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Oulwanism May 18, 2009

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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Oulwanism is a fantasticly entertaining and well known Irish trait permeating the over 65+ , female age bracket !  I mean no offence to anyone who might fall into that category but you’d have to forgive me for laughing considering the scene I saw today in “The Square” (and its not even feckin square – its triangular !) …

So there I was looking for blog material minding “mine own” business (as my kid would say) when I stumble across two blue rinse octogenarians trying to give directions to some studenty types who were obviously not from around this neck of the woods and knew no better than asking Betty and Mildred for advice …

Oulwanism in its purest form presents the witness with a classic conundrum of advice and answers, with a pinch of “too many cooks spoil the broth” thrun in for good measure.

Student – obviously looking for the way to WIT : “So it’s out the N25 is it ?”, motioning the wrong way …

Betty to student : “Well, eeeh yes it might be – I don’t know the numbers on the roads love !”  And then to Mildred “The N20 something or other – does your young fellas’ bus go out there ?” (Never mind the fact that she didn’t know the road – she then turned her attention to identifying the road she didn’t know, in order to find out did she really know it as something else !)

Student : “Could you walk it ?”

Betty : “Oh no, tis too far – well you could walk it like but it’d take you an hour !”  (You could, in theory walk from Cork to Belfast too, but that’d take you ages !  In fact there’s nowhere in Ireland you couldn’t walk to …)

Mildred : “Yes you could walk it, but I wouldn’t !”

Betty : “Yes you could walk it”  (But a minute ago you said … too eager to please you see … we don’t like the word NO as a nation … Could you cycle backwards to it ?  Yes, in theory, but don’t !!)

Student  “So it’s out ‘that way’ somewhere ?” pointing in the direction of one of the doors …

Mildred : “Ah love I came in the other door … I live down in Thomas Street !” (great details)

Students – beginning to walk : “So we’ll head out this way … and look for the N25 ?!”

Betty – grabbing some young fella : “Do you know where the university is ?” (Controversial because it’s still an Institute of Technology)

Young fella : “Sorry I Polish !”

So off they went and I forgot in my observation that I could’ve told them where to go but hey, I’m sure they walked it, or biked it, or crawled it or hopscotched it (all of which you could do but wouldn’t !).  Such was the oulwanism and coffuffery, coupled with not actually knowing the destination in the same terms as the lost person, made the answers all the more dificult to come by …

Oulwanism – the confusion arising (on both parts) from the overwhelming need and want to help someone, while using the other person’s terms and points of reference, therefore forgetting everything you know about the subject yourself – all the while not saying no (ever!) causing a less than helpful solution to be arrived at !



1. Reggie - May 21, 2009

I was laughing so much the tears were coming out of my eyes. Oh man, that was good! Thanks for sharing! Last year in Sept/Oct, when I finally persuaded hubby to visit Ireland with me (it was my childhood dream come true at last!), we were so paranoid about getting lost, that we bought a Garmin navigator beforehand and I programmed it with all our destinations (extracted from Google Maps, Google Earth, and a plethora of websites about Ireland).

I can honestly say, without our beloved Gertrude, we would have been utterly lost in the countryside, which is where we roamed most of the time… because almost none of those tiny narrow roads with their 3 metre high hedges ontop of stone walls had bloomin’ signs on them! It was like navigating through a maze.

Mind you, we did still get lost. And loved every moment of it. Secretly, I kinda wish we’d gotten lost more often, just so that I would have an excuse to ask the locals, because every time we DID, it was an absolute hoot.

So thank you for bringing it all to life so vividly!

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