If Irish counties were countries….

Carlow = Poland

Often threatened with being obliterated by neighbours – especially to the west. A scenic land of rivers with a long and glorious history. Seldom wins anything, never gives up. Shared love of potatoes.

Cavan = Switzerland

Home of secure money. Details of finances are almost impossible to come by in either region. Deep valleys and gorges, mountains in Switzerland, potholes in Cavan. Cheese a staple of both economies.

Clare = Wales

Music and singing are mainstays of life. Sheep are cherished – often for hours at a time.

Cork = France

Truly believes it, rather than Dublin, is the centre of civilisation; as such has a mission to raise the rest of the country to its own level. Sing song accent. Huge emphasis upon and reputation for high quality food and drink. Birthplace of the Irish Napoleon, Michael Collins.

Donegal = Russia

Impenetrable accent – often more Scottish than Irish. A county cut off by terrain and mentality from the rest of the country, north and south. The ‘rule of law’ is seen more as a generalised list of suggestions, interpretable at will. Civil servants and officials who transgress or displease are sent to this Irish gulag. Drink, religion and weather lead to fatalism and a dark soul.

Dublin = United States of America

Dominates all aspects of Irish life cultural, political and social. Widely resented, the county that others love to hate, a mixture of envy and jealousy based on the belief that Dubliners think the world, or at least Ireland, revolves around them. Mostly because it does. Yet, many Dubliners are recent immigrants and retain connections with their counties of origin.

Kerry = Brazil

Exuberant, exotic and volatile. And that’s just the women. Wild natives, some as yet largely uninfluenced by civilisation. Renowned for its scenery, mountains, beaches, lakes and rivers. Unsurpassed in football skills and loquaciousness.

Kilkenny = Germany

Shares black, amber and red colours. Quietly industrious and prosperous. Consistently efficient and clinically effective….at hurling at least. Produces prodigious quantities of beer. Unsure of its orientation – does its interests and affinities lie east in Leinster or west in Munster? Accent much mocked.

Leitrim = Bhutan

Here be dragons?

Limerick = Mexico

Both are troubled by high levels of urban gang activity. Wrestling/rugby are strangely popular and followed with religious devotion. Odd musical traditions – mariachi and the Rubberbandits.

Offaly = Mongolia

Both consist almost exclusively of vast swathes of uninhabitable desert. Natives are renowned for their deep attachment to their animals – horses in Mongolia, sheep in Offaly. Nomanslands between north and south, east and west.

Westmeath = Canada

A land of lakes and prairies. Often mistaken for their larger and more famous neighbour next door. Syrup is important in both cultures, economically in Canada, the exact use in Westmeath has not yet been established.

Wicklow = Ukraine

Deep divide between east and west of the county. Dominated by proximity to Dublin, to which some areas by dint of accent and culture appear to belong. Nicknamed the ‘Garden County’ because of its fertile land; possibly also a measure of the inhabitants IQ or resemblance to vegetables.

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