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Solo Features

Guaranteed Irish

As the so-called recession gallops towards us at an alarming pace, we might be quick to forget the golden era of the Celtic Tiger, when we rose from the ashes of old Ireland to embrace all things international. Sandwiches were replaced with paninis, Maxwell House with cappucinos, and our transformation into a mulicultural society was on its way to being complete. But did we lose our identity en route? Did we throw away those things that make us individual as a nation? No, we say. Absolutely not. Our nouveau existence could never fully replace our uniqueness – that A to Z of what makes us Guaranteed Irish.

Abbeyfeale – it’s not that we’re picking on the Kerry/Limerick border town, but it’s a fine example of one of those Irish places that’s escaped the influence of city life. Pop into the local coffee shop for a refreshing reminder of what life was like before mochas and skinny lattes.

Bacon and cabbage – it’s been given many a trendy makeover but there are plenty of households around the country that still serve this dish up in its traditional form.

Cocktail cock-ups – while there are many hotels/bars/restaurants around Ireland that know how to serve up a perfect Bellini or Bloody Mary, there is also an alarmingly number that think a Cosmo comes in a large wine glass and has a cranberry juice content of 90 per cent.

Dustin – our national turkey took a bit of a roasting for ‘shaming’ us in front of our Eurovisional counterparts, but we say so what? Donna and Joe were much more embarrassing. Not to mention Brian Kennedy and Dervish.

Eurovison – Dustin and co aside, we will never forget the glory days of Johnny Logan and Linda Martin.

Fair City – They have Home and Away in Oz and Corrie and Eastenders in the UK. In Ireland, we have, em, Fair City, where political parties remain nameless and some of the cast doesn’t even bother to act when the camera’s rolling. Yes Rita, we mean you. Bela is worn out from carrying your scenes.

GAA – bloody, violent and not very glamourous – but who needs glamour when you have passion? You can’t beat a September Sunday afternoon in Croke Park, when 35 minutes aside has the power to cause numerous heart attacks.

House prices – OK, so now they’re falling, but there was a time when they were so high it’s all we talked about. Phew, thank God that era is in the past – it really was quite boring.

Irish Rail – oh Lord, where do we start? The price of the tickets. The state of the trains. The ‘gourmet’ food served up in the dining cars. Not to mention the loos, where the ‘soap’ is like green cocaine and the notice over the tap has the nerve to tell us that it’s ‘not drinking water’. AS IF we would be tempted.

Jackie Healy Rae – if you didn’t know any better you would think he was taking the piss. But no, this Kerry politician is the genuine article. Like P Diddy, J Healy is a fan of ‘keeping it real’.

Mobile mania – walk down any street in Ireland and you’re sure to hear that familiar question: “Where are you now?” The modern Irish mobile is like a Sat Nav for humans.

Nuacht – just when you’d cleansed your brain of all memories of Peig, on comes a blast of the news as Gaeilge and the horrors of school come flooding back.

Overheard in Dublin – one of our favourites; two lost overweight North Americans wandering on O’Connell Street looking for somewhere on the southside, appearing confused. Wife, on seeing a bunch of chavs sitting up against a bike rail says: “Herb, let’s ask those athletes over there.” Hilarious. Log onto www. www.overheardindublin.com for more amusement.

Pajama gals – the ladies in their jim-jams have been getting a bit of press recently, courtesy of Celia Holman Lee, who went on a right rant about the indignity of it all. Solo is not sure it agrees with the modelling guru – we were in Talbot Street’s SuperValu the other evening and spotted a lass wearing a very fetching striped pair.

Quinnsworth – yes, we know, it’s Tesco now. But people of a certain vintage can still be heard using the old moniker. Some folk just refuse to move on.

Recession – an ’80s concept, which has returned with a vengence. Apparently.

Soda bread – available now in artisan bakeries and fancy restaurants around the country, but we know it’s still just that chewy bread you got at your granny’s.

Temple Bar – was meant to be Dublin’s cultural quarter, is actually hen/stag party central.

Umbrellas – it’s a credit to Ireland as a nation that despite the ubiquitous presence of brollies on our streets, we have managed to avoid evolving into a race of one-eyed people.

VIP magazine – introduced to the concept of the Irish celebrity, relaxing at home with family/friends.

Weather woes – enough said.

Xpose – introduced to the concept of the Irish celebrity, live on the TV.

Yeats – a poet we’re proud of.

Zig and Zag – yeah, we know, they emigrated to the UK and returned as Podge and Rodge, but the loveable aliens remain a happy memory among Irish folk of a certain age.

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