Feb
13

10 things about Ireland you’d only know from living here

By

Making my daily trip to the post for work, documents in hand.

1. The post office does a lot more than send the mail. Need to collect your social welfare payment? Want to pay your utility bill? Grab some money out of your bank account? Apply for a passport? You can take care of all of that at the post.

2. Debit cards are called Laser cards, and they’re way more secure. Instead of swiping your card through the machine and getting a receipt back right away at the store; the clerk takes your card, puts it into this card reader that is bolted to the counter, pushes a button, then swivels the card reader toward you. It asks for your PIN. The clerk typically asks if you want cash back. Since it takes a little longer to complete the transaction, you can use the grocery store as an ATM, purchasing a pack of gum and €40 cash.

3. Unless you actually share a room, it’s not roommate, it’s flatmate.

4. If you stay in the same job, you don’t have to do taxes every year. My understanding of this is still a little sketchy, but here’s how I’ve come to understand income taxes here: When you quit your job, you get a P-45. It’s sort of like the American W-2, but instead of sending it to the IRS, you give it to your next employer. They use that form to figure out how much money you made in your last job and tax you the appropriate amount. No more annual income tax forms.

5. The days get brighter here way faster than they do back in Minnesota.

6. Everything about cell phones is better here. Most people aren’t locked into a two-year contract here. They exist, but most people go for the pay-as-you-go option. Within an hour of arriving in Galway last November, I walked down Shop Street, walked into the Meteor store, told the guy I wanted the cheapest phone and a €20 top-up, and I was using my phone in ten minutes. “Topping up” is what it’s called when you add credit to your phone. You buy a code, then you call a number on your phone, enter that code and the credit is instantly added. You can seemingly do it everywhere. At the ATM? They’ve got an option to withdraw cash or to top up. Buying groceries? Tell the cashier you want to top up. They even have top-up vending machines all over. To encourage customers to keep topping up, most carriers incentivize topping up by €20. For Meteor, when I top up by €20 I get free calls and texts to other Meteor customers for a month. How do you know who other Meteor customers are? It’s right there in the area code. All Meteor customers have phone numbers that start with 085. O2 customers’ phone numbers start with 086, and Vodaphone numbers start with 087.

7. Gender roles are much more institutionalized here. My evidence of this is only anecdotal, but you can even look in the Irish constitution to find evidence of sexism. Here’s what I’ve found: While job hunting, more than one store manager told me, “Oh, we only hire women here.” I work in the stock room at my current job, so lifting heavy things comes with the territory. But I can’t tell you how many times a (male) supervisor will approach me to ask if I can bring these ten boxes of pillows upstairs for his (female) employees. “I don’t want the girls to have to lift those [5 pound] boxes,” he’ll explain to me. I have no problem doing it, but that attitude is new to me.

8. When they want to get something done, Irish people walk really, really fast.

9. McDonald’s are way classier over here. They’ve also got way better apple pies. Instead of having the slits in the apple pie and a cinnamon dusting, these babies are just one solid mass that’s been deep fried and put under a heat lamp so the outside is reasonably warm but the inside holds a scalding hot, molten apple mixture that tastes so good you can’t help but burn your mouth to eat it.

10. They don’t have stick deodorant for men. Only that spray on stuff. They don’t call it Axe over here though. It’s called Lynx. So much do I miss the stick deodorant, I asked my coworker who is currently on holiday in Boston to pick me up two sticks to bring back with her. I can’t wait until she gets back. Then I won’t have to feel like I’m getting ready for the junior high dance every morning when I get ready.

Categories : Blog Posts
  • http://puremassage.vpweb.ie/ Rita

    we do have stick deodorant for men….i'll get you some.

  • http://puremassage.vpweb.ie/ Rita

    we do have stick deodorant for men….i'll get you some.

  • Barbara

    Re #6 I've had a Trac Phone for more then 2 years and have been well satified, no monthly bill for one thing. I also NEED to know WHAT WAS THE POSTAL EMPLOYEE DOING that could not be photographed.Barbara AKA Aunt Barbara

  • Barbara

    Re #6 I've had a Trac Phone for more then 2 years and have been well satified, no monthly bill for one thing. I also NEED to know WHAT WAS THE POSTAL EMPLOYEE DOING that could not be photographed.
    Barbara AKA Aunt Barbara

  • Steph

    Umm, John, next time you're back, head to Walgreens, or Target, or the grocery store, or CVS or a myriad of other places. Swipe your card, choose debit, then choose “cash back.” It's pretty nifty.

  • Steph

    Umm, John, next time you're back, head to Walgreens, or Target, or the grocery store, or CVS or a myriad of other places. Swipe your card, choose debit, then choose “cash back.” It's pretty nifty.

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Haha. I guess they thought I was a terrorist or something. After all, I do have two passports. I'm only one step away from Jason Bourne.

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Yeah, but can you do the same thing at Liquor Lyles? Didn't think so. IRELAND WINS. :P

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Haha. I guess they thought I was a terrorist or something. After all, I do have two passports. I'm only one step away from Jason Bourne.

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Yeah, but can you do the same thing at Liquor Lyles? Didn't think so. IRELAND WINS. :P

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Haha. I guess they thought I was a terrorist or something. After all, I do have two passports. I'm only one step away from Jason Bourne.

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Yeah, but can you do the same thing at Liquor Lyles? Didn't think so. IRELAND WINS. :P

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Haha. I guess they thought I was a terrorist or something. After all, I do have two passports. I'm only one step away from Jason Bourne.

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Yeah, but can you do the same thing at Liquor Lyles? Didn't think so. IRELAND WINS. :P

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Yeah, but can you do the same thing at Liquor Lyles? Didn't think so. IRELAND WINS. :P

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Yeah, but can you do the same thing at Liquor Lyles? Didn't think so. IRELAND WINS. :P

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Yeah, but can you do the same thing at Liquor Lyles? Didn't think so. IRELAND WINS. :P

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Yeah, but can you do the same thing at Liquor Lyles? Didn't think so. IRELAND WINS. :P

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Haha. I guess they thought I was a terrorist or something. After all, I do have two passports. I'm only one step away from Jason Bourne.

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Haha. I guess they thought I was a terrorist or something. After all, I do have two passports. I'm only one step away from Jason Bourne.

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Haha. I guess they thought I was a terrorist or something. After all, I do have two passports. I'm only one step away from Jason Bourne.

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O'Sullivan

    Haha. I guess they thought I was a terrorist or something. After all, I do have two passports. I'm only one step away from Jason Bourne.

  • http://thetruenorth.tumblr.com/ Christopher Koski

    I'm jealous of your post office. Canada has something similar, but I've never had to use it. It's called “Service Canada” and is essentially a one-stop government shop.It's frustrating to see things like this work well, not to mention safer and more efficient banking, and then look back at the United States.

  • http://thetruenorth.tumblr.com/ Christopher Koski

    I'm jealous of your post office. Canada has something similar, but I've never had to use it. It's called “Service Canada” and is essentially a one-stop government shop.

    It's frustrating to see things like this work well, not to mention safer and more efficient banking, and then look back at the United States.

  • Brendan

    Good article. re: Number 10: you need to get Nivea. Look harder inithe supermarket!

  • Brendan

    Good article.

    re: Number 10: you need to get Nivea. Look harder inithe supermarket!

  • http://sirjolt.xadacka.com/blog SirJolt

    Lovely blog :) The piece about talking really, really fast is one I'd never noticed until you said it but is certainly true.I wonder if it's just me or has anyone else noticed how few of us can tell an anecdote correctly. Opening with, “Sure, you know John…” and simply barreling on regardless of answers is superb. Just like saying halfway through a story, “Ah… now to get this, I'd have to go back to when I was twelve. Y'see, when we would got the post office we'd…”

  • http://sirjolt.xadacka.com/blog SirJolt

    Lovely blog :)

    The piece about talking really, really fast is one I'd never noticed until you said it but is certainly true.

    I wonder if it's just me or has anyone else noticed how few of us can tell an anecdote correctly. Opening with, “Sure, you know John…” and simply barreling on regardless of answers is superb.

    Just like saying halfway through a story, “Ah… now to get this, I'd have to go back to when I was twelve. Y'see, when we would got the post office we'd…”

  • http://www.faduda.ie/ Gerard Cunningham

    Just a couple of comments. On taxes and #4: You don't have to do your own taxes each year, but it may still be worth checking. If you have medical expenses for instance, they may be deductible, but the 'one size fits all' automatic deduction of tax through PAYE won't take that into account.On #6, not all mobile phone accounts can be identified by the prefix anymore. When they started, if you swiched provider, you had to get a new number, but the regulator has since required carriers to allow customers to bring their numbers with them when they move their account. It's probably a meteor customer on that 083 number you're calling, but it's not 100% certain.Lastly, Laser cards have their downside too. They may be more secure than the debit cards you use back home, but try using one to make a purchase on a website based outside Ireland…Enjoy your time here.

  • http://www.faduda.ie/ Gerard Cunningham

    Just a couple of comments. On taxes and #4: You don't have to do your own taxes each year, but it may still be worth checking. If you have medical expenses for instance, they may be deductible, but the 'one size fits all' automatic deduction of tax through PAYE won't take that into account.
    On #6, not all mobile phone accounts can be identified by the prefix anymore. When they started, if you swiched provider, you had to get a new number, but the regulator has since required carriers to allow customers to bring their numbers with them when they move their account. It's probably a meteor customer on that 083 number you're calling, but it's not 100% certain.
    Lastly, Laser cards have their downside too. They may be more secure than the debit cards you use back home, but try using one to make a purchase on a website based outside Ireland…

    Enjoy your time here.

  • http://www.eoinpurcellsblog.com Eoin Purcell

    You sure cotta watch out for the molten apple filling, it's lethal!Eoin

  • http://www.eoinpurcellsblog.com Eoin Purcell

    You sure cotta watch out for the molten apple filling, it's lethal!

    Eoin

  • http://twitter.com/truvo_ie Brid

    liking the post – oh and good luck with the job hunt :)

  • http://twitter.com/truvo_ie Brid

    liking the post – oh and good luck with the job hunt :)

  • Gary

    Another story in regards to Ireland, I was stopped recently in Dublin by a Garda (policeman) in the bus lane, which is prohibited by cars to use at certain times. The Garda took great pleasure writing me a ticket. When he finished he looked at me and said in a deep Kerry accent ” You can drive in the bus lane anytime you want, the only thing you need to do is buy a bus”. He could hardly get on his motorbike he was laughing so much…. that's Ireland for you.

  • Gary

    Another story in regards to Ireland, I was stopped recently in Dublin by a Garda (policeman) in the bus lane, which is prohibited by cars to use at certain times. The Garda took great pleasure writing me a ticket. When he finished he looked at me and said in a deep Kerry accent ” You can drive in the bus lane anytime you want, the only thing you need to do is buy a bus”. He could hardly get on his motorbike he was laughing so much…. that's Ireland for you.

  • http://www.directebooks.com/ Gareth Cuddy

    Great post.Brightened my day. Lived in the states for years and know exactly what you're talking about.I also like the fact that in Ireland we don't tell everyone to have a nice day. Because we don't really care.

  • http://www.directebooks.com/ Gareth Cuddy

    Great post.
    Brightened my day. Lived in the states for years and know exactly what you're talking about.
    I also like the fact that in Ireland we don't tell everyone to have a nice day. Because we don't really care.

  • Brendan

    Good article. re: Number 10: you need to get Nivea. Look harder inithe supermarket!

  • Brendan

    Good article.

    re: Number 10: you need to get Nivea. Look harder inithe supermarket!

  • http://sirjolt.xadacka.com/blog SirJolt

    Lovely blog :) The piece about talking really, really fast is one I'd never noticed until you said it but is certainly true.I wonder if it's just me or has anyone else noticed how few of us can tell an anecdote correctly. Opening with, “Sure, you know John…” and simply barreling on regardless of answers is superb. Just like saying halfway through a story, “Ah… now to get this, I'd have to go back to when I was twelve. Y'see, when we would got the post office we'd…”

  • http://sirjolt.xadacka.com/blog SirJolt

    Lovely blog :)

    The piece about talking really, really fast is one I'd never noticed until you said it but is certainly true.

    I wonder if it's just me or has anyone else noticed how few of us can tell an anecdote correctly. Opening with, “Sure, you know John…” and simply barreling on regardless of answers is superb.

    Just like saying halfway through a story, “Ah… now to get this, I'd have to go back to when I was twelve. Y'see, when we would got the post office we'd…”

  • http://www.faduda.ie/ Gerard Cunningham

    Just a couple of comments. On taxes and #4: You don't have to do your own taxes each year, but it may still be worth checking. If you have medical expenses for instance, they may be deductible, but the 'one size fits all' automatic deduction of tax through PAYE won't take that into account.On #6, not all mobile phone accounts can be identified by the prefix anymore. When they started, if you swiched provider, you had to get a new number, but the regulator has since required carriers to allow customers to bring their numbers with them when they move their account. It's probably a meteor customer on that 083 number you're calling, but it's not 100% certain.Lastly, Laser cards have their downside too. They may be more secure than the debit cards you use back home, but try using one to make a purchase on a website based outside Ireland…Enjoy your time here.

  • http://www.faduda.ie/ Gerard Cunningham

    Just a couple of comments. On taxes and #4: You don't have to do your own taxes each year, but it may still be worth checking. If you have medical expenses for instance, they may be deductible, but the 'one size fits all' automatic deduction of tax through PAYE won't take that into account.
    On #6, not all mobile phone accounts can be identified by the prefix anymore. When they started, if you swiched provider, you had to get a new number, but the regulator has since required carriers to allow customers to bring their numbers with them when they move their account. It's probably a meteor customer on that 083 number you're calling, but it's not 100% certain.
    Lastly, Laser cards have their downside too. They may be more secure than the debit cards you use back home, but try using one to make a purchase on a website based outside Ireland…

    Enjoy your time here.

  • http://www.eoinpurcellsblog.com Eoin Purcell

    You sure cotta watch out for the molten apple filling, it's lethal!Eoin

  • http://www.eoinpurcellsblog.com Eoin Purcell

    You sure cotta watch out for the molten apple filling, it's lethal!

    Eoin

  • http://twitter.com/truvo_ie Brid

    liking the post – oh and good luck with the job hunt :)

  • http://twitter.com/truvo_ie Brid

    liking the post – oh and good luck with the job hunt :)

  • Gary

    Another story in regards to Ireland, I was stopped recently in Dublin by a Garda (policeman) in the bus lane, which is prohibited by cars to use at certain times. The Garda took great pleasure writing me a ticket. When he finished he looked at me and said in a deep Kerry accent ” You can drive in the bus lane anytime you want, the only thing you need to do is buy a bus”. He could hardly get on his motorbike he was laughing so much…. that's Ireland for you.

  • Gary

    Another story in regards to Ireland, I was stopped recently in Dublin by a Garda (policeman) in the bus lane, which is prohibited by cars to use at certain times. The Garda took great pleasure writing me a ticket. When he finished he looked at me and said in a deep Kerry accent ” You can drive in the bus lane anytime you want, the only thing you need to do is buy a bus”. He could hardly get on his motorbike he was laughing so much…. that's Ireland for you.

  • http://www.directebooks.com/ Gareth Cuddy

    Great post.Brightened my day. Lived in the states for years and know exactly what you're talking about.I also like the fact that in Ireland we don't tell everyone to have a nice day. Because we don't really care.

  • http://www.directebooks.com/ Gareth Cuddy

    Great post.
    Brightened my day. Lived in the states for years and know exactly what you're talking about.
    I also like the fact that in Ireland we don't tell everyone to have a nice day. Because we don't really care.

  • http://alisonisabroad.blogspot.com alisonaglitter

    re: 7 and the gender roles
    I have never been asked so many times by men if I needed help carrying something. Sometimes they are very insistent and demand that I give them said object to carry for me. Here I am thinking that they might actually run off with my stuff but so far so good. I know it’s meant to be polite but it bothers me so I started saying “no thanks I’m strong enough”. Do you think that’s rude?

  • http://www.johnfosullivan.com John F. O’Sullivan

    It’s good of you to stand on principal, but you risk coming off as arrogant if you don’t acquiesce to the cultural norms. Tough call.

  • Saoirsín

    If you’re looking for men’s stick deodorant, check Lidl. They have everything except for the stuff you have to go to Tesco for.