In the gathering darkness of November it is perhaps timely to consider what it means to live in Ireland.
This green and soggy land. This depressed and depressing isle. A place where you’ll never be short an excuse to wear your waterproofs, or carry your umbrella. Where you can mark the passing of the days, by counting the cars gently floating off the quays, and into the Liffey.
This nation clothed by Dunnes, Roches and Primark. A citizenry for whom the height of fashion is to wander the town, pushing a buggy, while wearing your pajamas. A nation where the wearing of fabric boots is a patriotic act, after all how else can we clean up after the floods?
This nation which puts the fear of god into pigs everywhere. A land where if we don’t have cabbage, sure we’ll boil a head of lettuce instead. A culinary tradition best summed up by the great Denis Leary, “Boil it ’til it’s grey, then suck it up with a straw.”
A small dot on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, where we have thousands on housing lists, and empty houses by the truck load. Nothing says “A vibrant economy is based here.” like more houses than are needed, but never ever spreading the wealth with those in need.
A wonderous state where all the political parties are completely different in make up, ideology and ideals. Unless their names are the Greens, Labour, Fianna Gael, Fianna Fail. This country where even a retired terrorist with gallons of red sticky stuff on his hands, (but not blood for heaven’s sake, it was strawberry cordial), can grow up and aspire to get his ass handed to him in the presidential elections.
This land of equality, where in the same election a Gay man can get hauled over the coals like all the other candidates. But better still he can be sure of having preferential treatment, when they also shove some of those coals up his ass for being an uppity queer. “Honestly the cheek, doesn’t he realise he’s supposed to stay in bus, and train station toilets like all the other bent fuckers? How dare he demand the same rights as real people!”
And what of the cities? Those shining jewels. Where the streets glisten each morning with the urine of last nights drunks. And on every street corner a work of street art, cunningly created from regurgitated doner kebabs, cheap beer, and unbridled patriotism.
Those marvelous places filled with caring citizens, always ready to lend a hand or a boot to anyone on the ground. Where any man or woman regardless of age or infirmity, can be certain of absolutely no help what-so-ever should he or indeed she trip and hurt themselves.
And the countryside. Nothing but rolling hills, small towns, sparkling rivers, and historic ruins as far as the eye can see, between the bypasses, motorways and empty luxury hotels. Best if you don’t try to go into those historic ruins by the way, they’re often used as cattle sheds, and so the ancient flagstone floors are usually sunken beneath many inches of bovine delight.
Yes it’s a great country to visit, and to live in. Just don’t look too closely at the details.