Shocker and shock! Oh that shocking culture shock, culture shock...
When I first studied abroad in Ireland in 2007, I definitely experienced a bit of cultural disorientation. I had no idea what a 'jumper' was, I had never heard the word 'ye' used in a modern-day sentence, and I had certainly never seen butter used as a sandwich filling. In short, I felt a lot like this: (click).
Yeah, that immersion thing got me, too. The first time I had to use the 'boost' to take a shower I didn't get to bed until 2am because the water took so long to heat up.
Anyway, the basic, 'duh-oh-yeah-really?' point is that Ireland is not the USA. And that, sometimes, culture shock can be fun!
Something you might not know about Ireland: there are basically no postal codes.
Yeah, ok, ok, some people will tell you that there are technically Irish postal districts. But, these nearly-mythical numbers are mostly used by An Post to sort things in the office. No one really knows what the numbers are, and no one writes them on envelopes. Everyone knows that if you're sending a letter, and you write this:
The guy in Cork's An Post office will say, “Ooooh, right! Joe! In the cottage!”
Because Cork-An-Post-Guy will know Joe-in-the-Cottage's grandmother who happens to have lived next door to his Uncle Peter since he was three years old. Or, because An-Post-Guy is some ancient old man who will have gotten this same, annoyingly vague address for years. He'll have given up on getting anything with more context and will probably have 'Joe's Cottage' circled in red ink on a map above his desk. So, your obnoxious letter with its annoying address will arrive safe and sound its proper destination.
Because Irish postmen are actually stamp shamans.
Now, to make things a bit more confusing, Irish people also have a tendency to name their houses proper names—a practice I find endlessly entertaining (see above example). But, as creative and amusing as the names may be, it must be hell on postal workers, taxi drivers, and pizza delivery guys. I mean, really. Imagine that you're an Irish pizza delivery guy and its your first day on the job. You get an order for a large three topping pizza (pepperoni, sweet corn, and extra cheese) for this address:
The Little Orchard
No helpful house numbers. You can't count the number of houses until you get to the right address. There are no hints as to whether odd numbered houses might be on the left side while even numbered houses might be on the right. You just have to struggle to make out the tiny, hand-painted sign reading “The Little Orchard” (probably covered in ivy) from your moving vehicle, and hope you don't crash while you're craning your neck and squinting your eyes.
There's no trail of breadcrumbs for you, here, sir. You'll just have to wander around in the rain (your pizza getting all the colder) until you find The Little Orchard.
Yep. You've gone to where even Google Maps can't hear you scream.