Monday, January 24, 2011

Observations about Ireland

Ireland is a beautiful country. It is filled with gentle slopes, beautiful landscapes, and breathtaking fields. There is a reason why there are so many famous Irish poets.

That being said, Ireland is a country that is rapidly becoming a multicultural hub. With this, there are growing tensions about the number of immigrants in the country. This has led to outbreaks of racism, discrimination, and violence. Marie and I felt the tension while we were there. It dissipated some when they found out that we were Americans (and planning to leave soon). I'm not saying this to discourage anyone from going, but it's a good idea to be aware of who you are and where you are.

Irish men can be very direct. This can be refreshing on a first date, but it's a little jarring when you're walking home at two o'clock in the morning. I also saw a large number of the "sensitive artist types" in Ireland, which I love. There is a vibrant art and cultural scene in the major cities and sometimes even in the countryside.

Go forth and find your Ireland.


  1. It is sad that some Irish have such attitudes towards immigration. Irish people have spent over 200 years emigrating to other countries in large numbers. Early on Irish immigrants faced a lot of discrimination when they arrived to the USA. There used to be store signs that said “No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs.” Now that their economy is doing well (up until recently) they don't want anyone coming to their country.

    What makes this anti-immigration attitude even more puzzling is that only 5% of Ireland’s population is non-white and around 10% of the population are foreign nationals (many of whom are white Eastern Europeans): Nationalities in Ireland

    All of these European countries that are losing the ish over immigration need to turn it down a notch. They still have relatively low (compared to the U.S. and Canada) immigrant populations. Stop complaining b/c your population has gone from 98% White down to 94% White.

  2. Just discovered your blog, keep up the good work. Always wanted to go to Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The men from these areas are never dull, and often quite handsome. I am aware of their economic and immigration issues and must admit it has delayed my travel plans there. I've had to make due with the Irish pubs in every Euro city I've travelled to. Will look into Scotland and Wales where things seem to be less volatile. Looking forward to living vicariously through your travels.

  3. There used to be store signs that said “No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs.”

    Its amazing that you mentioned this. I was having a discussion with a friend and I brought up this sign. Yes, Ireland is still strongly white, but there is certainly more brown faces than ever before. Dublin is very diverse and I found that the Irish with racist/xenophobic beliefs to be in the minority.

  4. Thanks Xai.
    Yes, go to whatever countries you want to go to! If I had stopped and truly thought about the racism in every country I have been to, I would have never left my city. I have been called the n-word twice and that was only in the great USA.

  5. The “No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs” signs were primarily in Britain. In the USA the signs used to read "Help Wanted - No Irish Need Apply."

    After reading your post I did some research and found that due to the poor economy, many young Irish are now trying to emigrate to Canada, Australia, UK, etc. for jobs. Hopefully, they will receive less discrimination than what been given to immigrants in Ireland.

    It is true that Dublin is much more diverse than other places in Ireland. Dublin’s foreign-born population is around 20%.

    I agree with your comment that we shouldn't let the fear of racism stop us from traveling.

  6. That is one of the countries on my list as well. The story about the guy creeping up on you-scary!

  7. @Lei

    Yeah, it was. But, it helped me not let my guard down (which can be hard when you're in a beautiful place).

  8. I found your blog through american black chick in europe. I love your blog. I have to say that I love Ireland. One of my most favorite places. I can say that when I was in Galway there were very few blacks and me and my husband (who is white) were stared at quite a bit. But in Dublin there were more black people in Dublin. Either way, I loved it and want to go back.

  9. @Anon,

    Thanks for the compliment. An interracial couple in Galway?! You are a very brave woman. I adore Ireland. It's one of the most beautiful countries I've ever been to. Hope you get a chance to go back soon.

  10. Hi, there. I found this blog through the American Black Chick in Europe blog. I just have to say that Ireland is my dream destination. I've had a fascination with the place for several years now. I think part of it stems from the fact that as a Jamaican, I realized that the Irish definitely left a stamp on Jamaica in terms of cultural influence. Anyway, I really want to travel there, someday. In terms of traveling in general, my goal is to become a certified EFL teacher so that I can teach English in other countries. I think that if I get a job doing that, I will also take the opportunity to travel to diffent places just for the pleasure of doing so.

    My younger sister is in college and she recently decided to teach English abroad, so she applid for and was accepted for a one year EFL teaching internship at a private school in France. She has taken that opportunity to travel to other places, such as Germany. I think she has caught the travel bug.

  11. @Anon

    Congratulations on having a goal. It helps, in the long run. The EFL route is popular for a reason. A paycheck, exposure to a foreign land, and opportunity to travel. Great! It's good that your sister is also exploring new lands. Good luck to both of you.

  12. I lived in Dublin for 4 months. It was insane! Great. The men were very....into African-American women. I should've been looking for a husband but that was a few years ago and my focus was elsewhere. Anyhoo, things may have changed due to the economy. I noticed a lot of African immigrants had moved there but they had their own businesses and were self-supporting. It was the Roma who were looked at with disdain for being a drain on resources. Whatever experiences AA women think they're going to have, they should know it will be vastly better than in the US as far as finally realizing how many men ADORE US EXACTLY AS WE ARE. It's the distorted lens of the black community and many black males that has been internalized that has negatively impacted us. I'll describe it this way: going abroad is like being treated like a "white girl" is here by your average black male here. Now I hope this will actively encourage more of you to GO!!!!

  13. @faith

    Thanks for this comment! It's nice that you had a lovely time in Ireland. I hope to go back soon.