Friday, February 15, 2008

Stranger than fiction

I had a conversation with someone from the UK in work today and discovered that it is apparently not common knowledge on the other side of the pond that:

1. The Republic of Ireland is not ruled by the Monarchy
2. We have a President, a FEMALE president
3. Belfast is not northern Ireland, there are 6 counties involved
4. We have our own language....IRISH
5. The troubles were in the north and not mainly in Dublin
6. We have a different schooling system

I guess I was pretty shocked. This is not coming from a person you would think to be a bit dense, ignorant or anything.....just a normal salt of the earth person, I get on very well with them actually......It's just so strange to me. I think what really hit home was that after clarifying all these matters, it was literally a case of ' you learn something new every day' , and onto the next topic of conversation. If it had been the other way around I would be mortified.


  1. NO, it's rife, htis ignorance. Our foreign policy has been bound up with thiers for hundreds of years and they still have no clue. My husband had arrogant gobshites trying to push sterling on him in his shop, my friend was told 'oh yeah, I forget you've no electricity in IReland'! And hte Americans - someone asked another friend how often she gets to go to LOndon - she said she'd been once and they were astonished -'You've only been to your capital ONCE??!!'

    I suppose we're just one teeny island - seems bigger to us as we're on it'. I read a cute quote from an Achill Island kid's leaving: 'Ireland is a small island off the coast of Achill. :)

  2. You couldn't really blame them not knowing about the President, barely know who it is myself. It's not like she's invaded Iraq or anything.

  3. This is not shocking in any way. I remember a friend having a chat conversation in the early days of the web with someone in America. Their response to being told she was in Ireland?

    "Are you safe?"

    Presuming she lived in a war zone. What with the IRA and all and such.

  4. My uant and uncle got hte same question when they visited here in the 80's - 'Isn't it dangerous?' -
    'yes, they said, we have to spend the night in L.A...'

  5. That does sound worse than I imagined. It's natural we know everything about Britain cause we've had their televsion all our lives but it doesn't work the other way round. The only time we made it into European history was for Battle of the Boyne - and not because of us vs Brits but because of the Dutch vs France.

    I actually find no. 6 the hardest to believe. There's one thing not knowing or caring about geography and politics, but it's fairly obvious that a different country had a different education system.

  6. I know, I guess I could forgive the geography, but thinking we were lorded over by the monarchy - is this not covered in the countries own history?

    Anyway, regarding the school system, we were discussing how we fell into this line of work and when I was asked about my A level subjects I knew something was afoot!