A Little Bit of Ireland

Ya Gotta Luv the Irish Sense of Humor & Insight!

Having a Russian spy ship sit off the coast of Ireland barely into International Waters coupled with the horrifying events in Ukraine prompted the following question, answer and image at Quorum. Note that 80kms per hour equals 50mph. The Irish ‘road’ you are looking at is one lane to serve both directions which means that some precision has to be applied to pass a car coming at you which means looking for same wider areas or entries into driveways or fields to pull over and make room for an approaching car.

Irish roads are named with a capital letter followed by the route’s number. The letters fall into the following categories:

M= Motorway

N = National Road

R = Rural Road

L = Local Road

The digits that follow the letter designate the name of the road but, interestingly, R’s and the more L’s preceding the digits and the more digits following the R or the L are your warning that you are about to enter a one lane dirt road which may be nothing more than two muddy tracks, separated by a grassy strip, created by the tires of prior vehicles including cars, trucks and tractors. You may see roads designated as “RRRRR” and “LLLLL” followed by as many as 5 digits which is a strong warning that, even when your GPS system indicates this is the shortest route to your destination, unless your destination in ON THIS ROAD, this should NOT be the road you take to go anywhere! Sometimes, even often, Motorways and National Roads are the longer but more efficient route to your destination and the last thing you want to do is get stuck, break down or have a flat tire while drive on a multiple-L or multiple-R road!

This is the photo posted at Quorum aimed to present a message to any Russians who might come ashore with intentions of overrunning Ireland! Enjoy!

Premise: Your country is forced to choose a new capital, the previous one has been destroyed. Which city would you choose and why?

Here is Bill Matthews answer:

Ireland here, and if the question is inspired by recent events, then with invading Russian convoys in mind, I would probably relocate the capital where the roads and signs look like this…

A good guess is that the above road probably has 4 or 5 Ls and 4 to 5 digits as its name!

A sign indicating 80kmp (80 kilometers per hour) is equal to 50mph (miles per hour) and, if you want to return your rental car in good shape with the axle unbent, obeying this prank sign is probably not a good idea! But it does make for good advice to an invader!

Here are some photos taken during many of Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams trips to Ireland showing R and L road markers and roads so you have plenty of time to determine what roads you might want to avoid!

You’ll find a sign in this slideshow the displays the N17. You can pick up the N17 in Co. Mayo. Also pick up, more easily at one of the music shops in Galway Town or on one of the approach roads to Galway Town Centre, a CD of the Saw Doctors songs that includes the song, “I Wish I Were on the N17,” or order it before you leave home or download it onto one of your digital gizmos so you can do what I do:

Put the “N17” song on (slide it into the CD player in your rental car or pull it up on your iPad or other gizmo, open your car window, stick your head out of the window and sing along as you drive through Mayo on the N17: “I wish I were on the N17: stone walls and the grass is green!” It’s all very liberating and no on in Ireland will care or be bothered by your antics but you may get a few strange looks from the sheep along the route!

An “R” road generally has 3 digits after the letter and those roads can easily be described as “country roads.” Too often, they have speed limits of 100km per hour which translates to 62.5 mph. . . far too fast for my likes and the biggest danger is going at a speed that you can’t stop quickly enough when you come around a bend and suddenly see a tractor going 10mph or less that you can’t avoid hitting! But “L” roads are generally dirt or gravel or just mud after one of Ireland’s frequent rains. . .charming, scenic adventures but you may regret taking an L road, especially one that incorporates 5 digits into its name like the sign above.

Jason Patrick’s Answer to Quorum.com’s Questions: What Makes Irish People Roll their Eyes Spurs Dialogue with Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams

January 20, 2022

I was curious to read Jason Patrick’s answer to a question at Quorum.com that asked for and irish Person’s response to what things people ask or say or do that makes Irish people roll their eyes at the very thought! How could I not read his answer!?! And, while I enjoyed, giggled, snickered, and cringed at his insights and remarks, when I was done reading his reply I really couldn’t move along without adding my “two cents!”

A few days afer my reply to Jason and to the original question itself, Jason published this response to me regarding my “two cents worth” commentary:

“Well I have to say that your response is nothing short of perfect, amazing, fantastic, just all the great words you can think of to explain what you just wrote.

I was extremely impressed while reading it that I had to read it twice.

Well done, and thanks for sharing such a detailed answer.”

Below you’ll find “my 2 cents worth” followed by Jason Patrick’s remarks that started this diaglogue. I hope you enjoy my comments as much as Jason did and I do hope you’ll read and appreciate his remarks as well! Let’s get started. . .

Stephanie Abrams

 · January 10, 2022

Ah, me! Where to start??

Let’s start by explaining Americans. Americans only become American when they leave the US. Until then, when anyone asks, “What is your nationality?” a typical American will revert to the nationality of their ancestors, even if their family has been in America for more than 100 years. The exception is those whose family arrived on the Mayflower or in the 1600s who will tell people they are American. Everyone else tends to say that they are Italian, Polish, German, Irish or they are from somewhere else on the globe even if they don’t speak the language of their ancestors nor have ever even stepped onto the land of their forefathers.

It’s only when people who were born and raised in the US, whose parents. grandparents or maybe even great-grands may have been born and raised in the US, arrive outside of our borders that they become American and they become American by surprise in a conversation with a native of a foreign land that goes like this when the person in the land foreign to America asks:

What is your nationality?”

I’m (name the nationality including Irish).

Where in Ireland (or wherever) were you born?

Oh, I wasn’t born in Ireland (or wherever).

Do you speak Irish? (italian, German, Polish, Spanish, etc)

Well, how long have you lived in Ireland l(or wherever)?

Oh, I’ve never lived in Ireland.

Well, how many times has you visited Ireland?

NOTE: If this question is asked by someone while in the US or in any country other than the one of the nationality mentioned the answer is generally, “I’ve never visited Ireland, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, Russia”. . .name the place! But if the conversation takes place in the nation considered the nationality of the person, this is what ensues:

Oh, this is my first trip.

So where were you born?

In . . . (name the US state).

Ah! So you’re American!

It’s only when an American leaves the US that his/her nationality becomes American and it’s a great shock to most Americans that, while they identify with the homeland of their ancestors, they really are not the nationality of those who came before them.

When it comes to the Irish personality, Irish psyche, Irish sense of humor, Irish culture, regrettably, the further from the Irish-Irish who arrived in America the descendent gets, the more uniquely American and the less Irish the individuals who carry Irish last names get. I am American and I’ve invested a good deal of time traveling about Ireland and getting to know Irish people and the destination in a uniquely intense way. Would that Americans of Irish descent, especially those who have NEVER visited Ireland but boast of their Irish connections, would get their backfield in motion and spend some time exploring the island that is Ireland. And would that they would bring home with them the compassion, curiosity related to getting to know others, especially others of differing backgrounds, the passion for everything they do, the focus on creative arts of every form, the humor in dealing with impossibile situations, the pride in creating excellence in all endeavors and the humanity shown to others from the simplest moments in daily living to the most extreme situations.

We have so many US politicians with Irish last names who have absolutely no connection to the values of their Irish roots. If those folks had the sensibilities of their Irish ancestors, their voting records would reflect a very different level of caring and commitment to the people they represent and the ideals of the people from whom they are descended.

To be Irish is much more than having some ancestors and a particular last name. It pains me when an American who has never been to Ireland boasts of being Irish and doesn’t exude one characteristic of the Irish that daily flows reflexively from the pores of those who are truly Irish. This is the reason that people returning from Ireland comment on how “nice” the people are. “Nice” doesn’t begin to cover the ground. Their warmth and generosity are seemingly boundless and anyone who has visited returns home, wherever that is, with a volume of tales to tell of how people, total strangers, went out of their way with small-to-grand acts of kindness and generosity.

So if you are living off of the tales told by your granny or someone who visited Ireland in the 1980s or earlier, know that that’s an out-of-date story you’re being told about Ireland related to living conditions, especially in the west of Ireland, and such things as food! You really don’t need a guide book to find out where to get a good meal in Ireland since around 1995 when the culinary explosion happened in Ireland which raised the quality of food preparation to rival that of places like New York, Chicago, and every city and town in France! From pubs to bistros and 5-star hotels in Ireland, a fine meal is almost a guarantee!

On this wee island of 32 counties in Ireland, my husband and I have driven over 70,000 MILES (not kilometers) exploring almost every nook and cranny and I can’t say we’ve actually seen it all yet! So if you’ve been to Ireland a time or two or a week or two each time, don’t think you have “seen the place, been there and done it” as I’m here to tell you that you have missed far too much. And most of all, in a trip or two for a week or two each time, which is average for those Americans who have been to Ireland, you have surely missed out on connecting with the large portion of Ireland greatest treasure. . . and that’s the people! Most Americans judge their journey by how many shops they got into, how many museums and exhibits they have been through, how many natural landmarks they have photographed. Many will tell you that they have lots of friends and they don’t need to go places to meet people. They go places to see and do things . . .to have experiences. If that’s the case, you haven’t experienced any destination that is like the experience of meeting the real Irish, not the Irish 3 or 4 or 5 or more generations removed from Ireland. For the American accustomed to having a checklist of Must Visit places on their travel To Do list, it’s a learning experience to realize they invested more time chatting with locals than they did at tourism venues and they actually came away with the most interesting, informative and entertaining time that happened serendipitously over lunch or dinner in a pub or breakfast at their hotel or B&B.

My unique education about Ireland is the result of visiting and touring historic and spiritual sites in Ireland, reading pamphlets, booklets, stories and books about Ireland, its people and its history, ­­meeting people, mostly in tourism but in every walk of life from farmers to creative people to industrialists to politicians and musicians, all of whom have provided me with sound insights to what makes the Irish who they are today which I sum up as: resilient, persistent, persevering, creative, optimistic, imbued with wit, charm, compassion, creativity and passion for everything they do with focus on excellence all wrapped up with an abundance of humor and an abiding faith. Among those who have provided me with information, insights and thought-provoking questions and scenarios are those I hope, if you are unfamiliar with them, you will Google to see where my knowledge and, as a result of evaluation and analysis, my opinions come from. As one of my grad school professors, Dr. Marc Belth, said often, paraphrased here: “You are not entitled to an opinion just because you were born. You are only entitled to an opinion after you have done your research, analyzed and evaluated that research and then drawn logical conclusions from that process.”

So I offer you my sources from whom I learned so much and to whom I will be eternally grateful for their time and interest in me and my audiences on radio, online and on TV:

John Hume (18 January 1937 – 3 August 2020): 1998 Nobel Peace Prize Winner: Credited for his role in crafting the Good Friday Agreement designed to bring about a peaceful solution to The Troubles in Northern Ireland. I am so grateful to his good friend, Patsy O’Kane, a leader in tourism in Derry, Northern Ireland, for her introduction to John with whom I spent visits intended to last 60-90 minutes that ran 7 to 8 hours in length and into the wee hours of the next morning!

Jimmy Deenihan: Jimmy has served as Minister of Irish Government in three different ministerial departments, and first as a TD for North Kerry/West Limerick. He first became well known as a heroic athlete having distinguished himself in the sports of Irish Football and Rugby. We met because of his incredible accomplishments related to tourism in Ireland, having served as Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport. You will find many interviews with Jimmy at Radio Show and TV Travel Expert Stephanie AbramsTravel Info Designed to Enrich, Enhance, Inspire and Uplift. in our archived audio of broadcast radio shows and in Episode 21 of Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams where we attended the 100th Anniversary of celebrating Marconi sending the first radio waves from Ballybunion, County Kerry to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. You’ll also visit the Lartigue Monorail & Train Museum that Jimmy spearheaded establishing and you’ll find information on the Kerry Writers’ Museum, both in Listowel, Co. Kerry, that was the result of Jimmy’s vision and support. That museum is a tribute to five Kerry writers, one of which, John B. Keane, was responsible for Jimmy entering politics.

Eamon O’Cuiv: Grandson of Eamon De Valera who was Past President of the Republic of Ireland and activist instrumental in the creation of the Republic of Ireland. Since 1992, O’Cuiv has been a TD, Irish equivalent of member of Congress, representing West Galway, which includes Connemara, and parts of County Mayo. Irish history and Irish government is in the DNA of Eamon O’Cuiv. It has been a privilege to know him. He has always been super-responsive to my outreaches, always responding literally within hours of my telephone call, text message or email. To my questions related to what is going on in Ireland today and historically and generously offering his time to speak on radio with my audience.

Derek Warfield: Having been a founder of The Wolfe Tones in the late 1960’s, Derek departed from that group at the turn of the 21st century and founded The Young Wolfe Tones. He has composed and recorded over 60 songs, among them, one of my favorites: “Some Say the Devil is Dead.” Derek is an historian and musicologist who has recorded albums/CDs focused on the impact of Irish music on Irish history and American history including songs related to the American Revolution, known to the Brits as the Colonial Uprising, and the American Civil War since the Irish and Irish music have had great influence on.

Mark Leslie: A member of the Leslie family whose complex history has woven the family into vast areas of European and US history, Mark, who is first-cousin-once-removed of Winston Churchill, his father, Desmond Leslie, being Winston’s first cousin, has encyclopedic knowledge of insider information that is next to impossible, if not impossible, to find out about! I met Mark as a result of my husband and I choosing Castle Leslie, in County Monaghan, Ireland as the venue for the wedding of one of our children and, happily, the family adopted us and we’ve been friends for almost 2 decades. He is a guest on Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams so often many regard him as “a regular,” and that’s because his visits always bring insights into Irish history as well as world history in the most delightful and entertaining way. I’ve been encouraging Mark to write all of his unique insights into yet another book about the Leslie family and their impact on the world. That would fit nicely into book shelves at Castle Leslie as so aptly described in the 1700s by Jonathan Swift who said,

“Here I am in Castle Leslie

Rows of books upon the shelves

Written by the Leslies

All about themselves.”

Add to all of the above the hundreds and hundreds of people like Martin Martin Walsh and his wife, Nora, who created the Connemara Heritage Centre in Co. Galway, Dr. Tim Campbell, director of the Saint Patrick Centre, in Co. Down and Neville McConachie from Giant’s Causeway, in Northern Ireland, as well as hoteliers and overseers of attractions and the thousands of hours I have invested with thousands of people on the island that is Ireland being debriefed with massive downloads of their unique knowledge about music, art, dance, literature, science, and life, in general, that have given me great insights in the most real and memorable way into what Ireland has to offer the individual and what makes Irish people unique and very special. When people have negative comments to present about Ireland, they generally have no clue what they are talking about. My prescription, from “ Travel-Dr. Stephanie Abrams,” is to “Take two trips to Ireland and call me in the morning!” Clearly, what is needed is a strong dose of Ireland to correct the negative symptoms!

And now for Jason Patrick’s “Eye Rolling” Triggers!

Jason Patrick

Updated Dec 19, 2021

Meeting Americans and they say, my grandad was Irish, and then how they are 1/4 Irish and then a full story about them and how they are Irish. 🙄. You are American, with Irish grandparents or great grandparents, doesn’t make you Irish, It makes you Irish American, BUT, we are not taking away the fact that you have an Irish background, we just want you to understand that the Irish culture separates you from being an Irish person from Ireland.

Don’t be deflated or offended if an Irish person explains this to you. We are not saying you are not Irish at all, we are just trying to tell you that you are not from Ireland itself and fully Irish. You are Irish American.

Believing Ireland is still a backwards country and hasn’t yet joined the modern world. 🙄

Thinking that everybody that goes into an Irish pub is bound to see a fight. Well, there is a dedicated fighing area out the back and a bucket of petrol to soak your knuckles in, the flaming fists are very popular these days. 😏

Irish people are racist: Yes, yes we are, but only to ourselves, anybody outside our 5KM radius is a foreigner and we don’t like them, doesn’t matter who you are, you leave our village and you are banished for life, outsider you are now, don’t even attempt coming back for a sneaky pint in the local pub. Examples, North Dublin and south Dublin, Dublin 4 and Dublin 12, Dublin 6W and Dublin 6, glasnevin finglas and finglas, that’s a funny one, one produced Bono, the other Aslan. Perfect example of privileged life. Crumlin and driminagh. Then you have the counties, cork and Dublin, Kerry and cork, galway and Dublin, limerick and Longford, limerick and Dublin, Dublin and Dublin, cork and cork, it’s endless.. small country and so many rivalries but it’s also funny but sometime it’s not, but it always is.. make sense? If not then that’s ok, just don’t ask me about it, I don’t like foreign questions. 🤗😃

You’re Irish? Say 33 and a third. Common English question. 🙄 I ask them to say “Alpha Kenny body” fast or tell them my name is fin, yep, fin germiass is my name.

People saying Don a gul. 🙄 it’s Donegal, done e Gaul. Say it fast.

Do Irish people really hate the English? Or just someone jumping straight into a story about how they also hate the English before even knowing what we think, like they are someow on our side by saying this. 🙄

Irish people get on with their lives, we are more concerned about our families and life in general so the answer is no, we don’t hate them, we hate everybody, especially you reading this, we love you really and want you to smile, yeah you, look at you, smiling at your computer or phone right now, looking stupid, you wet brain 😂 ♥️♥️♥️

Americans saying higherland 🙄 it’s Ireland. I. R. land. Say it fast, otherwise it sounds weird hearing higherland, or at least some Americans say it that way.. but in saying that, some Irish, particularly northern Irish people say IRRRRRELAND 😂

When asked to Say potatoes.. 🙄

When people (mainly northern Irish politicians and people) refer to the government as the Dublin government.. 🙄 it’s the Irish government.. Ireland doesn’t consist of just one county, well it does, but don’t tell cork or galway, they are far too jealous for their own good and way outside our 5KM zone.

Oh your from Dublin, do you know a guy by the name of james, has red hair and a patch on his eye, he moved there a few years ago? 🙄 we don’t bloody know everybody, people think we must have about a few thousand people living together in a small village or in one area and just know everybody that exists here. Problem is, I do bloody know james with the red hair and patch on his eye.😂.

Do you ever see leprechauns in Ireland? 🙄

Isn’t Ireland part of the UK! this one is quite frustrating and can actually get a bad reaction with the wrong person, so make sure you read up on what not to ask an Irish person and what not to say. The answer is The REPUBLIC OF IRELAND is not part of the UK.. you know what REPUBLIC means right? It’s not called the REPUBLIC Of THE UK. It’s a sovereign country and has its own independence and as such is part of the EU where the UK isn’t anymore.. shame. I don’t have the finger of shame emoji, so just picture me shaming them.. PICTURE IT!! Bet your smiling again and still reading this answer.. ,🙄🙄 😘

Irish people love drink and especially whiskey and are alcoholics 🙄 common misconception, we are raging alcoholics, there is a huge difference.. we don’t know most of the time though because we forget we are alcoholics because we drink to forget and forget to drink, I mean…. What’s the question again?

Irish people are naturally red heads. That comes form the Nordic states when Vikings Norsemen and Danes invaded and brought with them the quite extensive red head Gene that was prominent in their society and they settled here, some say the Celts brought it with them or that the Irish just have it, people were settled in Ireland long before the Celts or vikings/Norsemen came and the Irish had blonde hair and blue eyes mainly.

Ireland is a poor country, 🙄 no we are not, how dare you say such a thing, we are extremely greedy.. we still have our communion money, we also pick Penneys up off the ground and say lucky Penney, but really it’s just an excuse to pick up Penneys because we are so tight, Im joking, we share our money, ever get hit with a sock full of Penneys? Well that’s us sharing our money.

Irish people are always fighting drunk and that’s where they get the name the fighting Irish 🙄 NO! Fighting Irish comes from the Irish when they were fighting with armies around the world, for example when they were in the British army or even during WW1 and 2, they got this name because they had no fear, and would charge straight into battle guns blazing. That’s where the name comes from. Of course, it has been changed over time to suit other people’s stories and ideas, but the original one comes from their bravery and just madness in battle. And the name has existed long before WW1

Ireland has a shit army. 🙄 we have a fantastic special forces that’s held in high regard around the world and one of the best trained, our army is small but effective when it needs to be. It doesn’t have projection power but it has enough to qualify as a defence force for Ireland, we don’t have enemies, so what we have in firepower is sufficient, we are armed quite well with potatoe guns and some rare cap guns with the paper strips that go bang. But in fairness we do have some nice modern weaponry for anti tank warfare (javelins) and anti air (RBS 70s) we also have 105mm howitzers and 120mm mortars and more..

Do Irish people still drive around on horse and carts? 🙄 no we use magic carpets now.

Irish people are all farmers 🙄 some of the best educated people in the world come from Ireland including farmers because of our amazing education system and how we can get free education unlike countries like America etc where you pay thousands and put yourself in debt for years to come just to get an education. One of the reasons google and apple are here, because we have an endless supply of qualifed people leaving college every year.

People trying to speak with an Irish accent, 🙄 stop trying the pitiful hollywood attempt at it, we don’t all speak like that or even have that accent here really, it’s Hollywood’s attempt and not actually ours, they seem to have mixed accents together to create one dreadful one. 🙄

Top o the morning To ya, 🙄 nobody says that in Ireland except people outside Ireland who think we do and attempt to say it to us in the hopes that we will be impressed.. piss off! That saying originated in England and never was once used in Ireland. 🙄

People who think Ireland is at war with the UK and the IRA are still active and bombing everything. 🙄

People who think in Ireland there is a pot of leprechaun gold at the end of every rainbow, 🙄 falls under the whole leprechaun one I suppose from earlier, But the gold is ours, so don’t ask, we don’t want some wet behind the ears person taking our leprechaun gold.

Irish women are ugly, 🙄 my wife is beautiful thank you very much.

Ireland has cars and airplanes and roads? We thought Ireland was just a lot of green fields and pubs and tractors with hardly any people in it. 🙄

Do Irish people only eat potatoes? 🙄 no we don’t and in fact the potatoes came from south America originally so stop referring to them as Irish or that it’s all we eat. We do have some of the best beef in the world you know, lovely with potatoes 😜

🙄 at pretty much everybody outside Ireland who think they know something about us, because most times it is just wrong information that they hear on TV or believe in because they heard about it from a person who knows a person who’s dad was Irish and had a drink with him and he revealed all of Irelands history in one sitting.

This answer is meant to be humorous and not offensive.(even though the things I’ve said actually do happen) and if you get offended then you obviously don’t know Irish people and have a lot to learn or if you think you are a % Irish and find this offensive then you are not Irish at all by whatever % you may think. In Ireland if we slag you, we like you, so saying any of the stuff above will probably get a reaction but, let’s hope if you are Irish even in part, you won’t actually have to ask or say any of that stuff.. And the test begins.

A Look Back at The National Famine Museum in Preparation for Looking Forward with the General Manager, John O’Driscoll, in February 2022. . .

It’s almost exactly a decade since last I interviewed John O’Driscoll. He was then, as he is now, the head honcho at The National Famine Museum in Strokestown Park, County Roscommon, Ireland. The more I have learned about the era of the famine in Ireland, the more I have been convinced that “famine” is a misnomer.” If there was no food in Ireland, everyone in Ireland would have starved. But, regrettably, those who were suffering were, for the most part, located in a particular region in the westward areas of Ireland. And even in those areas there were those who were feasting while others were withering away and dying. Just check into the history of Delphi Lodge in Connemara, which is about as west as you’re going to get, generally speaking, in Ireland and was the hunting and fishing lodge of the Marquis of Sligo. While he was eating “high on the hog,” you’ll want to know more about the “Famine Walk” that is a distinctive part of this marvelous place to stay in County Galway. While it’s now a wonderfully comfortable, understated but super-pampering lodging that attracts A-list movie stars and those, like myself, who “know how to travel” and enjoy an authentic travel experience in memorable surroundings, the events of the ‘starvation’ are hauntingly present.

I thought it might be worth you time to have a listen to the 2012 interview that we did with John O’Driscoll so you’re in-the-know when you hear the new interviewed broadcast on radio, archived and podcast at sabrams.net as well as podcast at your favorite podcaster, a link to which is, more than likely, posted in our PODCAST section at this site. You’ll be in a better position to appreciate all that is new at The National Famine Museum when we broadcast and publish the new interview in February having gotten a good foundation from our chat with John O’Driscoll . . .who, by the way, is a honey-bear! You’re in for a treat, even with this heart-wrenching subject matter!

Stephanie Abrams Interviews John O’Driscoll, General Manager, The National Famine Museum, Strokestown Park, Co. Roscommon, Ireland

Some Thoughts on Ireland at Year’s End. . .

I couldn’t stop myself from replying to a some commentary at the website Quora.com about the people of Ireland and their relationship with the British over centuries. I just couldn’t let the remarks of the writer, Tommy Hutton, go by without a reponse. Shortly after publishing my response which you will find below, Tommy Hutton posted a reply to my response to his comments. Excerpts of his reply are posted first. You can find his response in its entirety at Quora.com. Following his comments you’ll find my remarks that he was reacting to. I wondered if my commentary would bring out “the crazies” which happens all too often in discussions of controversial issues but I just couldn’t let his remarks slide by without an infusion of “Stephanie Abrams aka Herself the Elf aka Elfie aka Malachy McLaughlin Leprechaun. . .my personna from the 1700s!

Response from Tommy Hutton posted at Quora.com on December 31, 2021:

Tommy Hutton

Wow! That was a most thoughtful and enlightening piece Stephanie, and I sincerely thank you for it. It is like a worthy hymn to Ireland and the Irish, so you must be commended for it. . .

Anyway, a big thank you again, and I sincerely hope a great deal of people get to read your tribute to Ireland. . .

. . . Take care Stephanie, and I hope we’ll hear more from you.”

. . .and here is what I wrote that Tommy Hutton was responding to. . .

The questions at Quora were:

“Did the Irish feel British by 1900? Was Dublin more unionist than parts of Ulster? How did the people. React to the Easter Rising? Did Ireland finally feel like an integral part of the UK? Or still simply a colony of Britain?”

And here’s my answer that Tommy replied to:

I have found the Irish, those born, raised and living in Ireland, to be very welcoming to strangers. . and those of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. In Frederick Douglass’ writings, he comments on his visit to meet his penpal, Daniel O’Connell who was doing for the Irish what Douglass was doing for American slaves, and Douglass comments that when he arrived in Ireland, around 1840, it was the first time he felt he was treated as a man, and not as a black man. The Irish have shown enormous generosity and welcoming to eastern Europeans from Poland, Romania, Croatia and other countries that are part of the EU who moved to Ireland to work, learn English, and often married local people and assimilated into Irish culture. Most of Europe. . .and most of American regions. . .have not been so welcoming to ‘the stranger,’ much of which I believe grows out of the Cead Mile Failte that is part of the Irish DNA. For insights into the Easter Rising and the overflow of reaction to the massacre by the Brits that should never have taken place that many living today can still retell the stories of their surviving relatives so the emotions around that period are still vivid in the minds of so many, one should see the Liam Neeson/Alan Rickman film called, “Michael Collins.”

Neeson plays the title role and Alan Rickman plays Eamon DeValera. It is very well done. On your next trip to Dublin, be sure to visit Glasnevein Cemetery in Dublin which you can reach by public transportation if you don’t have a car available to you. There is a wonderful exhibit centre there that tells the story of this unique cemetery instituted by Daniel O’Connell so that Catholics could get properly buried without the penalty of the British death tax on Catholics that made it often impossible for Irish families to bury their dead. Over 80 different religious backgrounds, as well as famous Irish writers, actors, creative people of all backgrounds and politicians of every persuasion are buried there including Michael Collins, Eamon DeValera and Daniel O’Connell.

You’ll find in the visitors centre graphic images and info about the friendship of African-American Frederick Douglass and Daniel O’Connell. This marvelous exhibit was created and installed under the supervision of my very close friend, Mark Leslie who is a member of the family that owns Castle Leslie in Co. Monaghan. You’ll find many interviews archived at s. and podcast at every major podcaster with fascinating insights into Irish history that he and his company, Martello Media, immortalized in exhibits not only in Ireland but around the world. My friends, including the composer/musician/musicologist/historian Derek Warfield, of Derek Warfield and the Young WolfeTones, has invested a lifetime in telling Irish history through his books and song that convey the history of Ireland that, under British rule, was not allowed to be written or taught with teachers who tried being subject to execution! Those who went to school in Northern Ireland learned all about British history and not an iota about Irish history and that was going on even in the 20th century that my Catholic Northern Irish friends experienced.

But history has always been a matter of who is writing it so be careful to listen to more than one source to find your way to what is true and what is popularly believed. For another film that is very difficult to watch on the period of the Troubles, try “The Wind that Shakes the Barley.” I couldn’t get more than 20 minutes into it but hope to watch the rest one of these days. Just as you’re learning to love and identify with the characters, the British soldiers act a lot like the footage you’ve seen of Nazis invading eastern European cities. You can also visit the General Post Office exhibit about the Eastern Rising, also created by Mark Leslie and Martello Media, where you’ll get the full story of that awful event and you can still put your fingers in the holes in the stone columns and front of the GPO which is riddled with holes made by gun fire of the Brits that day killing, not only the Irish Republican Army (IRA) soldiers trapped in an Alamo-like situation, women, children, babies in prams, civilians at every turn.

I have no Irish blood but one cannot ignore how shamefully the Brits treated the Irish during their 800 years of occupation. Derek Warfield has said to me that the Brits abandoned slavery 14 years before the Americans because they didn’t need slaves anymore as they had the Irish. And not only did they have the people but they also had the natural resources, using the island that is Ireland as their personal lumber yard in order to protect the trees in Britain which explains, in many parts of Ireland, how sparsely treed Ireland is. And on that note, the “famine” was actually the “starvation” as there was plenty of food in Ireland, including the 60,000 tons of potatoes being shipped from Cork for UK usage while people in western Ireland were literally starving. . . one would say that if you don’t or can’t get emotional about all of the above there must be a rock where a human heart should be lodged! The Brits were shameful but Ireland was not the only beneficiary of their malfeasance. . . Look at the mess they created in India and Pakistan, in South Africa and Botswana, in Palestine, . . .America only escaped because of the century and distance from Britain and Napoleon being a more important target for Britain’s resources but we did inherit, found among so many in the US, their elitist mentality of who is superior to whom. Read from many sources and learn before just accepting the commonly distributed rhetoric which is so often far from the realities of the past and present.

Special thanks to Tommy Hutton for his words of praise! Happy New Year, Tommy, and warm wishes for a wonderful 2022 to everyone!

December 17, 2021:

Taoiseach of Ireland Announces 8pm Curfew and Closing Time of Pubs and Bars Due to New Covid Outbreaks:

December 17, 2021 Update on Covid News in Northern Ireland:

September 19, 2021: Prince Albert of Monaco Visits Ireland with His Twins while Wife is in South Africa. . . Read on. . .

We checked into the K Club in County Kildare, Ireland, the first time we ever stayed there, in March, 2008, on the same day that Prince Albert of Monaco and all of the guests who were at the K Club for a week celebrating Albert’s 50th birthday had just left. the staff at the K Club was just amazing as they whisked through the hotel removing every trace of the weeklong party that had ensued there. Prince Albert had become great friends with the then-owner of the K-Club, Michael Smurfit, an Irish industrialist and super-successful entrepreneur for whom University College Dublin Smurfit Graduate Business School is named, as one of Smurfit’s homes is located in Monaco. ‘Tis a pity that Prince Albert’s beautiful Olympian swimmer-wife, South African Princess Charlene, has been in South Africa for some time now separated for reasons related to Princess Charlene’s philanthropic interests and the onset of a medical emergency which became the obstacle to the couple being together for their anniversary. Prince Albert took off for Dublin with the 2 children he and Princess Charlene share on the day after their anniversary. He’s no fool! While visitors to Ireland are given a ‘royal’ welcome, I suspect that the welcome of Prince Albert and his children was especially special!


Incredibly Talented Award-Winning  Soprano Aimee Banks to Perform Streaming Live Online with Free Tickets  from Town Hall Theatre Galway Ireland September  17, 2021 in the 2pm ET Time Slot

Go to Town Hall Theatre Galway Ireland and click to reserve your online FREE tickets to enjoy the September 17, 2021 performance of Ireland’s incredible 19 year old soprano, the amazingly talented Aimee Banks! M ark your calendar now and tune in online on Friday when it’s 2pm on the East Coast of the US and 7pm in Ireland for the 30 minute performance you won’t want to miss!

Here’s a little sample of Aimee’s amazing talent!

Newstalk.com, based in Ireland, Reports Researchers have documented what they believe to be the first known case of COVID reinfection in Ireland.

By Michael Staines

A study published in the Irish Medical Journal reports that a 40-year-old healthcare worker was diagnosed with the virus for the second time last November.

The woman was originally diagnosed with the virus seven months earlier. in April.

The study notes that her symptoms were milder and her recovery was faster the second time around.

While cases of COVID reinfection have been reported in a number of other countries, this study concerns the first documented case in Ireland.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has since recorded hundreds of others.

The woman first presented in April of last year with a fever, headache, shortness of breath, sore throat and reduced sense of taste.

She was confirmed with COVID-19 through PCR testing and, while she was never hospitalised, she was unfit for work for period of four weeks and suffered significant headaches and persistent fatigue lasting four months.

Seven months later she presented with a cough, headache, sore throat, fatigue and muscle pain. Her COVID-19 was again confirmed through PCR testing.

Her symptoms were milder and she was able to return to work after her two-week isolation period.

The authors note that the virus was not detected when the woman underwent a separate PCR test 15 days previously.

The authors note that COVID-19 reinfection is not well characterised and call for further study into the level of immunity conferred by both infection and vaccination.

While the researchers believe this to be the first documented case of reinfection in Ireland, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has since recorded hundreds of others.

Ryan Air’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, Reacts to Forced Landing of Plane and Removal of Journalist in Belarus. . .

Ya Gotta Love the Irish. . . Even their Police Force: The Dancing Garda!

Irish Government and Its Tourism Board, Failte Ireland, Educate & Motivate Residents on How to Help Control Covid-19 from Spreading with Public Service Announcements. . . Have a Listen. . .
In an effort to clamp down on the spread of Covid-19, the Irish government and Failte Ireland created and placed audio spots on Ireland’s radio stations. I listen to Newstalk.com, my favorite Irish radio station that I can listen to wherever I am in the world! Here are some examples of recent spots that have been running on Irish radio to educate and motivate Irish residents to take an active and positive role to help control and stamp out the spread of Covid-19. Have a quick listen! Ireland is currently in a serious lockdown for the month of January as casers have spiked in spite of efforts. Increasing numbers of cases in Ireland may well be attributed to Christmas and New Years gatherings that surpassed government suggestions and rules but visitors coming in from other parts of Europe have certainly played a role in creating the highest number of cases since spring of 2020! Have a quick listen to what Irish radio was sharing during the holiday period and watch this space for what is airing on Irish radio in 2021!
At the same time, Failte Ireland, the Irish tourism board, has been helping to prop up the tourism industry by promoting the buying of gift vouchers at Irish hotels and resorts to be used for gifts and self-gifting treats that one can plan for later, down the line, when circumstances present a more healthful and safer environment. Have a listen to the promotion by the Irish government and Failte Ireland:
We are lacking, in the US, a coordinated effort under the guidance of skilled leadership of people who understand the uniqueness of the trael industry. We have long needed a segment of the Department of Commerce to focus on the needs of hotels, resorts, attractions, and other suppliers in the travel industry to focus on growth and support of this unique industry that employs one out of every 9 people and adds dramatically to the ecoonomy of the us. We need a coordinated, well-designed, well implemented plan to support the travel industry nationally and to create a plan to roll out at the appropriate time a solid “Visit USA” program to rebuld the flow of international visitors to US destinations and to ptomote travel to our own population in a program like the one I implemented in 2020 that we call “Stay & Play USA” that focuses on techniques, destinations, and brands in the travel industry that travelers can have confidence in visiting where the health and safety of travelers and staff are of paramount concern. And having a consolidated US government effort behind such an effort would go a long way to gset the travel industry back on track. We cannot just sit by waiting for the pieces of this fractured puzzle to put themselves together!

You Can’t Talk About the Flying Boat WITHOUT Talking About the Foynes Flying Boat Museum in Limerick!

January 6, 2021

I like to listet to Newstalk Radio in Ireland even when I’m at home in the US where I listen online at Newstalk.com. The only problem I run into when listening that, when the subject turns to travel or travel-related issues, like just about every other station in the US and abroad that I follow there are errors of commission and of omission. So, today, minutes ago, I was listening to Sean Moncrief interviewing an American about the Flying Boat, an aircraft that had no wheels and had to land by splashing down in water. In the 1940s, any celebrity traveling from the US to Europe would have flown on the Flying Boat which was flown by Pan Am, BOAC, which became British Airways, and American Overseas Airways which became American Airlines.

The part that troubles me about this interview is that no focus was put on the Foynes Flying Boat Museum right there in Ireland in Limerick! My husband, our producer and our sound engineer were all present for the 70th anniversary of the first flying boat passengers arriving at Foynes, the place where Irish coffee was introduced by the airport’s bartender, Jim Sheridan, to warm up arriving passengers who may have gotten wet from rain and splashing sea while disembarking from the plane which was like a cruise shiop with wheels. The photos, above, give you insights into the on board experience of passengers who slept in sleeper berths and dined aboard during flights which averaged 16 hours or more between the US and Ireland. The photos were taken aboard the museum’s reproduction of a flying boat. You’ll find ‘air hostess costumes,’ flight manifest with names of celebrities included, photos, dishes and cutlery used aboard, a MovieTone News video showing actual arrivals of dignitaries into Limerick’s Foynes Airport, the precursor of Shannon Airport which is about 30 minute drive from Foynes.

I wish that mention of Foynes Flying Boat Museum had been included in the discussion of the flying boat on this Dublin-based radio station!

Ireland Locks Down for Next 30 Days in Efforts to Wipe Out Covid-19

December 30, 2020:

Members of the Lanesborough, Massachusetts Fire Department (in blue t-shirts celebraing the 250th anniversary of the town) enjoy life in a pub in Athlone, Co. West Meath, Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day in pre-Covid-19 days,, with residents of Lnaesborough, Co. Longford, Ireland. The twinning of the two towns was the result of efforts by Mark and Stephanie Abrams from Lanesborough, MA.

At stake within Ireland due to the newly imposed 30-day lock down, starting today, in hopes of wiping Covid-19 out are the lives of individuals in the region, the economy of every industry, the education of system and the lost learning opportunities of children, teens and university students and their teachers, the compromise quality of life in a society that revolves around gatherings in churches, pubs, school events, sporting events, art festivals, historic celebrations, dance gatherings, musical performances, literary celebrations and the casual ongoing get-togethers at pubs plus the loss of influx of tourists and travelers who visit Ireland in growing numbers most years. While other countries will suffer from the same losses because of the presence of Covid-19, the impact of such a shutdown in Ireland seems to me to have an even harsher impact. That may be because everything in Irish life is done with passion and infusion of enormous energy, whether the task at hand is one of business, work, play or leisuretime activity. It’s a natural part of Irish culture to live life to the fullest with verve and zeal and to, quite automatically, strive for excellence in every undertaking which is the reason that the traveler’s experience is filled with extraordinarily memorable experiences well beyond expectations of absorbing gorgeous landscapes and seascapes, being uplifted by spiritually sites, and interfacing with events and attractions that entertain and educate. But there’s the added bonus that the Irish psyche is threaded with a natural curiosity, even ‘nosiness,’ which may be the result of the isolation of living on an island, interest in the chance that perhaps the stranger is a long-lost relative returning to connect with family roots, someone who can provide of bit of entertainment in the life of an Irishman, or, driven by a strong sense of Good Samaritanism and the ingrained creed of “Cead Mile Failte,” a Hundred Thousand Welcomes, first infused into Irish life by the occupying Normans who threatened the Irish with execution for not welcoming the stranger. All of the above result in overwhelmingly memorable interactions with the Irish for travelers which are the stuff that heartfelt memories are made of. While travelers my go to destinations for beautiful beaches, marvelous museum, great food, and lots of fun, the visitor to Ireland gets all of the above PLUS the priceless addition of memories created with chance meetings with random Irish people; the kinds of memories that linger long after the specifics of the itinerary have melted away.

My favorite Irish radio talk/news station posted this story today about the lockdown. Hopefully, this diligent approach will help to save lives and eradicate Covid-19 from Ireland but reopening cannot, should not take place, if people from less diligent destinations will be allowed in to continue the downward spiral. Have a look at the story, below, posted by http://www.NewsTalk.com, for specifics on this lockdown and use this end of year down-time to plan your future trip to Ireland for a more healthful time. If nothing else, the process will be entertaining and give you something to look forward to, hopefully happening sooner rather than later!

From Newstalk.com, the website of one of my favorite Talk/News radio stations in Ireland:

Non-essential retailers are opening on Thursday for the final time before closing for at least one month.

It comes as the country has officially entered its third lockdown.

Household visits are no longer permitted after the measure came in to effect at midnight.

This excludes essential family reasons such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, or as part of a support bubble.

Meanwhile, school holidays have been extended until the second week of January.

The measures will end on January 31st, while Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Government will take a cautious approach to lifting them.

In a televised address to the nation on Wednesday, he said strict new measures were urgently needed as the spread of the virus had “surpassed the most pessimistic models available to us”.

He said the current situation “is extremely serious” with the case numbers expected to “deteriorate further over the coming days”.

Mr Martin added that since the arrival of the new strain of COVID-19 in Ireland, “now is not the time for nuance in our response”.

It was also announced that a ban on travel between Ireland and Britain has been extended until January 6th.

It comes as 1,718 new cases of coronavirus were detected in Ireland on Wednesday – the highest figure recorded since the start of the pandemic.

The estimated national 14-day incidence rate of the disease is now 272 – while Donegal and Monaghan have rates of more than 500 cases per 100,000.

There were 466 people with the disease in the country’s hospitals.

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