The Irish Way
The lush green of Ireland is due in part to a very temperate and mild climate. When we were there in March, the flowers had already come out in February. Ireland rarely sees temperature extremes. The south of Ireland’s weather can have temperatures in the eighties. While we were driving to the Dingle Peninsula, we did see snow falling along with beautiful blue sky. The grass is green all year long. Grass grows 300 days a year. In the east where Dublin is the average rainfall is 3 feet of rain per year and in the west near Dingle, the average is six feet of rain per year. With the grass growing all year, Ireland is all about livestock and grazing, from horses to sheep to cattle.
In the time we were in Ireland in March 2016 the country had just had their political elections. In Ireland they have Proportion Representation, so the voting process is unlike anything I had ever heard of. Ireland has coalitions of several parties that come together to represent the country. The way residents vote is they select their first choice with a number one, then number two next to the second choice, three next to the third choice, four next to the fourth choice, five next to the fifth choice and so on until the 10th choice. Then the votes are counted. When the number 1 choicegets the number of votes needed to be elected, say it is 20,000 votes, they are elected. Now, say that candidate gets 30,000 votes, all of the candidate's excess votes go to the second choice candidate, then when the second choice takes the seat, all of their excess votes go to the threemost popular choice, and so on until the number 5 candidate. In 2016 Ireland had a big problem after the elections because no one party received enough votes to be elected. Several days after the election we were in the country, and they were still counting and recounting the votes in some counties. It took until April of that year to get the new parties sorted out in the country. It was fascinating to hear how another country has their voting procedures and the way of electing the officials.
As we drove on our journey from Dublin to Kilkenny, we traveled on one of the main highways of Ireland. This first highway was built in 1972, before that it was all small roads. The highways were paid for by the European Union to keep up with the infrastructure of the rest of Europe in keeping the same trade standards throughout the countries. The main port is in Dublin, so before there were highways, all of the trucks traveling to and from Dublin went through the center of the town of Naas. Before the highway, the town of Naas had major traffic issues with all of the trucks coming in and out of Dublin. When the highway was built and went around the town of Naas, the town wanted to celebrate the highway, since the town now does not have the traffic issues that it once had. The town created the first highway art. This highway art is a giant globe and inside it is also a time capsule. The European Union paid for 90% of the cost and improvements of the highways in Ireland. Some of this money was mandated to pay for the highway art seen throughout Ireland. There are several thousand pieces of art along the roadways in Ireland. The Irish artist create the highway art to showcase the culture of Ireland from faith to the Irish way of life.
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