Monday, April 16, 2012

Speaking in Ireland

Andrea and I had a terrific time in Ireland. It was absolutely beautiful there. We arrived Wednesday morning and left Sunday morning. We stayed in 4 hotels in 4 days. We saw the Guiness Factory, the Ring of Kerry, the Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone and the Waterford Crystal Store in Waterford, Ireland.

My speech in Wexford went really well. I spoke for 30 minutes at the conference and got a very nice reception. I even had 3 people e-mail me about it after the conference. The great part was as soon as I arrived Karen and Kevin from a small town in Ireland came just to see me and said they read all of my Facebook posts and followed my blog. What a small world. They have a child with CF who is doing well. I have already been invited back by another group there but I'm probably going to wait till at least 2013 before my next trip.

I really enjoyed having Andrea with me especially since she was the brave one of the two of us and drove the entire time on the left side of the road.

Here are the top 20 things we saw in Ireland that might be a little different to us here in the U.S.

1. There are more sheep and cows than people in certain towns. That's not an exaggeration.

2. The word "lovely" replaces the word "awesome" there. You can also sub the word "brilliant."

3. There is more green grass than high rises.

4. People are ridiculously nice there. I love the southern hospitality in the US but people there are just extremely cordial. They always made me and Andrea feel welcome.

5. Traffic - there wasn't much.

6. Cricket replaces baseball there and make sure you call soccer "football" there.

7. Pubs are fun and relaxing and as opposed to bars in the United States, pubs have lots of kids in them.

8. Most of the cities there have Kill in the first syllable.

9. Drinking alcoholic beverages and smoking are both quite prevalent there.

10. They actually have a system where you can use a credit card to rent a bike there and you don't have to pay a cent (or Euro actually). It's in order to promote exercise and prevent pollution and traffic. It's a wonderful idea. The credit card is just used for an authorization and to keep tabs on the bikes so they get them back.

11. The electricity and measurements are different. I had to get adapters for my equipment and I had to learn to read things in kilometers and celsius instead of miles and fahrenheit. Also, the time difference is 5 hours so at 2pm in Atlanta it's 7pm in Dublin.

12. There are not a lot of interesting TV shows at least in the hotels unless you like: Bra infomercials, cartoons or gameshows.

13. There is not as much cultural diversity there as there is in the states.

14. Having red hair is a lot more normal there.

15. You don't have to pay tolls until you get to your destination where you can pay it at a gas station (or petro in Ireland) or you can pay it on-line. This prevents traffic.

16. Round-abouts replace traffic lights.

17. The outfit of choice for young women: shorts with pantyhose underneath.

18. A lot of places called Murphy's there and a lot of places with O' in front of the names.

19. They have something called Irish football there which is kind of like a mix of rugby and Australian rules football.

20. Driving on the left side of the road. Oh, and there aren't many street signs which makes finding your way around Ireland a bit difficult. Of course, people probably say the same thing when they come to Atlanta and there are 50 streets called Peachtree.

I hope that everyone is well. It's good to be home.



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  2. Wonderful trip...I'd love to go to Ireland and look up my Walsh ancestors! Glad you had such a great experience and good to see you looking so well!