Archive for the ‘Irish’ Category

Columbus Day Weekend; Another Three-Day Holiday Weekend Wasted By So Many Americans

8 October 2007

columbus-day.jpgIn an earlier post I related how the Irish enjoy three-day holiday weekends so much better than we Americans. In America, if you’re involved in retail – either as a retailer or as a customer – these weekends are not a holiday.

When I described the Irish way to a friend, he suggested I try to change America one family at a time. So we started with our family – a retail-free weekend spent with family and friends. Very enjoyable. Give it a try come Veterans Day this November.

Advertisements

End of School Year Mania: The Downside of Making The Unimportant Important

4 June 2007

irish-celebration.gifMaking the rounds of high school graduation parties this month, I’m repeatedly asked about the differences between life in Ireland vs. life in the States. My wife Jules’s post, End Of The Year Mania, covers a key area of difference, how we in the States are making important events (like high school graduations) unimportant by over-celebrating the trivial (like preschool graduations.) Jules references a brilliant piece in the The Boston Globe’s op-ed section on the downside of American over-celebrating. Jules nicely contrasts this with the upside of the Irish way of making the really important things truly matter more. Check it out.

Six Things Irish Schools Do Well; Should America Adopt Them?

31 May 2007

school-bus.jpegToday school children in Ireland start their three-month long summer vacation. They enjoy a longer break than their American counterparts due to a more efficient school calendar, one of six things Irish schools do well that American schools should consider adopting.

When we moved to Ireland in 2001 from the top-notch public schools of Lexington MA (Lexington’s schools had just been selected as the best in the northeast) we were pleased to learn that the Irish schools were equally as good. The quality of public education – a key focus of the Irish government for thirty years – is one of the three factors behind the Celtic Tiger boom; in less than a decade the Irish economy became the healthiest in the EU, with the Irish now enjoying the highest per capita income in Europe. (The other two drivers of the Irish economy – a dramatic increase in the number of women… (more…)

How The Irish Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

15 March 2007

For those who received the 40 Dublin Reports during our four years living in Dublin, much of this post is from my wife Jules’s 11th report.

“Everyone seems to want to know “How do the Irish celebrate St. Pat’s?” We didn’t really know because last March 17 we were in Prague. St. Pat’s is a very inexpensive time to leave Ireland, what with all the empty planes flying out after dropping off half of Europe in Dublin. This year we stayed and we are glad we did. The mood was great, largely due to a history-making string of gorgeous weather. It’s been sunny and warm for weeks on end.

“In Dublin there is a pretty big parade (not quite like an American one, but creative and fun nonetheless), accompanied by a four day festival (carnival rides, music, drama). The Irish are a bit amazed and slightly worried… (more…)

What I Miss About Ireland

12 March 2007

Taking the advice of Boston Globe columnist Eileen McNamara, I’m spending this day not joining my 15 year old son and his five friends on the slopes of Shawnee Peak in Maine. Rather, as Eileen suggests, I’m sitting by the fire in the lodge.

While my son, his friends, and I hang onto the last vestiges of winter at a cabin in Maine, my wife and my other sons are enjoying a springtime weekend in Dublin, where – as per a previous post – springtime arrives a full two months earlier than in Boston.

Though I’m thrilled to be back in the States after four+ years in Dublin, thinking of my wife Jules and the boys in Dublin reminds me of the many things I miss about Ireland, ranging from the significant to the trivial.

People: It was great to return to the States and our many friends. That said, we left so many friends behind in Dublin. I miss them dearly and I envy the reunions Jules is having this weekend. But I also miss the people in Ireland we did not get to know as friends, the proverbial ‘man in the street.’ Irish people really know how to enjoy life – maybe that’s because, according to The Economist, the Irish enjoy… (more…)

Let’s Change Christmas to be a Monday Holiday

2 January 2007

Wasn’t it great having Christmas on a Monday this year? Paraphrasing the last line of Van Morison’s song Coney Island from the Avalon Sunset album, “Wouldn’t it be great if it was like this every year?”

For both business and social reasons, making Christmas a Monday holiday makes sense. This year, the week before Christmas was a ‘clean’ full week at work. Other than an afternoon for a ‘Christmas lunch’ on Friday, the only people who missed work were those sneaking out a day or two early on international vacations. (When I heard one was stuck at the snow-bound Denver airport and another at the fog-bound London airport, I could almost hear my long departed Irish grandmother saying… (more…)