“The essential differences between Ireland and Germany, two countries and their people.”
I have written this three times already, and after two pages still had so much to say. Therefore I have now decided to concentrate on one thing only, the people in the north of Germany and people in Co. Kerry and Co. Kilkenny here in Ireland, these are the ones I know best.
The Germans of the north are a mixture of Danish, English and German blood. We have to bear in mind that huge parts of northern Germany have once been Danish, as far south as the city of Hamburg. Many, many of the upper class people in Hamburg have English blood too, meaning, they are a curious mixture. Seafarers from all over the world settled there also, I dare say that there are not too many people of pure German blood anymore.
Their lives and characters have been formed by the weather and the sea; they are a stern people, serious, and often said to be cold; that they are not, but it is not given to them to show their feelings openly. If you get to know them you will detect a sense of humour, a very quiet one, but it is there.
People in Germany always seem to be in a rush, always seem to have something to do, and seldom take the time to relax, like there would be no tomorrow and everything has to be done by then.
Here in Ireland I first thought it is quite different, not as much here in Kilkenny City, but in the country, and down in Co. Kerry. The Irish, too, live like there is no tomorrow, but they are more afraid of missing out on the fun that’s to be had.
They have come a long, long way, 800 years of English oppression, ruled by the Catholic Church, and hunger and poverty. They have a zest for life that I have never experienced before. Even though it seems to be a long time ago since all these things happened, they are still remembered, there are songs and poems about it, and they are still sung in the pubs.
The friendliness of these people towards strangers was the first thing to captivate me, I was there for mere 2 weeks, and ever after, when I returned I was treated as one of their own. One woman expressed it this way by saying: “The only thing that makes you different from a real Irish is, you stop drinking when you have enough, we don’t”.
After that I came to the conclusion: ‘If I, as a typical northern German, are welcomed like that, there can’t be that much of a difference between us, can there?’
TOEFL listening discussions: What is the main weakness of the student’s essay?