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A Taste of Ireland

I get a chance to train in Ireland 3 or 4 times a year, and it's a trip I enjoy. Ireland is like a sibling country to Great Britain; there's a close relationship and much is similar, and yet in some aspects there's a deep seated rivalry (not sure if that's the right word) that wouldn't be tolerated between two less close countries. I'll meet and enjoy working with people here who are proud to be Irish and really aren't keen on the English as a nation, and yet are so polite and such a delight as individuals and welcome someone English as a brother.

Public Transport in Dublin

The first new tram line (the Luas) opened two months ago, and already there have been three crashes blamed on car drivers not being accustomed to the trams. As one of the accidents was a collision between two trams, I'm not entirely sure how it's the car driver's fault, but never mind.

The Second line opens today and I understand I can try it for free. As I'm staying at a hotel close to the Red Cow stop, I may go for a ride tomorrow evening. Let's wish it luck and hope it sorts out some of the transport issues here; the buses are on strike today (a wildcat strike due, I'm told, to a dispute about one man's pay when he didn't make it into work over the weekend).

Three or four years ago, there was a shortage of taxis in Dublin. They were strictly licensed and limited, and taxi plates were changing hands for tens of thousands of pounds. Vehicles we being run 24 hours a day, with different drivers working them in shifts. Times, I'm told, have changed. You can get taxi plates now for just a few thousand Euros, and I understand one well known tycoon has bought himself a set so that he can drive (or be driven) along the bus and taxi lanes.

Advert

I was watching the TV last night ... an advert with a young couple smooching on the back seat of a taxi. Clearly very much into each other. And he's thinking "please don't let them be up". They pull up outside his house, and as the couple get out of the taxi the upstairs light goes on. "Can we go to your place?" he asks his girlfriend. More smooching and now she's thinking "please don't let them be up". Guess what - as soon as the taxi door opens, on goes a light.

Amusing advert - slightly risquá for Ireland with its strict Catholic history. What were they advertising, though? Answer at the end of this article.

The Smoking Law

The "No smoking in public buildings" law that came in a few months ago has made a significant difference; the ferry that I travelled across on was a smoky pit as we left Liverpool (in spite of "No Smoking" signs), but part of the wakeup call on the tannoy at 04:30 reminded us that we were now in Irish territorial waters and couldn't smoke inside. Breakfast was a pleasure.

The hotel bar has changed significantly too, and the restaurant there is much fresher and much busier. But ... walk out of the front door by reception, or walk out onto the deck of the ferry and you're now hit by a wall of fumes as you push your way through "smoker's corner".

Breakfast

My Perl course is starting at 9 each morning - 14 bright eyed and bushy tailed trainees, delightful people every one of them - and that's typical for this client site (and in general for our Dublin customers). And at a quarter to 10 we break - for breakfast! I admit it - I'm used to having my breakfast before I start training and the very first time this happened I was already full and really quite unable to do any justice to further sausage, bacon, eggs, tomato, or even hash browns and black pudding.

The couple were advertising Mortgages for one of the major Irish banks.

(written 2004-09-28, updated 2012-11-04)

 
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