Living in a different country causes some cultural differences, and we learn new rules and some for us unusual things that every newcomer should learn in order to live in Dublin. I’ll try not to judge whether they are better or worse than we do it back home. They certainly are different. ๐Ÿ™‚


The fact that traffic in this country operates on the “correct” side (left side) is a well-known thing, but the behavior of the huge pedestrian traffic lights differs a bit. You would never expect two or even all four directions to have the green light at the same time, and to see pedestrians walking diagonally across the street, but that is quite often here in Dublin. Besides, you will be shocked and scared by the funniest “PHEEEEEWWWWW” laser gun sound which signals that you have a green light ahead. ๐Ÿ™‚

Working Hours

Being in Ireland for a week is enough to figure out that something is different with working hours here. More or less everything works every day, except the banks. They work only Monday – Friday, and they work 6 hours per day with clients, 10 AM – 4 PM. Once a week they are generous and they work till 5PM. ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t count on them during weekends or holidays… ๐Ÿ™‚

Big shopping malls usually work 9 AM – 7 PM on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Thursdays and Fridays are late night shopping days, and everything works 9 AM – 9 PM. If you carry post Yugoslav genes (like I do), and you get up early on Sundays you have nothing to do from 7 AM till 11 AM. So you can write a blog. ๐Ÿ™‚ Everything here starts to live around 11 AM on Sundays, and before that time you are not able to get a coffee, beer or to buy anything. You can’t even get a beer in the pub. ๐Ÿ™‚

Water and weird water pipes

If you moved to Ireland and you have found an apartment older than 15 years, most likely you will notice some, for us odd things. Most apartments have the washing machine placed in the kitchen. If you are lucky like we are, it is in the wardrobe in the hall. ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess it is a matter of drainage pipes or something, but in Croatia in 90% of cases we have it in the bathroom. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another really weird thing for all of us coming from the Mainland is the bathroom sinks. Most of apartments are equipped with tiny sinks and with two small pipes, the right tiny one for cold water and the left tiny one for warm water. New apartments luckily have a bit bigger sinks fit in their bathrooms and pipes with standard EU mixers. Or not so standard? ๐Ÿ™‚

Take a look at the mixer and the sink in our bathroom. The drainage hole goes directly into the wall and if you lose a ring for example, ta ta.. say good bye and forget it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Besides, there is only one “control” point where you can set the water temperature but forget about setting up the water flow. It is always more or less on its maximum. A very similar thing can be found in our bathtub, where there is again only one control point and water temperature can be set on the scale from 1-9. 1-5 are usually cold, 5.5-6 is nice and warm, and all above 6.5 can cause second degree burns. ๐Ÿ™‚ Same as on the sink, water pressure is always the same, and luckily it is always powerful so it works well. ๐Ÿ™‚


When you finally think you have seen them all, and nothing can surprise you, there are some other “special” devices to figure out. At work we have water boilers mounted on top of the sink, and water in there is always around 90 degrees. Preparing tea and coffee with such a device is an ease.


That boiler thing is a completely nice and logic device, but then you try to get some cold water from the pipe… Its control spins around for almost 360 degrees but nothing happens. At that point you decide that this pipe is broken, and that you can’t get cold water, but then there is a colleague of yours, laughing and saying “yeah yeah, we all need to learn it”, and then instead of turning this circle control he tilts it for 45 degrees, and there it is, cold water. However, spinning the wheel to the maximum can cause the same 90 degrees boiling water to get out of the pipe. ?! ๐Ÿ™‚


There are a few more weird solutions with electric pumps mounted above the bath tubs which suck the water out of the pipes and pressurize it for you in the tub itself. You get used to the solution, but I could never get used to the noise this pump creates. ๐Ÿ™‚


Once you moved in the apartment, the first thing that you need in there is of course – the Internet! Dublin is covered with a few providers but it seems that 98% of apartments are equipped with one particular provider, and that your apartment is pre-set, there is outlet on the wall, you just need the device to plug it in. So you call your provider, you tell them where you live, explain them that you are the new kid on the block and that you would like to have some Internet. They will ask you for your name, surname, PPS and address. Once you give them these, and tell them that you would like a certain package they will tell you that it is resolved, thanks and good bye.

The very following morning you will receive a call from a delivery service and one box of your Internet will be there. ๐Ÿ™‚ All you need is to follow the IKEA like comics instructions, plug the right cable in the right place, plug it in the power outlet and wait for 30 minutes (as per document). In 10-15 minutes all the lights will start to blink, and voila! You have the Internet! ๐Ÿ™‚

Talking about optical cables and the broadband speed is useless… ๐Ÿ™‚


Strange Food and Turkish Coffee

With 3-4 huge grocery store chains it is hard to say that there are things that can’t be found in Dublin. Still, we were not able to find a few articles. Dried smoked bacon, “Slanina” as we call it, is a thing that does not exists here. In Moldovian and Ukranian shops there is sort of “slanina” but it is not dried and smoked, it is fresh and spicy. That kind is good for our local beans soup, but if you’d like to prepare pasta carbonara or “sarma” (sarma is another common dish where we pack minced meet with slanina into cabbage leaves and boil it) you’d have a little problem.

Another thing missing here is “smoki” (corn puffs). We have more or less one kind of corn puffs, and they are made with peanut flavor. The only corn puffs that can be found here are with cheese or chicken flavor. Mentioning peanuts… I’ve never ever bought raw peanuts anywhere but here. It is true that on all our bags it says “fried”, but as there are no “raw” to be purchased I did not pay attention. So I wanted a bit of peanuts, I’ve bought a small bag and I started to eat them… It was sort of good, but more or less they tasted weird. So after couple of days and half bag eaten, I asked my wife to try it and tell me what is wrong with them. She immediately said “those are raw, and they taste exactly like raw green peas”. A few minutes and google searches later, we had the best peanuts ever. Roasted by my wife! ๐Ÿ™‚


Peanuts are not the only strange thing so far. I bought fresh cranberries as I know that they are a good source of vitamin c, they are very healthy and besides, I never had a chance to try them raw. I had a handful of them, but… they are sour and weird and miss some general taste. With the peanuts experience behind me I checked the packaging and there it says “Boil or bake for the best taste”. ๐Ÿ™‚


Once boiled, cranberries taste similar to boiled plums but still some sugar or honey should be added. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you buy a whole bunch of lettuce here, you will notice that it is packed with roots and a bit of soil. It is a bit strange, but at least salad will remain fresh few days longer.


The other difference that is quickly noticed is the different concept of “creams”. In Croatia there are different names for each, there is cooking cream, cooking cream with parmesan taste, cooking cream with tomatoes, “sweet” cream, sour cream, extra fat sour cream, whipped cream and sweet whipped cream. So far there are sour creams and fresh creams here, and then you can whip them, add sugar to make them sweet. Still, once you get used to it, it does not affect home cuisine and all dishes are delicious. Just to mention it, I think yogurt is much more sour here.

The biggest culinary problem here is Turkish coffee. There are many different known and unknown coffee brands and blends, but somehow they do not taste right, but rather as American filter coffee. Still, there are many many different products, and I guess we need to find the right one, but there is no such thing as “dลพezva”. It is a different kind of pot that we use to prepare teas and coffees. It is narrow and tall and closest to it that can be found here is tea pot (like the one that we found) or milking pan.


General waste and recycling

I am used to recycling and like to recycle waste, but back home we have normal bins, and you carry your garbage outside of the house almost on a daily basis. Even though it is similar in the rest of Dublin and other places in Ireland, Dublin city centre has special rules. Litter is collected on Tuesdays only, and we need to recycle paper, plastic and metal in transparent bags, general waste in black bags, and take glass to glass banks. There are special stickers that are then glued to black bags and that’s how the garbage disposal is paid. However one sticker is a bit more than 3 Euros and it is for 15 Kg bags. Now, as we separate papers, wash tetra-packs, tins and bottles can you imagine how much time is needed to collect 15 kg of general waste? How do you store leftovers of onions or fish that stink after just a couple of hours? ๐Ÿ™‚


Besides, do you know how much time is needed to fill 15kg of recycling waste? ๐Ÿ™‚


As we do not have a car here, getting rid of glass is another funny story. The closest glass bank is just 10 minutes from any directions or points of interest, so we can’t just stop by. So we collect glasses until we have a full backpack, and then we dispose of it. Brown glass in a special box, transparent glass in its white box, and green glass in a green box. ๐Ÿ™‚


But as mentioned, that strict policy is applied only in the city centre, so those living in normal city zones don’t have to collect garbage per week as we do. ๐Ÿ™‚




By adminko

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