There’s a lot to love about Ireland: excellent beer, good music, delicious food, pervasive greenery, beautiful old castles and churches, and much more. That’s not what this post is about. Instead, I’m going to tell you about what you’ll find around the house.
In the Kitchen
- The refrigerators are much smaller than those in US. This one, from our first place, is a pretty typical size for a house with a few people in it. At a couple of the places we’ve stayed, they’ve even managed to clear off a full shelf for us! In Ireland, as in many European countries, residents make more frequent, smaller trips to the grocer’s.
- The oven goes to 9! I had to consult Wikipedia to learn that 1 is about 275°F, and each number goes up another 25°. Lighting a burner on this stove required an interesting combination of pressing and turning a knob while also pressing a separate button. The electric stove in our recent bungalow lodging was much simpler.
- Sinks and dishes are mostly the same. Our first place had a dishwasher, but I haven’t noticed one in the others. One interesting commonality is that every kitchen sink I’ve seen so far has a built-in drying area to the side.
- This might not be the case everywhere, but we’ve been in a few homes now where the norm is to use rigid place mats at the dining room table, sometimes with a coaster.
In the Bedroom
- In the US, most beds have a flat sheet and comforter, with maybe another blanket folded up nearby in case it gets cold. Here, every bed so far has only a duvet with a removable cover. Fitted sheets and pillow cases are basically the same, though.
- Heating throughout the house looks like this. I’m pretty sure that a lot of the places use boilers, like in old US schools and other public buildings.
- Interior doors, including both bedrooms and bathrooms, lock using a key.
In the Bathroom
- First of all, it’s called a toilet. Asking for a public bathroom might be confused with asking for a bath house.
- The commodes (I hate that word, but toilet is just confusing at this point) are pretty much the same. On our trip to Greece, I learned that toilet paper often cannot be flushed, but instead must be disposed in a small trash can. Fortunately, a great resource titled, “Where do I put the paper?” taught me to flush it down in Ireland. My only complaint is that most residential flushes aren’t as powerful as in the US.
- As a kid, I remember seeing some faucets like this and thinking that they were stupid. There is no temperature modulation; it’s either hot or cold. Every sink I’ve seen so far looks like this. This picture was taken at a pretty modern hotel.
- This is an Irish shower. The hotel ones look a bit more svelte, but the idea is basically the same: the shower includes a water heater. My guess is that this has something to do with the faucet design—the hot water cannot be kept too hot.
- The light switches are inverted compared to the US: toggling toward the bottom turns them on. In this photo, the right switch is on and the left is off. Every light switch we’ve seen so far looks like this. And without fail, they are outside the bathroom.
- Clothes washers are mostly the same (perhaps a bit smaller), but there are no dryers to be found. As far as we can tell, everyone in Ireland air dries their clothes using some combination of drying racks and clotheslines.
- The power outlets are UK-style, with three long, square prongs. Most outlets also include on-off switches.
We have found many differences and a few oddities here in Ireland, but most things are pretty similar. It has been a perfect launching point for the rest of our travels. Everyone has been very friendly and hospitable, and everything is familiar enough to be easy while being different enough to be new and interesting.