-goodery is seen as a bit of a pious nonsense; a PR
    distraction from the real business of pulling strokes and taking
    bungs. Someone else makes the macro decisions; meantime, just grab
    what you can for you and your cronies. Some Irish people even snigger
    at the “Irish experiment” (I’ve met plenty of them) and want to give
    up and be ruled by Britain; most of the rest don’t go that far, but
    are very suspicious of anyone who chooses patriotism over lining your
    pocket.

    We don’t expect much; we don’t reach too high; that way, we’re never
    disappointed.

    But instead of just griping, here are 10 things that ought to be done:

    1. Cancel the Shell deal on the basis that it was flagrantly
    un-Constitutional and/or a fraud on the Irish people.

    2. Cancel the so-called “bank” bailout. Part of the problem is the
    Irish need to be liked; to be validated by “big folk”. Give me respect
    over pats on the head any day. If we really believed in ourselves,
    we’d not have a 12.5% rate of corporation tax – that’s a public
    confession of inadequacy; that we can only compete on price – the
    fiscal equivalent of a sweat-shop wage-inducement. Whether this ready
    subservience to outside interests derives from traditional notions
    about the “shame” of bankruptcy, or from our leaders’ delusions about
    being tough guys who can make tough decisions, or from the
    paternalistic nature of Irish society, is for a future generation of
    anthropologists to decide.

    3. Make it illegal for lenders to provide residential mortgages >2.5
    times your annual salary. I grew up believing that taking on a loan
    greater than 2.5 times your annual salary was daft. This “2.5 times”
    mantra even formed part of my conveyancing exams. However, an entire
    generation, lenders and borrowers alike, has witnessed the
    normalisation of (e.g.) 100% mortgages and 500k loans on modest
    salaries. They’ll do it again. The country needs to be protected from
    their irresponsibility.

    4. In line with mainland Europe, introduce statutory protection for
    long-term tenants. Currently, married couples who wish to provide
    “location stability” for their families effectively are forced to buy.
    The alternative is to be forced out at a landlord’s whim on a month’s
    notice. This deliberately-tolerated housing insecurity creates a
    house-buying mania that would mystify the average German.

    5. Slash the number of TDs in the South. There’s 166. We need a real
    Mayor in Dublin, 2 TDs in Dublin (one for each planet); and maximum 1
    each for each other county.

    6. Reform how political parties are funded (the current system favours
    incumbent parties).

    7. Separate the Executive from the Legislature: The current Irish
    system ensures that inexperienced people rise to the top. We do not
    need Ministers to be drawn from the ranks of elected TDs. Provided
    their actions are subject to parliamentary scrutiny, it’s better that
    Ministers are not themselves elected. That way, we could get people
    with real-world experience in each ministerial area (not yet more
    teachers and lawyers); and they would be under less pressure to make
    populist and self-serving decisions.

    8. Rein in the bankers: there needs to be a clear division between
    investment banking and retail banking. Investment banking’s greed,
    stupidity and recklessness has contaminated the high street.
    Previously, banking operated to a de facto split between retail and
    investment bankers. Banking was a slightly stuffy profession; but
    there was considerable merit in that very dullness. Outside of Wall
    Street or the City of London, most bankers tended not to view
    themselves as dynamic, world-shaking kinds of guys (the actual
    self-applied soubriquet of choice for our investment banker heros in
    the City of London is “big swinging dick” – when crude terminology
    like this is seen as an appellation of honour within a profession,
    it’s no wonder we’re in such a mess). Prudence used to be retail
    bankers’ watchword and a new diesel C or E class Merc every 5 years
    was the height of indulgence. However, over the last 2 decades,
    bankers became drunk with power. No longer content to be prudent
    guardians of your money, they saw themselves as “players” on the
    international markets (with your money). We need investment bankers,
    but we need to recognise and address the fact that bankers (unlike
    other reviled professions such as estate agents, lawyers and
    politicians) have the power to wreck entire economies for private
    gain. Never mind the bigger picture, national politics in many
    countries is all about which rooster gets to crow atop the dung heap.
    This complacent parochialism allows the internationalist bankers to
    run amok (ask a backbencher to define a “contract for difference” and
    listen to the umms and errs). Politicians by themselves don’t
    understand world banking and are not empowered to rein in the bankers.
    This should be a comprehensive structural reform, with full legal and
    accounting separation and restrictions on job mobility between both
    sectors.

    9. Draw up a New Deal for Ireland: for instance, send a deputation of
    engineers to Japan and learn how to build and run a high-speed rail
    network covering all of the island.

    10. Stop lying to the electorate about the EU. The EU can work; but
    only if there is full political and fiscal union first. Trying to
    build a unified currency on the back of fiscal and political division
    is delusional at best, dishonest at worst. If Ireland wants
    “sovereignty”, fair enough, but leave the EU. If Ireland and the EU
    wants long-term prosperity, ditch the illusion of national
    sovereignty. The current politically-correct Irish policy on the EU is
    a mealy-mouthed “have your cake and eat it” one. We want the benefits
    of full EU membership, but we have to maintain the fiction of
    independence. It’s a joke. It reminds one of someone trying to ascend
    a moving staircase while keeping one foot on solid ground.

    Simple enough really in theory; but in reality there’s no-one in power
    with integrity, balls or vision. It’s the old truism about the kind of people who are adept at attaining power are never the kind of people who can be trusted to wield it fairly.

    Good to have you in our crowded wee country Glenn and all the best.

    PS: A propos of nothing, if you and your better half want to treat yourself to a decent meal in Dublin, try Sabor Brazil, 50 Pleasants St. Equally, L’Ecrivain is not cheap, but reliably good.

    • Hi Sean,

      Thanks for taking the time to read, and particularly for putting together such a considered and thoughtful comment.

      I’m sorry if you had trouble leaving a comment earlier.

      Just as an FYI – WordPress requires publishers to approve comments, so it may take a bit of time for them to appear, as we have to log in,read them and click “okay”.

      Thanks again for contributing to the discussion.

      -Glenn

  139. Jim Davis says:

    As the say in America Glenn “Love it or leave it”

  140. Jim Davis says:

    On a more serious note, I’ve read some of the comments on here and as an Irishman who has lived in the United States now living in Ireland married to an Italian woman I would choose Ireland over the U.S. or continental Europe as a place to live.

    I had a great time in the U.S. and they are literally the best years of my life in terms of enjoying myself but it is definitely no country for old men. The “get a job mentality” and lack of any real social floor by which people are allowed to drop below has to be a concern. Combine this with the astronomical costs of health care and education means that families effectively live on edge with the worry of not being able to meet one of their bills at the end of the month for fear of it affecting their “credit rating” which every U.S. citizen is terrified of tarnishing. The massive rates of divorce only reinforce this argument. A brother of mine came home from the U.S. two months ago after living there for 35 years because he ran out of money and had to give up his apartment, car and effectively his whole life. At least here he will receive a place to live, a few bob in his pocket and access to free medical care.

    As for Europe, I considered living there for about two seconds. Fine to visit Spain, Italy, France etc for a few days, coffee, veranda’s beach etc etc but unfortunately life gets in the way. Try living there on the average Industrial wage of €1500 per month combined with massive income tax rates, appalling traffic, snooty populations, sexist and bureaucratic work environments and you will come charging back Ireland. London is no better, sure they have an underground which seems to be the benchmark of how good a city is based on the comments on this blog, but to find any reasonable place to live you have to commute two hours to work each day on that wonderful underground which is literally crammed with people that you have leave your house at 6:30am to make sure you get a seat. That’s a ridiculous way to live!

    The arguments regarding the transport system in Dublin is so tiring. The transport system here more than sufficient for a city of this size. If you live in Dublin, buy a little car and you can make your way around without any issues or alternatively get a taxi everywhere as it works out the same. If you get a car you can be in the city centre, the Dublin mountains and the beach all within half an hour. Very few cities can argue the same. I really don’t get why every French person in Dublin is fixated on the public transport system, give me the option of buying a car or paying 75% income tax (as they do in France) so that they can put in a tram line to take them two stops down the road, I know which one I would choose. Another observation I’ve made about Europeans in Ireland is that they are soft! The reason being that they have never left home until they came to Ireland and they don’t have all their creature comforts or their mama waiting on them and still giving them pocket money. The reason they left France, Italy, Spain etc is for the reasons outlined above however now they have to stand on their own two feet. Have you ever listed to some of the complaints of the continentals living here? “Oh the coffee is not the same”, “your pastry is different to the one we use at home”, “the weather”. How many Irish kids go away to U.S. London, Canada or Oz and start bitching about the potatoes being different or the curry sauce is not the same???

    BTW, Ireland has the fourth highest Labour productive workforce in the world, is more flexible that the US, Japan and European employees when it comes to managing new challenges according to IMD competitiveness yearbook, there are 36 million Irish american with an 80 million diaspora worldwide, 5 US president claim Irish descent, and it’s Irish people who lead major world organisations including Coca Cola, Goldman Sachs, BA, Qantas and Thomson Reuters. in addition, Ireland has Europe’s highest level of charitable donations per capita (3rd in the world!!!) We’ve achieved great success in sport, music, film and literary awards and last but not least, we’re fun! These are phenomenal feats for a small country in the middle of the Atlantic ocean with no natural resources.

    No put that in you pipe and smoke it!

    • Hi Jim,

      Thanks for reading the blog, and for taking the time to assemble all that data and comment.

      It’s hard to criticize the numbers, but I am surprised to have an Irishman seriously criticize anybody else for being a soft mama’s boy.

      And, yes, the Irish diaspora does complain about the U.S. and other places not being like home. I read those comments all the time on this blog.

  141. Rory says:

    Hi Glen,
    As a proud Irish man, I share your frustrations on “Institutionalized Disorganization & Shameless Lack of Accountability” in our Country. It seems that no lessons have been learned from the recent boom and bust of our economy, nor will they ever be. However, all that said, as someone who spent 10 Months on work assignment in the US with my company, I have to say many of the criticisms you have levelled against Ireland and the Irish are equally applicable, if not more so to the US, based on my experiences of living there and trying to sort out my affairs during my stay.
    Outside of the retail sector, I didn’t find general levels of service to be anything particularly special. Also, if you take into account the whole tipping culture in the US, you are effectively paying a twenty percent plus commission, on top of the goods/services you have already paid for, in order to get acceptable levels of service. People only want to serve you well because they are fishing for bigger tips, not because they’re supposed to be doing their jobs and I find this disingenuous (people wearing fakes smiles with $ signs lighting up in their eyes). It’s not the fault of the customer if the minimum wage in the US is not sufficient for workers to survive without tips. Thankfully, when I buy a pint in Ireland, I can sit back and relax and not have to worry about the bar staff not returning to serve me again because I didn’t tip them.
    I find it amusing that you insinuate that we Irish are lazy, (without of course actually directly saying so). The Irish may be laidback, but hey there are masses of Americans out there who barely have a pulse! Next time you’re home, step outside your own small sphere of influence and take a good hard look around you. Drive down to your nearest Walmart after 7pm, stand outside the entrance and count the number of people who are so lazy, they refuse outright to use their limbs for their intended purpose ~ they will not even support their own body weight for more than the briefest moment in time, as they hop straight out of their cars and climb on to mobility scooters to do their shopping, hording up buckets of lard and sugar as they go. Then count the number of these people who actually bothered to get dressed in “clothes”. Between mobility scooters and people wheeling oxygen tanks behind them, an evening shop in Walmart is like stepping into the set of “The walking Dead”, there are so many zombie like creatures around, and plenty of psycho looking types too, who look ready to yield a Machete at any time !! Like it or not, these are your fellow Americans. And you seriously believe that you have come from a Country that is much more productive/efficient than Ireland ? Thankfully the large US multi-nationals have the smarts to exploit the best talent from all around the globe and are not reliant on “the walking dead” to drive the US economy forward.
    “But in Ireland everyone expects to have to ask landlords/banks/public offices two or even three times to get anything done”.
    I agree Irish Landlords are the absolute worst and desrve to be despised. On banks and public offices, I’m afraid I have some news for you. Your Banks/public offices aren’t exactly role models to the rest of the World on how business should be conducted ! Allow me to share some of my experiences to demonstrate my case:
    I had to apply for a US social security number for myself and my wife, to enable tax evaluation and ensure compliance…….3 hrs queueing in a Social Security office. When we were finally served, the clerk behind the window got very quickly frustrated with her PC and promptly informed us that our application could not be processed on the system, because there was something wrong with my visa ~ our application would have to be sent off for manual processing, even though everything was in order. I found out 2 weeks later by post from the very same office that the reason our application could not be processed was because visa type “C1” could not be found. You can guess how infuriated I was, given that our visas had “L1” clearly printed on them. After three Months of manual processing later, we finally got our SSNs. Now that’s American efficiency for you ! I had to put off buying a 2nd car for my wife to get around (my company provided me a lease car), purchasing home insurance/car insurance, apply for a driving license, completing tax forms that needed to be completed within a few weeks of me entering the country…..because you can do none of these things without an SSN. All because some lazy incompetent person refused to make an effort and properly check the details!
    As for banking in America, I had to practically jump through hoops to open up an account with Bank of America, as if they were offering membership of some exclusive Country club. I was only permitted to set up a deposit account and had to deposit above a certain amount every Month, or would be charged $50 fee. The bank staff were like robots ~ they couldn’t deal with any query that deviated just even slightly from the norm; at such point you could practically see sparks flying out of their brains, as they went into mini-meltdown. The systems and services provided by Bank of America are in the dark ages, in my opinion, compared to standard banking practices throughout Europe. An electronic transfer of money from one European bank account to another, takes all of the length of time it takes to enter the necessary details on-line, because we use digital code card reader technology and something called an ‘IBAN’ number (World recognized bank account number format, except in the US) . Round up the horses and wagons, because an “electronic Transfer” to Bank of America from an “offshore” account is going to take up to 14 days at standard rates and you are charged $25 for the privilege. Try to speed up the transfer (3-5 days) and the incoming charge goes up to $50. The “electronic” transaction takes this long because the Bank of America has not kept up with technological developments in World banking ~ all the delays in verification of the transaction are on the US side. As for the debit/credit cards offered in the US – the technology is from the 90’s and is a security joke ! We’ve been using Chip and PIN technology in Ireland to make retail purchases for more than a decade ~ doesn’t even exist yet in the US. You still sign for transactions. I could squiggle “Mickey Mouse” and nobody would have noticed. Also, bank cards from one US bank often don’t work in other US bank ATMs. I was able to withdraw money from all US bank ATMs using my Chip and PIN Irish visa debit card ~ I couldn’t make a withdrawal from many US Bank ATMs using my Bank of America card. Bank of America is like “Hotel California” ~ You can join , but you can never leave ! I gave Bankstaff 1 Month notice that I would be leaving the country and wished to close my account before that time. I reminded them again 2 weeks before leaving and finally 1 week before leaving, showing them my plane tickets. Would they close my account ? No! It had to be kept open for any pending transactions. I had to leave the country with an open account with a couple of hundred dollars in it, to cover pending transactions. Several Months after my return home, I received warning notices from Bank of America that my account was in arrears. When I checked my account on-line, no pending transactions had gone through since my departure from the Country, but Bank of America had continued charging me $50/Month fee because I had failed to make the required deposits. I rang bank of America, to ask once again if my account could be closed. Once again, I got talking to a robot and the answer was “no”, because my account was in arrears !! I just left it at that. Bottom line is that I will never set foot in a Bank of America branch ever again. It was positively the worst banking experience I have had in any country I ever worked in and I have worked in several Countries. And you have the audacity to complain about the efficiency of Irish Banks ? Really ?
    As for your spicey sausage, don’t get me started on the vast masses of synthesized junk that is labelled as food in the US. You should count your blessings that you have moved to an EU country which places outright bans on the use of synthetic growth promoters, hormones, steroids, artificial colourings or preservatives in meat produce, unlike the FDA in the US (anything goes, as long as the yields are high and it looks palatable). As a result of your move to Ireland, your risk of obesity, hormone imbalance, heart disease, stroke, pancreatic cancer, bowel cancer, colon cancer and every other cancer will be significantly reduced. It was only with the greatest amount of effort and expense that I could find meat produce in the US which I considered fit for human consumption (God knows what we were eating in Restaurants). Chicken breasts that look big enough to belong to ostriches are not natural. If a fillet steak is still seeping blood after 12 minutes on high heat, that’s a dye, not blood. There are more cuts of meat than chicken breast, loin of pork, streaky bacon and “burger”, but that seems to be all you can buy in most US supermarkets. When you get breakfast in a cheap hotel in the US, the coffee comes with every type of sweetener and creamer under the Sun, everything,that is, except actual milk, cream or sugar. You can “butter” your bread with any type of spread, any except, of course, real butter.
    There is an abundance of fresh produce in Ireland and specialist producers. You should diversify and learn to enjoy some of the local specialities on offer. If you search hard enough, I’m sure you will find someone who produces sausages that live up to your expectations.
    On the subject of public transport, public transport in Dublin Ireland may lag many of our European partner cities, but hey, outside of a few major cities in the US, public transport is virtually non-existent. No buses, no trains, no taxis , no nothing ! Most middle class Americans would rather sit in a 4 hour traffic jam on a six lane highway, than create or use a public transport syetam. You have to drive everywhere and everyone drinks and drives. So what’s your beef about Dublin public transport again ? At least we have one. You’re an intelligent guy, you need to figure it out.
    So Glen, I commend you on your openness and honesty in saying it how you see it and not holding back in expressing your feelings about you experiences since moving to Dublin. But it saddens me to see how insular your life has been and how blissfully ignorant you really are on the place you came from. Like so many of your fellow Country men, you have grown up in a bubble, brainwashed by one dimensional media coverage and your vision is blinkered when it comes to making fair judgements on how good the US really is versus other countries. Here are a few startling facts about the “leader of the Free World”, which might make you stop to think. Infant mortality rate ( children who die before reaching the age of 1) per capita in the US is double the infant mortality rate in Ireland. The obesity rate in the US is 30.6% versus 13% in Ireland. The average life expectancy of a male in Ireland is 79.2 years versus 77.4 in the US. Welcome to Ireland – Live long and prosper ( and have fun while doing so)!

    • Rory,

      Thanks for taking the time to read the blog, and particularly for commenting.

      I m a bit disturbed that you spent so much time on this, but failed to note hat my intention has never been to compare Ireland to the U.S. The Irish, who clearly have a raging inferiority complex (rivaled only by their low self-esteem) make that comparison continuously. I have never made that comparison the focus of any post.

      Once again, the Irish answer (your answer) to social problems seems to be, “Ahh, sure it’ll be grand. It’s not as pat here as other places.”

      As disturbed as I am by that,it pales in comparison to my outrage at you classifying the elderly and disabled who live on limited fixed incomes in the U.S.(and resort to Wal-mart as an inexpensive source of goods) as lazy. By that metric, you must believe that anyone in a wheelchair at a discount store must be lazy.

      As someone with a lifelong severe disability, I’m more than a bit mortified. Given that you come from a country with a very high rate of cerebral palsy, I’d think you might have a more nuanced view of the disabled.

      But, seriously, thanks for moving the discussion forward.

  142. Rory says:

    Glen,
    When you complain to people about how bad things are in one place, the inference is that it’s better somewhere else, notably the place where you came from previously .Yes/No?
    Furthermore,I think you confuse “low self esteem” with humility. We are a humble people who don’t brag about how wonderful we are at every opportunity and we play down any talents/ good things in our lives. Nobody likes a bragger in Ireland
    I never once said “Ah sure it’ll be grand”. The lack of Accountability infuriates me . I agreed with you on wholeheartedly on that front , but my response to you was showing that it’s a similar experience for everyone moving to a new country, no matter which direction you are travelling. It’s all part of settling into a new place
    For your information, I am deeply offended at the low, cheap tactic you have used to try and twist what I said into an attack on the elderly and disabled. My Walmart story was some tongue-in-cheek humour, that was not meant to be taken so literally ( sarcasm/satire is another thing you will have to learn to settle into Dublin life). I didn’t really believe anyone was going to “hack me down with a machete” ( at this point you should have realized it was a joke). I never once made any comment or reference to the old or anyone with a genuine disability. I am a caring person, who has never showed anything but respect for the elderly and disabled and I have taken part in many gruelling charity events to raise money for those less fortunate than myself. The people I saw using mobility scooters were not disabled or old. They were able bodied young people, who simply couldn’t be bothered to walk anywhere anymore ( many young women wearing pyjamas). The number of scooters being used was completely disproportionate to the level of genuine disability that exists. How dare you throw this accusation at me that I would insult the disabled. 30.6% National obesity is a self inflicted epidemic from nothing other than pure over-indulgence and excess. Part of the problem is complete denial that the problem exists and/or acceptance of obesity is the current norm. These are problems that could be avoided by better regulation of foodstuffs and education. It is a problem that we face in Ireland too, with the rapid growth of the fast food industry.
    I’m sorry that you took me up the wrong way and did not see the sarcastic humour. I did not intend my comments to be offensive. Once again, welcome to Dublin and thanks for starting the blog. It is refreshing to see and you have captured many of the Irish problems very succinctly. I agree with a lot of what you said

    • Rory says:

      By the way, mixed taps are not more hygenic. In a two storey house, the downstairs cold water supply is drinkable water which is supplied directly from the water mains. The hot water supply is stored in a water tank, which is therefore considered stagnant, and continual heating and cooling leads to bacterial growth. The upstairs cold water supply is also stored in a tank, is also considered stagnant, prone to bacterial growth and considered non-drinkable. We do not drink water from the cold tap upstairs. We only drink water that comes directly from the mains cold tap- hence the historical reason for separate taps – not to mix drinkable water with undrinkable water. If you have a mixed tap connected to the mains, the general practice if you want to drink cold water, is to run the tap for several seconds to purge residual hot and/or stagnant water from the pipes

      • Rory,

        The unhygienic issue with mixer taps is not the water supply, it’s the fact that in a system designed to force you to mix cold and hot water to get warm, whatever fecal matter, or other toxic materials are on your hands must be bathed off in a stew of that material and both cold and hot water to get something approaching hot (but not scalding water), which most developed countries consider necessary for hygienic hand cleaning.

    • Rory,

      Apologies if I didn’t read your comments as sarcastic and misinterpreted you.

      And, no, I don’t agree that pointing out the folly of life in one place necessarily implies a comparison with someplace else.

  143. Rory,

    As regards food quality in Europe, yes, I agree it’s generally better. However, the bans on synthetic hormones, etc.,are to a large degree just show. The EU has mandated those bans, but provides no funding for enforcement. The result, in less advantaged countries like Ireland, is that there is almost no enforcement or monitoring.

    True the Irish probably don’t violate the ban as much as they might elsewhere (like the U.S.), but Ireland is far from the shrine of purity you make it out to be.

    May I remind you that until last year, in Ireland the most common answer to “What do you want on your burger” was “A saddle”.

  144. Rory,
    Do you seriously imagine that the multinationals are here to exploit Irish talent?

    There here for four reasons only:
    1. Low corporate taxes.
    2. Corporate welfare programs like Jobs Bridge.
    3. Over-compensated tech executives would rather live in Europe than India.
    4. It’s easier to keep large server farms cool in Ireland (as opposed to India).

  145. Rory says:

    Clearly the concept of sourcing bacteria free drinking water from a tap has completely escaped you.
    By the way, My father is a retired Veterinary surgeon, who worked for the Northern Ireland Ministry of agriculture. As a Divisional officer over the border regions, he oversaw the monitoring of heards for outbreak and control of spread of diseases, control of movement of cattle across the border and testing of all animals going into in all slaughter houses and meat plants within his region. He worked with veterinary staff on both sides of the border. He was a dedicated professional, who never let any issue go under the radar. So what do you know of monitoring and enforcement, you complete ignoramous ? You have no idea of what you are talking about in this case. The horse meat scandal involves food processing plants who sourced processed powdered meat products from other European countries and the end products were going to supermarkets selling at the bottom end of the food chain ( the UK equivalent of Walmart) and the scandal was was actually first detected by testing which was conducted by the Irish authorities. It has nothing to do with fresh meat sourced in this country, which can be traced back to the farm in which it was produced. You’re really showing your Southern roots now Glenn( mis-informed and uninterested in knowing the truth )!
    Once again, you have mis-interpreted my previous comments on American multi-Nationals. I did not say anything about Irish talent being exploited. I implied that one of the reasons why American multi-nationals remain competitive is because they exploit the best talent from around the World, to compensate for the lack of numbers of home grown engineering talent coming through the American schools/University systems. If you buy a computer with an Intel chip inside, it has been designed in sections by groups of highly talented engineers from all over the World, e.g. Design groups in Haifa in Israel, Bangalore India, Penang Malaysia and last but not least America. The current Intel i7 chip sold in Ultra-books is an IDC design( Israel Design Center).

    We’re not idiots – we all know that American multi-nationals came here for the tax benefits, but the Irish employees have given Intel a fantastic great return on their investment.
    Climb down off your pedestal and stop trying to lecture us Irish, as though your knowledge of everything is somehow superior to the “3rd World Irish citizens” you referred to in one of your previous comments. You don’t really have any idea. You try to mask your true sentiment in politically correct comments like “that pointing out the folly of life in one place necessarily implies a comparison with someplace else”. How do actually determine whether something is either good or bad if you don’t have any point of reference. ? The truth is, behind all your politically correct comments, you are actually condescending and demeaning to the Irish people in explaining that your criticisms are only to help and inform other immigrants from the US what to expect when they get here. Of course that has nothing to do with you feeling all superior because you are an American. And by the way, since when did speaking out in defense of my Country and it’s people constitute having low self esteem ? I’m sure if the shoe was on the other foot and I wrote e.g. 10 things I hate about Hueston Texas ( I know you are not a Texan), apart from the fact that I would probably receive death threats from all the Texans, I would probably find myself getting picked up by the CIA or some other secret services agency because I’m considered a threat to National security for Anti-American sentiment. I don’t know why I’m wasting my breath entertaining a discussion with and caring about what you think of us. You’re really not that worth it. The Irish are a more sophisticated and cultured people than you will ever be

  146. Okay, Rory.

    You’re right. Ireland is hunky dory. No corruption issues, and things are just dandy. People are not moving elsewhere in droves, as they have for centuries because Ireland is “grand”.

  147. And the American South is, of course, just fools and idiots. It has not been responsible for some of the greatest agricultural advances in modern history (Cotton, and early advances and development in crop rotation and plowing), or the home of the CDC (the global standard for infectious disease prevention), and home to some of the greatest artists, musicians, and writers of the modern era.

    S you might have noticed, I live here and not in the U.S. There’s a reason for that. I do really like Ireland. And most of the Irish I meet are very industrious. But there is something systemic holding Ireland back. That fascinates and infuriates me. Much of it, I know, is the fact that Ireland is still a very “young” country (quite new to self-governance) and has no sense of institutional memory. Because of that, I fear it is prone to repeating its mistakes.

  148. Rory says:

    Glen,
    I just found myself getting seriously wound up by your comments, getting sucked in and thrashing out at you. I take everything back. Ireland is anything but Grand, unfortunately.
    There is huge amount of truth in what you say, but I hate to be labelled as one of those laidback people who doesn’t want to excel at anything. I am not that type of person and there are loads other Irish people like me who are determined, ambitious and want to change Ireland for the better . Ireland is also home to some of the greatest artists, musicians and writers of the modern era, so we have a lot in common.
    By the way, I really enjoyed my time in the States and made some great friends along the way. I will leave this conversation on this note. I wish you a very pleasant stay here

    • Rory,

      I didn’t mean to wind you up.

      Seriously, I thank you for your heartfelt input on this subject.

      I hope you’ll keep reading, and continue to keep me honest in the future (post more comments down the line).

  149. Rory says:

    Sure thing Glen, I’ll be back ( maybe with a little less melodrama and exaggeration next time). I don’t think I need to keep you honest. The Goat rodeo was a pretty accurate depiction of at least certain groups within the population (politicians and senior civil servants are always the first to come to mind) ~ not all of us though, as I cared to point out.
    For the record; the ordinary, conscientious, hard working Irish are absolutely sickened to the core by the levels of corruption and complete lack of any accountability; the fact that the vast majority of these white collar criminals are still living at large, unperturbed , while the country has been brought to it’s knees. We see countless tribunals, inquiries, litigation, which never actually lead to any meaningful conclusion or outcome; just a continuous money spinner for an over-subscribed legal profession, who are happy to dance around century old statutes, which do not provide any means to prosecute against modern day financial corruption, as long as the pay cheques keep rolling in. As for the senior civil servants; they have an innate capacity for finding new ways to effectively throw good tax payers money down the drain. The Irish water authority is a prime example: the over-spend of millions in consultancy fees, as a consequence of the practice of hiring internally (“cronies”, who don’t actually have any clue of the job that needs to be done and/or how they would go about doing it). The funniest of all is the $20,000 “sundry” expense on the new company logo, a logo that contains nothing more than a font type which you can buy on-line for €50 (€20,000 is under the minimum threshold to qualify for putting out to tender for bidding competition). The water authority executives have already awarded themselves bonuses in 2013, even though the company is not actually officially up and running, or bringing in any revenue. If bonuses were linked to fiscal performance , as they are for most Private enterprise (banks excluded), the executives would very quickly find out ways of conserving spend. That will never happen though.
    The big problem however , for the ordinary Irish people is that we have been rendered powerless by those in positions of responsibility and authority, who have failed to act on our behalf. We voted one Government out, another one in, and absolutely nothing has changed. All we can do is conduct our own business with integrity and demand high standards from those we have dealings with. Maybe that’s why people resort to saying “Ah sure, It’ll be grand” ~ they have just been let down on so many fronts, they are beyond caring at this stage. You have to look after yourself.
    Anyway, it’s refreshing to see someone who is prepared to express an opinion which is not going to be popular, rather than sitting on the fence at the risk of offending. You should consider taking on some of our Politicians in the future and challenging them on your observations. That would make for good viewing !
    All the best

  150. D says:

    Why not just piss off home if you don’t like it? I struggle to think how such a narrow minded person could benefit our great city

  151. Lauren says:

    Were actualy not that bad of people, the food is great, and if I were to move to a different country for a month I say I wouldn’t like the food there either! Not all of us are totally laid back, some of us actualy go out and do great things for te country. We all get along great with eachother. I could be at a bus stop , when any random guy will come up to me and make conversation with me, and I love that! Even if I don’t give two shites what he’s talking about ! The buses for me , anyway are always on time. But it’s not the worst place in the whole world!

    • LBM says:

      That’s nice, it really is,
      Try looking for easy conversation in the United States, not as easy.
      That’s the best thing about Ireland, people are more approachable, which means more fun.
      (except when they’ve come up with a particular reason to turn against you, which they can go to a sad extreme with that) I’m an American, and so it’s easier for me to see the good side of Ireland (although apparently you do to) and that definitely is a difference, and an almost enviable cultural trait of ya’lls

  152. Pingback: Love/Hate… | The New Dubliner

  153. rab says:

    I visited Dublin for a break over Easter weekend, 3 days spent wandering through tourists as I thought but I’m now guessing that half of them actually work in the city centre, every nationality you can think of, but where are the local people? I would say over that weekend I met 3 Dubliners, one worked behind a bar I visited, the next asked me for money for a cup of tea, and the last one asked me for money and I said I didn’t have any spare change so they then asked if I had a spare cigarette which I did give and after that I was asked by them if I wanted to buy any ‘coke’ to which I said no but he then insisted on showing me the ‘coke’ as if I didn’t believe him and when I said no again they then left me.
    So anyway that’s my experience of Dublin.
    Verdict is that it’s full of beggars and tourists

    • Rab,

      Thanks for checking in. All I can say is, “Man you had really bad Dublin luck. Don’t judge us based on Easter.” It’s a huge holiday for us, and most folks go elsewhere during that time, while the tourists start to arrive in force at that time.

    • zombopig says:

      the locals are in hiding from all the fat yanks blobbing around giving out about cat litter and sausages

  154. rab says:

    Oh yeah I’d say Northern Ireland is a far better place to visit with a lot friendlier people.

  155. Mike says:

    I recently moved to Ireland with one of the IT offices in Dublin (a multinational) from the Munich office… I’m sorry what is going on here?! Is this a bad dream?? Vomit on the streets … People’s mentality is that of a village … I keep hearing it is what it is don’t fight it … Does elegance or standard human behaviour exist … People drink to oblivion… It’s fun don’t get me wrong once every blue moon but perhaps it’s to forget the grim reality?!? The architecture feels like a setting from Oliver Twist … The grey .. The smog on the walls … The dampness … And then I hear
    It’s been touched by God!?! Italy is touched by god France is touched by god … Spain is touched by god (although one local was having a go at the Spanish and talking in a patronizing manner about them) … I have lied to myself enough tried to see the positive … I guess the transport system is … Not … I haven’t seen more arrogant bus drivers in my life it’s very cheap too … Oh yeah … The food is for the sophisticated taste puts the French to shame … … On top of all that there is no sun… I will stop here… Then I stepped out of Dublin …Sligo surfing!? No I’m sorry no

  156. Paddy says:

    Im Irish. Living in Ireland still, we love Americans. But i must say, he who wrote this article is deluded. What i make of this article? Absolute Bulls**t come check Ireland out for yourselves, see how wrong this man is. And as for the laid back attitude, don’t get things done? You must be touring around after work hours. Or at pubs asking these questions? The Irish have emigrated all over the world, when theres no work in Ireland, to seek work, you look around any country in the world and ask a few questions who built this who built that, i guarantee you, you will hear Irish 70% of the time. We are hard working, enthusiastic people, who know how to, and when to relax and have a good time. And seriously? You’re complaining about a sausage???? You came to Ireland to eat a sausage? Your complaints are ridiculous. Stop eating the fat tasty sausages, Ireland have a lower obesity problem percentage than that of America, don’t try bring your fat sausage ideas here haha bye..

  157. Lilly ford says:

    Look all places have good things and some flaws! Of course Ireland has SOME flaws! But it’s a lovely folk place where everyone is so lovely and kind! And it’s not Ireland’s fault about the whole kitty litter stuff! It might just be a bad product! Ireland is a kind place and the people there will invite you in with open arms and a smiling face!

  158. Lilly ford says:

    Every where has flaws! So what If Ireland has some! It’s a lovely folk place where they will welcome you with open arms and a smiling face! And by the way,your mad about the range of kitty litter? Seriously? Ireland is a beautiful place and it sounds like you just need to embrace it! Think of some good things you like and you will feel much better about the lovely country Ireland!

  159. David Loughlin says:

    you know what i hate about Americans, their stupidity and inability to say no to over indulgence, or their ignorant belief that what they think matters more then anybody else. Yes we have two taps, and yes you have to put up with bad public transport….but maybe this enables us to not over indulge in luxury and possibly walk some of the fat off …..unlike a certain race known for its fatty over indulged population with the IQ of farm bred cows…

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.

      With you love of generalization, and being the fair and balanced person that I’m sure you are, I assume you give just as much credit to all of the existing stereotypes about the Irish.

      • David McLoughlin says:

        ….and herein lies the problem with both our arguments….see your number 1 ( Institutionalized Disorganization & Shameless Lack of Accountability –The Irish Goat Rodeo) This type of shit is going to get people (Irish) people angry, especially coming from an American. I could just as easily say that the reason public transport is much better in the USA is because of a government fear of mass riots if its population was forced to walk anywhere…although without a sudden investment in walmart scooters and a map to city hall written in chocolate, i can’t see that happening. But hey, maybe this is just my generalisation to your ‘generalization’. When i go abroad, which i do often , i’m often struck by the amount of stereotypical views that many have about the Irish , especially Americans. These are mainly based around jokes that involve farm animals and our lack of organisation. the poor eejits that are happy in their ignorance as long as we can drink, fight and engage in bouts of spontaneous bad poetry. I expect better from someone who has spent any time amongst us…at least better then ignorant and glib remarks….”Yes, the Irish are all very relaxed. But they also don’t seem to excel at anything, or care about doing so” !!!!!….you typed this….and you talk to me about generalization…..please. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you didn’t put any effort into your response to me.

      • Brittany McDuffie says:

        Glenn,   it sounds like you having a lot of problems with the Irish on your blog.  I think your just trying to make intellectual and objective observations about the way people do things differently and not really putting them down.  They take it personally.  If you say anything about them, they automatically think your unhappy, don’t they? It would be easy if they were seeing you face to face while you talk about Ireland because that way, they would get the right feel for who you really are how you mean it.  I think your a little blind sided with intensity of their anger over your comments.  You have my sympathies.  But, maybe their right in a sense, maybe you should just enjoy your time there and forget the rest, hell, it seems to be too much trouble otherwise.  And I like a lot about Ireland, myself, it would be easy for me to do it and I know you do to. 

  160. Paul says:

    I randomly came across this website and enjoyed reading all the comments. I am from Dublin, Ireland and to be honest I find this blog hilarious! I am totally going to prove you right by saying “Dude relax” so what if there is two taps!? its not the end of the world. If these are the things you hate about Ireland, what are the things you hate about America? Is it the incredible murder rate? the constant killings of innocent kids in schools? The gangs? The drug epidemic?

    I’m Irish and I don’t like what its become, parents aren’t being parents, people drink too much and violence on our streets is getting worse, is America and different? Is England any different? No!

    There is far worse things going on in the world, try focusing on those. I personally go to America each year. There is good and bad all around the world. These gripes you have are silly.

  161. Eamonn hynes says:

    What the hell are you talkin bout america is a crap country the food except for steak is crap there is a mac donnels ate every corner seriously you guys are sooo fat dont complain about the food be glad you probably not fat cause of it and the sausage in america is not sausage and thereis barely any butchers in america its a crap country and ye haye yer president cuz hes black

  162. Neil Kelly says:

    This article is the biggest piece of crap I’ve ever read. Cat Litter-is this really one of the top 5 things that tourists need to worry about in Ireland? Taps-fine but again who cares. 3. Bad Sausage-the food produced in Ireland is probably the best in the world. It probably tastes bad to you because you are used to eating shit from US factory farms (corn fed animals riddled with diseases). 2. Agreed 1. You are full of it. Ireland don’t excel at anything or don’t care about doing so. Ireland ranks in the top 10 in the world in terms third level education. Ireland ranks 12th in the world for foreign direct investment. We are almost level with the UK in this figure (37billion versus 38 billion), and have approximately 10% of the population of the UK. Ireland is not the backwater dump that you make it out to be. Perhaps you should use your time in a new country to explore the place and educate yourself instead of crying about cat litter. In summary…get a life.

    • Neil,

      Thanks for taking the time rad the blog and post a comment.

      Perhaps it wasn’t clear from the title of this site that none of this is aimed at tourists. It’s for people moving here.

    • LaceM says:

      I think Glenn should maybe take the article down, it’s been up for over a year (I think) and he’s been blasted for it, left and right, and all of them say the same thing.

      • Lace,

        Actually it’s been up for three. Actually if you look at the full list (20 pages) of comments, about half of it is supportive. So, I think I pretty much hit the nail on the head.

        And as commentary from a recent immigrant, the post is still as valid today as it always was.

        Thanks for reading, and thanks for for taking the time to comment.

        Cheers,
        Glenn

        • LaceM says:

          o.k., I’m glad you got a balance of comments. Yeah, your right any observation is still valid. It doesn’t take any time to comment at all. It’s not laborious. And, thanks for the “formal” reply.

  163. Karl says:

    Cat litter, sausages, and water taps? Seriously? You need to live a bit.

    • Karl,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      Actually I’ve done quite a bit of living, having traveled to more than a dozen countries on four continents.

      And based on the comments I’ve receive, my observations in this post (in particular) are actually a pretty good reflection of the food, commerce, and infrastructure adjustments that many immigrants have to deal with when settling into a new country.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

  164. Brenny says:

    Hello Glenn,

    The article and, more particularly, the comments were very amusing. I understand the article was written a few years ago and it was based upon the initial impression you had of Ireland/Dublin. I’m Irish but lived in a number of different countries during the 2000s before returning here. I think what people make of a different country can be more of an indication of what type of person they are rather than what the new country is actually like. I moved to Holland with a few friends in 2001 and one guy had to go home after a month because he couldn’t handle the differences. His problems with Holland ranged from the fact that they don’t sell beer in pint glasses (500ml glasses just wasn’t the same) and they put weird sauces on their chips – this last thing seriously deranged him and was one of the main reasons why he decided to label the whole country as a ‘kip.’ It’s actually funny now when I think back but my friend was seriously despondent whereas I was terrified to tell him that I like their chips with weird sauces! Different people, different impressions. The lady who commented here about the lack of American potato chips in the stores should have packed up and gone home straight away, if you expect to get all the same things in another country that you get in your own country then don’t bother going.

    The point about Irish plumbing is not one I expected. My experiences with plumbing in Mediterranean countries always had me running home and kissing the Irish taps whether it be the fact that you can’t drink the tap water in some countries or – by far the worst of all – the fact that you can’t throw toilet paper down the toilet in Greece. When I complained about this to a Greek he laughed at my softness which reminded me of the time I laughed at an American who complained about how difficult it was to clean one’s backside in this country due to the total lack of bidets and the fact that – I didn’t understand this next bit – there are no ‘ass sponges’ (his words) in the showers of Irish hotels which prompted him to exclaim ‘how the hell do ye guys clean your asses!’ He was genuinely disturbed by this and didn’t take kindly to the fact that I found the whole thing very amusing. In parts of Asia a person’s left hand does all the work that toilet paper, bidets and ‘ass sponges’ do in America. I’m actually happy enough with Irish plumbing but maybe I’m just an Irish person happy with mediocrity, I’m not sure.

    On a more serious note there is a strong historical context to why a lot of Irish react badly to outsider who preaches reform. Many of the Irish in the nineteenth century were subject to a harsh, almost feudalistic landlord class who were generally educated in England and often actually lived there as well. Determined to remain as wealthy as their peers in prosperous industrial Britain, this class extracted as much as they could from their Irish tenants living them with barely enough to survive on. Whenever outsiders witnessed the poverty levels in this country they immediately blamed the natives: their mentality, their religion and their laziness. When the great famine came quiet a lot of people blamed the Irish themselves and to this day you’ll get questions like ‘why were they so stupid as to only eat potatoes’ and so forth [note: the Irish generally thrived in the countries they emigrated to often going from starving emigrant to prosperous settler in a decade which would suggest that an inherent stupidity was not the cause of the calamity]. A lot of English economists actually celebrated the fact that the country was being depopulated. Immediately after the famine the reformers got to work with gusto and it was at this point that major clearances of the native population began as reformers preached efficiency. Amongst the families cleared from the land by the reformers during this period was the Clooney family from Kilkenny and actor George Clooney is a descendant. Most of the reformers thought they were doing the right thing and the Irish way of doing things was the only problem they could see. Throughout the century the rural tenants were scared sh1tless of the thought of the ‘reforming landlord’ or, even worse, the ‘reforming land agent.’ These were generally guys who knew little of Ireland and were determined to drastically change the way things were done as the thick locals didn’t have a clue. One such land agent who was shipped in to manage a large County Limerick estate in the 1820s even ignited a major insurrection throughout most of Munster. Sadly, the most determined ‘reformers’ usually ended up being shot by the locals.

    I’m not sure if I’m reading too much into it but oftentimes when I see Irish people react badly to criticism from outsiders I sense that it is due to the legacy of this era. For a more in depth look at this just google words like ‘punch magazine’ and ‘Ireland’ and you’ll see what I mean or for an extreme example check out Thomas Carlyle’s account of Ireland in 1849 (end of the famine) a truly blood-chilling account of a calamity written by a guy who saw thousands of starving and dying people and concluded that they were just a lazy shower (The book is called ‘ Reminiscences of My Irish Journey in 1849’ and is available for free on http://www.archive.org). I’m not saying that you shouldn’t comment on Ireland or what you see in Ireland but just remember that some of us can be sensitive due to our history. Also, before you comment just ask yourself, ‘do I want to improve this country or just make it more like my home country.’ Remember lots of English wanted to improve Australia and they brought over European animals which just wrecked the place.

    One thing about Ireland which baffles me, and I’d like your opinion on this, is our political system. The two main parties don’t actually stand for anything and whereas many Americans complain about their politics, at least you can decide whether you want the guy who’ll increase public spending and curb military actions or the guy who’ll cut public spending and stand up to America’s foreign enemies. What are your thoughts on this?

    Brenny

    • Hi Brenny,

      Thanks for reading the blog, and thanks in particular for taking the time to assemble such a thoughtful contribution to the discussion.

      I agree that expecting to find the same things you have at “home” everywhere else in the world negates much of the value of travel.

      That said, my point in writing that piece had very little to do with my dissatisfaction with Ireland. Rather, I was attempting to point out the types of things that will be early stumbling blocks for recent immigrants. What will they miss? What local adjustment obstructions will they be faced with?

      As for Irish politics, it all seems frightfully inbred (classist) and the differences between Ireland’s political parties (in my view) is basically, “center right” versus “center righter”. And within that, I think everyone is in it for a power grab. There are very few people involved who are in office out of a genuine sense of wanting to “serve”the people.

      That said, I think U.S. politicians are power hungry beyond all sense of reason, and openly controlled by corporations in ways that they don’t seem to be (yet) in Ireland.

    • Dan Z says:

      This is great insight Brenny … what a response… there are people in ireland like u with a beatifull mind and a beautiful heart…and there is the other side the not so complex side with comments like “**ck off” and what not …

  165. Sean says:

    Glenn if you dont like it fuck off =]

    • Sean,

      Your reasoned and insightful response shows us how you stack up against the literary masters who have taught us so much about your country.

      Thanks for taking the time to craft such a thoughtful response.

  166. kt92 says:

    As an American who has lived in Ireland, I feel compelled to add my two cents on these 5 points, so here goes…

    5. Cat Litter:

    I can’t relate at all. I’m definitely a dog person, so this doesn’t even remotely affect me. However, I can’t get the same quality dog food for my dog as I could back in America. There are some close alternatives that are comparable, though. Still, this seems like a pretty trivial complaint in the scheme of things. I don’t really know what other way to address it than that.

    4. Separate Hot/Cold water taps:

    This seems SO random. I lived in the U.S. for 20 years and ALWAYS had dual taps in my house. Additionally, most of the taps I have used in public facilities in America have also been dual taps. This, by no means, makes Ireland a less advanced country. If anything, you are feeding the Irish stereotype of typical Americans as self-righteous whiners who complain and pitch a fit whenever they don’t get what exactly they want (I suppose this is connected with your #1 complaint) and it’s honestly a little embarrassing. I mean, seriously, how difficult is it to use separate taps? Has it crossed your mind that perhaps people don’t seek to change it because they prefer it or just don’t care either way? I don’t think this makes the Irish inherently lazy. In my opinion, once again, I think it confirms stereotypical AMERICAN LAZINESS and the resulting predominant emphasis on efficiency in U.S. culture (which admittedly isn’t always bad) that has given birth to fast food restaurants at every corner, Wal-mart galore and a complete dependency on cars/transportation as opposed to actually walking places *gasp*. Of course, this is just my opinion. In any case, I find this complaint equally as trivial as the cat litter complaint and am failing to comprehend its validity. I’m inclined to respond by saying, “just get over it.”

    3. Irish Sausage:

    There’s nothing to say except this is obviously an opinion and a matter of taste preference. It’s already been said that there exists linguistic confusion in this situation, as with many other food products (i.e. Chips vs. Fries and Biscuits vs. Cookies). Irish sausage is completely different from American sausage. I’d hardly group them together categorically. Like you, I also have an appreciation for Southern breakfasts and ESPECIALLY Southern sausage. It’s like comfort food, which is something the South has historically specialized in. As such, I found it saddening that literally nothing similar exists in Ireland. However, in the same way you don’t like Irish Sausage, I can guarantee you that most of the Irish would/do HATE American sausage and, sadly, my husband is among them. It’s an acquired taste on both ends. Personally, I enjoy both in their own respect. And, as a whole, I found nearly all food more enjoyable and of a higher quality in Ireland. Especially in comparison with the corn and preservative filled processed foods of America, where purchasing healthy, fresh, organic and local foods is both uncommon and expensive.

    2. Bus Service:

    I will certainly acknowledge the bus service isn’t the greatest in Ireland, but it always got the job done when I needed it. However, this also is not an issue that ever generally affected me enough to truly bother me as I was always within convenient walking distance to everything I needed (something that is very common in Ireland). I rarely needed bus service, but when I did, cabs, trains and streetcars were always available alternatives. Additionally, cars are much more affordable and driving distances are drastically minimized compared to the U.S. Coming from the American South, I found the transportation available in Ireland more than adequate for my needs. Especially when I was in Dublin.

    1. The Irish Goat Rodeo:

    There is A LOT to say about this, so I’ll find it hard to contain it within this comment space. I will attempt to keep it minimal. While I can understand your point in some respects, especially where it relates to permeating into the individual psyche and values of the Irish (such as troubles with landlords), I find this a remarkably over-generalizing blanket statement that is often inaccurate in many of its assumptions. You say that the laid back and casual mental culture of the Irish has contributed to a system where nothing gets done well and excellence isn’t rewarded or achieved. So, firstly, I would like to point out that the Irish have excelled the U.S. in multiple areas by global standards, including but not limited to: Education, Environmental Awareness, Healthcare, Transportation and Social Services. While I wouldn’t find it hard to believe that many people (especially Americans) do not values these resources as much as the Irish/Europeans, I believe you would be hard pressed to come across a compelling argument that the accessibility and quality of these services in Ireland is inferior to American alternatives. I mentioned it already that my impression of this complaint is one that is dependent on cultural relativity. You may call the Irish too relaxed or overly-content… but by the same token, the Irish often see Americans as highly strung, work-obsessed individuals who have no idea how to relax. There are pros and cons to either culture and what it really boils down to is what suites YOU best. My personal preference is the prevalent easy going European mentality that dominates in Ireland. I would choose that and the subsequent benefits of that culture over the American rat race ANY DAY. This means I am willing to compromise in some areas, such as: not owning as much property, being forced to rely on public transport more often, hassling my landlord to fix something, paying a *slightly* higher tax rate and sacrificing quantity for quality. Once again, this is just my opinion and what I feel better suites my personal preferences. I know many Americans would feel very uncomfortable making some of those sacrifices and that is understandable. I know for fact that most of my family values the American ideals of pride in property and privacy far too highly to ever live in Ireland or other European countries. Haha.

    Basically, I feel this complaint comes from an incredibly culturally biased perspective. The “hard working” American culture, undoubtedly, is very firmly rooted in the ideals of capitalism, profit maximization, extreme efficiency (to the extent of laziness) and even privilege. These ideals, in turn, have resulted in the fast-paced, cutting edge, corporate rat race lifestyle that America is renown for. In many ways (especially economically) this has benefited America. In many other ways (especially socially), it has hindered it. This does not mean that Ireland “doesn’t excel at anything.” It means Ireland doesn’t excel as highly in the areas that YOU are used to/prefer excellence in. Just as with any other government, the Irish government and people have their own priorities which are systematically addressed in the services and resources available to the public. This, obviously, doesn’t mean that Irish government has no faults. These faults can be attributed to FAR MORE than the care free, laid back attitude of the culture, so it’s unfair to label that as the primary cause of Ireland’s inadequacies.

    With all of that said, There is no such thing as a perfect government by any means and I think you’ll find the American government often facing the same predicament of debilitating inefficiency (usually in the form of bureaucracy and red tape) and the American people equally as guilty of being contently discontent with the government (*cough*IRS*cough*). Without sounding like a broken record, I would like to once again emphasize the role of cultural relativity and personal preference. No matter where you travel, Ireland, America or beyond, you have to take the good with the bad and the bad with the good. Your complaints are relevant, but I think that if you adapt a more holistic view of Irish culture and evaluate the resources to available to you as a resident that wouldn’t be available to you in America, you may develop a greater tolerance for the subsequent idiosyncrasies of a more casual lifestyle.

    • kt92,

      Thanks for reading the post, and for taking the time to post such a thoughtful response.

      I do find it interesting that, though my post only invokes “America” (when I mention growing up in the South), you (and many many authors of other “Irish defense” comments) make a point of comparing Ireland and the U.S., when I emphatically avoid doing just that (in all but a rare few of my posts).

      You also assume that because I “grew up” down South I must be “American” (however you care to define that). I suggest that it is not me comparing Ireland to the States (or comparing Ireland to the U.K. and Europe as is often seen in Ireland), but a sense of social inferiority (which sadly is all too common in Irish society) fueling the comparison reflex.

      I also feel it necessary to point that my original post (now three years old) was never intended to be a definitive list, but a representative sampling of what I was going through, and a example (for other migrants) of the types of adjustments they would face when moving to another country. After all, that is the focus of the blog – “The Modern Immigrant Experience”.

      And based on the fact that the comments from migrants all over the world (and many Irish as well) are equally supportive and affirming, I’d have to say I think I hit pretty close to the mark.

      Again, thanks for reading and commenting. I hope you’ll continue to do so. You obviously care about the subject.

      • Dear Not A Racist”,

        Thanks for ready the blog, and thanks in particular for taking the time to contribute to the discussion.

        I am concerned though that you accuse me of “generalizing”, but don’t cite a clear example of how/when/where/ I do so.

        And, I’m sorry if you are unfamiliar with the phrase, “people of color”. It’s a fairly common way of not labeling people as “African” or “Asian”, or “black”, etc., when referring to a collective group of racially mixed individuals.Because it avoids using any of the more damaging labels that tend to segregate races and have more racist associations, it’s gained acceptance by most international news outlets, and many official/governmental organizations.

        And, by the way, making value judgements about people from a particular country is jingoistic and making nationalistic assumptions, not racism. Nationality is separate and distinct from race, unless you believe (for example only) that all Americans (and Irish, etc.) must be white, and all Nigerians must be black, etc. And if you do look at the world that way, it would never occur to me that we’ll never teach each other anything to about race.

        Cheers,
        Glenn

  167. notaracist says:

    Don’t start talking about racism whilst generalising. That’s a big no no. Oh yeah, and then producing a gem like “people of colour “. Think you should invest in a mirror if you want to see what a racist looks like. Lucky

    • notaracist says:

      Point proven just as I thought

      • notaracist says:

        It’s only fair that I tell you I’m black and irish and the use of people of colour and your comments about irish people are completely derogatory. I pray for your soul and hope you can take a step towards acceptance and self improvement. Don’t ever use colour!

        • Notaracist,

          Apologies if I’ve offended you. That was far from my intention.

          But I would suggest that before you ascribe racist tendencies to me, or anyone else who hails from another culture, you might want to do a bit of sleuthing about the thing that offended you. “People of color” really is the preferred wording in the U.S., and many other places.

          And to make certain that I was not woefully out of date, or just off the mark (as a “whitey”), I shared your comments with my wife who is Indian American. She was a bit baffled by your discomfort with the phrase, and not really sure of any other “non-offensive” way of collectively referring to a group of people with a diverse ethnic background. Perhaps you’d be kind enough to share your preferred nomenclature with us.

          Cheers,
          Glenn

      • Which point would that be? I’m can’t see that you’ve actually stated a specific “point” and followed up with compelling evidence in support of your position.

  168. Regarding the sausage thing, I’m originally from Brazil and when I came here I wasn’t expecting to find the same type of sausages we have over there (the sausages in Brazil are very strong and usually have loads of spices on it and even chilli) and I wasn’t dissapointed with the sausages here neither any food because I have always been open mind about things I find in different cultures, what I mean by all this is that every culture has a way of doing things and they will never be the same in every country so I’m pretty sure if you head back to the US you’ll find lots of things you don’t like and that’s normal but comparing countries has never been a good idea.

    • Felipe,

      Thanks so much for reading the blog, and for taking the time to comment. I couldn’t agree with you more. But I also completely disagree.

      I disagree because I think it’s impossible for people not to notice things like different sausage (and feel a bit of disappointment, or at least, “Oh God here’s something else I have to figure out” frustration). It’s okay, and frankly perfectly natural, to notice those things (and have those feelings). Where we run into trouble is by assigning good/bad or right/wrong value judgements.

      Actually my point in putting together the list was not to say that these things are “wrong” or “bad, but to point out the things I was noticing as “different” (not better). I thought those observations might be useful to future emigrants, not as a way of preparing them to deal with sausage, but to help them be aware that things like food products, household plumbing, pet supplies, public transportation, and the speed and efficiency of public services will be areas of daily living they may have to adjust to.

      Thanks again for reading. I hope you’ll continue to read and comment.

      -Glenn

  169. Dan Z says:

    Glenn! You are a legend…trust me you are not alone in your insights…you are starting a discussion, a healthy discussion on sensitive issues in Irish society. you always get a reaction when its the truth nobody wants to listen to…and many of which people don’t want to discuss…cat litter sausages etc…It’s really symbolic and the matter at hand is larger than that.
    Coming back from spending a great summer in Europe south of France Spain and Croatia I noticed how dull Dublin is…I kept hearing its the weather its the weather its not the weather ok it has a large part to play but still its sooo limited…i have given this city so many chances and said so many good things to my friends about how great it is …but found that partly I was lying to myself just so I can live here…you go out in most cities in Europe and people look after their looks, work out, dress elegantly or at least make an effort…here its like nice to be ‘grungy’ but not to the degree where its so uninspiring and average…girls put way too much make up…and wear thick heels…just open any fashion magazine and you can see the latest trends…like Berlin is grungy but cool…I must sat many girls are beautiful without any make up…you go into a pub and you can smel the beer and step on sticky carpets from alcohol being spilt over god knows how many years…
    I also noticed living here a couple of years there is a little bit of background of arrogance….not sure over what…? I think with time its really an insecurity…like despite lagging most European cities in architecture arts restaurants weather food nightlife fashion some not all think slightly high of themselves…its annoying. Like learn from others, embrace diversity, its always nice to have national pride etc but not though the point of blindness…sometimes I feel like stopping some and telling them…helllooo have u actually left this country and seen the outside world??
    I guess also one must understand that Ireland only really ‘developed’ in the late 1980s onwards and its a country of about 3.5million…so can’t expect much of it like other established cosmopolitan cities in Europe…
    Another random thought is that I noticed people in general don’t like people who are “successful” especially fellow Irish that made it somehow…there is always a chance to discredit them…or a comment to have a go at them…its like everyone is happy to be the average same we are all happy …once someone breaks from all the complexities that hold people back instead of learning from him or her they start to roll their eyes…jealousy I suppose.
    Many of us at an international office youngish are so disgruntled at how boring it is, the street we work on despite it being a large multinational is so depressing, like at least make an effort to plant some trees and make it less grey… Berlin Barcelona London Paris …until u reach 10% of those cities I personally would be humble…a lot done & accomplished a long way to go??
    ..

  170. Sameer says:

    one thing that I hate about your post is that it doesn’t have a f-share button in it !

  171. elmo says:

    hahaha i love this post. people need to relax. This is an OPINION.

  172. elmo says:

    one thing i’d like to add though- (im irish so i can say this haha) is that in my experience- in relation to career opportunities- people (even in high places) don’t want other’s to succeed as there is a subconscious view that it takes away from themselves. There’s no system of job progression in a lot of private companies and businesses. no support. no mentors. Thats why I moved to the us- you can basically walk into the job of your dreams if you got the right stuff. People in the US want others to succeed. In Ireland- people try to hold you back. Keep you in a box. It is a place where it’s harder to be successful as people resent it. They want to be the best. They don’t want you to be better than them. Its a small town mentality. In the US- career wise- the opportunities are endless. BUT I miss my beautiful amazing friends in Ireland. Outside of annoying bureaucratic and infrastructure nonsense- Ireland is a dream. (if you get over the weather)

  173. Caroline says:

    Dear Glen
    Well firstly, I would first like to say that I had the great displeasure of stumbling across your blog this evening and am sickened by your narrow-mindedness, arrogance and condescension. Ireland may not be the most fabulous country in the world to live in but name a country that is? She, like any other, as another reader pointed out, has its faults and quirks but nowhere is perfect. You will never knock across kinder, gentler or friendlier people that have time for other human beings and when we say “Have a nice day,” we genuinely mean it. You really have issues if you start writing a blog after one month in a person’s country criticising the most ridiculous of things …….. Cat’s Litter??? Sausages ?????? Faucets as you yanks like to call them. Your country bastardised the English language, greedily went after oil, stuck your noses into wars when they were not welcome and have tried to americanise everything, irrespective of the fact that many people are opposed to it. You call yourself the greatest nation in the world and the sad thing is that you believe it. The arrogance of some Americans gauls me. I once had an acquaintance who spoke in terms of superpowers. Seriously?????? In this day and age …….. superpowers????? You guys really are having a laugh. I lived in America for 3 months when I was 19years old. I met some of the most ignorant people I had met in my life. The had no idea that Europe was a continent, let alone about the existence of Dublin or should I say Dublin, Ireland. Those that did, thought it was part of the UK. I frequently find Americans loud, brash, vulgar and seriously obnoxious but I don’t go writing blogs about it. While in the States, I didn’t enjoy the sweetened bacon, butter or bread and would have killed for Clonakilty black pudding and sausages, but I didn’t write a blog about it.
    I have lived in many countries …… South Korea was one of them. I remember people in Seoul being racist towards us as they thought we were American. (Needless to say, they almost hugged us on discovering we were Irish.) I wasn’t allowed to be affectionate with the kids at my school when they craved my love and affection. Why you might ask????? Because of some big scandal regarding some dickhead American who had molested some children, we were all tarred with the same brush.
    I lived in France on my Erasmus year where I was spat at and chased by kids and experienced racial slurs on the bus. I had the misfortune of living in Italy for over five years where I experienced racism, a mafioso boss tying to threaten me, bosses trying not to pay me or pay me incorrectly or waiting for god know’s how long to get paid. I even got fired once. I was told I was an excellent teacher and my students loved me but my bosses girlfriend didn’t like me so I had to go. I had three serious operations there and all I can say is that I was treated like a dog. In my work, people had little or no respect for my time or what I did. They cancelled lessons willy nilly even at the last minute, frequently resulting in about €800 of cancellations per month. I was robbed, leered at, sleezed on by men in general, by even by men in their 70’s who just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t interested. I was followed around super-markets or just followed, curb-crawled, had a random guy try to kiss me at a bus stop because he thought I was Russian, was picked up as a prostitute as once again they thought I was Russian because I have blonde hair. I had a guy stroke my crotch on the bus and a week later, a guy pressed his dick into my ass on the same bus. My friend, who was pregnant a few months ago was felt up on the same bus. In general, I couldn’t go out alone as they had the idea that all Northern European girls were easy. To top it all off, I met some of the rudest, most self-absorbed, aggressive people that I have met in my whole life. A culture of many who don’t pay taxes, don’t pay for public transport but harass foreigners if they don’t. A culture that like to skip the queue, pull fast ones, scream and shout and complain about everything. Countless buss and train strikes like France. But did I write a blog????? That would be a resounding no. Why did I stay you might ask? Well that would be for my good old friend love. But when I saw what it was doing to me, I got out. Italy may be beautiful, have amazing art, architecture, good food, music and a beautiful language but I would have left sooner if I could have. I can’t see why people would stay where they are not happy or where they complain all the time. Frankly, I am really sick of small-minded, petty people like you who bitch and moan all the time. I hear it every day of the week at work. One girl told me that we are dirty, fake alcoholics. Foreigners here complain incessantly about the weather, the cost of everything. I constantly get insulted about the food. The beef and lamb are excellent and exported around the world. The fish and seafood are fab. All you have to do is go to the right fishmongers or butchers for quality food. You are certainly not going to find it in Aldi, Lidl and Tesco’s you penny-pinchers. Also ….. Newsflash: It rains in Ireland but so does it in many of your countries. You just seem to forget ……. Yes, it is expensive, but afterall it is the capital city. Yes, we have a bit of a laissez-faire attitude but I would prefer that to a culture of aggression. Many Irish like a drink but it does not mean we are all raging alcoholics. (Stereotyping like this cost an Irish girl a teaching job in Korea in the last few days.) We may be a lot of things, but as somebody else said we are in general highly-educated, cultured and travelled. We can boast our share of famous actors, musicians, athletes etc. We are very attractive to other countries for setting up new businesses, not just to be used for our tax benefits but also for the following: http://www.connectireland.com/packs/ci/why_ireland_fdi_ebook.pdf
    Why I do believe it was written by the renowned Forbes magazine. Surely they can’t possibly mean Ireland, Ireland (as in the real one)? The land of druken, pagan, barbaric louts as our conquerors so nicely type-cast us …….. Surley not this country where we operate two faucets instead of one, where we haven’t a breeze what “real”cat litter is. Oh but hold on a sec ……. are we not the country where John Philip Holland, the engineer who was commissioned by the US Navy to develop the first submarine came from???? Surely not …….. Why even the lovely man who walked on the moon, the infamous Neil Armstrong was born of German, Scottish and oh yes ……. wait for it …… Irish blood. Well isn’t that just the darndest thing ……. What is America anyway, only a rip-off of other countries customs and traditions? You have no real history and culture of your own being such a “young country.” Yet, America has to be the biggest and best at everything. Your Paddy’s Day celebration makes ours pale in comparison. It’s embarassing. We don’t even have our own dignitaries here to open the celebrations as they get whisked away to New York or Chicago every year, costing the tax payers a bucket. You even commercialised Halloween to the point that nobody knows what it is really about, let alone know that it comes from Ireland. You set up your businesses such as Google, Apple, Facebook in Ireland and most of the people hired are foreign not Irish. while many of our own young qualified people are forced to emigrate. Needless to say, it is all about one of America’s other obsessions ……. money. As I have already mentioned, you bastardised the English language. I used to work for American Airlines and I used to have people call up asking if I spoke American. Do people not realise that it is a dialect not a language???? From what I can see, the only thing you guys are really good at is blowholing. You constantly slight or completely ignore the achievements of others. At least I can say that I am truly proud to be Irish, proud that we fought for our Independence and proud to say that one of our best qualities is that we are full of heart, so to all you moaners out there, faucets or no faucets, if you are not happy “Go flipping home” because I for one am tired of listening to you. And word to the wise …… Next time it pops into your head to have a moan that you would like to go viral…. maybe as Celine Dion so eloquently put it “Think Twice” before attacking your host nation and offending many people in it.
    Cheers
    ps. I had the best summer of my life in the US but I was possibly young, bright-eyed and naive then. Not sure I would have the same experience now. Definitely not if it is breeding a culture of people like you.
    pps. I have a really good American friend who would be appalled at what you have been writing ………… Oh, I forgot to ask …… what are you still doing in this second-rate , under-developed country. Your surely not in Dublin, Ireland not Dublin, Ohio or maybe the pretensions of Dublin, California would be more up your alley?????

  174. Ken says:

    People like you fascinate the living daylights out of me. Who cares about the 5 things you hate about my home town? Who asked you? I was born here as was my father and his father before him. We have worked and played here all of our lives. We have built whatever we have through our toil and our tears. We have had ups and downs, good times and bad, but we have stuck together as a people, as a nation and as a country which strives on freedom and self determination. Thousands of men and women died to create this country less than 100 years ago. Recently we have had our self determination called into question by international bankers and criminals and we are struggling to resolve the issues that have arisen, but we are an intelligent people and as a nation we will solve whatever problems we come across. We are, in general, a creative, hard working, kind and welcoming people who take immense pleasure in greeting visitors from any part of the World who would spend the time to come and stay with us for a while and yet we get someone like you who posts a blog about bad sausages and mixed water taps. Please stop your ranting. Go home if you don’t like it here. Go home and see if your fellow countrymen will put up with your insulting and belittling drivel. Who the hell asked you anyway?
    FYI, hot and cold taps are a vastly more hygienic way of delivering safe, clean drinking water. Mixed pipe systems are unfortunately to old and the cost of upgrading to a safer system is prohibitive and as such other countries have developed the best system that they can in the circumstances but just because you were brought up with your system doesn’t mean that our way is wrong. Our way is simply that ‘Our Way’ not ‘Your Way’ but then you are here and not there aren’t you. Do you really expect us to do things Your Way just so you will feel at home. If you want to feel at home then go home. If you want to visit my country then you are welcome but please keep your nasty, narrow minded comments to yourself.
    We measure ourselves by our standards not yours. Your country is 7th in in the World in literacy, 27th in Mathematics, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in medium household income, 4th in labour force and 4th in exports. America is 1st in the World in the number of incarcerated citizens and 1st in the amount of money you spend on defense. More than the rest of the developed World put together.
    Take your opinions, of my home town, and stick them where the sun don’t shine you arrogant, insulting, small minded American.

  175. Ken,

    Thanks for reading the blog, and for taking the time to comment. I’m glad you are part of the conversation.

    But, please take the time to read a bit more of the blog. I think you’ll see that this is not intended so much for Dublin locals as it is for other expats, here and around the world.

    Cheers,
    Glenn

  176. Margaret says:

    I agree with much of this post and I am Irish.
    I don’t think the writer means to offend . We don’t aspire to excel and everything is tolerated from lateness to sloppy service because being “nice” is more important than being accountable.

    On the plus side there is a tremendous kindness in Irish people.

    We just need to strive for the balance.

  177. zoltan says:

    who is this imbecile American who invades yet another country – mine, then moans about the food, litter and public transport system. i have been to your nomadic, shitpot land and not one of you 313 million morons would know the taste of good food if you ate it by accident. Your imbecile children are raised to die early of morbid-obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes because all you people eat is shit. You EAT shit, you DRIVE shit you WEAR shit and you even STUDY shit – that is why the tiny number of intelligent Americans that exist are educated in Europe. You are the laughing stock of the world and you have,nt the intelligence to realize that. Take your warplanes out of Dublin Airport anf GO HOME. You DESERVED 911 for 56 years of AMERICAN TERRORISM. LEAVE MY COUNTRY. ZOLTAN

    • Wow, Zoltan.

      Do you generalize and stereotype much?

      I can’t imagine why much of the world finds your brand of Irishman coarse and vulgar.

      Regardless, thanks for reading the blog, and for taking the time to contribute constructively to the discussion.

      -Glenn

      P.S. – I have lots of problems with America, but still you gotta ask yourself, if America is really that bad in comparison to Ireland, why have millions of your countrymen sacrificed so much to get there?

      And, no, it’s not just a historical thing. The Irish continue to emigrate to America by the thousands every year

  178. Cindy says:

    Hi Glenn,
    First if I am welcome in someone else’s home I respect their way of living, I either adjust to their way or realise this is not for me and leave, I don’t thinking insulting how they live is the way to appreciate their hospitality, if an Irish person has something as trivial as cat litter to disturbed their way of being, they figure a way around it like let their cat visit nature as god intended, I have traveled loads around the world and never expected a country people to adjust to my way of being, and if it is squating over a shower based type loo to not having an option of hot water, it is my choice to adjust or leave, irish are all over the world not just America, and as far as I see it if you are white you are not American either, no matter how you would like to call it, you are obviously a under developed human caught up in the metrix, but then again you claim to be American so what would one expect, the Irish may come across unorganised but how many of them are blaming you for their issues in life, when we have things to sort we sort them, we may be lauded back but as far as I know a fair few of us helped to build you country and build many uk city’s and proud of it, just because we have a live of the land and creating beautiful things like your White House, only we are not ego based individuals, like some, we like to do what we do and don’t have to brag about it we are happy in our skin, unlike some, sorry for you that you don’t know how to get passed unmixed taps n cat litter,

    • Hi Cindy,

      Thanks for reading, and taking the time to comment.

      But did you really just write that the Irish are “are happy in our skin”? Come on. Having myself traveled quite a bit, I can safely say that the Irish tend to begrudge everybody everything, and, as a nation have chronically low self-esteem.

      And, to be fair, if you’ve lived overseas, which, after all, is what this blog is about (the “modern immigrant”, you have to admit that living in another country is far different than simply traveling to a lot of places.

      That post was meant to address many of types of concerns (infrastructure, daily supplies, bureaucracy, transportation, food, etc.) faced by recently arrived immigrants. With that as the goal, I think, and the feedback I’ve received leads me to believe that, it does that quite well.

      Please keep reading though, your points are appreciated.

      -GK

  179. Conor Ferguson says:

    5 Things I hate about the USA.

    1. New York smells really bad and the people suck.
    2. Thousands of People die everyday because of your dumb gun laws
    3. All your food is full of fat and sugar. Also “Super Size”? Cause large just isn’t lager enough?
    4. Poor education. I found a lot of people very racist, but they weren’t that clear as to why? They hate Muslims, that I do know. Also the KKK.
    5. American Beer is not at all good.

    • Conor,

      Let’s take em one by one shall we.

      1. New York smells really bad and the people suck. But at least half of the NYC police and fire departments are Irish, as is a sizable portion of the population.

      2. Thousands of People die everyday because of your dumb gun laws – The actual figure is less than 20. According to this source it’s 18, which in my book is 18 too many, but let’s not exaggerate. Getting the number wrong doesn’t help anybody, or do anything, except make you imagine your superiority.
      http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/us-has-averaged-more-18-gun-deaths-every-day-newtown-school-shooting

      3. All your food is full of fat and sugar. Also “Super Size”? Cause large just isn’t lager enough?

      Not “lager” enough. Bit of a Freudian slip from the pub capital of the free world, eh?

      4. Poor education.

      Hmmm. Harvard….Yale…Princeton….the best research universities in the free world, and the funding and students to keep them going. Hmmm.

      I found a lot of people very racist, but they weren’t that clear as to why? They hate Muslims, that I do know. Also the KKK.

      Yeah, there’s no racism in Ireland. Except for that guy in O’Connell yesterday who kept asking black people if they were “Muzzo”. Oh, and the Dublin bus inspectors who racially profiled my wife. And our Asian friend who kept getting asked if he was Bruce Lee.

      5. American Beer is not at all good.

      Funny, but Brooklyn Brewery, Sam Adams, and a host of others seem to suit the Irish tastes just fine.

      Hmmm.

      But thanks for taking the time to read the blog, and contribute to the discussion.

  180. Lauren says:

    Glen I think your list let us off lightly ! You forgot that Irish people hate being wrong and hate when others have opinions which don’t match theres. We are pretty ignorant. We complain about everything but do nothing . Most of us are sheep and just follow the person in front of us. We think the way we drink is normal and all know someone who is an alcoholic. We reward people who never worked a day in their lives by taxing the ordinary struggling working to the hilt. We only became multi cultural in recent times so think it’s acceptable to be racist. We like to complain. We like to be nosey. We like to talk about the weather. We like to complain.
    Why anyone would come to live in this dump is beyond me. The towns are all dreary a mixture of dull green reds and grey buildings crapoy shops and tonnes of pubs. The weather is miserable and grey. Anything that makes sense is rejected in Ireland . I hate this country. The only positive things I can say is parts of Ireland are beautiful Irish mammies are the best in the world and the Irish sense of humour is like no other. Other than that if I had the oppurtunity to leave here tomorrow Id do it in a heart beat .

    • Lauren,

      Thanks for reading the blog, and taking the time to comment constructively on your experience.

      Wow, you really dislike it here. I’m surprised to find anyone so anti-Ireland.

      Despite the title of my “Five Things” post, I really do love it here. Those five things do still bother me, but they were also meant to be indicative of the types of problems that immigrants can expect to face when they arrive (transportation, infrastructure, household supplies, food/dietary, etc.).

      I hope you’ll find some reasons to love where are you, for what it is, ans not hate it for what it isn’t.

      Otherwise, you should go as soon as possible.

      I say that not because Ireland doesn’t want you, but because life is too damn short to be dissatisfied with where you live, and these days it’s often easy enough to change your situation.

      Wishing you all the best.

      -Glenn

    • Nick says:

      Lauren I love ur honesty and letting your thoughts off your chest, it’s a healthy and refreshing to read ur perspective. There are those in this country that are made of gold, good, hard working, honest open minded people, but other than that this country is really backward I’m sorry to say it really needs 20-30 years to catch up with most countries in the world. The other day we had a high ranking executive from a multinational company visit and he experienced some blatant racism as we were going in a lift with other locals. At that stage I really felt embarrassed for the country. I have never cringed like that my entire life. Working & living here has been a slow & painful experience for me, the ignorance is hard to ignore. There seems to be a weird simple connection that if you are living here & don’t look like u are from here means that you are impoverished or something? People need to understand that many of the “foreigners” have had more exposure more wealth more education and more Wordly than a large proportion of people…and may actually feel sorry for most people’s level of intellect and living conditions … You would think people are travelled or have experienced what is out there outside Ireland ?!? I mean having a TV or internet should suffice to learn about other cultures, countries, and people…many whom are far better off than this Not even third world country. At first I would experience ignorance and kind of let it pass, but then I found u really need to be putting people back in their place all the time and educating them in where u stand and where they stand and then they tend to put their tails between their legs, u sadly have to put limits for people because they don’t put these limits for themselves … I sometimes imagine if u saw any decent Irish person working anywhere in the world, looks respectable etc … I wouldn’t into the conclusion. That this person is from Ireland he must be a pool cleaner and hence let me have a go at him or her … The lack of foresight or insight is astonishing, but then I thought about it when u feel so insecure and so low u need to feel better about yourself by looking down at “foreigners” even if u were scum useless person…u don’t get this behaviour in London, Singapore, Paris, NYC, DC, Dubai, Berlin… People say Irish people are friendly? Sadly while I have experienced that with some of my friends, others were really hateful, resentful, discouraging, and self defeating to themselves and those around them…I too can’t wait to leave this place…

      • David says:

        I must say I have witnessed shocking racism here. Shocking and CASUAL, I might say. An otherwise respectable middle class white woman I chatted to at a cafe saying how awful it is that half of the people getting citizenship are BLACK, and no wonder the welfare system is shot. She didn’t even flinch when she said it – it was perfectly acceptable to her to do so. She didn’t even imagine I might not want to hear it (I’m white).

        I have heard worse. The other day at the pub a white Irishman could not stop ranting about black c**ts in the country. He spat on the ground. Noone else blinked.

        It’s like going back in a time machine to the 50s.

  181. Anna conda says:

    I live in Ireland and know nothing about all these types of cat litters! Yes I have a cat but she goes in the garden like every other cat.

  182. PAUL AHERNE says:

    I’m always interested in what an American thinks of Ireland. The problem as I see it with The Republic of Ireland is that they’ve never shaken off the influence of Great Britain. For instance: the plumbing there is very archaic compared to the U.S. and Canada, and is the same as the U.K. That’s why it’s so common to have separate taps, whereas a combined faucet is seen as a luxury item. It’s only in recent years past that Ireland has adopted the 1948 British standard in its household electrical fittings, whereas before we followed the German standard which is the primary standard across Europe. Ireland is the only country in Europe to have American style road signs, and was the first to have the octagonal stop sign, and yet in later years they copied the British style motorway designations on their major highways, with the alphanumeric examples of M-1 and M-50, when these exist entirely separately in England. Public transportation continues to follow the archaic British system of separate modes of transit without proper rapid-transit applications. Originally the D.A.R.T.system ( which I named ) was to include all of the buses in the greater Dublin area. It was eventually shelved and replaced with a London style “break-up” with different fare scales. Local government follows an outdated form that was influenced by Britain, and England in particular. Ireland has become more like the U.K. in recent years that ever before. The Irish still have an inferiority complex dating from years of Brtish rule and continued British influence, being the only other European country that is dominated by Irish editions of U.K. newspapers, and other U.K. media. Ireland is a strange republic that has titles like Lord Mayor, and things like The Royal National this and that whose patron is Queen Elizabeth II. There probably are indeed home-grown disfunctional anomalies, but for the most part the things that are wrong in Ireland, are that of the archaic and anti-European cultural influence of English dominated Britain.

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for reading the blog, and thanks in particular for taking the time to post such an informative response.

      I look forward to learning more from you about Ireland.

      Best,
      Glenn

  183. dave says:

    9 million sang the song of our people ,1 million starved ,5 million kick started your country, and the poor fools who are left to pick up the pieces are out of our depth pretending to be part of the mess that is europe ,god help us all

  184. Emma Kelly says:

    Im an irish person and i am not trying to offened you but your comments ob the “taps” well i think its compleatly ridiculous. Alot of houses modern or old (not just farmhouses) have two taps what is your problem with having one tap for warm water and one for cold. Its a type of style and some people want that in their houses and the transport in dublin is brillant. I was in dublin a few days ago and i live in co clare and i was astounded by how good the transport was its cheap and and

    • Hi Emma.

      Thanks for reading the blog, and for taking the time to comment.

      My problem with Dublin Bus, at the time, was that their schedule and map documentation in the shelters was, and often still is, embarrassingly inaccurate(schedules and maps for buses that don’t even stop at a particular shelter, etc.). Admittedly, it’s gotten better. Or perhaps, after four years, I just notice it less because I know where I’m going and what buses I want. But for a new immigrant, it can be a problem.

      As for the dual tap thing – Most of the time it’s fine, but at times (if you have a baby, a dog, or someone sick in the house) it’s unhygienic and disgusting, plain and simple, no debate.

      Real world example – Last night my dog got sick and threw up something absolutely otherworldly. It was a putrid brown and black mass that stank of death. I kid you not.

      So, in cleaning it up, I got some on my hands. Going into the bathroom, I have three options: icy cold water; scalding hot water; or I can plug up the sink and mix the two.

      It seems like the third option is the obvious choice. But, option number three means that when you plunge your hands in to “clean” them you are basically making a nice juicy stew of whatever was on your hands. So, that substance that may have been on one hand, at the fingertips, is now on both (assuming you scrub with both hands) and is probably now up to your wrists hands. And, indeed, as I washed my hands last night, I watched as a nice blob of the “black death” floated menacingly (casting a taunting and victorious eye back up at me, I’m sure) in my sink after I’d cleaned my hands.

      Now, imagine that happening if you are changing baby diapers or a sick person’s wounds or dressings every day. Or think about cleaning some harsh cleaning products off of our hands using the “stew method” and then trying to clean your young child in some way (get an eyelash out of their eye, etc.)

      Yeah, that’s my problem with dual taps.

  185. Richard says:

    I laughed a lot through this just because you do be getting worked up over nothing.
    The sausages are decent and unreal if you get a proper one. maybe you just burnt them or went to a bad place that cooked em for ya. Or else maybe twasn’t a pork sausage you were sucking on at all 😉 😛
    The tap issue is grand and if you had a bit of cop on you can mix the cold with the hot using your hands. And tis actually more energy efficient if you think about it coz most would just go for the cold tap all the time for washing hands, etc and then hot just for baths. I mean in america ye do waste energy and i’ll say one thing for nothing room temperature over here is nowhere near room temperature over there.
    Also nothing wrong with being relaxed and content. Shur no matter what you ‘achieve/succeed’ at you’ll end up below in a hole anyway with some other fecker left eating your fruit.
    Seriously, just relax about it.

  186. Ivin says:

    I enjoyed reading ur comments and observations to a great degree, in addition to the rich commentary. I came to live in Dublin recently for work, lovely people countryside is beautiful and air is fresh. I’m sorry If I am going to offend anyone here but, I found Dublin and other cities we went to Dull and boring. There is green yes, but there sure is a lot of grey, like its very colourful with 50 shades of grey…the streets and buildings are covered with soot and like a certain grime, that same grime u want to wash off ur car or stuck in the chimney., there is a disproportionate amount of vomit on the street over the weekends I’m sorry to be vulger here, and other body fluids in the corners of buildings… It seems an ok thing to do, it shouldn’t be tolerated. The carpets in the bars smells of years of alcohol being dropped on them, its smells really fresh ! If I were reading this blog and was from the country I would use the comments to improve my city and my country along with standard European cities or non European cities, although I understand if one takes offence it’s natural Instinct, but really maybe the comments along with urs are here because u thought it deserves better and has great potential for better, but the over all feeling is: “we like it as it is” attidude with its grime etc almost to prove a point but fair enough? I also found some people very instructional, the same way flight attendants can be, do this do that stand here stand there, like they come out of their way to give u an instruction … Customer service no chance. I don’t know it seems like something people love to do. Anyway yeah grey dull city with soot on the buildings with occasional body fluids on the streets … If ur not into drinking good luck! I can see why u would drink though to erase escape and forget?! Stephens green is very nice and parts of Dawson street … Anywhere near the river lots of people wearing sports gear although they don’t look sporty asking u for stuff … ! I would plant trees all greens or other where ever possible to take the grey away and add a fresh feel to the city … It was a pleasant average experience overall though needs a big spring clean a shake up and catch up but who am I to say?

  187. EXCELLENT DRINKING WATER, BEST SAUSAGES THE WORLD ,if you pick the right ones GALTEE, HAFNERS.etcetc

  188. Mark says:

    Glen great read comments even better!! One particular comment resonated quite strong in helping me understand this city and country. The effects of hundreds of years of British rule and their attempts to crush the Irish confidence, Catholicsim and its somewhat chocking guilt effect on a nation, geographical near isolation from mainland Europe doesn’t allow for much cross pollination of trends culture shielded more so by the towering UK, nearly putting Ireland in the shade all the time symbolically speaking, and lastly the dire effects of the weather.
    Working and living here but not from here make me view Ireland like a timid performer on X factor with so much potential but he or she are weary of the negative thoughts and comments coming from the people just cause they have pink hair or look different … In America they are called haters and they are a Minority … Here my god it’s like nearly every other person?! If anyone makes it it appears more ‘successful’ than his fellow citizen or looks good dresses well u instantly here these remarks from someone with ugly looking teeth looks fat and doesn’t smell great…this sadly is found in many layers of society, they may not look like that but still, it’s rare to see people wishing for others what they would wish for themselves.. It’s like u are more likely to hear a negative comment than an encouraging comment and in a professional setting that’s rife, people are afraid of others being better than them, so they are always bringing each other down, it’s like an epidemic.
    I feel the Irish love the good life … They know quality when they see it u couldn’t kid them … But in Ireland everyone is afraid to live a little, out of fear of being labeled brash or flashy while they are not actually being brash at all…then u see them in London or Dubai or NY and its like u have deprived someone of water for months in a desert only to live life freely as they deserve without fear of their fellow countryman making a comment and making them feel guilty about it …
    Looking at pictures of friends and family just in the summer now, Beaches of formentera, Sardinia, Lake Como, Dubai, Turkey, Mykonos, Paris …u cannot underestimate the effect of the lack of sun can have on a nation … When ur still wearing a jacket in June that’s depressing … That feeling of summer liberation freedom living life to the full bikinis toned people doesn’t exist … That’s why most people don’t care about their weight here … Who cares who’s gonna see me belly Anyway … There is very little opportunity to show skin and when there is it’s like the exact opposite they are nearly naked when they shouldn’t be traumatising skin tone some weird orange colour with extra flaps like the Michelin man…it’s not normal not to care that much … The global trend is to care too much and that also extreme but here… salad … Why have a salad?! Sausage bacon slap on more sauce slurp slurp
    I guess in summary of ur looking for sexy u have come to the wrong place … So many Irish have lived is diaspora and made it in many spheres in every continent … Bring back this experience this fusion of cultures this talent learning from other nations instead of just pass negative and condescending remarks …why is there nearly like a fence keeping all these open ideas that work elsewhere but not here … U have come a long way but still have a long long way to go … This “it is what it is attitude” is destroying the potential of this country … Break from the negative comments u see rife in these blog “go home” “if I don’t like it leave” London became the Center of the world with ever nation living there by adapting respecting and catering intelligently not by saying go home every two seconds … That’s the difference … And for many they will go home in a heart beat if it’s up to them … But being located here in exile nearly doesn’t leave u much choice … dress well look well be open to others just like others were open to u when u left Ireland, learn the best from one another and encourage each other … not everyone that makes is corrupt is they like to label anyone here and just bash his or her name in the media …
    People here get ahead of themselves think Ireland is the Center of the universe and people are flocking to it like its going out of fashion humble down while still being proud, it’s really a nice place but average to below average in many areas and with no sun alone it really makes living here a challenge away from the action occurring in the rest of Europe and the world … But yet we are made to believe that we are lucky to live and work here by some … ?!? I am unable to see that despite trying my best over the years …

  189. Andrew says:

    Well, as a Dublin person living in America, I simply had to contrast the above discussion by drawing attention to the things that I hate about living in America: the racism against Irish people, being yelled abuse at and called us nasty disgusting obscenities (saying that Irish people are dirty, uneducated, drug dealers, etc. etc.), and even making death threats by calling us “dead Micks” (a racist term for Irish people in America), telling us to go back to where we belong (i.e. Ireland), etc. People even proudly display signs here that say “Irish Need Not Apply” and tell Irish people to shut up because they don’t want to pick up their accent.

    Even a person’s worst dislike about living in Dublin pales by comparison to that of being Irish living in America.

    • Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for reading the blog, and for taking the time to contribute by writing in.

      I’m sorry you’ve had so much trouble in America.

      Racism/bigotry, no matter who it’s against or where it happens, is ugly and uncalled for, and one incident doesn’t justify, negate, or lessen another.

      I think the tribalism of discrimination is something that seems to be the worst part of the human condition, and we may always struggle with it.

      Be well.

      -Glenn

    • David says:

      Can you post a picture of that sign, because it sounds like BS to me. Happy to be corrected.

      • David,
        Which sign? I assume you mean the bus map hung the wrong way around.

        If so, it’s been four years, and the buses used at that have changed 3-4 times by now. But if you spend time riding Dublin buses, you’ll find incorrect information all the time. I’ve heard other readers complain about inaccurate maps and inappropriate signage all the time.

        Cheers.

        -Glenn

        • David says:

          Andrew mentioned seeing “No Irish may Apply” signs in America. It’s like a unicorn, that sign, more a creature of myth than anything, so I would love to see a picture of one if it is real. I have read Americans complaining about seeing “No loud Americans” signs in shops here in Ireland though. I have never seen either, although I have seen “No tracksuits” on Dublin pub doors, which much really irritate many Irish girls.

  190. Andrew says:

    Wow. I suppose that next I am going to read that nobody in Ireland has read anything about the riots that have been taking place across America against racism (especially in Baltimore) !

    Anyway, here is one link to the requested “No Irish Need Apply” sign that people here often proudly display (and, believe me, they will tell you about it as they tell you to leave their country and go back to Ireland where you belong):
    http://www.icollector.com/HELP-WANTED-NO-IRISH-NEED-APPLY-PAPER-SEGREGAT_i8625713

    In regards again to Dublin, my wife loved it on her visit and could not believe how friendly the people are because even she even admits that all that she has been accustomed to growing up here in America is hostility, and particularly towards foreigners (and Donald Trump’s recent comments about Mexican immigrants which are all over the news are a further example of this). I guess that growing up in Dublin I just assumed that everyone the world over treated each other with the same respect that we have for each other in Dublin (of course there were always exceptions). It is only when you emigrate and experience how much you can be hated, and called every anti-Irish obscenity out there just for being Irish that you realize how good people have it back in Dublin. In all my years living in Dublin, I obviously never once feared for my life for being a foreigner (since I was born there). Growing up in Dublin, I never once had to go to the police or file a stalking order in the courts (I wouldn’t even have known what such a thing was) until I emigrated and experienced what it’s like to be constantly persecuted and threatened simply for having an Irish accent.

    So when I read about Irish people complaining online about water charges, and cat litter, I shake my head in total disbelief at how people in Dublin have no idea how good they have it ! I would move back to Dublin in a heartbeat only that I cannot sponsor my wife into Ireland without already having a permanent job there.

    Enjoy Dublin and remember how good you have it surrounded by agreeable people (for the most part). Believe me, if cat litter and bad sausage are your biggest complaints, you have it good !

  191. Andrew says:

    Hey Glenn

    That anti-Irish sign is no joke, and when people proudly boast about having one as they make anti-Irish comments to your face and tell you how you are lucky to have a job because you are Irish, you realize that they are very serious and not joking around with you.

    However, yes, next week I can travel to a bar out of town from here that I once again saw that exact sign hanging on the way and I can e-mail you a photo of it if you e-mail me your e-mail address (since it is not possible to upload photos here).

    There is also an excellent DVD documentary by the History Channel that specifically covers the prevalence over the years of the “Irish Need Not Apply” signs that like I say I have seen too many times myself:

    The Irish in America documentary by the History Channel:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Irish-America-Struggle-Americas-Immigrants/dp/B0064OQ33Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1436468990&sr=1-1&keywords=the+irish+in+america

    Am I going to be asked next to prove that the Holocaust took place and send pictures of that too ?!?!?

    Anyway, I don’t want to take over your blog about Dublin since that is what it is really about. Keep up the good work. I love reading anything that I can find on the internet about Dublin as my wife and I cannot wait to eventually move there and enjoy nice friendly people and leave the haters behind !

    Kind regards,

    Andrew (or the “Irish Mick” as they like to call me here)

    • David says:

      I have a genuine curiosity about it. I wonder if the bar is really saying that as a bigoted thing, or if it is a novelty sign being hung for effect/amusement (heaps of strange pub signs here in Tullaroan). I’m not questioning your own feelings as to an anti-Irish sentiment expressed towards you in the US, in fact I’m fascinated by it. I wonder if that is due to the survival of an Irish cultural segment in the US (cf Australia, where descendants do not consider themselves to be Irish).

      In Australia, where I am from, being Irish has been a ‘good thing’ for a long time. Certainly my lifetime. Ned Kelly, one of our heros, was Irish, and the whole Irish thing fits in with our underdog, rough notion of ourselves. In fact, I would say we have much warmer feelings towards the Irish than we do the English, even though we were an English colony not that long ago.

      Recently actually Irish have been coming out again in large numbers, due to the extremely poor state of Ireland’s economy. This may have changed people’s perceptions somewhat, as they are meeting the Irish again, rather than dealing with the reputation, or myth, of the Irish as it were.

      I have been living here for 6 months. I have not found anyone to be anti-Australian. People have been very welcoming. Most have relatives in Australia, or remember visiting back in their misspent youth. And of course they have not forgotten the circumstances in which many were sent to Australia (as were my ancestors). This is expressed in many songs. I would say that Ireland and Australia are extremely close and fond of each other, as a generalisation.

      Of course you always get exceptions, and there are dickheads in every group of people. Even the Irish and the Australians.

  192. David says:

    I might say I am also fascinated by the relationship between America and Ireland. America was in part an extension of Ireland for a long time, and has been hugely influential in Irish politics for as long as Ireland has been a country, and earlier. De Valera – the American born to a Spanish father Irish President – spent years there during the so-called War of Independence, while Michael Collins was heading up the death squads back in Ireland. Obviously he thought that was worth his while. Recently, in the 90s, much the effort leading to the 1998 peace agreement was directed to America and Bill Clinton, rather than trying to convince anyone across the Irish sea.

    Mind blowingly, even big parts of what the Irish consider to Irish have been influenced by the Americans. Take the ubiquity of traditional music. As Irish as you can get, and in every pub so it seems (and even ice cream shops in Dublin – it gets a bit much). But go back to the 50s and there was no music in Dublin pubs at least. Traditional music was on the nose and considered to be part of the tired De Valera era (this fellow lead Ireland until he was 90 in one way or the other – Michael Collins called him a foreigner and an American in parliament – this was not a compliment).

    There was a revival that was lead – wait for it – by the Americans and the English. They had an appetite for traditional music, including Irish traditional music, and eventually this gave it some prestige back home. The Dubliners had to arrange for a single pub where they could play, as there was no music in Dublin pubs at that time. Slowly it got popular – particularly because the tourists expected it.

    Lead by Guinness (now owned by the English BTW), the Irish pub was cleverly marketed off the music and ‘merry’ Irish image and it was a huge success internationally. Guinness had a particular pub they rolled out, and it became what people expected. More and more the Dublin pubs changed so the tourists saw this image. It was the old phenomena that observing something changes it. Of course in time the Irish didn’t even know that what they were proudly showing the Americans was American pub (with an Irish brand) inspired, at least in part.

    Ireland has traditionally had very little going on economically except for agriculture and tourism. It was called a donkey and cart economy by the Economist magazine pre Celtic tiger and nobody disagreed. Ireland could introduce a low corporate tax when it did because there would be no impact on existing revenue as there was no corporate sector here (think about that!). So anyway, tourism was very important and remains so.

    What’s interesting for me is to try and distinguish what is Irish and what is tourist horseshit. What I’ve come to realise is that it has become hopelessly intertwined. A tip though is to check things out in the country where the tourists don’t go. (like where I live). You will generally find less music – silence even, except on special occasions. I think the ice cream shop is a good test. If you hear it blaring traditional music 24 hours a day, you know that the area is not very real (like temple bar and all the paid musos there – you couldn’t pay me to listen to it – 40 years ago it was an access lane with nothing going on – all tourist driven, and good luck to them, but not for me thanks).

  193. Artur says:

    I from my own experience (lived in Dublin for over 8 years, couldn’t stand that place). Dublin is simply one of the worst place in Europe (1st world countries, that is, I do not include newcomers, where living standards are poor).
    Just to add my three bits, where I was living in Dublin it seemed to me like open mental hospital:
    1. (Home) Alarms everywhere at any point in day (or night), to which nobody pays any attention, Gardai included.
    2. Barking dogs (day and night), again, nobody being Irish is bothered by it.
    3. Those idiotic garden lights, which being in Ireland are not pointed to lit the garden like in any other *normal* country, but they are directed to lit the opposite neighbor ‘s living-room/bedroom. How idiotic is that?

    Irish people are nice? Only on the surface, scratch it and you see nasty, murky and unpleasant leprechaun.

    And don’t even get me started on the quality of services. I simply couldn’t stand it. It seems to me that nobody can do a semi decent job here. All they can do is yap, yap and yap. And drink. And yap bit more. Unbelievable lame lot. Not Europe. Not Europe.

  194. Monica Bliss says:

    This is a great read for a newly relocated family!

  195. Michelle O says:

    Wow, what a blog! I am both laughing and irritated at the same time. Fact is we all have different things we are and are not willing to put up with. I myself agree Irish sausage is disgusting, and the service industry is quite bad. That being said there are reasons behind some of those difference that I think we as Americans take for granted. First, it took me a long time to get used to restaurant service in Ireland. Usually, service comes without a smile, and even at times with a hint of a shrug and near eye roll for being put out. However, they do not work on tips, so the need to fake a smile and pretend to enjoy their shitty job has no real baring on their attitude. Also, the double tap thing… I HATE! I want to wash my hands and face with warm water not freezing cold or scalding hot lol. That being said the original reason for this was because hot water was often not potable, especially in apartments where the water was stores in large tanks. Granted I believe this has been updated, but I think most are just used to it, so why spend the extra € to change it. I think it is important to note, that these are all just things, and like all things can be changed, or gotten used. If you are a person who does not adjust well to change, then come up with solutions to help you manage. For instance, go to IKEA and get a new sink with a single faucet 🙂 and don’t expect the culture here to change for you, but rather try to accept that it’s different and go with the flow. I’ve been here 2 years, and some days I really miss sausage biscuits and gravy, so now I make my own american style sausage with biscuits, and gravy, and it’s better than Denny’s or IHop 🙂

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for reading the blog and taking the time to respond.

      “Wow, what a blog! I am both laughing and irritated at the same time.”

      – Well then, my job is done.
      😉

      I too am making my own sausage. And, if you need it, I have a killer biscuit recipe (I’m from Georgia).

      Living in a rental, why would I ever spend money for a new sink.

      I know there are historical reasons for all of the things that irk me. They obviously didn’t just happen in a vacuum.

      But the rest of te civilized world has solved the potable water issue. Perhaps Ireland will drag itself in to the modern era one of these days.

      That said, my point here was about the individual things, but it was more about the things that immigrants have to contend with when they come.

      The list is my list. Every immigrant will have their own.

      And. it is a bit too easy to say they are just things and should be dealt with. Sure.

      But that’s what this blog is about. It’s about making current and future immigrants aware of these issues, and starting a conversation that will help them cope.

      Thanks for contributing.

      -GK

  196. M says:

    I love you. Having just spent the last 6 months raging at banks, ministers, judicial tribunals all of whom are just as ineffectual, incompetent, lazy and disinterested as the next, it was reassuring to know that others feel the same way. Although depressing to learn that nothing appears to have improved in 4 years.
    And the sausage is terrible. And it’s also impossible to find any that is free range. Sigh.

  197. Rosie says:

    Love the blog! I have been living in Ireland for six years on and off and agree with a great deal of the comments.I have an Irish husband and find it difficult to state my frustration without him taking offence,even if he agrees.I have pretty much given up on expecting anything to make much sense since living here.I have had to assume an apathetic manner to match the general tone here just to remain somewhat sane! My advice to fellow “non nationals” as we are referred to repeatedly here is to retain any sense of humour you have, as you will surely need it.
    I really hope the country learns from it’s recent economic disasters,which were created by the abysmal lack of accountability displayed in much of modern Ireland.I agree with the statements regarding the incredible amount of begrudging behaviour evident here.It seems to me that the Irish are suspicious of anyone who rocks the boat and actually has something intelligent to say.As for racism,I can unfortunately state that it is very much alive.As an Australian with parents who were from Southern Europe,I have been on the receiving end of some fairly upsetting remarks.I was told I should not be allowed to have my own business with so many Irish out of work! I can assure you I have never received a euro of help from anyone here,I have always been self funded! I find it amusing when the only response in defence of the racist comments I have received are that all Australians are racists. That or a very awkward silence.Amazing! A bit like all the go home if you don’t like it brigade of non intelligence.I used to give out about politics etc back home and definitely do not have rose tinted glasses about home,but god help you if you criticise anything here! I hope Ireland realises that it will gain so much more by encouraging diversity just as all the members of it’s population living overseas have contributed there.We can all benefit from looking outward from time to time.

    • Hi Rosie,I’m gad you like the blog. And, thanks in particular for taking the time to contribute your comments. I agree that the only way forward is open discussion. And that is something that I think is often lacking in Ireland. Hopefully through this sort of exchange will get things started.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting.

      Cheers.

      -Glenn

  198. Milo says:

    I can’t comment on the cat litter but as an expat myself, I can totally agree with the rest of it.

  199. Another American says:

    Yes, another “American idiot” here.

    I am going to agree with most of these points, although I don’t understand the kitty litter thing. I’ve been here almost two years and I’m still here because I married an Irish man and he has kids here, so it made more sense for me to move, in case you’re going to give me the “fuck off back to your own country” statement.

    The sausage here is gross. It tastes like liver or something of that sort.

    I don’t care about the hot and cold taps at all, it is what it is. Oh well.

    Here are my questions:

    1. Why don’t you have any street signs? It makes it awfully difficult to know which can street you’re on if there aren’t any signs.

    2. You do know the majority of you are extremely racist, right? I walk into a store and I can always see the clerk brace him/herself, lean in, and listen really carefully….or talk to me with hand gestures and very slowly. I usually get the response, “is that an American accent?” I respond with a “yes” and then I usually get the “I expected some oriental accent.” Seriously?! This is rude.

    3. How can an emergency room have a 12 hour wait?

    4. Why is customer service so bad here? Every time I have asked someone a “difficult” question, the person disappears or says someone will get back to me, which never happens.

    5. I noticed someone saying that Americans are obese. Yes, we are….BUT….how are there any overweight people at all in Ireland?! The food selection is terrible. I keep losing weight because I get so tired of eating the same things.

    Anyway, I think that’s all for now.

  200. MAX says:

    Wow, now I understand why Canadians and especially the people of Ontario are the way they are, it’s the Irish influence apparently. Your number one and two points could have you been an exact description of Canada and Canadians especially Ontarians, who have a very high percentage of people of Irish origin following the mass influx of Irish refugees in the 19th century……

  201. Elle Uccello says:

    I’ve read every comment on this post, some twice over and I’m not sure what contribution my words will make, but it’s worth a stab anyway. I’ll offer some history, so it’s clear why I believe what I do. I currently live as an expat in Germany but am Scottish and Italian by blood. Adding to the mix, I am consequently an American citizen that has lived in England, Scotland, Japan, Italy, U.S (Cali, N. Carolina, Georgia, D.C.)., Germany and Spain. With that, I will not deny I have experienced things in each country that baffled, offended or at times left me angry. Bottom line, it’s my job as a GUEST in a country that I have compassion for the culture. It’s not my right and leaves nothing to gain to behave in an “entitled” manner. Manners are the key, even when they are not reciprocated. I have had experiences in every country I’ve lived in that left me speechless with disgust….including the U.S. When we chose to make our home in another country and culture we must leave behind the ideas we have about how we think things “should be”. This mindset divides you from a migrant squatter to a true expat making a new country HOME and bringing only the positive.

    Germany has great public transport, pricy, but great. I won’t complain or compare it to the bus system in Ireland because all I need do is remember sitting in 4 hour traffic on the I-5 in Cali (each way) or U.S. states with buses that I wouldn’t dare ride unless I planned on getting stabbed or mugged. I cannot complain about the odd faucets of Ireland because I only need think of the kitchen sinks in Germany that are no larger than a postage stamp. It’s been years since I sighed over the size of my washer or longed for the practicality of garbage disposals and clear street signs. Germany has amazing autobahns, once in town you will be hard pressed to find a street sign without searching. Renting a flat in Germany will cost more than 6x the rent just to get the keys, but they love my dog. I have found that Ireland is 1-1.5X deposit plus the first months rent, but my dog is a NO-GO! Primary education is an ever-changing mess in most of the world and only Japan and England did not leave me disappointed. American universities are the same as all other consumer industries; you get what you pay for. When a UGA grad student thinks Germany is part of Russia, it’s par. The south left me feeling flogged by bibles, racism and ignorance. You cannot judge the intelligence of a mass populous based on how well they boast about their accomplishments or possessions. I could drown in all the times people in Cali people asked me what I did for a living, square footage of my house, how much do I pay for my sons private school, car type and cost, where did I go to College and on and on; the constant race of bigger and better. Humility is a beautiful thing. Service stinks in every country I’ve lived in, the only difference being that as Americans we are culturally conditioned that the “squeaky wheel gets the oil”, so bitch enough and they comp your meal. This doesn’t fly anywhere else. It is what it is and I’m twice as happy when I get great service.

    In regards to the issue of Racism; I have had an employee at Ikea in Germany refuse to help me because she thought I was Turkish (brown Hair/eyes). I have been refused to rent a flat in Germany and Spain because my passport is American. I have been charged higher rates for things such as heating and water because I have an American passport. Equally I have had experiences in the U.S. where I was the victim of racism. The U.S. southern states are eye opening and no different than living in San Diego and dealing with racism regarding Hispanics. It’s an ugly thing anywhere in the world. People will feel how they do and I won’t validate them by being a mannerless twit. I kill em’ with kindness and maintain a good sense of humor.

    Moral of the story is, YES, at times I do miss air conditioning, good pizza and perhaps would sell my son for a box of Milk Duds, real pancakes and some tasty Mexican food (sorry son)…. I will be moving to Cork in January and I know that no matter how grey the pallet you speak of or different it is from what I know, I happily embrace it as a new friend, different than myself and I never forget if I chose to make it my home…. it’s my job to adapt to its quirks. I don’t want it to be like the U.S. If I wanted that, then I would have stayed there. I have no love for an entitled society that can’t see outside the box. The world does not stop because one cannot buy scented designer kitty sand in a 50lb organic box from Sams Club.

    P.S. The young lady that mentioned cats potty in the garden is spot on and if you have a garden perhaps you and kitty need to have a heart to heart on this matter. “When in Rome” Kitty 🙂

    • Thanks, Elle, good points, well put.

      That said, the post was meant as much to illustrate the types of frustrations that recent migrants can expect to confront, as it was a literal list. But, truth be told, and now, after four+ years, I can say my list was pretty spot on.

  202. Artur says:

    @Elle Ucello
    I is not that people want Ireland to be like US, England or any other place in the world. You simply misunderstood the point of that blog. The point of that blog is exactly what it says on the tin: Things which are irritable, things in Ireland, and particularly in Dublin.
    Nobody is saying that other places in the world are perfect, where did you get the idea from? But the problem with Dublin(and Ireland in general) is that here the ratio of irritating to normal is extremely high. Not only that, most of Irish people are oblivious to most of it and think that this is normal. Let me tell you something:
    Screaming house alarms in every hour of day or night is not normal,
    Your neighbor’s garden light directed in your bedroom/sitting room is not normal!
    I know that when one reads about those things they may seem trivial, but I personally went through hell with those things in Dublin and on top of that with rather unpleasant and stubborn neighbors.
    Dublin sucks, Dublin sucks badly. I will never change my mind because I went through hell there and will never forget it.

    • Elle Uccello says:

      @Artur. If you want to quote my words, please be exact and correct and do not paraphrase your opinion of what you believer you interpret. I said nowhere that people believe the U.S. is perfect. I do however stand that as Americans, a custom of living becomes the standard of living and convenience and clearly this leads to discontent when living in another country that goes about things differently. Any well traveled person would admit the same regionally within the U.S. itself. As much as I fail to appreciate your “let me tell you something” emphasis I can only say that that your specific grievance is unfortunate. I also doubt Dublin is unique to any other place in the world where one can get “bad” neighbors that have little curtesy for your happiness. It’s a crap shoot, not country specific. It’s also a higher chance when you live in a city….any city. For the past year I wake up every day at 5am to my very rude neighbor’s screaming children, slamming doors and a cat that comes in my house and sprays if the door is left open. People can be awful and by rule are usually that, more often than not. For me…19 international moves in the last 25 years of my adult life and maybe 5 neighbors that weren’t idiots. I’ve learned to live in the rural country or city penthouse only. BTW…. the ratio of irritating to normal is extremely high worldwide. We can’t live in a bubble, so for the sake of your happiness and blood pressure….take a deep breath and cross your fingers for better neighbors in the next place you make home.

  203. Artur says:

    @Elle Ucello
    ” I said nowhere that people believe the U.S. is perfect.”
    Neither did I.
    Dublin to me sucks. Nothing will change my mind. I lived in too many places in Dublin for too long and I simply know that wasn’t isolated incident.

  204. Elle says:

    I first read this page before making my own move to Ireland, and thought, “Well now, that seems a bit harsh!” But having lived here for a little over a year, I can say this is mostly spot-on, especially #1. I know a lot of commentors are angry because it is an American pointing out these flaws, but from my experience many Irish people also agree that Irish institutions are lazy and disorganized. The truth is, Ireland is not a fully developed nation, yet. It hasn’t yet thrown off the yoke of the Catholic church telling everyone what to think and what to do (see: the education system). It hasn’t learned to think for itself, hasn’t had to decide what it really stands for, aside from Not England. And this mindset filters to some people, who would rather find ways to exploit a broken system than see it fixed. But I also know a lot of young Irish people, having reached adulthood post-Tiger, are not willing to take the same old same old any longer. They are either leaving, or actively living productive, questing lives, questioning easy, inefficient, and inegalitarian norms and demanding better. Ultimately, as immigrants to Ireland, we only shine a light on problems which the Irish themselves have created, confronted, and might yet choose to solve.

  205. Richard says:

    I love this comment thread……so much so, I subscribed to receive email updates for all/any comments. What amazes me is the pure contrast in opinions and perceptions. Glenn I am a native of this little sod and I agree it’s an absolute dump but I think your country is a kip too and so is England and so is Australia. You may want to try Denmark or The Netherlands if you really want to experience sophistication beyond our understanding of infrastructure, services, kitty litter or whatever you wish to focus on but please keep up the good work as I’m sure you’ve realised by now us Irish take a vicarious thrill in watching drama unfold on comment threads……haha it’s so much better than watching the Late Late Show……keep it up brother 🙂

    • Samantha says:

      @Richard
      Richard is chilled
      Richard is class
      he takes comments with a pinch salt
      And doesn’t take things personally
      Richard represents confident Ireland
      People like Richard make this place bearable
      We need more cool people like Richard
      Be like Richard

      • Richard says:

        Ah thanks Samantha. I think my fellow country folk tend to get upset about some of the critique due to the fact that we love America here and it’s like the US is our older, cooler brother telling us that the music we listen to is crap……:)

  206. Artur says:

    @Elle
    Absolutely, #1 in Glenn’s list is the motto of Ireland and Irish. Unbelievably lame lot. Very relaxed though… Thanks be to “Jasous” I’m not living there anymore. What an unbelievably lame lot.

  207. Yea right says:

    “Yes, the Irish are all very relaxed. But they also don’t seem to excel at anything, or care about doing so.”

    Lol… Really? I mean… really? Literature? No? Pharmaceutical manufacture? No? The fact that we run net exports? When’s the last time the US ran net exports? 1970?

    People don’t have a stick up their ass, no. People don’t demand things of other people. Because that’s rude. But things aren’t as laid back as on the continent. Not by a long shot. It’s a happy medium between Medittaranean laziness and American hyper-consumerism where services are demanded as if they were a Gid-given right.

    And it works. Things tick over. The economy grows. There are problems. But they’re not that bad relatively speaking. Everywhere has problems.

    • Jim,

      Good points.

      But funny how the Irish LOVE taking credit for all of the pharmaceutical business and software work going on here. But they are almost all (particularly in the pharma sector) foreign companies. Yeah, sure there are starting to be more and more Irish in the mix, but the brains, management and money are almost all from elsewhere.

      and that my friend is the ONLY reason why Ireland boasts your beloved net export balance.

      You have to ignore some pretty important things to think that has anything to do with Ireland itself.

      Cheers,
      GK

      • Paul says:

        So well said…
        And going back on your 5 things.., everything you said is true. Yes, I am not Irish and yes there are good and bad in every country but Irish people do complain a lot about everyone and everything and DO NOTHING to change. They will never admit that they might be wrong, no matter how many arguments you have. But there are exceptions too, like in any other countries 🙂

  208. Artur says:

    To the last but one post. About software especially as I am myself a software engineer. Never I’ve met decent Irish programmer whilst I was living in Ireland. All they do is boast how great they are, what they can do and how fast. How experienced they are and what wonderful things they can do. You coming to work next week, asking is that done, the reply is the one, one only and the usual excuse:
    It would be done if something else didn’t come up, but it will definitely be done. No doubt about that. No bother.

    Sounds familiar? That’s the Irish and their attitude and their professionalism, and what not.
    What a lame lot. What a lame, lousy lot.
    But they love to take credit for somebody’s else work. As last but one post proves it.
    What a lame lot. What a lame, lousy lot.

    • Valerie says:

      Artur,
      How can you make ridiculous blanket statements such as this about any culture? It just shows how biased you are. I’d question how helpful this is to provoking productive discussion, since your remarks are so inflammatory and show such a complete lack of any objectivity that they just have the opposite effect.

  209. Lisa says:

    I’m Irish and i live in Ireland,if you do not like Ireland and the way we live,then do not come here stay in you’re home land,we have problems yes,but so do every other Countries in the world,stop thinking and worrying about stuff like taps,and sausages,and worry about more important things,they might be important to you,but you are not dead,it is not the end of the world,so worry about fixing America and everything they do wrong before you come to someone else’s home and putting it down…..

    • Lisa,

      Thanks for reading the blog, and for taking the time to comment.

      I realize that you may not have noticed, but this is a blog about emigration issues by an immigrant, for other immigrants. These are immigrant issues, or are at least representative of the issues immigrants deal with, no matter where they move.

      So, honestly, it’s your comment that is out of place.

      Cheers,
      GK

    • Cecil says:

      Well said Lisa. Some of the comments here a laughable. Especially coming from immigrants from the developing and 3rd World. And this American chap where his biggest fault is “cat litter” (whatever the hell that is).

      • Cecil,

        That’\s an interesting comment, given the number of people I’ve spoken to from the U.S., mainland Europe and Asia who find Ireland to be incredibly Third World, undeveloped, and socially stunted.

  210. Artur says:

    @Lisa
    I’m not sure you realize how typical your reply is.
    “Every country has problems, don’t come to our country if you don’t like it, don’t worry about “unimportant” things etc.”
    I’m sorry to say, but saying “Every country has problems” is simply not good argument. According to your logic, living in Peru, Columbia, Russia or Ireland is same, because every country has problems? Is that what you are trying to say? Like most Irish people you cannot simply realize that your country either you like it or not is in so called Western Europe, and as such certain standards are expected. But like it or not Ireland DOES NOT DELIVER Western European standards. Far from it. Your public transport is terrible. Your housing situation is horrible. Variety in products you can get in Ireland is laughable. It is very provincial in virtually every aspect of life. Your comment simply proves that.
    Over the years that I’ve lived in Ireland (thanks be to “J-souce” I am not there anymore), I’ve observed the obnoxious attitude and believe by Irish people that Irish people are made to have party all year round, work is something you have to do (if you really unlucky), the less you do in your job the better, the later you come to work (and still get away with it) the better etc etc etc. I can really list example, after example after example, but I don’t think this should be done here.
    As for living in Ireland? To me it was never about sausages and taps (although this is something that use to make me laugh from time to time and furious at other times), but for that pig arrogant and pig ignorant attitude of Irish people (especially Dubliners). On the other hand, outside of Dublin we have typical “potato and bacon” mentality.

  211. Amy Luttrell says:

    I dont understand why so many people have said they dont get why the taps thing bugged you! Of course it is a pain in the arse! You can choose frayzin cold or scalding hot, rather than a nice pleasant WARM. Yes, there are worse problems in the world, but your point is that if it is so common to have this modern (but really not THAT modern) convenience in America, why is it so hard to get here? And I get it in older buildings where you would have to upgrade the piping, etc, but why on earth would someone CHOOSE to not install a mixer and one tap? The way I mix the water is by cupping my hand under the cold like I am’ going to drink from it, and then carrying my hand full ‘of cold water over to the hot till it forms warm. But why have to think this hard about washing your hands?

  212. Artur says:

    @Amy Luttrell
    Just to point out that you don’t have to upgrade the piping in old buildings to have normal tap. The only things you’d have to replace is the piping part next to sink. As simple as that.

  213. Jim says:

    This blog is the best !! Summarises so many of my feelings that I thought I was experiencing on my own… For all the cool Irish lads & ladies out there taking a lot of abuse with an open mind and laughing and. It taking this seriously respect … Ur the best … To all those getting really defensive .. Ie leave the country and all that small time comments I’m sorry… Many of us have no choice … Many of the companies relocated here and we have no choice … Use these comments to change … Change is the only constant … Embrace something different … Different colours… Different accents … Different cultures … The amount of times I was walking in the street and heard people hurling abuse at us whilst drunk “0h these guys are taking our jobs” is laughable … The abuse foreign taxi drivers take while they are trying to make an honest living is a joke … The amount of times local people think they have the up on foreigners on a work setting is a joke … People assume if u are foreign u are a refugee or impoverished or something … It’s sad it’s like ur living in the Stone Age… Living in Ireland sometimes feels like taking a cold shower with the window open with no heat in Jan … It’s a slow suffering … The weather is … No comment … People are extremely over weight and don’t care … Like no shame … The dress sense is like stuck in the 80s… Elegance is weird models with big thighs wearing bikinis on the newspaper in grafton street in the freezing cold wearing thick heels and fake tan … And sugar cake pasted on the face … And what brothers me most is the local arrogance over others … Ireland is friendly?! The least Freindly country on earth … I found people in Paris more hospitable … Having a closed mind is the scourge of this nation … There are many many exceptions I must add those that have travelled and seen that no Ireland is way behind on many many levels and have a healthy view of self and others. I feel like telling people to open their eyes constantly … Hello have u left Ireland ever & seen what is out there or are u living in a grey cold rainy bubble?! Anyway lots of respect to many many cool open minded educated exposed locals making this place what it is … Otherwise majority need a wake up call big time … The denial or ignorance is alarming … There are two types of people in this world… Those that are Irish and those that want to be Irish … The amount of times i have heard this … It’s hurtful … Why would I want to be Irish? I want to be Indian / African / Chinese / American / Russian / Arab / French / Spanish / Latin American / Italian … Like the world is large lads with many nations and ancient civilisations and beautiful continents … Pls pls for the love of god stop saying that!!

    • New Jersey Mom says:

      You get that it’s a joke, right? My mother (three generations from Ireland) used to tell me that here in the US. It just means that for a little country, Ireland has a lot of things that other nations appreciate and enjoy (music, dance, literature, etc.) and the Irish (at least in the US) are proud of their origin. Maybe people in Ireland have an inferiority complex, I don’t know. I’ve always had a theory that I’d love to be able to test that the diaspora Irish are different from the Irish in Ireland in certain meaningful ways because they were the ones willing to pick up and leave.

      • NJ Mom,

        Have you heard the phrase, “More Irish than the Irish themselves”? It commonly heard over hear in reference to American Irish who fancy themselves more “authentically” Irish than the Irish in Ireland. It’s not meant as a compliment, and is often accompanied by the phrase, “Plastic Paddy”.

        So, I think the Irish in Ireland are particularly sensitive to the notion that the best of the Irish leave. But if you dig (not even too deeply), there is evidence to support your belief.

        And many Irish in Ireland (the ones who are willing to let their guard down a bit) will admit that Ireland doesn’t really endear itself to people with lots of ambition. There isn’t a lot of incentive to be excel (go above and beyond). As a result, many of the people with serious drive and personal motivation emigrate to places that actively support and encourage that level of initiative.

        • New Jersey Mom says:

          I’m not really sure that the Irish came to America out of “ambition” or an urge to “excel” — just the basic instinct to fight for life. When you think about it — coming to America a hundred years ago was really an incredible act. You took your life savings and spent it on getting on a boat. You said goodbye to your family who, in all likelihood you would never see again in your life. Likewise to your home and everything familiar. And you showed up in a semi-hostile foreign country with maybe close to zero marketable skills. And you did this because you knew that your chances for success in the new world, however slim, were infinitely greater than your chances back home.

          There is a vast collection of Irish diaspora songs lamenting that irretrievable loss. (“I’ve said farewell to my darlin’ sister Kate, I’ve said farewell to my mother, and now I must part from my darlin’ Irish rose, and my heart is broken forever.” It’s something I believe they never really did get over — which is why they passed down their passionate love for their homeland and their culture to their children and their grandchildren who never saw the land or spoke the language. But it was the price they were willing to pay for a better life for their descendants . And the people who stayed behind were unable or unwilling to pay that price, and that’s the difference between the two groups to this day.

          • NJ Mom,

            Good point.

            But actually I was referring to the more recent flood of emigrants fleeing Ireland (more for employment reasons than famine). Many people feel that has caused a substantive brain drain and loss of the more industrious folks in Irish society.

            Sorry for not being clearer in my previous comment.

            GK

  214. al says:

    I cant believe you didn’t mention the true cancer eating away at the beautiful island and our ancient culture.african and muslim immigrants.freeloading,hanging around anywhere they an be seen.they need to go home.

    • Dear Al daretta86@yahoo.com,

      Thanks for reading the blog. But I cannot in good conscience thank you for commenting.

      I make it my policy to approve any comment that doesn’t mean-spiritedly attack my readers (attack me all you want, I’m pretty thick-skinned – but don’t go after my readers).I also won’t approve any comments that include profanity (that’s why I deleted your other comment telling me to f-off back to America) they simply don’t further the debate.

      As for your unbridled racism in this comment, I fid that really rich coming from an Irishman whose people have made a global industry of immigrating and taking advantage of the opportunities in other countries. Sadly, your attitude is indicative of the exact type of racism that many (on this blog and in the world at large) have seen in the Irish. That’s one of the reasons that the Irish have developed a global reputation for their racism. Now, I’m willing to concede that much of that racism here at home may stem from the poor treatment of the Irish abroad. Notice I said “concede”, not “condone”. For, while I may understand where the urge comes from. Those of us who have retained some civility and decency know that any racism is wrong in any form. And, I personally,feel that out and out bigots such as yourself deserve all of the ill will, displeasure, and misfortune that the world can give you.

      I also find it really amusing that, more than likely, you are one of those people who believe the recent bout of corporate good fortune and the upturn in the Irish economy (over the last 15 years or so) are all the result of hard work by the Irish. Sweetie, I got news for you: There would be NO Irish good fortune if not for outsiders bringing their companies in, and workers from eastern Europe coming in to do all manner of jobs. I’m not just talking about backfilling the service sector jobs so the Irish could move up. Much of Ireland’s IT sector is peopled with highly skilled IT workers from eastern Europe, and elsewhere. They are just as responsible (if not more – as many of them re in upper level mgmt)for the Irish economy as the Irish.

      And, yes, there are now, Irish IT companies that are breaking new ground and doing very well. But none of those, not one, would have gone anywhere if the Googles and Apples of the world had not ponied up the cash first. So, before you go bashing immigrants and those of other religions (yeah, Christianity has served the Irish so well over the years), you may want to take a good hard look at yourself.

      You are exactly the type of distasteful small-minded, provincial, racist Irishmen (who has, sadly, proven to be all too common) discussed in this post:

      http://www.anamericanindublin.com/2012/03/07/feeling-other-racism-and-racial-profiling-in-ireland-and-elsewhere/

      I wish you the all the worst,
      Glenn K.

    • bashorama says:

      Jesus Christ. If you were American, you’d loovvvve Trump.

  215. Minnie Flanagan says:

    There is not one country on the planet that doesn’t have all the problems complained about here. And the poorer the country the greater and longer the list of problems will be (though I’d say America is an exception in that it has even more problems despite its wealth). But, the poorest starkest thing of all to me about living on this planet is encountering the kinds of small minds I’ve just witnessed here. If we all thought like most of you here this planet would be an even sorrier place to live.

    • Hi Minnie,

      Thanks for reading the blog, and for taking the time to comment.

      But, you know, in your clearly very close and careful reading of the blog, you may not have noticed that this is a blog by an immigrant, written for other immigrants, about issues that are important to immigrants. While the specific problems may seem trivial to you, the problems of pet care, getting local mass transit sorted, getting to know te local foodways, and infrastructure (or lack of it) and other issues are all very real for people relocating to other countries.

      Cheers,
      GK

  216. Roberto. says:

    This Glenn chap sounds pretty bitter in most of his responses. It’s not difficult to draw the conclusion that he has failed in Ireland (and in life).

    • You go on believing that, Roberto.

      If that’s what it takes for you to sleep at night.

      I’ve done pretty well for myself: great family, successful career, paid to travel all over the world, widely published, won some awards, loads of friends.

  217. Luis says:

    My experience after 3 years in Ireland:
    -rental prices are unsense
    -health system: expensive, very slow, have you ever traveled to continental EU? there health system is universal!, please discover europe!. Doctors here earn a very big amount of money (never will help to introduce an universal system), also health insurers (great business). I could not believe when asked to donate money to support cancer treatment for a toddler in the creche of my baby, this does not happen in any european country! When told it to friends in other countries they didn’t trust my words.
    YOU SHOULD FIGHT FOR A REAL HEALTH SYSTEM!! (as you do for water charges)
    -Roads, public transport, …. it seems here policitians are not worried about public services
    -Food: great food!, but don’t forget healthy food is better that tasty/lovely food

    But this is a lovely country, people are very nice. It is a pity you are so obsessed with taxes, taxes and taxes. Don’t look your belly, obey your politicians to improve public services.

    After a real public health system, transport and roads, this country will be amazing.
    And does not cost so much (money), other poor countries are doing much better

  218. Shane Brennan says:

    You speak as if you were reared in a country or culture that excels at excelling!! You did say you are American right???
    I think we Irish excel at social inclusion,acceptance,tolerance,literacy,racial tolerance,fairness,not shooting our kids in schools,our police services not profiling and killing at they’re own behest god damn it we might have Enda Kenny but really a country that considers Donald Trump a serious candidate as president.
    I really would like a reply as to what you are comparing Ireland too? America is it really?

    • Shane,

      Here’s the thing:

      The reason you and so many other Irish can’t figure out what country I’m comparing with Ireland is because I’m not comparing it to any country. I’m merely pointing out true observations, that, over almost five years now (and dozens of comments from other immigrants), have proven to be pretty damn accurate.

      But, the Irish (particularly in Ireland) are so obsessed with comparing themselves to others that they assume I must be comparing Ireland to America. I’m not, and almost never do.

      And, for the record, one of the main reasons things don’t get fixed or improved in Ireland is the ever-present attitude that things aren’t as bad as elsewhere, or as bad as they once were. Frankly, that’s a hopelessly defeatist attitude. It’s the view of a dog who has been whipped too often. but I don’t hold that against the Irish, or compare them to the U.S. on that score, I just feel sorry for my Irish friends.

      And, please don’t misunderstand me, the U.S. has a lot of problems. But, frankly they are problems that no other country (ANY country) has to deal with, on a scale that no other country can comprehend. The U.S. is constructed like no other country, has resources like no other, and has problems like no other. Right now it looks like a failed experiment, which is why I don’t live there.

      Ireland – racial tolerance – Please!?!….Are you in any way serious?……Talk to a few people of who aren’t white or Irish.

      Ireland – literacy – Oh, are you going to trot out the Irish love of reading newspapers and staying informed as proof of Ireland’s grand literary tradition and cultural supremacy (as I’ve heard at least a hundred times since I moved here)? Well, you may all read Irish newspapers, but Irish newspapers are universally amateurish crap. And, granted, there have been, and continue to be a number of great Irish writers, but they are NOT Ireland (not the collective soul of Ireland). And you have to ask yourself why so many of them found (and continue to find) it necessary to leave Ireland – even in times of relative prosperity.

      Anyway, thanks for reading the blog, and for taking the time to comment.

      -GK

  219. Shane says:

    In your original blog you speak a lot of ”excelling” but how can you quantify excelling, at what stage is that achieved. I would say we excel at not being obtrusive you may say we are laid back.
    Yes, literacy I’m not talking about literary quality, another subjective matter of which American owned media conglomerates do enough to embarrass themselves, I’m talking about the bread and butter of reading and writing. No, yes that is no ,survey/study from any respective medical and/or educational Journals that I can find place the USA higher than 85% (range is generally considered 65-85% for the US depending on criteria). Albania has been quoted as high as 96%, so Albania excels here in comparison 😮 and yes Ireland’s range is between 86-99.99%.To say something is excelling a comparison is needed.Really a rebuttal using newspapers in 2016?And yes, most are terrible I agree!!Regards race,well again a comparison is needed.Has any country within 20 years of first experiencing a large influx of foreign nationalities ever coped flawlessly?No.Have we excelled in this regard to say America, Britain,etc, etc? You can answer that for yourself.

  220. Nick says:

    Glenn thank you for this great blog, and voicing the views of many immigrants in this country. You are attacked by some in an overly sensitive manner and by others in a vicious and backward manner. Really, the immigrants or expats im private conversations are laughing about what some of the Irish population do at work, some have little exposure and only studied locally but believe they have more knowledge that someone who has worked in major international cities and experienced a Wordly life. The country is at best average. It is like they are on an inferiority complex on steroids. I understand that’s how the English may have made them feel, and they try to pass that on to other populations, Eastern Europeans, Indians, Chinese, middle eastern, Indian, Australian, English, Spanish, philipino u name it. Little did they know that China and India will snack on them. They think they are teaching philipino and proud to have Dundrum shopping Center, while that’s like a small shop compared to those found in Manila or Dubai say. They have an unrealistic view of themselves, and try to make themselves better by being rasicst against others. Americans are this … French are that always something degragotry or an attempt to take away the shine … It’s very annoying and kind of gets old. This is ofcourse reversed when u see the Irish in London or NYC or other major city suddenly they are humbled and notice where they stand in the world. They are on their best behaviour, because frankly u can’t compare Dublin to Madrid or Lisbon, or Singapore … It’s a kip in comparison….really embarrassing to read some of the comments. You have to call a spade a spade, and expensive city that doesn’t offer u much other than pubs and people urinating in the corners of the streets and vomiting on the weekends, pls excuse any vulgarity here in over priced venues that offer you very little other than arrogant materialistic people that aren’t even that sophisticated?! I came across this article that really sums up my experience in Ireland … Even many of my Irish freinds who have English accents get given a hard time … You would want to hear what they have to say about their experience … What a joke. This article sums up a lot of the provincial mind set rife here… Here u go! http://dailym.ai/1PHoCUd

    • Nick,

      Thanks for sharing. That article is really upsetting on many levels.

      I’m sorry your experience has been so bad. Sadly, I’m afraid it is somewhat typical.

      I appreciate you reading the blog, and am grateful you took the time to comment.

      Cheers,
      GK

  221. Chris P Bacon says:

    I’m American, been living here for over twenty years raising a family and I’ve watched as over the years almost all the most capable and brightest of the Irish people I know have left. Sad.