I’m coming towards the end of my summer in Boston and it’s been a fantastic experience so far.
For the past eight weeks however, i’ve been constantly reminded that despite all the faults, limitations and lack of opportunities within Ireland, it is, in its own little way, a great country.
America may well be the land of hopes and dreams. Arguably, it’s the greatest country in the world.
Their skyscrapers and doughnuts are awesome and they’re definitely ten times cheesier than us. Outside that, they’d kick our ass at basketball, outnumber us in a war and they’ll probably win a hundred more medals than us at the Olympics Games.
But fear not, for once it’s not all doom and gloom, I’ve come across quite a few things that we’re far more advanced at than our American brothers and sisters.
It could be a bit of homesickness talking here, but I’ve found nine things that the Irish do better than the Americans.
WARNING: This article may be extremely narrow-minded and presumptuous, however at the same time is still totally correct.
#1 – Sarcasm:
It’s quite amusing actually, to watch a poor, unassuming American soul try and decipher a sarcastic Irish comment. But it’s also quite anti-climatic when it isn’t met with a quick and witty response. It’s a part of our nature to be smart and cutting with one another and to put each other down. But we do it in the most endearing and caring way possible. It’s our own twisted way of showing that we care. Americans for the most part are more straight and narrow, there is no beating around the bush, what you hear is what you get. Our sarcasm is usually delivered without the slightest hint of sarcasm, is masters of deception a bit too far? I think not.
#2 – Having the Craic/Banter:
Simply put, most of us are absolute eejits and we can’t help it. It’s a fact of life that Americans are more mature than us. In Ireland, regardless of age, background or physical capabilities, if you’re on a night out and told to do something …’just for the craic’, it gets done much to the amusement of your friends on Facebook the next morning. We’ve all seen the YouTube videos of the atmosphere the Irish fans created at the Euros. Having the craic/bants is what it’s all about, and the Irish are notorious worldwide for these sorts of antics. Sorry America, you don’t even medal in this event.
#3 – The Chipper:
A night out in Ireland cannot come to a close in the club, it ends in the chipper. It’s not even a tradition at home, it’s a necessity. Whatever about the greasy pizza’s, the hot dogs and the pretzel stands, once you’ve experienced a bag of deep fat-fried, salted and vinegar chips there is no going back.
The American’s don’t even call chips, chips. To them, crisps are chips, and French fries are chips. This is of course totally incorrect and has proved quite an obstacle while working in a restaurant.
I’ll admit that I like iced tea, and coffee isn’t ‘that’ bad. When you’ve been reared on a daily dose of two to three cups of tea along with a few McVities biscuits it’s hard to let go. The fact is, you can’t beat a good ‘cuppa’. It’s the perfect ice-breaker, relaxant, time-killer. Actually a cup of tea is really whatever you need it to be.
This was a close one though, seeing as they had a big tea party here in Boston back in 1773; however, we win, because of the fact that miniature tea parties occur in nearly every Irish household on the hour.
#5 – Giving out:
Whether it’s the weather, the most recent championship outing for the parish, or just life in general, we truly are better than anyone else at giving out. Every cup of tea, session of drinking, and casual conversation in Ireland revolves around some form of giving out. We’re great at dishing the dirt and we love hearing the latest ‘sca’. It’s not like we moan and whine a lot, it’s just the way we do it.
#6 – Consumption of Alcoholic beverages:
Yes, it’s a boring old stereotype at this stage but it is an undeniable and truly infectious problem within our society. And also something we’d easily beat America at. The first thing you notice with the drinking culture in the U.S.A is that for the most part, they all drink light beers. Yeah, they’ve got their kegs, their beer pong, and their outrageous house parties, but I guarantee you that the majority of them couldn’t sit on a barstool in a dark, rural pub drinking pints of stout all day long.
The fact that the drinking age is 21 in most states may be a handicap in this particular category, but as the great American saying goes…’Whatever’. We win here again.
#7– Getting by:
We just do it. No matter how bleak the situation, how badly the banks have crippled us with debt and how depressing the weather turns out to be, it’ll always ‘be grand’.
A phrase that has recently been inducted into the everyday Irish college life to deal with among other things, exams, fee’s and general struggles is ‘Few naggins, be grand’. These four simple words encapsulate two stereotypical, yet very true aspects of the Irish psyche. Our fondness of the ‘sup’ and our unrelenting determination to always ‘get by’, regardless of the depth the hole we’ve found ourselves in.
We have a sort of unbreakable spirit that is as admirable as it is stubborn, this post isn’t serious enough to even begin to consider how we manage to always get by as a nation, but we do.
From what I’ve gathered America either makes or breaks you and I’m going to jump to the conclusion that we’d win here too.
#8 – Greetings:
It just doesn’t cut it for me over here.
The simple and cordial “Hi, how are you?” is boring and a little superficial. “What’s up?” doesn’t include that which is down. “Yo!” is short, not sweet
and thankfully “Waaaazzzzaaaa” is long dead apart from the new Adam Sandler film (which is quite funny).
In Ireland, ‘what’s the craic?’ is a common method of saying hello that actually covers about six different questions in one; any fun? What’s the story? What did you do last night? What are we doing tonight? Etc, etc.
I cannot wait to until I’m able to say ‘What’s the craic?’ without being looked upon as a crack addict.
#9 – Directions:
We’d win this one with our eyes closed.
If you’ve seen it, you’ll never forget the directions given in the opening episode of ‘Killaniskully’. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJ64XjH0EYQ)
It typifies the manner in which we’ve perfected the art of providing detailed and accurate directions in the most awkward fashion possible. It’s considered an honour at home to be able to show off your knowledge of the local area down to every last twist, bóithrín and stream.
In America it’s all about the maps and the GPS and that’s completely understandable, seeing as it’s such a huge country. We still win though.
This article is of course all based on my own narrow findings and experiences and probably not very factual at all.
Still though, it’s reassuring to me at least that we’d beat America at something.
If you know of anything that we do better than anyone else, please do share!
Written by an Irish-American a little blinded by patriotism and a tinge of homesickness…