Thursday, April 21, 2011

VoM2: Irish Wolf Hound

On our way north along the west coast yesterday, we stopped at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. The castle didn’t do much for me — perhaps when you’ve seen a hundred castles you’ve seen them all? — but I did get to meet a proper Irish Wolf Hound. Yes, indeed, they are very tall and quite large overall. I can’t say he was particularly outgoing, but what can you ask of a dog who has to put up with tourists all day?

On a separate note, the woman on the right — dressed in “traditional” garb — was our guide in the castle. Her name is Anya, and she is from… Germany! This offers an example of something I’ve noticed here in Ireland: The majority of working people I’ve met — including those in what you might expect to be “Irish” jobs (like being a guide at a historical/cultural center!) — are actually not Irish. My unscientific tally tracks them as being mainly from the Baltics and the Balkans, with a few western Europeans mixed in. I’m still not at all clear about what’s going on with the economy here, but if the mixed-nationalities of the workers I’ve met — plus the astonishing array of languages I’ve heard on the street — are any indication, Ireland is in the middle of a robust cultural homogenization. If I come up with any hypotheses I’ll let you know… Stay tuned!

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