TIS THE season for everyone to head home at once. But you don’t want this to be any old holiday season, so, please accept this, our guide to winning friends and influencing people back in the old country this Christmas. Thank us in January.
Don’t worry if you haven’t already booked flights. There’ll be loads left and they’ll come down in price. Always happens.
Okay, if that doesn’t happen, and you live in Britain, drive back. Don’t have a car? Not a problem.
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Rent the flashiest motor with a yellow reg you can’t really afford. Point it towards west Wales. Drive. Once you’ve rolled off the ferry and are back in the homeplace half-a-week later, park ‘your’ car as conspicuously as possible outside the gaff.
Your neighbours won’t suspect anything is amiss at all and will instead think of you as a globe-strutting business colossus. Irish people are famous for taking pleasure in the financial betterment of their peers.
You don’t live in Ireland anymore, which means you’re probably no longer a complete train-wreck when it comes to fashion. So when your old friends gatch into the pub still wearing bootcut jeans, point out where they are going wrong.
Tell them that they’d be mocked openly in the streets of Salford/San Diego/San Sebastian for dressing like it’s late 2001.
Nobody will be put out – they’ll thank you for the sharp sartorial feedback, make it their business to get a new look in the sales and think of you as something of a fashion authority.
When you’re putting the nation to rights over pints in the local, tell your pals that Ireland is fundamentally banjaxed and the level of gombeenism that passes for politicking there wouldn’t cut it any place else on the civilised Earth.
Then add that, you suppose, “every electorate gets the politicians they deserve though”.
The old gang will never have considered the fact that Ireland’s public representatives are, in the main, useless. Laying the blame for this at their door will cause them to stop and think: ‘Jez, you’re right there boy, where do I sign up for the revolution? Can you be in charge?’
Everybody who lives abroad knows that you can’t get a satisfactory cup of java in the old town. Square mile? You’d have to travel a lot further afield than that to find a café that knows how to source a decent bean.
So let your childhood pal that you’ve met for a coffee know that “what we’re now drinking is basically warmed-up piss” and “they wouldn’t hand it out to the homeless in London”.
Your buddy will compliment you on your educated palate and regard you as a sophisticate who has, in truth, outgrown the old haunts to the extent that they’re just grateful you deign to return once yearly.
A really insightful observation is this: ‘you’d forget how small it is here, wouldn’t you?’ Family and friends at home will have never considered that Ardee isn’t quite as big as, say, Vancouver.
They will sympathise when you explain how you’re used to a mind-boggling choice of pubs and restaurants serving authentic cuisine from every nation on the planet “whereas you can barely get a properly cooked plate of Berber couscous here, what!”
You get ripped off for everything in Ireland. Feel like a pot of tea for two and a round of sandwiches made with Tesco ham and yesterday’s sliced pan? That’ll be €17 thanks.
Drew your gowl of a cousin in the Chris Kindl? You have to get him a jumper with a squiggle on the left breast because if you don’t go designer he’ll tell the entire lineage you’re a thrifty c***? That’ll be €85 at the local department store, thanks.
And to heap injury to insult, there will be a sterling price next to it showing what you could have spent if you’d bought it in England – £24.95.
Make sure you mention this to everybody you meet. They will never have been anywhere cheaper than Ireland and will have no idea they are being mugged at each till they come to.
In fact, they won’t have even looked at the sterling price on the label and thought, ‘what the f***?!’ You raising this issue will ensure that, as a society, the Irish refuse to tolerate profiteering and exploitation. They will rise up and demand prices in line with the quality of the goods and services on offer. And they will praise your good self for highlighting this hitherto unnoticed scam.
You’d find a better public transport system in most third world countries than you would in Ireland.
People at home will never have noticed that if you want to take a train from Kilcullen to Dublin – or Kilcullen to anywhere, or 95% of places to 95% of other places – you can’t. And the fact that there is no rail link from any airport to any city centre will have passed them by. The lack of a something comparable to the tube or channel tunnel will have also gone under the radar.
Actually, when they consider this – allied to lack of decent food, coffee, public servants, fashion and general consumer choice and value – they will offer to drive you to the airport in their over-taxed car so you can up and fly away again … for your benefit, not theirs.