While driving the Irish countryside we have been listening to Irish radio.  And we have been occasionally picking up the local papers.  When you hear local news and radio, it is fascinating (or it seems to me!) to contrast to what we experience back home.

Several things strike me (us!?) as striking.  So what is the BIG – HUGE news right now here, leading every news broadcast?  Garth Brooks.  Garth was supposed to have five concerts in Dublin soon – well it was going to be three, then it was expanded to five apparently in a local park (near as I can tell, a sports park).  Well the controversy is that concert organizers did not check to see whether they could get the right permits, and the cannot get a permit for more than THREE concerts, and so they cancelled two shows, and Garth said he will do either five shows or none, and the other cancelled all the shows.  And  now that is huge news.

Otherwise as we drive around we hear about cars that have accidents in other cities causing big stalls and backups.  So when we were literally many kilometers away from Limerick we would hear about stalled cars in Limerick.  Holy Cow.

Oh course we would hear about sports, soccer.  Very little about politics, the economy, such things.

After a few days I began to realize that back in the states one could not go for a few hours without hearing about a shooting, someone killed by a gun, how crazy the Congress is, terrorism, or something else to scare the hell out of you.

It’s all rather quaint and pleasant.  Of course, reality is somewhere in between, I realize.  I did pick up a tabloid (knowing of course nothing in the paper is truthful) and saw one of the stories had the headline “I AM A SINGLE MUM AND IT IS NOT MY FAULT”.  The story was about a young single mother writing an editorial about how unfair it was the government was going to cut her welfare check, and how many people blamed her for being a “single Mum” when they did not realize why she was in that situation, and how “even being without one less tenner” would make it so hard for her and her daughter to survive.  In this very Catholic country, it’s likely these stories don’t make it to the news much. 

One more thing I am sure Shirley wants me to mention... she thinks there are more hair places (barbers, salons) in Ireland than anywhere she has been!  Not sure if we can prove it, but she is starting to take pictures of the places.  :-)  Here are a couple of the shots.  So a couple of our Irish friends, can you tell us -- why do Irish people like to get their hair done so much? :-)