Five Things We Need from Ireland in America

And a few tiny tips for the Irish from an opinionated American

“Why don’t we have that?!?”

If you had traveled to Ireland 17 days ago with me, you would have heard me say this phrase a bunch of times during my walks. I thought it might be fun to share some of the examples with you. (I will also throw in a few tiny, itsy bitsy suggestions for Ireland at the end.)

A ‘NO JUNK MAIL’ SIGN ON THE MAILBOX? YES!!

When I saw this the first time, I did a doubletake. Wait. What? I stood for a minute, trying to process it. A dozen questions went through my head. Does this actually work? Like, does the postman regard it and NOT DELIVER THE JUNK MAIL bound for these mailboxes?? And has this effectively eliminated mailed ads in Ireland? And if you choose NOT to put that sign-up, does it mean you get more than you would if nobody was allowed to put these little messages near their mailslot?

And then I did some research and found out more amazing options!

So it turns out that No Junkmail only eliminates unaddressed advertising from your daily delivery. But you can choose a sign that says NO ADVERTISING OR FREE NEWSPAPERS PLEASE, and no ads, addressed or otherwise, and no free newspapers will hit your mailbox!! The reasoning behind these signs is mostly environmental, which is vital, of course. But what about eliminating the headache to the American citizen that is the everyday onslaught of useless stuff? Woohoo! (Side note: US Postal Service, I am not saying I know much about solving your budget problems, but this could be part of the solution! I say, let’s do this asap! And while we are at it, can we have one that says NO BILLS? Now that would be next level. I mean, we are America and have to do everything bigger and better! Asking for a friend, of course. )

BLANKETS ON CHAIRS FOR OUTDOOR SEATING

As one of the coldest people on the planet on the regular, I was so pumped to see this! Are you serious right now??? What a brilliant idea! I could sit outside in early spring and late fall with my peeps who love the great outdoors and eliminate the serious ‘party pooper’ guilt I get for making them move inside.) Buono idea! (Practicing my Italian, see that?)

Now, all you germaphobes are having a fit, I can hear you from way over here. We can make them washable blankets, and a restaurant could have a certain number on hand to be rotated. Work with me here! With Covid 19 changing how we do business, restaurants and coffee shops would have safe outdoor seating for a little longer. (That is before the Indiana winter swoops in and kicks our butt with cold, wind, sleet, snow and rampant flu and viruses :/.)

Mass Ave Bru Burger, please get on this. I will be back in mid-November to use your patio with a cozy blanket on my lap. Are we good?

PAINTABLE SPACE HEATERS

Ok, it took me three days of freezing to ask my Airbnb host about turning up the heat. She was very apologetic and then asked if I had used the space heater in my room. A blank look, raised eyebrows, and searching eyes followed. Then she walked to this square of drywall-looking stuff and flipped the switch on the side.

Wait. What? And the square thing heated like a ceramic warming plate! Delicious heat filled my space, and the sounds of chirping birds and gentle mountain streams floated through the air. Ok, not really, but heat equals exquisite happiness to me. Just sayin’.

We need these, don’t we girls? (Well, most of you girls. Menopausal and post-menopausal women can tune out about now.) How about all the hours in freezing air conditioning or low heating temps in the office? My two cousin-bosses, Jack and Phil, had to yell at me about my space heaters a few times (or a hundred times, who’s counting?) Fire hazard, electricity bills, yadda-yadda. But these are efficient. Supposedly. And discreet! And I am sure easier to manage than those little baby heaters that sneaky employees pull out from behind their trash cans after you close the office door. (Not me, of course.)

MINI HORIZONTAL ELECTRIC SIGNAGE!!

We may have these in America, but I have never seen them. (I‘m not super crazy about them running ads, though.) We could save hundreds of staff-hours swapping prices and product descriptions. Granted, there would be significant upfront cash outlay, but we should at least do the math and see if it would end up saving a ton in the long run. Plus, they’re eye-catching and could carry intermittent informational messaging. Ok, and even maybe some advertising. Kroger, do the research and let me know what you think. And if the idea flies, just add some cash to Uncle Mark’s retirement fund to thank me for the concept. He worked for you his entire professional career, so I figure he more than earned it.

(FOR WOMEN AND PEOPLE WHO CLEAN PUBLIC BATHROOMS ONLY)

PERFECTLY-SIZED TRASH BAGS FOR A CERTAIN PURPOSE

Right, ladies? Right, bathroom attendants? Not the most environmentally friendly but an overall beneficial product. Let’s have these in every public bathroom by the end of 2021. Who’s going to take this one on? I figure the saved janitorial costs and overall comfort to the female population green lights this project. I know I have the support of my girls and my former employees on bathroom duty during events. I got you, servers and housekeeping!

A COUPLE OF THE LITTLEST HINTS FOR IRELAND (I’m leaving Friday, so I should be safe putting this out there. I think anyway.)

Vegetable soup and chicken noodle soup are fantastic after a few hours on the stove, so if you could stop pureeing the soup before serving it, that would be awesome. (read this in your best Scarlett O’Hara voice: oh, how uh miss those yummy veggies and chicken ‘bout now.)

For Oly’s restaurant in the Hilton Garden Inn: Prawns and shrimp are not created equal. Maybe the dish should be called Shrimp Linguini instead of Tiger Prawn Linguini, which I probably would have passed on for my birthday dinner. It was rather sad when it arrived through room service. No offense, I hope. Just a suggestion.

And finally, perhaps it would be best to come up with a different name for hamburgers with breadcrumbs, egg, and various unidentified spices mixed into the ground beef. Other than hamburgers or beef burgers, I mean. In America, we call that meatloaf. Loafburgers, maybe? I would suggest that America switch the name, but I think hamburger for ground beef only patties makes sense. Thanks. (For the record, I am not a fan of meatloaf, and I was so shocked I kinda choked on my Irish burger. And then threw it in the trash. The chips (french fries) were great, though!

Alright, that’s it for my fun tips to improve life in two countries! Headed to the Cliffs of Moher tomorrow, in honor of all those nature and outdoor-loving people in my life! With a winter coat, gloves, and a headwrap since I have a feeling I’m gonna freeze my heinie off. Slán go fóill! (Bye for now in Irish, the language I am not learning.)

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Shawn Dullaghan

Shawn Dullaghan

To write from my heart to yours. To make abstract things relatable. To simplify, encourage, inspire, transform. That’s my passion. Along with Jesus & chocolate.