Surprising Things About Ireland

13 things we weren’t expecting to be true about Ireland:


  1. In Dublin, they have a lot of signs which say ‘TO LET’ (meaning ‘for rent’), but they all look like they intended to say ‘TOILET’ and lost their ‘I.’ This is largely because the spacing between the two words is quite small. I even pointed out to B that there is more spacing between the sections of the phone numbers they list!
  2. In Dublin, most people live in what I would call row homes or townhouses, with colorful doors, black or silver iron gates, and medium-sized windows. In the windows on the ground floor, residents tend to put up white lace curtains and put vases of flowers or ceramic figures – presumably for passers-by.
  3. Near the courts, we saw a barrister all dressed up, old-fashioned style!
  4. The Dublin doorways are indeed cool and come in every color, as shown in the famous poster. My attempts to recreate it are not as successful.

Rest of Ireland:

  1. The store TJ Maxx is called TK Maxx here due to fear of confusion with another retailer whose name starts with TJ!T.K. Maxx
  2. There isn’t as much evidence of the ‘Troubles’ here from what we’ve seen so far.
  3. The backwards ‘V for victory’ symbol is considered obscene.
  4. We’ve seen very few police (called Garda), either in cities or on highways.
  5. Their primary immigrant population is Polish: there are Polish grocery stores in multiple cities, and a lot of their service workers are Polish women in their 20s and 30s.
  6. Their cows are pretty chubby. Forget California and Wisconsin: the happiest cows appear to live here.
  7. The country’s Catholic heritage is still evident, especially in smaller towns. For example, in the town of Cobh, the main front page story in their local newsletter was about the end of confirmation season.
  8. In the US, I found claddagh rings to be pretty popular among Irish kids I grew up with. Of course, B had never heard of them, so that might just be me. Anyway, Galway is the only place we’ve seen anything about them, and that may well be a tourist thing.
  9. Most stores have bread that was freshly-baked that day, often on the premises. That includes places like sketchy convenience stores!

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5 thoughts on “Surprising Things About Ireland

  1. I remember always seeing the to let sign in other places and giggling a bit. I want to hear more about where you’re staying, daily routine, etc.! Do you have a rental car the whole time?

  2. I just did a housing post. 🙂 And no, just a rental after we left Dublin. The buses are pretty good, but they would limit timing, where we could stay, etc.

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