A Swiss family's Irish holiday: the Stoys' story so far

Thu, Jul 12, 2012, 01:00

The Stoy family are visiting Ireland for two weeks. Here they give their impressions of their first days in Dublin

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Guido: The flight was normal, just a little delayed.

We couldn’t see much of the city though the cloud.

Maria: We took a bus from the airport and when we got off in the city centre, a lady came to us and asked if we needed directions to our hotel, which we did. So that was nice.

Guido: Our hotel, which we found on the internet, is really more of a bed and breakfast. The room is tiny, but we knew that beforehand. It was more important to us to be near the centre.

ON THE WEATHER

Maria: It is the first time that we have come to the north of Europe for a family holiday. Usually we go to the south where it is warm. I always wanted to go to Ireland and convinced the rest of them to come . . . but I hope the weather gets a little bit better.

Guido: We live in central Switzerland, and the summer has not been too nice to us either. Rain is not too unusual there. Enya: Andrej says this is not really rain.

ON ENYA

Maria: Our daughter is called Enya after the Irish singer. When Guido and I first met, we lived in different cities in Germany, where we are originally from. He made me a copy of Enya’s music, and I used to listen to the music and think about him.

Guido: We really liked the music and also the name, but Andrej (who is the oldest and a boy) wasn’t the right person to call Enya. So when we had a daughter we decided to give her the name.

Maria: We were living in Germany at this time and there you cannot give a child a fantasy name; it must be a real name. They said we can’t find that name in our books, so you can’t have it.

So we had to bring in the CD and they made a copy of the CD and then it was okay. Does Enya the singer live near here?

ON DUBLIN

Guido: I’ve been to England and Dublin is similar to a smaller British town, not like London. I feel more comfortable in this size of a city.

Maria: Since our photograph was in the paper, two people have recognised us in the street. Now I keep wondering if everyone does.

Maria: There are many nice houses with lovely doors and flowers, and every house is different. Not all the same like at home.

Bea: I took photos of flowers and of these two-storey buses. I had never seen those before and I saw five in a row.

Maria: We took the bus that does a full circle of the city (the one with the open top, but we sat in the covered part because of the rain), and saw lots of places that we would like to visit.

We went to a pub to listen to Irish music. We were told that kids were not allowed in the pub in the evening, but when we asked, they said that it was okay if they were with us. When went to get some food, everybody had a Guinness on the table.

Guido: It’s not obvious that people drink too much. You could see in O’Donoghue’s that people were sitting and having three or four beers, but it seems to be the culture. Just social.

ON FOOD

Enya: We ate a full Irish breakfast today. It was unusual to have bacon and meat in the morning. But I liked it.

Maria: You don’t need to eat for a long time afterwards.

Andrej: I just had toast.

Guido: We ate lunch on the street that goes from Gardiner Street up to the Spike. It was not anything special, just a place in a mall, and not typical Irish food, lasagne and things like that.

ON SHOPPING

Maria: Prices so far are not too expensive. In Switzerland we are used to high prices, so eating out is much more expensive there.

Bea: We want to buy souvenirs, postcards and some T-shirts. We bought one T-shirt with a funny motif on it. It shows the four seasons of Ireland, but in all four pictures it is raining.

ON RECESSION

Guido: I was aware that there had been a boomtime in Ireland, and that like in Spain people became overoptimistic and bought houses without having money, or invested money they don’t have.

I think Switzerland has been lucky not to be part of the EU. But moving there was not economic for us. It was just because I got an interesting job.

Maria: I like the idea that we should work together, and I don’t like that Switzerland should choose not to be part of that.

Guido: In Ireland you can see that some people don’t have a lot of money. Since we haven’t been here before it’s hard to tell. I don’t know if there used to be a lot of begging, but we see a lot of that.

Professional people dress quite well. A lot of people wear ties.

– In conversation with Conor Goodman


GUIDO

Likes about Ireland: You get very good value, compared with Switzerland. The Swiss franc is very strong at the moment.

Dislikes about Ireland: The area we are staying in is not so safe. There is a lot of security and police, which is good, but you also get the feeling there must be a reason for it.

MARIA

Likes about Ireland: The humour. The tour guide on the bus told a lot of jokes and funny stories and that made it more interesting and alive.

Dislikes about Ireland: The cold shower I took at our hotel this morning.

ANDREJ

Likes about Ireland: The Guinness store – the view and the beer.

Dislikes about Ireland: The bus system is confusing. There are no maps, and I don’t get where you should go. So we just use the hop-on/hop-off bus.

BEA

Likes about Ireland: The food. Irish stew and fish and chips.

Dislikes about Ireland: The traffic lights. Pedestrians have to wait for a long time. And because of that, nobody pays attention. But I like the beeping sound it makes when you can cross.

ENYA

Likes about Ireland: The Irish music in O’Donoghue’s and Temple Bar. They harmonised very differently from the way I’m used to.

Dislikes about Ireland: The economic crisis, so we see a lot of poor people and shops closed up.

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