Lonely Planet seems to have taken the real capital‘s side in the age-old Dublin/Cork rivalry. According to today’s Irish Times article:
The [latest edition of Lonely Planet Ireland] has two pieces of advice for travellers. Don’t use expressions like “top o’ the morning to you” or “begorrah”, which belong in 1950s Hollywood movies, and do buy your round. The book says “everything good about Ireland can be found in County Cork”.
Sure, County Cork has coastline, countryside, culinary destinations (like English Market, Kinsale or Ballymaloe) and friendly people (and West Cork which has ALL of these elements) BUT even I think Lonely Planet is selling the rest of the country short. Ireland is covered in small charming villages and medium-sized towns that are adorable freckles of character. Each no doubt has something worth visiting. Take Glendalough in County Wicklow for example. It has scenic walks, historic structures, lovely local foods, and amazing views. Galway has nightlife, waterside strolls, and some top-notch jewelry artisans. Dingle in County Kerry offers visitors a classic Irish experience in a colorful seaside town with memorable cuisine and hospitable accommodations. Let’s not overlook County Mayo with its enchanting town of Westport (home of one of my favorite shops, Market 57) or the phenomenal Kylemore Abbey. County Clare and its coastal town of Lahinch draw surfers and golfers from far and wide. This country has so much to offer so as in love with Cork as I am, I do think Lonely Planet was shortsighted to state “everything good about Ireland can be found in County Cork” because there is so much good in Ireland – too much to be contained in just one county.
The one thing I am thrilled to see included in this book is that it encourages tourists to buy their round and not use outdated cliche Hollywood-Irish phrases (not the way people actually speak). The latter is a pet peeve of mine and the former is just polite.
I know, ‘buy your round’ isn’t intuitive so let me explain (UPDATE: For explicit ‘buy your round’ details read this). In the States, however, it is not out of the ordinary to have someone just buy you a drink so the concept of rotating or alternating rounds in the pub is a nuance that may be lost on someone accustomed to drinks just being bought for or by them on a whim instead of a traditional politeness. A new friend shows up with drinks for everyone, you should be aware your drink is not free. That action ropes you into buying a round for that same group. Memorize their faces. If you want to be strategic, you could plan to buy the second round of the night, before more friends join the group (and make each round more expensive) but after the initial round so it shows you know how to play the game and aren’t just buying drinks as may be a custom in your home country. If you are drinking water, you do not need to participate in round buying. Sometimes, soda doesn’t count, it depends on the friends. But don’t just meet up with three Irish friends and let them each, in turn, buy a round only to have you leave the bar when it’s your turn. If you’ve done this and they’ve forgotten to invite you out again, that may be a reason why.
What are some of your favorite good things, places, and moments to experience in Ireland?
Here is an assortment of photos from my travels around the Emerald Isle to show you there is beauty beyond the County Cork boundaries. Of course, Cork is a great place to live, don’t get me wrong, but it is in a wonderful country too.