Modern Ireland has swapped peat bogs and hot stews for motorways and double lattes, a newly-updated guidebook claimed. Visitors must trek to the farthest-flung corners of the country to experience the authentic Emerald Isle, according to the ninth edition of Lonely Planet’s Ireland best-seller. “Contemporary Ireland is not altogether different from any other European country,” the book’s authors warn.
Well it’s partly true, especially in the cities, there is still plenty of Ireland’s other more traditional personality to be found. I came from Dublin to settle in a beautiful part of Co Clare, and while it’s true I don’t have to travel far to get my latte fix, I am also right in the heart of beautiful scenery with a real sense of tradition and time on my doorstep. When I go for a walk, drivers still salute me as they pass by, an old tradition which I remember from my childhood holidays in the country. People are friendly and welcoming and that hasn’t changed. While the local coffee shops serve lattes and cappucinos, the local pubs also serve up pints of guinness and great traditional music and atmosphere. I believe there is still plenty of the traditional Ireland to keep visitors coming – that’s not the problem with dwindling tourist numbers. Our prices are too high and our service can be shoddy and yes, it rains too much but I still know of many overseas visitors who find enough of the Irish welcome and traditions to keep coming back. People like Denis, a blogger acquaintance of mine who visited Ireland for the first time last year and found a sense of history and tradition throughout his travels. “Everything seems ancient, compressed. History hangs over the landscape”, he wrote afterwards.
You can read more of his impressions of Ireland by clicking here.