We get lots of tourists in Ireland, almost 4 million of them in 2007. Every May it’s like a flock of migratory birds return, taking up residence in our towns and cities, filling the streets, hotels and pubs until mid-September when they fly away again for Winter, leaving a silence behind that is at first almost eerie.
We genuinely welcome each and every one, and most Irish people feel it is some small way their personal task to make sure that any visitor they have contact with sees the country at its best and has a good time while doing so.
And mostly tourists make that job easy, behaving in a friendly, courteous and respectful manner, taking a real interest in our little country and its culture and cheerfully putting up with its many and varied shortcomings.
But there are just a few who make it very hard to maintain the welcome. Here are some of the habits of the annoying tourist that most irritate, in no particular order.
- Moaning about the weather and all the rain:
Those of us who live here are allowed to complain, loudly and at length if we like. But after all you chose to visit, you knew it wasn’t Spain and you will be escaping soon. Anyway, how did you think Ireland got so green?
- Trying to speak like an Irish person:
By sprinkling your conversation with things like ‘begorrah’ or ‘top of the morning’ or ‘may the road rise to meet you’. They may be printed on a million T-shirts and sold in every tourist shop but nobody Irish ever says those things. Ever.
- Coming over for one night from the ‘mainland’:
(note to English people: Scottish and Welsh people never use that term) for a stag party and expecting everyone to be thrilled with your loud boorish behaviour and highly amused by the naked groom tied to the lamppost. We are not. We saw it all last weekend, and the one before that and the one before that and… just pipe down ok?
- Visiting a great restaurant serving the best of fresh local produce and ordering a lettuce leaf and an egg white omelette.
The former does not count as food and the latter is an abomination.
- Driving along happily at 30 Km/hr:
With a line of 50 cars behind you, then screeching to a halt and almost causing a pile up because you see a castle. We have hundreds of castles, there will be a safe stopping place beside any that are of interest.
Avoid that little lot and we promise to be nice to you!