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‘Ireland; a great little country, if only you could put a roof over it.’

It’s difficult to go against that comedic summation of my homeland. Actually, you could add to it and suggest the construction of a few massive wind barriers as well.

Keel Strand, Achill Island, Co Mayo, Ireland.

Ireland’s Achill Island: Who needs sun when you can enjoy storm-force winds and lashing rain? It’s fun, honestly …

You see there’s a good reason it’s dubbed ‘The Emerald Isle’. There are plenty of, picturesque, rolling green hills that give it a sparkling look, especially when viewed from above. That’s if you could actually see the land beneath the practically perpetual, thick, grey rain clouds that smother the place.

Therein lies the Irish problem; the dull, wet weather. If it was pulled a thousand miles further south, you could be talking about one of the world’s greatest tourist spots. But then again, there’s the risk it’d lose a bit of that greenness; the land that is anyway, whatever about the people (well we’d get a little redder for one).

Plus, an Ireland with nicer weather might tone down that fine Irish cynicism; what a terrible shame that would be for the world.

Blue-sky Ireland: Creevy, Lisacul, Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon.

It’s not a myth; Ireland does experience blue skies. And this is even in early spring …

Now, needless to say, it’s not always raining here (I write from ‘home’, in case you’re wondering). The odd few visitors get lucky with the sun coming out to play. Predicting when that’s going to happen, though, is anyone’s guess.

As an Irish expat living in Colombia, I do, on occasions, try and talk up Ireland as a ‘go-to’ destination. With a rising middle class (so it goes anyway) more Colombians are taking foreign holidays. Although you’d have to say that promoting other locations when in Colombia seems a little pointless considering the extent of its own natural beauty.

It more or less has everything in one neat package, save for violent storms. These can be good to experience every now and again, from a safe perch of course. Do note we’re talking weather-related ones, not the human emotional variety you regularly get from some Latinas.

Yet even if my talking up of Ireland raises the interest of a visit from Colombians, as it sometimes does, the practicalities of doing so make the reality of it happening less likely.

A nice pint of Guinness at Gieltys Bar Achill Island, Co Mayo, Ireland.

If all else fails, there’s always a creamy pint of Guinness to be had in a warm and friendly establishment.

We’re talking visa issues here. The hassle of having to go through the process of applying for a separate one, separate from other European countries and the UK that is, pretty much extinguishes any enthusiasm to make Ireland part of a European holiday.

OK, with a UK visa they can visit the north-eastern part of the island, the part that is not the Republic of Ireland that is. And they could risk a run across the fluid border and more than likely get away with it. But why potentially jeopardise future travel by doing that?

Now the powers that be in London and Dublin have changed the rules of engagement as regards a common tourist visa for the two states. However, this little arrangement is limited to the Chinese and Indians — lucky guys. That’s a bit unfair, no?

Considering all European citizens who travel to Colombia for tourism don’t need to get a visa in advance — up to 90 days is given on arrival, with the option of getting another 90 after that — shouldn’t the same apply for Colombians who visit Europe? (Indeed, as pointed out in Soft touch Colombia, it could be argued that authorities are a little too generous in some aspects.)

So come on Ireland, take the lead, give a little more genuine substance to the motto of being ‘the land of a thousand welcomes’ and allow the country’s doors to be opened more easily by many more.

‘Open it and they will come.’ Weather permitting.
Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan – The Blog.

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La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor Irlandés, quien ha estado viviendo en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y cultura, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-colombia-cast.

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    @wwaycorrigan [Listen to an audio version of this blog entry here.] In the 1972 classic, Godfather, there's an early scene where Don Corleone berates his godson, Johnny Fontaine, for crying because he didn't get a part in a movie. 'Godfather, I don't know what to do', a sobbing Fontaine mutters. Cue a slap in the face and a violent retort, 'You can act like a man', followed by a gentle mocking of his behaviour from the Don. [caption id="attachment_4643" align="aligncenter" width="347"]People who cry regularly get on Wrong Way's nerves. 'Let it all out ...' (Image from emojipedia.org.)[/caption] Crying times That scene is set in the late 1940s, a quite different world from that which we inhabit today, to state the obvious. These days, it's all about being in touch with one's emotions. It's OK to cry, whether you're a man, woman, child or however else you define yourself. Don't suppress your feelings, let it all out. I don't completely disagree with that approach. For one, for the most part, it's good to be honest about how you feel — at least if you're asked that is. What I don't like, what irritates me, is when the waterworks start, especially — although not exclusively — when it's men who are shedding the tears. This is where I side with Don Corleone. It's not that it makes me uncomfortable, it's more a case that I find it hard to take seriously men who cry with regularity. As for women, whether the tears are genuine or not, they often, um, precipitate a granting, justified or not, of whatever they may be looking for. I generally make an exception for death, but even in that there seem to be people who let flow more than really appears "necessary". (Perhaps we could introduce a tear scale. 'Careful now, you're close to your limit.') Bidding adieu to loved ones for an indefinite period of time is another "acceptable" tear-jerker. Alcohol-induced crying is also excepted, meaningless as it often is.

    'When the tears in others come they invoke a negative, cold reaction in me. Rather than wanting to help, I have a desire to walk away.'
    This aversion towards, bordering on utter contempt for crying has something to do with, it's safe to assume, my childhood. I was, after all, a serial crier into my mid-teens. Then, from about 15 onwards, I started to develop a strong dislike when seeing others well up for reasons that I would have considered rather inconsequential. During that time, no doubt having to deal with me, her last born, I recall my mother crying for what seemed like the merest of reasons. It used to get my blood up. Even if I'd been told it was all largely down to the menopause, it's unlikely I would have been sympathetic to her plight. Selfish teens, eh. Dry your eyes, mate This clearly left its mark. For in my current abode, the landlady, a nice woman I hasten to add, cries on an almost-daily basis. It's not only, as has happened a fair few times, a headache when she does it speaking directly to me about some grievance or another (these grievances have nothing to do with me, by the way!). It also irks me simply when I can just hear her sobbing away in her room. I know I should probably be a little more empathetic considering she suffers from depression, it's just when the tears in others come they invoke a negative, somewhat cold reaction in me. Rather than wanting to help I have a desire to walk away. It's not that I lack understanding. In fact, I'd wager I take the time to listen to and empathise with other people's gripes as much if not more so than the next person. I just wish they'd leave the crying out of it. The British-Irish band The Pogues sang in Streams of Whiskey, 'there's nothing ever gained by a wet thing called a tear'. That's not fully true, but I wish it was.   _______________________________________________________________ Listen to Wrong Way's Colombia Cast podcast here. Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan — The Blog & IQuiz "The Bogotá Pub Quiz".

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