Went to Ireland and came back. 1. Heinrich Boll was not wrong. 2. Max Weber wasn't right--at least about Ireland.

1. Two bus rides on Dublin city buses: drivers pretty casual about collecting fares (but turned down IOUs). Very good on directions.

2. The West of Ireland is beautiful and green; Dublin has a lot of NYC, a lot of tourists, very multicultural appearing (Thai, Polish, Italian, Lebanese). Food (fish) great in the West. Pub food just okay. Dublin: Best meals, Italian and Lebanese; a lot of traffic. In general motor traffic rules Dublin. Pedestrians are given short-shrift (an influx of interpid pedestrians from Istanbul and NYC needed).

3. Hardly any smoking, even in public. And no one wanders down the street looking at their I-phone.

4. Have been reading  recommendations from previous post. Kevin Berry, Beatlebone (Irene Baldwin and Jean Raber). If it's magic realism, it's missing the Latin American fantasy, though there's a lot of surrealism. Does anyone think that it's a bio Berry tried to write and failed at. Sean O'Faolain, The Irish: A Character Study (Joseph O'Leary). Out of print, but expecting a copy from alibris any day now.

5. Irish are very friendly. Will strike up a conversation, but aren't garrulous.

6. Irish press and people I talked to: Opposed to Brexit!! Big time. May be overly optimistic about financial companies moving to English-speaking Ireland. Also overly optimistic about the North joining the Republic in order to stay in the EU. Ireland looks forward to its coming role as the major English-speaking country in the EU (with Malta as its junior partner).

Glad we went. More to come.


Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

Also by this author

Please email comments to [email protected] and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

© 2024 Commonweal Magazine. All rights reserved. Design by Point Five. Site by Deck Fifty.