STUDIUM & FREIZEIT
It was two years ago, when I travelled around Ireland for five weeks, that I immediately fell for this country. Hence, when the Goethe-Institut Irland offered me an internship for two months in Dublin, I was thrilled. I’ve been here five weeks now, it’s halftime – ideal to take stock.
If you ever thought weather in Germany was crazy, come to Ireland and you’ll think differently. When I flew to Dublin in mid-August, Frankfurt had almost 30 degrees. Landing in Dublin, the temperature had sunken to 12 degrees. The switch from midsummer to autumn within two hours was hard to cope with. Ireland had also been affected by the ‘heat wave’ – 25 degrees is midsummer and weeks without rain is almost unimaginable for a country where there is at least a drop most days. But as fast as rain comes, as evenly fast it’s often gone again, and you’ll look into a blue, sunny sky. When it became autumn for me, it was still summer for people in Dublin. Whereas I was wearing a scarf and two layers of clothes to keep me warm, many Dubliners were wearing sandals and T-shirts. I immediately outed myself as not one of them.
Nevertheless, you feel instantly welcome. It began with a taxi driver talking German to me, another playing a song written by a German speaking band asking me to translate the words for him, to a bus driver, who opened the door for me one night, “so that you’ll be safe from all these hooligans out there”. Yes, people are nice in Ireland, they are welcoming, polite and, most of all, relaxed. It’s not the kind of politeness that is annoying. You’ll see it in their faces that people really mean it.
This peace of mind is fascinating regarding the public transport. Dublin has a population of around 530.000 people, 1.2 million, counting the greater Dublin area. Most are travelling by bus and since there is no subway, it takes a lot of time each way to get somewhere, especially during rush hour. You’ll have to plan your journeys carefully – but there is no certainty that you’ll get there on time. The Irish have adjusted themselves to this unreliability. So, when you say you’ll meet someone at 9, it rather means 9ish. 15, even 30 minutes later are taken into account.
At the airport a big ‘Fáilte’ (Irish for ‘Welcome’) introduces the newcomer to Ireland’s rich Gaelic heritage. Wherever you look in Dublin, - either on street names or on road signs – the first language is Gaelic, then it’s English. Both are official languages. Gaelic is taught in school, the Irish Prime minister is called Taoiseach (‘leader’), the parliament Dáil Éireann (Assembly of Ireland). Gaelic culture is all around. This also becomes clear when witnessing the enthusiasm for Gaelic football and hurling – two sports which are exclusively Irish.
These are just some of the things which make Dublin, and Ireland in general, oh so special. I have six weeks left to enjoy the Irish culture, peculiarities, the moody and the ever unreliable weather, screeching seagulls and the refreshing sea air. It will be hard to say goodbye again.