Top o' the mornin' to you, space cadets. I'm just back from the ould Emerald Isle, so I am, to be sure, in a very real sense, faith and begorrah.
Check out the camera work, eh? I am a regular Beverley Goodway, yes? A career in chocolate box and postcard photography surely awaits, what? If you behave yourselves, I may even bung a picture of a country cottage up later. Yes, it is a big wow, actually. Don't take that sarcastic tone with me, or I'll box your lugs for you.
Let us move on.
If this were a report on "The Holiday Programme" or "Wish You Were Here, Do You?" there would now follow a cavalcade of cliches regarding scenery, the craic, the black stuff, fishing, a relaxed pace of life and really small pubs with folk bands playing within. Well, I'm no Judith Chalmer, so F. that S. I'm giving you the real dillio.
Yes, there are all manner of good things in Ireland. Yes, there are a number of fine chaps and good-looking colleens with whom you can have a fine and dandy time. But there are drawbacks too.
Transport. The flight from Newcastle to Dublin took forty-five minutes. The bus journey from Dublin Airport to Dublin Heuston Railway Station took an hour. Then a bone-shaking, slow-moving train took three and a half hours to get to the west of the country. This journey, until recently, took over four hours before the advent of some new rolling stock. In your face, the Tokyo bullet train!
From what I can gather, the roads are no better, with the country having to share one motorway which gets you at a good old pace to the logjams and bottlenecks of the Dublin traffic chaos. The rest of the country has to make do with converted bridle paths with the attendant ever-present threat of some country buffer barrelling into the road in his tractor with no thought of signalling or checking what's coming.
"Ooh, tubbyboohoo! Does the poor baby not like the nasty old infra-structure, then? Diddums!" I hear you chide. Well, yes you may have a point there, but try this one for size.
We've all occasionally leafed through the Daily Mail or the Express, shaking our heads disapprovingly at the half-baked xenophobic tommyrot therein, I'm sure. Recently, there has been much gnashing of hair and rending of teeth regarding the Foreign Hordes from the Eastern Bloc who are going to Swamp our Once Proud Nation.
Some of them are even worse in Ireland. You can't ride a bus or enjoy a pint without some oaf sounding off about the Poles or the Nigerians coming over here and "bleeding the system dry". The general consensus among such lackwits is that they should "send them feckers back where they came from".
Unskilled labourers from Romania or Ghana get equally short shrift.
This, I feel, is a bit rich from a country whose principal exports were, until recent times, burly navvies, nuns and teenage girls seeking abortions.
However, there is a more serious canker that makes the Irish Republic a place where the traveller should beware.
I am referring to Commercial Radio.
There is no BBC in Ireland.
The first "B" stands for "British", didn't you even know that? This means that every station is blighted with radio advertisements, the worst form of advertising in the world. Yes, worse even that spam e-mails for phentermine and viagra. Worse even than the Crazy Frog thing.
Whether it is jabbering mobile phone salesmen or culchie businessmen doing their own voiceovers, the Irish radio advert is the world's worst. All of this is before we get to the radio presenters, or "jockeys of the disc" as they style themselves.
These no-goodniks make Terry Wogan sound like Tim "the big dawg" Westwoods or one of those Radio 1 Xtra urban fellows in comparison. Their links go on forever, they read stories out of the paper, they host vapid phone-ins where the political views of some redneck farmer's wife in Ballyhaunis are sought, they give their nitwitted opinions on music when they eventually get around to banging a tune on.
They are cunts.
On that sour-faced note, I'll bid you good night.
PS It was €3.80 for a pint, since you ask.
A mighty oul' drop o' the black stuff in a lovely country pub it was, fiddle band a-gogo and twinkling-eyed ould ones and Corr-esque Colleens left, right and centre. The craic was mighty, so it was.
Aha! the old Colonel double-bluff! You fell for it, didn't you?
Ireland is skill, really.
But know this. In Ireland, a lot of them still listen to Heavy Metal music. Think about that.