Ah, Tipp: the very name bespeaks excellence, the pinnacle of what our lush country has to offer.
If you want to see the real Ireland, you have to visit Tipperary. Here are the things Tipperary has that you simply won't get in Dublin, or as one of my secondary school classmates referred to the city, 'Up There Where The Shops Are.'
1. 'The Flick'
If you're thinking the Flick is some kind of kinky Tipperary sex act, please get your mind out of the gutter. The Flick is the obligatory one-fingered salute, or flick, our drivers perform while passing other cars on the road.
Dublin drivers tend to give a very different one-fingered salute.
2. Grass In The Middle Of The Road
I can tell ya this much, you couldn't get a summer job up in the Big Smoke cutting the grass in the middle of a road.
3. 'Well' Means Hello
You greet people by saying 'well' all the live long day. Top tip: really elongate that “weeell” for added friendliness.
4. Home of Bulmers
Irish people would have no idea what to drink on a sunny summer's day if not for this delicious Clonmel cider.
5. Semple Stadium
Ireland's second largest stadium with a capacity of 53,000, Semple Stadium is the jewel in the crown of the county that birthed GAA. It was also the venue for the epic musical festival Féile, but we'll get to that...
6. The 'Tipp Tipp Tipp' Chant
Perhaps the simplest and most infectious sporting chant in the history of chants, where crowds of GAA fans simply repeat 'Tipp' over and over. It's a proven fact that by repeating this mantra an entire stadium of Tipp fans can reach simultaneous orgasm (Editor's note: Please stop inventing facts, Seán).
7. Thurles Milk With Santa On It
In Tipp, the arrival of Christmas has nothing to do with the date and everything to do with whether Santy has made his landmark appearance on a carton of Thurles milk.
8. Greeting Random Passers-By In The Street
Try this in Dublin and prepare to be met with stony indifference.
9. The Rock of Cashel
Oh, this old thing? It's just the former seat of the kings of Munster before the Norman invasion, reputedly built by The Devil himself, and freakin' catnip for American tourists.
10. Two-Teacher Schools
In the remoter corners of our beloved county, you'll find schools with no more of a handful of students and a couple of teachers. They're about one step up from a hedge school.
11. Pheasant Island
Exactly what it says on the tin: this is an island of pheasants in the middle of the River Suir. The pheasants are put in a big cage viewable by pedestrians on the nearby bridge. Gas craic altogether.
12. Excessive Dog Shit
As writer Fiona Looney pointed out in an RTÉ play she did last year, the town of Thurles has a bit of a dog shit problem.
Somehow I can't imagine the tourism board was too happy about that publicity, but hey, we're going to somehow fashion it into a point of pride for the purposes of this article.
If you've never had the pleasure of experiencing the hills of Drumbane, you haven't lived. They're basically the Alps of Tipp.
And anyone who tells you that Drumbane is the back arse of nowhere is only mildly exaggerating.
14. Silage Season
This time of year is such a thrill on Tipperary roads. It's like a game of Russian Roulette: will you have clear roads ahead or get stuck in a twenty car tailback behind a slow-ass tractor?
15. Patient Drivers
Unlike the motorists of the capital, our drivers are just good people.
16. 'It's A Long Way To Tipperary'
As soon as you tell a non-Irish person that you're from Tipperary, nine times out of ten they'll break into a dead-eyed version of 'It's A Long Way To Tipperary' right in your face.
Where are they even learning this song? And hasn't anyone informed them that, apart from the chorus, it's kinda racist?
17. The Likes Of These Celebrities
Hell, even Boy George's dad came from Tipp! Remember 'Karma Chameleon'? You're welcome.
18. O'Donnell's Crisps
Granted, you can get these all over Ireland, but these delicious bastards were ours first dammit.
19. The Founder Of Ryanair
That's right folks, Europe's cheapest airline wouldn't exist if not for Tipperary's own Tony Ryan. Take a a bow, you beautiful beast.
20. Hang Sandwiches And A Flask Of Tay
Traditionally, if Tipp fans have to travel for a match, you'd best believe they'll be dining on hang sandwiches and flasks of tay from the boot of a car. Check out this Denny ad for proof.
What do you mean this is a common Irish phenomenon? It's OURS dammit.
21. Free Internet Use In Our Libraries
Sure, Dublin libraries offer free wifi too, but I bet it's not an actual selling point made by the county's tourism website.
22. Hayes's Hotel
This famous hotel was the true birthplace of the GAA and remains a pillar of the Thurles community.
Also, Tommy Tiernan described it as the only hotel in Ireland where you can rent a room by the hour.
23. Liberty Square On A Match Day
On a big match day in Thurles, the town's Liberty Square tends to get a bit wild. Could you imagine scores of people freely drinking slabs of beer in Dublin's city centre on a match day? Would ya fuck.
24. Going To The Ploughing Championships Is A Legitimate Excuse For A Day Off
In case you're unfamiliar with it, the National Ploughing Championships are an actual thing. When this annual event takes places, the schools of Tipperary pretty much empty out and no teacher bats an eye.
It may sound absurd, but in fairness, it's definitely less ridiculous than a coffee throwing championship.
25. Watching TV In A Pub
I'm not talking about heading to the pub to watch the football, I'm talking about going there to watch the Midweek Movie over a few pints, while providing a running commentary with a bunch of auld lads.
26. The Local Priest Notices If You Miss Mass
If you're from one of our county's smaller villages (I'm looking at you Loughmore), the local priest will notice your absence and he won't be pleased.
27. Jim Of The Mills
While most people wouldn't fancy the idea of making a trek to the middle of nowhere to drink in a family home converted into a rather cramped pub, Jim Of The Mills is well worth the effort.
With the trad sessions and the old fashioned layout, it feels like you've travelled back in time.
28. Garda College
We're the county who trains the Guards to say 'vehicle' the correct way and makes them the elite law enforcement organisation that we know and love.
29. The Féile
They were the best of times, they were the worst of times... this chaotic music festival took Thurles by storm back in the early '90s and the mayhem is set to return this August for the 25th anniversary at Féile Beag.
30. 10-Seater Taxis That Accommodate 23 People
It's really not okay.