Saturday, October 27, 2007

Why Ireland reminds me of Jamaica

People always sound so surprised when I make this comparison, but I think there's definite evidence to back me up on this! Consider . . . .
  • Both small to medium-sized islands in close proximity to a larger empire-type nation.
  • A conflictual history with Great Britain: Ireland - repression, poverty and repeated rebellion. Jamaica - slavery, poverty and repeated rebellion.
  • Both have developed their own, highly unique cultural identities of which they're hugely proud and which are instantly recognizable worldwide.
  • Still, neither have been able to escape the British template stamped on parts of the society. Though, to be fair, Jamaica is much prouder of it's British heritage/influence than Ireland is.
  • Both seen as (somewhat) third world by the Brits (e.g., sample comment, one of many by Brits who hear that I'm living here - "You moved to Ireland? Why??" - said in a disbelieving, slightly contemptuous tone as if they couldn't imagine why anyone would do such a thing!)
  • Rhythmic, musical accents that seem to totally reject the "th" sound :-)
  • "Jamaica time" should have an Irish equivalent saying because the same concept definitely exists here. Expect everything to start at least a little late. I've heard 2 stories this week alone (one from an American, one from a native Corkonian) about job interviews starting more than an hour late because the interview panel were having their tea!
  • Looove music!
  • Long history of emigration for greater opportunities. Every family seems to have at least one family member living in the U.S. or England. The big difference is that the tide has now completely turned for Ireland. People are moving back and lots of other nationalities are moving in.
  • Both considered idyllic holiday destinations by the U.S.
  • Beautiful.


Anonymous said...

I loved this rendition of your blog. Your comparisons are so true. I look forward to seeing Ireland for myself in a few months.
Love Crusty Butt :-)


Very nicely done, Sirmelja. I must take on trust a lot of what you say about Jamaica, however, as my ignorance of the place is depressingly high. Sorry about that.

As far as Ireland is concerned, though, there does (finally) seem to be a gradual eroding of British misconceptions. For example, any British person with at least a passing familiarity with the financial pages of the press should by now be dimly aware that the Irish economy has blossomed extravagantly these past fifteen or so years, and that the hole left by Irish emigration has been rendered largely immaterial by new-wave immigration.

People cling to their comfortable bigotries, however, and it probably just feels easier to dismiss Ireland and the Irish as backwards. A witheringly dull stance to take, right enough, but plenty of people still seem happy enough to take it.

I tell you what, though, the inability of the Irish to keep time has me muttering some fairly stark imprecations every once in a while. What's wrong with these people? Sheesh.

Is Jamaica proud of it's British heritage/influence? I didn't know that. Usually, the formerly repressed are understandably super keen to ditch the reminders and signs of their erstwhile oppressors. For some strange reason - and forgive me, please, if this is offensive - I really rather like the idea of Jamaicans celebrating (some of) the British aspects of their heritage.

Anyway, I really enjoyed that post, thank you.

Kind regards etc.....


n'Drea said...

Hi, came across your blog, and am liking it very much. I'm from Jamdown, and it's great meeting another yardie, all the way in Ireland.

I've heard it said that there are quite a few similarities between Jamaica and Ireland, and now you've confirmed it.

Looking forward to more great reads.

Sirmelja said...

Hi N'drea. Thanks for the good word. I took a look at your blog, and liked it as well. Keep on visiting!

Sirmelja said...

TPE, I beg your indulgence since I've been very, very lax at responding. I've just been avoiding the internet in general lately. Look for a reply to the email soon as well!

I definitely think the time issue is an island thing. Not sure how or why, but I'm sticking to my illogical certainty.

Not to say that there isn't a great deal of variation in Jamaicans' philosophical and political stances on the whole British heritage thing. But, I think overall, it's something that's appreciated not rejected.


Oh, don't worry about it, Sirmelja. I am often hideously lax in responding to comments. In fact, you're something of an amateur in the laxness stakes, really, given that it only took you three weeks to respond to me here (I once left someone waiting for over three months, for shame). Oddly enough, I didn't see your response as the email notification thing seems to be knackered (hence my own tardy response time here).

Just you stick to your illogical certainty, okay? It is terribly becoming. (snickering into my hand here)

Right, I'll spare you the trouble of having to come back down here, by not asking you any questions. Plus, I'm planning on saying hello to you in your more recent posts, anyway, so you can get back to me there (in three or so weeks time, obviously).

Kind regards and happy stuff etc....


Anonymous said...

aha! but i most certainly have heard some irish people mention "irish time!" it may have been tongue in cheek, but it certainly does pertain.

as an american, in cork, i often found my boss to be at least a half hour late for our meetings. he always asked, "how long have you been waiting?" eventually he started to ask me to meet him at 9:30, Irish Time. this meant 10-10:15!

Sirmelja said...

Hah, that's perfect Sheena! Glad to know that some people here actually admit their problem :-)

GilmoreGirls1 said...

Hi Sirmelja, I wanted to finally leave a comment. I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago because I am also Jamaican and I was doing a bit of research into Irish influence on Jamaica, and if there were any similarities between the accents. After finding your blog at that time, I saved it to my favorites list so that I could come back to it, at some point. I had actually forgotten about your blog until yesterday, when I was going through some of the websites in my favorites list. I'm happy that I rediscovered your blog because, this time, I went through all of your entries. I have definitely enjoyed reading about your experiences.
I would like to take a trip to Ireland, at some point, myself. I'm in love with the idea of going there. I would like to travel throughout Europe, but Ireland is my number one travel destination.
So thank you for doing this blog. It's been a joy to read so far.

Anonymous said...

Hope your still in Ireland. There is a big enough Jamaican community in Dublin

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone! as a Cork person I noticed all my life the similarities between the Caribbean accents and that of the ones from the south of Ireland. I started visiting London years ago and i heard a song called ‘skeng’ a dubstep[ish] track [from 'the bug'] about a hand weapon – immediately i recognised the Gaelic word ‘scian’ the Irish for knife. No coincident! Also check out a Doc called ‘redlegs’ or a book called ‘to Barbados or hell!’ . Or visit Ireland. The north side of cork city sounds like trench-town – no exaggeration.