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Spain v Ireland: First Impressions

It’s Friday afternoon, Kerry and I have been in Ireland for, what, about 40 hours now and I thought it might be fun to have a little comparison sesh. Why not?

Weather: Our last day in Spain was spent in Malaga, the temperature hit 25 degrees. People were wearing shorts, flip flops and sunnies, enjoying tapas outside on the streets and happily basking in the suns rays. Today, here in Midleton it is grey, cold and rainy. I don’t even want to venture outside. That’s a win for Spain.

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Food: The veggie options in store and online here in Ireland are a lot more abundant than in sunny Spain. And as there isn’t a language barrier, reading the ingredients on unmarked items is a hellava lot easier. Quorn, Linda McCartney and Cauldron all have suppliers here and all the supermarkets we have visited so far (Tesco, Iceland, Super Valu) have their own brand vegetarian/vegan products available. Woo hoo! So Ireland wins in terms of products, however, Spain wins hands down in terms of price.

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Food Costs: Both Ireland and Spain use the Euro so that instantly simplifies matters. The cost of food here is a lot more expensive than in Spain. Both fresh produce and pre-packed items more expensive here in Ireland and Kerry and I have already found ourselves spending a lot more on food than we would have liked. As unemployed backpackers, we have to be savvy when it comes to our expenditure, so we will certainly be hunting out the best deals and savings in the coming weeks. Cost of food goes to Spain (until I find a cheaper supermarket!)

Booze costs: I won’t lie, we like a drink every now and then and Spain appreciated that. You could purchase a liter of (not particularly great) wine for as little as 50c in the shops and a glass in a bar would set you back no more than €1. Beer was equally as cheap, a big bottle would cost €1.20 in most stores and around €2 to €3  in a pub or bar. These would often be served with a selection of tapas at no extra charge.

 

Ireland doesn’t paint such a pretty picture. A bottle of wine set us back €10 in Tesco (Super Valu was even more expensive) and a visit to the local pub cost €10 a round (I was drinking Bulmers and Kerry was sampling the Irish delicacy, Guinness!) When you have been used to Spanish, Cambodian, Thai and Vietnamese prices for so long, spending a tenner per trip to the bar leaves you feeling a little light headed! Spain wins this too!

People: People in Ireland are incredibly friendly! So warm and welcoming, chatty and eager to get to know you and just down right pleasant! Don’t get me wrong, the Spanish are lovely too, but the Irish win this one by a whisper!

Public Transport: We have yet to use any public transport in Ireland, but I have Googled the hell out of it as we are very reliant on buses and trains. So far, I am pretty sure this is going to be a win for Spain. The buses in Spain were frequent, clean and cheap. We used a lot of buses in a lot of cities and the piece never exceeded €3 per journey. Bargain! Having done some research it has become apparent that to get in to Cork City from where we are currently staying in Midleton, 30 minutes east of the city centre, it’ll cost a rather experience €10 for a return ticket. I think Cork might be off the cards! Unless champagne and canapés are included in the price, this is another win for Spain.

Accommodation: I’m a little biased in this department to be honest. My parents have a house here in Ireland which they have kindly offered to Kerry and I for the duration of our stay. It’s rent free and fully equipped so I can’t complain. It’s also made of brick, has double glazing and has a gas supply so in terms of practicality, I think this wins. In terms of price, Spain would probably win as our apartment in Torrevieja cost us €90 a week, bills included. A quick Google search has proven a similar property would be unobtainable for such a price in Ireland. I’m basing this on practicality as warmth and comfort are very important to me. Ireland wins!

 

So overall, Spain wins in 5 out of 7 categories. Yay Spain! Sorry Ireland…. You must try harder. Or just lower your prices!
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