Ireland – The Notes


Certainly one of the most epic parts of our Irish tour was the trek across the Moher. It was impossible to regret our expensive journey to Ireland because of it.

The differences between the Irish, English and Scottish were starkly apparent this trip. Culture, finance – even physical appearance. Most of us know that the three do not like to be compared to each other, but did you know that they are actually wildly different?

I like to make the Canadian/American reference whenever discussing the UK and Ireland. Though we are side by side and both quite multicultural, sharing the same land mass even, the similarities all but stop there. Our economy is different, our belief systems different, goals, dreams, ideals and even our family lives differ.

Day 12

I do not want to be referred to as American (though I do have American friends whom I adore) and I am sure many Americans (the same friends!) do not want to be referred to as Canadian – though I do know more than a few who have pretended to be Canadian while travelling!

While in Scotland we heard a lot of English bashing, and when in Ireland we heard a lot of UK bashing. It is no different here, where Canadians bad talk Americans and vice versa.

To Wales

In many ways, I think it is a (sadly negative) way to confirm our separate identity – a way to differentiate ourselves from our more populated (and popular) neighbour. A way to show our beliefs and point out our polarities.

And it is also a way in which we hold on to the negative in our histories – more examples of this can be seen through France and Germany. You might recall my previous mention of our experience driving with German license plates through France? Not entirely pleasant!

Dublin Hostels


Though we don’t plan to make another trek to Ireland (at least not before we have made it to all of our other proposed destinations), we did appreciate its incredible untamed beauty, its unchanged countryside, white painted homes, ancient ruins and politically  (and religiously) intrenched history.

Indeed, Ireland is like no other place I have been. I would recommend you take a look, particularly if you have a little Irish blood (as so many North Americans do, thanks to the ‘great famine‘ I mentioned earlier), and if you have not yet been – it’s quite an experience!

Follow this trip by heading to the ‘8 Country EU Tour‘ section. Many more photos of Ireland at the Habitual Runaway on Facebook.


14 responses to “Ireland – The Notes

  1. Hi Ana – I agree about the differences but have to make one point. Scots ARE British! We are part of the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” and Great Britain comprises England, Scotland and Wales. So I think it’s probably the English / Scottish differences you are talking about here. I’m English, and when I first moved to Scotland I was very aware of them and felt quite an outsider. Now, Scotland is definitely home and I love it as you know!


    • Oh yes, Anabel – thank you for pointing out that error – I just saw a spot where I accidentally used British and English interchangeably – Fixed it, thank you!

      We Canadians are generally up on our Uk/Ireland history, as so many of us (including my Scottish self) have blood from that part of the planet.

      I have tried to be very careful about referring to each country as its own as well as a part of the greater whole – hard to please everyone!

      I did notice the ‘disdain circle’ included not only Scotland and Ireland but Wales as well. Lots of history – and indeed some hard feelings remain.

      I posted earlier about the formation of the UK, quite interesting history as I am sure you know – I will find the link (for anyone who may have missed it!).


  2. I would love to wander around Ireland. My friend went there two years ago and loved it. As beautiful as pictures are, it’s one of those things you need to experience first-hand.


    • You are absolutely right. The photos do it NO JUSTICE. It really is phenomenally beautiful – and awe-inspiring!

      Sounds to me like your next trip should be to Ireland!


  3. Interesting take on Canadian/U.S. relations. I live 40 minutes from Sarnia Ontario. We drive to Port Huron a few times each year to set along the river and enjoy the big boats and freighters on the Saint Claire river. I lived in Ontario in the 80’s and loved it. To this day I have never met a Canadian I disliked. I frankly am proud of Canada and am very glad this great country is my neighbor. (neighbour). 🙂


    • Awe, that’s very sweet John =D.

      I too lived not far from the border in Ontario – actually, I am quite familiar with Sarnia – small world!

      On a personal level, I have no issue with Americans, but I won’t lie about the rampant bashing that happens here (not by me of course!). Even the recent inaugural stuff on TV has caused another round.

      The funny thing about it, is that I don’t think it is personal! Most people I know here have a sort of adoration for their American friends and America in general (fascinating, beautiful country!), yet badmouthing happens at nearly any opportunity.

      I have seen the same throughout the world (even the Thais generally ‘dislike’ their Malasian neighbours, and if you ask about Malasia they will grimace!), so it is very nice to meet another who is ‘avoiding the mould’ and judging individually instead of politically or ‘historically’ =D

      Thanks John!


      • You betcha! My wife and I cringe at the thought of another 4 years of Obummer. He is dismantling this country and making us a welfare state. People will get what they voted for, bigger government, less freedom and poor. On the working man’s back. God bless Canada!


  4. I loved Ireland – most memorable thing: sitting in the Sinn Féin pub in Dublin – I think 11 pm was police hour (no more Guinness) so at 10:45 everybody lined up three or more pints next to their chairs, and then a singalong began – when your turn came you had to sing something – I never sang so many nursery rhymes in my life! cause that’s all I knew… 😉


    • Oh no no – I would have been MORTIFIED to put out inaccurate info – particularly about something so important to me – you saved me from embarrassment – THANK YOU!!!! :p


  5. Ana, I think you’re definitely spot on with Canadian/US relations. When I was on a teaching exchange in Australia in 2010, there were several Canadian teachers in Oz as well. They did not like being referred to as American. It was a slam for many of them.

    For me, I didn’t mind being confused for a Canadian (since, of course, Canada has a way better standing in the rest of the world than the US). However, when people would tell me they were surprised I was American, I sometimes had sort of a “Is Canada that much better?” attitude. It was nice, however, that Obama had just taken office and the Bush reign was over. That helped a bit.

    At least people didn’t think Americans were completely insane like they did in 2004 when Bush was re-elected. My parents and I, when we traveled together to Europe in 2006, wanted to sew the Maple Leaf on to our bags and jackets.

    At any rate, I enjoyed reading your insights. Thanks, Steph


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