The Irish are strongly social.  I would characterize them as friendly.  With one exception, I always found locals willing to talk with you.  To exchange ideas, stories, experiences, local lore, history, and personal anecdotes. 

For example, while in Dublin, there was a fire in the building next to the hostel.  Obviously the fire department arrived.  What was missing for the most part was the Garda (police).  There were present but undercover rather than a strong presence, blocking the streets etc. 

Being the tourist that I was, I was taking photos of the action.  Once the fire was over,  one of the firemen came over and asked if I got any good pictures.  He then gave me his card and asked that if I had any to send them to him.  We then talked for another forty minutes about his experience, training, why we were in Dublin, etc.  While Jim and I were talking with him, several of the undercover Garda came over and also talked with us. 

Of course, this cultural value is also captured in their folklore and history.  Think of the Blarney stone.  The story behind it is reflective of the gift of the gab.  However, I found that gift of the gab to be much more meaningful that just surface talk. I found them to be genuinely interested in talking, often in meaningful ways.    

Dingle – June 1, 2014 - We have returned to the rain (see previous posting) today.  Rain in Ireland is so far been nothing like the rain that I typically experience in the States.  It is more of a mist.  It is so misty that I cannot even see the bay that is four blocks away.  As I look out of the window of my room (on the fourth floor with only two rooms– no elevator – with a large sitting area) it looks like it is snowing, with waves of mist visible to the eye.  Unfortunately it is the type of precipitation that not only you wet to the bone, but it is cold, coming in off the North Atlantic. 

How people react to the mist can tell you a lot about their nationality.  Most of the locals are not even wearing rain gear.  They go about their business ignoring the rain.  Americans, for the most part, are wearing “designer” or labeled rain gear.  There are few that wear hats and only one or two umbrellas.  

Dingle -  June 1, 2014 – Was sitting at lunch today (very good seafood by the way) and was actually shocked to see someone walk into the pub with apple earphones.  I think it is about the first time that I have seen this in Ireland.  My first thought, Americans  (but not Canadians). 

As I thought about this event, I realized that most of the people here are unplugged.  I saw few people in the pubs on their phones.  If the phone rings, people step outside to talk.  People in pubs have conversations.  If you are alone, you are soon involved in a conversation with the people around you.  So, the idea of going out for a drink an spending the time texting, Facebooking, or twittering, seems non-existent.  Electronics are secondary to human interaction

Even when we visited the University in Derry I do not remember may (if any) people with headphones on. 

This is not to say that the selfie is dead.  At just about every location I have been, from the Cliffs of More to Slea Head, people are taking selfies.  I am not sure, but I suspect that most of them are from the United States. 

Update:  Since I wrote this entry, I have only observed two additional people plugged in.  

Dingle – June 1, 2014 - While we were on the Shea Head Road, we had reached the time where our coach driver needed to take a 45-minute break.  As required by law, a driver must have a 45-minute break outside the coach after 4.5 hours.  S/he can take it in one 45 minute block or in 15 and 30 minute blocks.. 

Anyway, I digress.  We were in the small town of Ballyferrtier at the end of the Dingle Peninsula, just up the road from Enya’s old house, and we took a break.  Jim and I went into one of the local pubs and had a Guinness.  AS we were talking with the bar keep, it turns out that she grew up in Massachusetts.  Having lived in Massachusetts, I observed that l lived there for over six years.  She asked where.  I said Northampton.  She replied that she grew up in Northampton.  I went on to say that in that case, I lived in Florence.  She said that that is where she grew up.  I pointed out that I lived above the video store across the street from the Friendlies.  She knew exactly where that was. 

As the other bar keep said, six degrees of separation.  Of course, I did not launch into all the flaws with that study.  

Dingle – June 1, 2014 – This evening Drew and I went to a movie.  The movie itself was not important, but I wanted to see what a movie experience in a small town in Ireland was like.  I have done this in Australia too. 

The theatre was relatively new and by US standards, austere.  The concrete floor, basically bare walls, only four speakers, and about 150 seats bolted to a concrete floor. 

When the curtains opened and programming started, it was all commercials.  There were no trailers.  Where were the trailers?  How am I to know what is coming up?  The commercials were much like you would see on TV, beauty products, McDonalds, “Make peace, not War – Lynx body wash”, etc. 

The movie itself was pretty mediocre (Godzilla).  What was interesting was that at the end people clapped like it was a live performance. 

By the way, there was only one showing a night (Monday through Saturday) at 8 pm.