The Munchies at Christmas

Planet Potato on the rules that apply during the Culchie Exodus. I was particularly taken by number 3:

Irish Rail will put out more press releases than extra trains. You will be standing next to the pregnant women all the way to your destination.

People on trains rarely give up their seats to pregnant women. I am reliably informed that this is also the case in the UK. I think Irish Rail should print out cards for women that say ‘No, I really am pregnant’.

People on trains rarely give them up to senior citizens either, but this is because the Darwinian scrum to get on means that senior citizens are usually the last ones onto the train, and remain squashed up against the carriage doors, thus out of view of those who occupy seats.

The notices on the designated priority seats is not clear enough for the virile young pups who occupy them. They say please give up your seat ‘if required’ by disabled or elderly passengers. This seems to be interpreted as ‘do not give up your seat unless someone asks you for it’.

This is a problem for senior citizens, because they are usually very bad at asking for things. As the Irish transport system induces heightened stress and tension among its users, old people can be further inhibited from asking for a seat from the eyes-straight-ahead young man or woman for fear that they get told to get bent.

Planet Potato also notes:

I’ve never actually been in Dublin during the exodus. I have this vision of tumbleweed on an empty Grafton street with Kevin Myers standing outside Bewleys looking like someone from 28 Days Later.

I find that the most pleasant days of the year in Central Dublin are those between the Christmas exodus and the New Year influx. One theory I have about Dublin’s general unpleasantness is that the culchies, or my preferred term, munchies (the use of the term pre-dates the modern usage to describe symptoms of marihuana consumption – I believe it comes from the Irish word ‘muintir’, meaning ‘folks’), used to roaming wide open fields and empty roads, do not receive any guidelines on their arrival for how to live in a city. As a result, they transpose the behaviour of the cattle mart to the narrow streets of Dublin.

Whereas during the rest of the year Grafton Street demands fleet of foot and twinkle of toe to avoid getting floored by rocket-powered shoppers with little sense of direction, one can briefly taste the unruffled life of the flâneur in the last week of December.


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December 2005
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