herald

Monday 25 September 2017

So we're all about the pub then. Thanks a bunch, Lonely Planet

"Okay everybody, Aran sweaters on and pints in hand please." Reading the latest message from Lonely Planet, I can't help but think we're being directed in our very own version of The Truman Show.

Remember the film in which Jim Carrey discovers his whole life is actually a TV series? Welcome to The Paddywhackery Show, in which we all play ridiculous parodies of ourselves just to keep the tourists happy.

Yes, it may be 2010, but apparently we're all still glued to our pub seats. That's according to Lonely Planet's new Discover Ireland guide, which listed watering holes as the number-one attraction. Fair play, Lonely Planet, you really warmed up the brain cells for that one. Incidentally, "the pub" is closely followed by "Dublin" (all of it, we presume) and traditional music.

Jane and Joe Tourist are really set for the trip of a lifetime if they follow this advice. I can just picture them, skipping down the cobbled streets of Temple Bar only to arrive into some "fake authentic" pub to find a group of Hungarians inexpertly tooting with their souvenir tin whistles.

Personally, I can't imagine this list will go down too well with the directors of The Paddywhackery Show.



HEADACHE

It's going to be a major headache when the tourists reach No. 25 on the list, eating a dinner of "spuds, ham and soda bread".

Pardon me while I mop my addled brow with my genuine Irish linen handkerchief, but I'd be hard-pressed to find a single person who has eaten that meal in the past 20 years. And furthermore, it's not exactly a firm favourite on restaurant menus.

It's one of the best-known tourist guides and internationally respected as the backpackers' bible, but Lonely Planet is very much sticking to the script.

To give the researchers their due, they did manage to shoe-horn surfing off the west coast and black-cab tours in Belfast onto the list. Then again, perhaps that was a pointless exercise, considering that anyone who makes it into the pub isn't likely to get out in time to do any of the other 24 attractions.

Something tells me us poor citizens are in for a summer of torment once this new tomes hits the bookshelves, with tourists on the hunt for leprechaun sightings.

Perhaps it's just as well Lonely Planet limited its list to 25. I can just imagine No. 26: "Spend an evening watching comely young maidens dancing at the crossroads."

Come on ladies, dig out those green gunas and dancing brogues, dye your hair red and draw on a few freckles. Lights, camera, Paddywhackery!--

- AOIFE FINNERAN

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