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EU > Czech Republic > Trutnov

In the Irish pub

Trutnov, CZ (View on map)

If there`s one cultural concept that has proved to be worth exporting, it`s the Irish Pub. Anywhere outside Northern Ireland, the Irish tricolore and the Guinness logo stand for a warm welcome, no matter whether the local reality comes anywhere near that promise. The Irish Pub in Trutnov is doing better than that. It was set up by a real Irishman, and is now run by Gabriela, 27, Czech, who speaks perfect English with a subtle Irish accent.

Gabriela (27):

`..amazing how we imported a piece of Irish territory into the Czech Republic`
Gabriela spent three years in Ireland herself and is excited to help bring a piece of Ireland to the Czech Republic. `I moved to Ireland four years ago with my then-boyfriend. I had never really thought about moving out of the Czech Republic, but the idea sounded alright to me. We moved to a little village near Wexford and I very much enjoyed my time there. It helped me to learn and speak proper English, which would have been impossible if I had stayed in Czech Republic.`

Local setting
`During my stay in Ireland, I was employed by a local supermarket, while my boyfriend was working in a hotel. We lived in a house with another Czech guy and his Polish girlfriend, in a village near Wexford. There were about 20 Czech people for a total population of 5,000, which was nothing compared to how many Polish were living there. I was not always too happy about the way they behaved. They just installed themselves in Ireland as if they were at home. On average, they made very little effort to adjust. They had their own social circles, headed by one person who spoke English and would arrange everything for all the others. And charge them accordingly for his services. We Czech considered ourselves guests and usually took a much lower profile than the Poles.`

`The Irish, on the other hand, impressed me by their friendliness and open-mindedness. On the workfloor, I was certainly lower in the hierarchy than the assistant manager or the manager of the supermarket. Outside the work context, everybody considered themselves equal. I found the Irish very helpful, no matter their social status or anything else. Much more than Czech people would be. If they see somebody lie on the side of the street, they will walk by because `it`s not their problem`. Irish people will ask others how they are. Czechs barely even do that, afraid as they are to find out that the other person is happier than they are.`

`My experience in Ireland was a good way to learn to live independent of my friends and family at home. It was good to have the sea so near, to explore nature and to find space for myself. After a while, I did get annoyed by the monotonous seasons. They are all the same! And the sky can be really darkish grey, making you feel depressed by the lack of light. I do believe that people can only have one country that they call home. Mine is the Czech Republic, although it took some time to adjust when I got back home. In many ways, it was even more of a culture shock than leaving for Ireland was at the time.`

`The Irish don`t really seem to care about how much money others have, or how fortunate they are in life. They probably do, but not as much as Czechs. If you return from abroad, people expect you to have become rich. They talk behind your back and wish something bad happened to you. Concerning Czechs who do manage to get rich: they expect all doors to be opened in front of them. They will show off whenever they can, and impose themselves on the people surrounding them. There seems to be no such way as being elegantly wealthy in the Czech Republic.`

What I missed in Ireland though, was a sense of appreciation for culture. Whenever a new CD is out in the Czech Republic, people will want to hear it and everybody knows it. The same with films. Irish people seem to care more about their pint in the pub than about artistic expressions of others.`

Breaking up
`I got this job in Trutnov`s Irish pub thanks to my boyfriend. When in Ireland, the owner of this pub asked whether the two of us wanted to run it for him, which we gladly accepted. Some things have changed in the meantime. My boyfriend soon moved back to Ireland with another, younger, Czech girl. They live in the house next to the one that the two of us used to live in when we were there, which feels quite strange. I still talk to him quite a lot. He doesn`t seem very happy there. He didn`t go back to Ireland because he really wanted to go back to Ireland. In my view, he just did it to run away from having to make real choices in life. I think he is looking for something else without being able to find out what.`

`Breaking up with him was quite difficult. He wasn`t only my boyfriend, he was also my best friend and soulmate. I am disappointed in the way he simply exchanged me for another girl. We still speak to each other on the phone every week. He never ever talks about her. I don`t think she`s the right one for him. But neither am I. It may be sad that we are no longer together, I also feel a lot of freedom now. When we were in Ireland, I felt like he was watching my every step and he would hardly ever let me go somewhere without him. When we came back to the Czech Republic, we were just the two of us running the pub in alternating shifts. We worked hard and never really had time for each other anymore.`

`I wouldn`t mind going back to Ireland for some time, or to spend a while in The Netherlands, France or Norway. For now, I think that the Czech Republic is the place where I should be. I have things to finish here before I want to move on to something or somewhere else. We are slowly turning this pub into a success, which is not easy. Young Czechs will go to another pub if the other one sells beer one Crown cheaper than we do. Selling Guinness is not very easy, as it easily costs triple the price of a Czech beer.`

`We want to present ourselves as a meeting place for higher middle class young people. This area hosts quite some expatriates who work for international companies. Siemens, Tyco Energy and ABB all have training facilities here. Their managers as well as their staff, Czech and international, enjoy the atmosphere we have created here. They`ll come here for lunch and for their evening pint, just like people in Ireland do. Everything here comes from Ireland: the bar, the furniture, the Guinness and the artefacts. The only thing that is missing so far is the Irish live music. It is surprisingly difficult to find Czech bands prepared to play for food and a drink. They all want big money! But even without that detail, I find it all quite amazing: how close we got to importing a small piece of Irish territory into a tiny city in the Czech Republic.`

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