It's 25 things you never thought you'd miss about Ireland.
Prepare to be homesick after reading this.
1. Sniggering at place names
Back in the motherland, you can go diving in Muff, catch a cold in Birr and drive through Granny, all the while delighting that your level of immaturity is now matched by your new geographical acumen.
There is absolutely nothing that compares to the hot, delicious, salt and vinegar penetration of the senses otherwise known as a bag of proper chipper chips.
3. Benign creatures
Other countries are full of things that want you dead.
4. Irish slang
Acting the maggot, Banjaxed, Chancer, Divil, Eejit, Flitters, Gob, Header, I am in me wick, Jackeen, Kip, Langers, Manky, Nip, Off your nut, Plonker, Quick hawk, Reddener, Shenanigans, Throwing shapes, Up to ninety, Vit, Wagon, Y-fronts, Yonks, Zipless
5. Amhrán na bhFiann
Very few national anthems have been subjected to the same creative treatment at the hands of its people and athletes as ours. The most artistically interesting interpretations in terms of dance, stance and lyrics happen at about 2.30am on a Saturday in rural nightclubs all over the country.
6. Not calling St. Patrick’s Day 'Patty’s Day'
For reasons unknown, the rest of the world is convinced the man who freed us from the tyranny of snakes should share his name with a greasy, disk-shaped serving of meat-like substance.
7. Drawing stuff on the bus window condensation
Regardless of your age, there is something deeply comforting about tracing your finger along a damp bus window during your commute home on the 66B.
8. You’re a lovely girl
Ladies, now that you’re not in Ireland anymore, no longer must you endure the beer-soaked drunk interrupting your conversation to compliment your loveliness while eyeballing your breasts. Instead you’re stuck abroad with endless conversation while you sigh into your push-up bra.
This is currently the standard response in Ireland when someone compliments any part of your outfit. In fact, in years to come, Penneys, which is our answer to Target or some such, will have replaced the word ‘thanks’.
10. Distinctive cities
Screenwriter and film director Christopher Nolan may not be planning to film his next metropolitan masterpiece in Limerick or Waterford anytime soon but at least our cities don’t incite a sense of déjà vu.
11. Your Mammy’s nagging
The woman who gave you a bowl haircut, numerous spit ‘n sleeve face washes and humiliated you in front of every suitor you ever brought home is now engrained in your mind as a kind-hearted tea giver and all-round provider of comfort.
12. Giving out
Apparently the native peoples of the Arctic regions have many words for snow. In a similar fashion, the native peoples of Ireland have many words for moaning. Now to foreign ears our rants may seem like begrudgery and grievance, but to us it’s just conversation.
13. The sound of rain
Even if you’ll never admit it, the nostalgia-soaked soundtrack to your life will take you right back to that little isle whenever you hear it playing again.
14. Degrees of separation
While living abroad you attempted to debunk the myth that you automatically know Paidi O’ Reilly because you’re both from Ireland. Back at home you can actually admit that you most likely do.
15. Chilled-out cows
In comparison to other bovine nationalities, Irish cows are incredibly relaxed. Even Indian cows, whose worries are non-existent, pale in comparison to the truly content disposition of an Irish cow. Moo, man … Moo.
16. Pretending to surf
Only about two people in Ireland can actually surf, anyone else who says they can is lying. This doesn’t stop us heading to the coast to fall off a foam board for half an hour so we can sit in a pub for the rest of the weekend in overpriced board shorts.
17. Quoting Father Ted to people who appreciate it
"You were wearing your blue jumper!" Bwha ha ha ha ha. "Oh, sorry. It’s this Irish TV show about three priests living on an island. And they have this housekeeper who keeps making them tea, even if they don’t want it. No it’s actually really funny." Peeps from other countries don’t get it and they never will, so give up already.
18. Not having to censor yourself
In Ireland a statement like, “Christ, I’m dying but last night’s craic was unreal”, won’t land you in the HR office’s jax weeing into a cup.
19. The dog
As one of the friendliest and least judgemental of the world’s canines, Irish dogs will always welcome you with open paws. Never will you miss the ole mutt more than when you’ve almost had your hand taken off by a fluffy little rat dog.
20. The taxi rank queue (AKA the last chance salon)
This is where all manner of Irish life exists. It is at once an al fresco dining spot, a speed-dating club, a therapist’s couch and a first-aid station.
In Ireland the thing we call football actually involves a foot and a ball. Unlike Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada where it should really be called ‘hand egg’. And while we’re on the subject, according to the football gods we also officially have the best supporters in the world.
22. Drinking with your boss
Everywhere else in the world a team building exercise involves stacking purple blocks or having employees knock the bejaysus out of each other. Back home we approach team building in the same way as we approach everything– via the two wooden doors of your Friday night boozer. Simples.
23. The novelty of sun
Remember that scorching hot May bank holiday weekend in 2007 when you went camping in Mullingar? Of course you do, because the novelty of those two blissful sun-baked days will remain in your memory more than 100 roasty Bondi Beach ones.
Straightforward tea. Try ordering a cuppa tea almost anywhere else and you’ll soon find out it doesn’t exist. Instead it comes in a variety of sizes in a multitude of languages with several different types of milk, fat content, flavours and temperatures designed to confuse and bewilder anyone.
25. Snow days
In countries susceptible to freezing weather, they have a thing called an infrastructure. This means when snow arrives everyone goes to work and society doesn’t break down. Thankfully in Ireland no one bothers with such a thing. Three inches of snow forecast? Welcome to bandit country.
* Originally published in 2013.