Because Summer Time ended last weekend in Ireland and the UK, but does not end until this weekend here in the US, we are now in a week when the time difference between Boston and Ireland 4 hours, not the usual 5 hours. This can result in all sorts of confusion. It also means that the time difference from Boston to Ireland is only one hour more than the time difference from Boston to California. It makes Ireland feel more like the 51st state than ever.
Snow is not quite general over Ireland today, but there was a lot of snow in border areas last night. In Boston, the forecast light snow (mixed with rain) last night didn't materialize, and today began clear and dry. I'm sure Boston will make up the snow deficit over the next few months, but right now Ireland leads Boston in the snow stakes.
On a recent Aer Lingus flight I took, some unexpected turbulence causes a stewardess to explain "Jesus!". Then later on the same flight, coming into the gate in sleepy dark Dublin at 5am, another stewardess announces "Grá Dé orainn go léir" [God's love on all of you].
As Des Bishop pointed out in his hilarious series "In the Name of the Fada" (where the native New Yorker learns Irish), it's impossible to converse in Irish without bringing God into it. At school I learned that Hello is "Dia duit" (God be with you), with the response "Dia is Muire duit" (God and Mary be with you).
So it is on Aer Lingus. Something comforting about that.
Ever wonder how cranberries are harvested? No? Well, even so, you can find out at the National Cranberry Festival which I visited today at Edaville. Edaville is located near Carver on the way down to Cape Cod from Boston.
Wisely, the festival does not focus on the cranberry harvesting itself (which involves guys wading into water holding some kind of water-rake thing). Instead, there is a two mile long narrow gauge railway, many amusement rides, and a ball pit for kids. Today there was also a display of Irish dancing and trained dogs (not together, though). The narration on the train tells the story of the founder of Edaville, how he built up the train line and developed the impressive Christmas festivities there as a New England institution.
Here is a bunch of cranberries about to be harvested, then to be taken to the nearby Ocean Spray plant:
These one year visas are a great opportunity to work in a different country, and gain experience of living abroad. I did this myself 15 years ago, and I recommend that Irish and American (and indeed Irish-American) people out there do the same.
"To befriend an Irish person is a different story. Coming from my culture, where you say what you think, it was a mighty challenge to understand what was really said in a conversation. Freud was right in claiming it was impossible to psychoanalyze the Irish. That barrier of polite, yet distant, friendliness seemed impregnable. To my delight, I found out that it was actually soluble in alcohol."
Yes, alcohol is the key. Psychoanalysis is one of those foreign concepts which I feel never made sense in Ireland (like communism, or the practice of taking uneaten food home from restaurants). As an Irish person, I think "if I don't tell my closest friends how I feel, why would I tell a psychoanalyst?".
On another note, it is good to hear that people coming to Ireland for work feel welcome:
"In Ireland, I felt welcome. Was this because Ireland never adopted the mentality of an imperialist country? Because Irish people knew best what it meant to look for work abroad? Or more pragmatically, that the economy boomed and migrant labour was now welcome?"
Personally, I think that Aer Lingus is being dragged down by unnecessarily engaging in head-to-head competition with Ryanair. For example, I recently flew return from London to Dublin for zero ticket cost, paying only taxes and baggage costs. This is a bit ridiculous, and I would have happily paid a reasonably fare for the flights. I don't see why Aer Lingus has to match all of Ryanair's low-cost or zero-cost flights. They could charge a bit more and I certainly would still always choose Aer Lingus over Ryanair.
According to the article, Aer Lingus is also following a recent trend I've noticed in Europe: moving jobs to the US where salaries are cheaper because of the weak dollar. But this removes one of the reasons I choose Aer Lingus: the Irish flight crew.
Irish language books for children are a lot more common than when I was a kid in Ireland, as this photo shows. Hodges Figgis has a great selection, on Dawson Street in Dublin. I photographed these books in Dublin Airport.