Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kiss Me, I'm Irish

I’m in Ireland, and will be competing over the weekend at the Irish National Championships. I bet you didn’t realize that little known fact about me being Irish and all. In the summertime my freckles are more pronounced and I usually dye my hair a darker color from its natural reddish-blonde hue. I still can put down a Guinness with the best of them though!

Truth be told, I probably am at least 1/16 Irish but I will be running here as an American. For some reason they invite a few other athletes to their Nationals to help foster some competition for some of the top tiered Irish athletes. So here I am. I flew in today from Tampa, which I expected to be an easy trip since I had only one stop in Philadelphia and was already on the east coast. That wasn’t so. The snow and long delays caused me to stay in Philly for nine (!!!) hours. All of the sudden my decision to be Irish for the weekend doesn’t seem like such a great idea, but I’m here now so I will make the best of it.

Today has also been a history lesson of sorts. I flew into Dublin and then had to take the bus down to Belfast, about a 2-hour drive, as that is where the meet will be. Now I’m assuming that because it’s the Irish National Championships and all, I most certainly will be in Ireland. But depending on who you ask, this isn’t necessarily so. I was first clued into this fact when I went to exchange money and was told I would be receiving sterling instead of Euros. Everyone knows that the country that screws you the most when traveling and converting your money is Great Britain and the irritatingly costly pound. You give them $100 dollars and you get back 50 pounds (maybe slightly more these days). And things aren’t half as expensive either, your Big Mac will still cost you 4 pound, and for us that is about $8 dollars. Anyway…supposedly there is a bit of discrepancy as to whom this part of the country really belongs to. The British have painted the curbs as if to signify ownership, but you ask the Irish and it becomes an extremely touchy subject. So, because I am surrounded by Irishmen and am running at their championships I will claim to be in Ireland for the next few days. And if anybody cares to school me on the cliff notes version of what is really going on here, please feel free.


Anonymous said...


The "United Kingdom of Great Britain" is a unitary state consisting of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Brianna said...

yes...seriously! did i sound like i really knew better and i just wanted to sound dumb or did it seem like i really didn't understand?! and since you are the enlightened one maybe you should explain better because as far as I know, being British and being Irish are not the same thing. so perhaps i used the wrong name reference but my question still stands.

Jon Lustig said...

Sheesh, some people...
Anyway, first thing to remember is that when you're in Belfast, you're not so much in Ireland as in Northern Ireland, which as mentioned is one of the four states which make up the UK. Belfast for example elects four members to the House of Commons in London. This next part gets a bit fuzzy for me, as I'm not sure if you're talking about UK colours or British colours or if there's even a difference etc. I guess the nearest parallel I can think of to what you're seeing is people who live in Quebec and identify themselves as Quebecers instead of as Canadians.
Good luck this weekend!

Jon Lustig said...

Now that I think about it, you should take notes on this sort of thing while you're over there. It's what we have to look forward to if anyone ever moves on this North American Union nonsense we keep hearing about. Just to be safe, I'd use the word English when discussing this sort of thing. In my experience people from each state tend to identify as such (Welsh, Scottish), but being sure to specify that it's England that you're talking about instead of the whole UK can't hurt.

Jasmine said...

May the lords of the leperchauns, four-leaf clovers, and Lucky Charms be with you, my friend!

Brianna said...

yes, i was aware of the whole great britain/northern ireland thing as that is how they compete in track and field, and then ireland is a seperate team, so i figured it was in some ways related to that distinction. however, the weird part about this particular area is that I am competing at the Irish Championships, different than the UK championships which would happen to also include Northern Ireland. So I suppose if I am just in Northern Ireland, part of the UK, that would make sense but then I would not expect Irish folks to claim it as well. And I do believe there is some dispute over this area, I'm just not sure exactly what. oh well, i will talk it over with some irish folks and maybe they will not make me feel retarded! :)

Anonymous said...

Ms. Glenn,
To have an enjoyable time there you only need to know the following:
Tom Herron
Joey Dunlop
Ulster GP
Northwest 200
Dundrod circuit.

Trust me. In fact, ask the locals.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to you, me friend (said in an Irish accent)!

Cormac said...


The Irish Championships are held at the Odyssey arena in Belfast as it's the best indoor facility on the island,north and south of the border, thus best suited to host such an event. All athletes from Northern Ireland can choose whether to compete for 'Ireland' or for 'GB and N.I', and regardless for whom they choose to compete, these championships serve as the National Championships for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Just to add more confusion to it, all athletes from either the Republic or Northern Ireland can compete at the U.K championships too. Confused? Me too. :D

I was hoping to travel up across the border to attend the championships but it's looking unlikely now. Anyway, Best of luck at the weekend, and I hope you enjoy your time here.

P.S Between your blog and its subsequent comments, I think every Irish stereotype in the book has been mentioned!

Brianna said...

cormac...i knew i could count on you for some "real" answers! :)

Anonymous said...

kick some butt and take some names Bri!

melanie said...

yes, bri...butts and names.
also, i just got back from a bar with jennie finch.
she came to my show...with six (SIX!!!) friends ;o)
no funerals for you to attend!

t.v. said...

Hey lady, welcome back to my side of the Atlantic. I'm hoping I will be able to catch a bit of the championships on Eurosports this weekend.

Ok, I know what kick butts mean.. but take some names? I'm lost on that one... lol.

Anonymous said...

Bri, congats on the Irish Champs an your performances should be happy with your start to the season, particularly with the "other leg"!

There is a saying that I always refer to when people ask about the "Irish Question" as you have. They say that if you are NOT "confused" by the Irish Situation and "The Troubles" as the people north and south of the border refer to them....the you really do not fully understand them!

Even the people that live there are not sure of the situation!

Good Luck with the rest of the season.
ShaunP (friend of Joice M.)

Fentriss said...

Brianna, I had no idea we had being 1/16 Irish in common. I tease people all the time that I am lucky because I'm Irish......Black Irish. They laugh nervously, then I thoroughly explain it and they are awe stricken. Just thought I would let you know. Take care.