I’ve been listening to the radio a lot while driving, and watching the news on occasion in the evenings. It is clear that the Irish economy is in big trouble. A man I met in a pub told me that Ireland today is where America was in 2008, in regards to unemployment and the mortgage crisis. There is a lot of talk about negative equity, and how to fix the situation. The government says they are not considering mass debt forgiveness.
One pressing concern is the beginning of the new school year. The government offers support to families who cannot afford back-to-school books and uniforms, things that American families are not required to purchase. (Yes, we need to buy pencils and binders, but they need to get textbooks, workbooks, and clothing specified by the school.) There is a 2-week backlog in processing the applications of needy families across the country. The government fears that parents will keep their children home until the money comes through, to prevent their children from being punished by administration or humiliated by their classmates. They were urging families not to use payday loans to get their children school supplies, either.
The Rose of Tralee, an Irish beauty contest, is big news, and all of the Irish bookmakers were offering odds on who the winner would be. (Tara Talbot of Queensland won.) It’s not like Miss America, in which each state has a representative. It seems that women can enter from anywhere in the world, as long as she has an Irish connection. There are roses from America, Australia, and Canada, as well as all of the Irish counties. This video has gone viral. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone hip-hop dance in an evening dress before.
This one’s pretty funny, too.