CLONMEL HOTSPOT -- Fifty-nine college students have described "Christmas in Ireland" for me. It's a concept that interests me because I came to Ireland for Christmas 1994 and never returned to the States. Over the years, I've learned to appreciate the things that distinguish Christmas in Ireland from Christmas in America. But just for fun, I'm returning to the States in a few weeks to observe an early Merry Christmas. I'll be taking Christmas drawings that my students dashed off with a Nokia Digital Pen.
Some memorable quotes from several students about "Christmas in Ireland" follow.
- "Being with my family on Christmas, opening presents and sitting around the fire eating and drinking."
- "It's an opportunity to get drunk as often as possible over a period of a week or so."
- "It is a time for children to play in the snow, a time which warms your heart."
- "The shops treat is just like Valentine's Day."
- "Young Irish people like to go out with friends and have fun at Christmas. The adults go out for a few drinks."
- "Shopping fever usually reaches a frenzy as the "big day" looms ever nearer."
- "Christmas tress go up all over the country."
- "Children's eyes sparkle as they pass shop windows and parents' eyes roll up to heaven."
- "Even my little brother has a Christmas tree in his room."
- The light from the flames in the fireplace makes the Christmas wrapping paper on the gifts dance."
- "Films you've seen four million times before but on Christmas Day it's different."