An American family’s first impressions of South West Ireland

A family of four Americans from Ohio having been staying with us over the past three days.  It is their first trip to Ireland.  They asked four interesting questions:-

1.  How come none of the public pay phones work yet we were able to buy a calling card.  How are we supposed to use the card?

2.  How come we can find no public toilets or else if we do, they have no toilet seats, paper etc etc.

3.  Why is there so much litter everywhere?

4.  How come the signs on the signpost at the bottom of your street have miles pointing towards Bantry, Enniskeane etc and kilometres pointing towards Macroom on the same signpost.  Have you divided up the country so that some places are still in miles and some in kilometres?

The answers are of course obvious to those of us who live here namely,

1.  the public phones probably don’t work because everybody has a mobile

2.  I doubt any locals use the public loos except those in shopping centres

3.  Pay by weight as we all know is a total fiasco.  Give people an option whether to pay for their garbage collection or not and they will choose not to pay!  I suspect that a scarey number of people in this country do not subscribe to a refuse collection facility.  Many can’t even be bothered to recycle so put their garbage in bags and drive to the nearest forest, farm, quiet laneway, grave yard etc and dump their bags.  I can take anybody who wants on a tour of our area to take a look at mountains and mountains of garbage dumped a mile or two away from the town.  Forget a tax amnesty, we should be campaigning for a litter amnesty.  We are destroying our country.

4.  Kilometres and mile signs.  The government promised us that when we changed over to kilometres, they would change the signs but sadly now the celtic tiger isn’t roaring quite as loud and tax receipts are down so we can forget any improvement in signeage.  GPS will become an essential piece of equipment in any car in the future.


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