It’s not that living in Ireland is completely different than living in America, but there are so many little differences that it sometimes feels like it is. From time to time I’d like to highlight a few of those little things. Today we’ll focus on the house…
In the country, houses stand alone, but in the cities most of them share at least one wall with another house. Lots of them are in long stretches of row houses. We share one wall.
It’s very rare to see a house built primarily out of wood in Ireland. Since lumber is limited and rock is everywhere, houses are made of concrete.
Summers aren’t very hot, so no-one has air conditioning. If you want to cool down, just open the window. Oh – and the window won’t have a screen. There aren’t enough bugs to need that.
Heating is not central – it’s usually done with a boiler and radiators (or the fireplace). Only brand new houses might have thermostats, ours is ten years old and just has a dial where you set the times when you’d like the boiler to come on.
We have two electric showers. They heat their own water because hot water is not a given – if we want it in the sinks/tub we have to flip a switch and wait half an hour (unless we’re using the boiler for heat, then we have plenty).
The fridge that came with our house was dorm-room size. We got a bigger one.
To own a TV, you have to pay a tax of 150 Euro/year, which goes to support public broadcasting.
Almost every neighborhood (called “estate” here) has a green. The green is big grassy field that everyone can use. The individual yards are usually a bit smaller than their American counterparts, and are called “gardens”. Daniel asks regularly if he can “go play back garden?”
The power outlets, besides having a different voltage, also have on/off switches next to them. It can be handy sometimes, but also attractive to little fingers… Daniel turned off the fridge from the outlet a couple of times.