During a trip to Ireland in summer 1999, my family noticed that 3 out of every 4 waitresses/hostesses was an Eastern European or German teenage girl. And a healthy number of the busboys weren't Gaelic either. My mom found it curious. She had not been to Ireland since 1957 and I think she had envisioned rubbing elbows with the charming young local sorts you find in the pubs, etc. My mom asked the manager at one place what was up and he replied:
- Teenagers from the continent like to get summer jobs in countries where they can learn English.
- They used to go to the UK but it's much easier for them to find a job in Ireland.
I went back to Ireland last summer and, saw more construction cranes from the rooftop bar at the Dublin Guinness Brewery than I had ever seen at one time in NYC. It's nice to see what capitalism can accomplish in seven years.
This all might be going to their heads though. One of the staff at Trinity college told me, geographically speaking, it is no longer politically correct to refer to Ireland as one of the British Isles. It is now the "Westernmost island of the North Atlantic Archipelago."