The Week In Ireland
The Tourists Guide to the Irish Week
The week in Ireland can be a strange time to the visitor to these shores but the following will give you an insight into what to expect and after day seven you’ll have experienced the rhythm of life on the Emerald Isle. There are things the Irish do on some days, but not on others. And these may actually influence the way you experience Ireland. So let us have a look at a typical Irish week. Starting on Monday (as the week does ………… over here at least).
The Irish Monday
Monday is a sluggish day. Expect things to start slowly. Expect delays in opening times. Expect some people to be there in body, but not in mind. Expect “zombie like” reactions to simple questions like “Where am I? …. I seem to be lost”. Expect an answer like “I don’t even know where I am myself …… sure me head is bustin’ …… and don’t even ask that lad down the road cause he’s been asking the same question since late last night”. The weekend has taken its toll. Early Monday may not be the best time for your photographs of Irish City and Town scapes … the cleaners are still trying to spruce up many places that were hit hard by the partying crowds. Early Monday traffic can be hazardous and busy. Some drivers will still be in the weekend groove (that last pint wearing off, that missed sleep making them less alert). Many students will catch an early bus to begin another week of studies of a kind, public transport tends to be full. The airports will be busy too, with Monday being a day given to flying out on business. So, allow more time for travelling. Especially as many local roadworks also start (again) on Monday morning ………. at least the “sizing up” starts on Monday and one way or another, a few lads on the roads with yellow high visibility jackets and builders helmets will always bring traffic to a standstill – even if they are doing nothing !
The good news – Monday may be the best day for shopping. Shops are restocked by the afternoon and shoppers few – money is gone after the weekend. The pubs will be quieter on Monday evening and it’s a good time for a peaceful pint.
The Irish Tuesday
Tuesday can be “Monday Reloaded”, but should be a bit more lively. We’re getting into the swing of things again. Many of us have just earned enough to cover the tax and PRSI plus levies by Tuesday evening so the rest of the weeks earnings are for ourselves. Spare a thought, though for the high earners as it may well be into Wednesday afternoon before they have earned enough to clear the tax. More shopping gets done (the Sunday leftovers have vanished), and it may be time to head for the local again – especially if there is soccer on the big screen and a slow build up again for the weekend. Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be the days with most of the football action, so expect a lively crowd in pubs advertising “live sports”.
By the way … if Monday was a Bank Holiday, all the things noted for Mondays apply to Tuesdays – except only worse!
The Irish Wednesday
This is the day we really get going ……. not a lot done on Monday …….. building up to a good start on Tuesday ……. so today we have to get our backs into it and show a bit of productivity. After all, the money earned for the rest of the week in ours …… unless of course one is in the overpaid or high earning bracket. Later that evening, a good day’s work done so many a pint is drowned in honour of this rare occasion, often immediately after work, and, as noted before, Wednesday is another “soccer day”. Pubs are getting definitely more crowded now.
The Irish Thursday
Weekend around the corner so it’s time to start slowing the pace a bit in the workplace. No point in running into the weekend like a runaway train coming into the station. No one will thank you for it and look at the damage it could cause. It’s time also to start on the week’s groceries shopping also so Thursday sees an increase in commercial activity. Especially in supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi, who both have special offers starting on this day. Expect crowded conditions in the late afternoon. Even more crowded conditions can be found in pubs that serve the student crowd especially if its that week in the month when the grant goes into their account. Thursday night is the traditional night out for students ………. but then I hear that so is Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for many of them. Expect to feel very old if you are beyond 25 or so. If you like your pub nights very lively, head out now and mingle with the student crowd ….. sure you’ll be at home with them!
The Irish Friday
Fridays are marked by fish stalls being set up in many a town … it is a Catholic thing and old habits die hard in Ireland. Shopping for groceries and “for the weekend” continues, so expect busier town centres from mid-morning. Pubs will become busy after work. And stay busy until late. The weekend is rung in and many a drinking session started in earnest. Some rowdy crowds may be encountered in urban areas and in the odd country backwater. Some erratic drivers in the more rural parts can be viewed. Travel, in general, is busy – weekend commuters return home on Friday evening. So do the students, who’ll have to bring a week’s washing to their mammies and also catch up on local news and craic. The worse time to travel may be between Friday midday and evening, as virtually everybody and their grandmother will be doing the same thing.
The Irish Saturday
Try to avoid being on the road as much as possible. While Saturday starts off slow, it can develop into a full-blown nightmare in the main shopping areas of larger towns. In the country areas mammies are run ragged ferrying loads of children to football training, swimming, rugby, hurling, horse riding and every conceivable type of sport known to man ……. sometimes having to deliver and collect in six or seven locations. If you do not like crowds, try to leave before midday. Generally speaking, pubs, clubs and restaurants are full all Saturday. It can make for lively entertainment, but also for some uncomfortable situations. One word of advice especially for the tourist – Saturday is the traditional “switch day”, when the old guests are seen off and the new guests arrive. So expect extra traffic to and from any tourist areas and allow time to cope with it.
The Irish Sunday
Another word of warning – Sunday mornings are a time of avoidable accidents too, especially between 2 and 4 AM. Avoid using the road if you can at all. As to crowds, Sunday may be the best time to avoid them! If you can, have an early start and enjoy even the most popular attractions of Ireland in solitary splendour. From midday on, however, traffic will become heavy. This will be largely be due to GAA matches, shopping centres open, garden centres open and tons of people will head out for the local amenities and beauty spots. If you are out and about before midday, and if you are driving in rural areas, please take heed of signs warning you of a “Church Ahead”. I don’t know what it is, but some congregation tend to ignore every rule there is in parking and just abandon the car wherever it happens to come to a halt. Care and attention in crossing the road, or minding traffic on the main road in general “is on a day off” . Slow down, be prepared to stop. And, by the way … the more rural the area, do not count on petrol stations or shops being open long hours on Sunday. Fill your tank and get your goodies on Saturday if you are in the really rural areas.