N. Ireland Oddities – Northern Ireland

North Ireland Oddities

Northern Ireland

There are more sheep than people in Northern Ireland — 2.6 million to 1.6 million. Most of them are not sheared and sold as wool because of the poor market but instead end up on French restaurant menus.

If you like churches, you’ll find plenty of places to visit here. There’s a church on just about every corner.

If you drive, learn to like the left side of the narrow and often winding roads. And if you need to ask for directions, don’t expect always to understand the Irish. They speak English, of course, but accents can be troublesome.

Expect the Irish to be friendly and patient, unless you profess a British background (The Troubles, like the US’s own Civil War, did not come to a sudden screeching halt).

If someone refers to craic, don’t worry about the drug police. Craic in this content means something good or that you’re having the type of good time you’re almost certain to find in the congenial North Ireland pubs.

When it comes to food within Ireland, it’s come a long ways and even to the point where dishes are sometimes colorfully displayed. If the menu advertises local salmon, it should be good. Bread is almost always home-made.

Breakfast is an afterthought.

My general advice at lunch and dinner is to skip the beef stew. The staple of vegetable soup is generally OK. And you can’t go too far wrong with fish and chips.

The climate is dreary enough that visitors find they need umbrellas much more often than sun glasses. The popular joke is that if you run across an Irishman who has a tan, it’s really rust you’re seeing.

Perhaps the second most-told joke here, at least when it comes to tourists, is the Irish shipyard worker who was asked what happened to the Titanic. “Well, you got me,” he said. “It was just fine when it left here.”

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