10 Things Americans Should Know About Dublin

Back in May, I was PUMPED to travel to Europe for the fist time. Destination: Dublin, Ireland. Boyfriend, passports and excitement in tow, I packed my bags and jumped on Aer Lingus for a trip that quite literally changed my perspective on life itself. I learned the fun way the ins and outs of the lush green land-for better or for worse. Here’s what I bestow to you as a traveling gift should you ever hit Dublin.

  1. Buses: They show up when and where they want to, sometimes not at all. They only take coins and DO NOT EVEN TRY walking while it’s moving (unless forced to). This may sound rash, but walking whilst the bus is in motion is worse than catching the MBTA on a snow day.
  2. Don’t pay for the train. Nobody does and nobody cares about it, either. How it stays running is a mystery to me.
  3. Adapters do not work for hair care. Yes, my long blonde locks suffered all through this trip after I damn near set the hotel room on fire trying to heat up my curlers. Apparently, the electrical currents are so different they fried not only my $250 Chi Limited Edition Guitar Hero Straightener but also my Conair Hot Rollers. RIP.
  4. People are nice. Like, unusually nice. If they bump into you, it’s a thousand apologies and very backwards to our culture, this kindness is magnified when they drink. Two girls literally stopped on the street to offer directions to us because my boyfriend and I were looking confused, and it actually inspired me to be kinder to the lost French people I would generally dart around and roll my eyes at in Faneuil Hall.
  5. People in Ireland eat normally. We’ll go out at 10-11:00 and grab some nachos and beer. In Ireland, food does not disrupt the drinking process. Luckily, if you’re starving as we were, they offer “chips” (aka bags of peanuts) from the bar. You’re best off going into the street and getting “takeaway” if you’re at that point where pizza is an absolute necessity.
  6. Hotels do not provide complimentary toiletries. That’s one thing about us Americans, we’re excessive and expect that for what we pay we get free shampoo and loads of lotion to bring back that we’ll most likely never use again. Be prepared here to bring your own, and do your best to cope with the fact that they also do not provide hair dryers or irons.
  7. Everyone in the city swears. EVERYONE. And drinks tea.
  8. Wi-fi and Voxer are your new bffs. Forget about calling cards or burner phones or paying buku money for a Verizon travel plan, just be patient on getting wi-fi (which is free or cheap nearly anywhere). This way, you can pick and choose who you want to talk to, upload photos and not pay for ridiculous plans. But, like one bartender called me out on as I took advantage of his wi-fi, “Get off yer phone. Yer on vacation, lads!”
  9. The amount of attractive males WAY outnumbers the women. Ratio is unbelievable. Unlike a typical Saturday night in America where we dress up like it’s prom every weekend, Irish girls go out casually in flip flops, jeans and messy buns. They don’t give a damn, and feel any need to impress any of the drop dead gorgeous guys all over the place. After all, they’re gonna hit on them either way, right? Somehow, it was possible for ME to be the one out of place in a night club in a dress and heels. Also, It’s f***ing cold. This probably makes sense as to why girls don’t dress up at night. Don’t try to be all adorable like I did, kids, with your cute shorts and skirts with flowy tops that make you look like you just stepped out of a Wanelo ad. This girl did that, and found herself rotating her one pair of “just in case” jeans and khakis every other day. Pants and coats are essential-especially a raincoat. Carry one at ALL TIMES.
  10. They will over feed you. Values there are different; it’s more about good food and spending quality time together. Not so much about a quick, filling meal then back to the grind like we’re used to. That’s partially why we Americans are so miserable-we don’t sit and appreciate each other’s company as often as we should. We’re always in a rush to one up someone and advance before they one up us. Life is a constant race, battle for the highest success. There, life is about memories and quality time with people. One Englishman who spent time there put it best, in a quote that helped to change part of my perspective on life: “In Europe, we work to live. In America, you live to work and go home surrounded by your things. Sitting and watching TV every night with one person is boring. When our days are done, everyone goes to someone’s house and we relax. It’s about company.”