The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

OPINION: Time moves slowly in Ireland … or does it?

Emma Sutton / Hilltop Views

I’m not sure if time moves slowly in Galway or if I move too fast. I have been in Ireland for over a month now, and I’ve noticed a difference in how Americans and Irish people relate to time. 

Here, I feel like I am always waiting for something: the bus, my takeaway tea, the waiter. There’s no rush or jolt to keep moving from one place to the next, to keep doing and going. 

I got to thinking more about this waiting phenomenon while I was waiting for the bus, funnily enough. Is it just me who gets to class too early, so it’s my fault I’m waiting? Is it me who orders something complicated, which makes it take longer? No, it isn’t.

The Irish perspective, or maybe it’s the European perspective, on time is just different, and I’m starting to think: rightfully so. In the US, I felt like everything was left until the last minute, leaving me running from one place to the next. Everything was a race for time. 

In Galway, I don’t feel like I’m racing. At first, I was frustrated that my chai latte took six minutes to get to me or that the bus wouldn’t arrive for another 30 minutes. But now, it’s just a part of my routine. I get on the bus and have time to sit and catch up on reading or see what TikTok has to offer me that day. Even though you are on a bus full of people, it feels like necessary personal time when you can relax and stare out the window at misty mornings or sunny afternoons. 

The time I wait for my latte is used for chatting with the shop owner (she has a lot of questions about Texas for me). You get to know people. Often, on the bus strangers will chat throughout the entire ride. There is a community in the waiting.

The waiting slows you down and gives you a break from a hectic day, or even a hectic life, and allows for time to reflect. Americans (myself included) want everything automated and as quick as it can be. We want our things immediately, if not sooner. 

Those few minutes that I would normally say were “wasted” waiting for my food at a restaurant now feel like I’ve gained time. I am able to chat with my friends longer before stuffing my mouth full of whatever dish I’ve ordered.

Living in Galway, I’ve learned to slow down and check in with myself daily. I think that’s something that has made the transition easier for me. The “extra” time I have helps me stay grounded in an otherwise hectic world.

I feel that more Americans should try and adopt this slower lifestyle. Or, maybe the US.. should just have better public transport that would allow for some down time. I know in Ireland, it has made my life so much easier and relaxed.

View Comments (3)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Emma Sutton
Emma Sutton, Staff Writer
Emma Sutton is a junior a majoring in writing and rhetoric with a concentration in journalism and digital media. It is her second semester writing for Hilltop Views and first semester as a staff writer. She loves writing about all things pop culture but also has a soft spot for baseball.

Comments (3)

Hilltop Views has a zero tolerance policy for hate speech of any kind. Comments that express prejudice against a particular group — especially on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation — will not be tolerated. Do not resort to violent or personal attacks, especially those that include foul language. You can disagree with a story, but libel and defamation will not be tolerated. Spam comments will not be published and may result in an immediate ban from making future comments on our site. Maintain privacy. Do not comment yours or anyone’s personal information. If a comment is determined to have violated the guidelines listed above, it will not be published. We encourage you to follow our guidelines and engage in productive conversations revolving around our stories. Please refer to our Media & Ethics Policy on our website for more information.
All Hilltop Views Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • I

    Isabella HernandezFeb 22, 2024 at 5:14 pm

    Emma, I’m studying abroad in Madrid right now and I’ve noticed a similar phenomenon. It’s also been an adjustment for me to slow down but I’m quite enjoying all the small little moments. I FEEL you on the public transportation! I’d love to hear more about your experience in Ireland!! Write more pls!! I really want to make it over there before the semester ends, seems like a lovely country.

  • D

    Diane KealFeb 21, 2024 at 3:23 pm

    I love this. My friend’s mom had an expression that sticks with me: ‘hurry up & wait’. Bring mindful is golden!

  • T

    TómasFeb 20, 2024 at 2:52 pm

    Welcome to Galway! I am an ex-pat living here for 8.5 years now and the “island time” phenomenon struck me straight away as well. But make no mistake that the Irish are no slouches. You will find efficiency in the methods of working here which are very valuable life lessions. I am biased but I think it’s rooted in music and dance, efficient movement while have’n the craic. And the buses are just desperate. There’s no greater meaning behind how perpetually late they are and yes, you must just plan your day around it if you rely on public transport. I found it’s often _faster_ to just walk from Ballybrit to Newcastle or the Latin Quarter than taking public transport 🙂

    I hope you find your way to Inis Meáin. I lived there for about a year; and you will never be the same.