Fashions change but one constant that remains is Ireland. Despite the country being predominantly rural, is it still viewed as it always has been: the bastion of cool.

My wife is Cornish, except on two occasions. On St Patrick's day, she claims Irish heritage due her grandparents who travelled over from London in the 1940s. The other occasion she claims to be Bono’s second cousin, thrice removed is when we visit the Emerald Isle. I have made the journey a couple of times and, despite the surprisingly expensive cost of living, it is a blast, full of people who are borderline insane, but in an endearing way.

On our first visit, we stayed in the family farmhouse in the back of end of nowhere just behind that place over yonder. As we sat in the kitchen, boiling an old tin kettle on the Aga, the kitchen door, permanently unlocked, came flying open and in walked a buxom, red-cheeked woman closely followed by her bear of a husband, whose complexion wass best described as ‘weathered’.

‘Top of the morning. Make me a feckin' tea, English’. Through fear, I made copious rounds of the brown stuff, which then morphed into a couple of hours on the black stuff. And then they were gone, telling us we were ‘welcome in Oireland’. Or at least I think that’s what she said as I nodded through fear, laughed merrily and didn’t have the heart to pick her up on her rebranding Brett as ‘English’.

That evening I went with her uncle to the local pub, which was a 10-minute car ride away, for a loaf of bread. Now there is one genius idea: put shops in pubs thus giving the gentlemen folk impetus to go shopping and sink a quick pint whilst waiting for your milk and boxtie to be put on the battered oak counter.

It is the only time I have encountered the EastEnders bar scene. Phil ‘Orange Juice’ Mitchell has often walked into the Vic for a ‘ruck’ as the whole pub miraculously goes silent and there seems to be a jukebox power cut. Exactly that happened when I walked in. After a good 30 seconds of silence they saw I was with uncle-in-law Ireland and I was welcomed into the bosom of the rural community, so I was.

The loaf of bread never materialised as we left it, along with 20 others who had done the same, by the bar. I stumbled out 12 hours later tasting Guinness as it made its way back into my mouth from my bloated stomach. Arriving back at the farmhouse we had a cup of tea and I asked kindly uncle what he was doing today? His reply still haunts me: "I’m leaving for work in 30 minutes and you're coming with me."

Despite protestations, I was taken, drunkenly, and against my will, to hod carry on a building site for the day. It was, in a strange way, an initiation ceremony that was thrust upon me. I believe I was the only fool stupid enough to ever have agreed to such an undertaking, yet it cemented my place as being ‘OK for an English’.

Despite a short stay, the crazed but lovable behaviour continued, including sitting on a DeLorean bonnet at 3am in a pub car park miming Gaelic shanties. I thought about this as I read Ireland's best (recent) newspaper headlines. From ‘Missing man found safe and well in Kerry pub’ in the Kerry Times, to the Irish Times' ‘Muff annual festival a ‘must’ for Black Mickey’. Intrigued, I am now in receipt of the knowledge that ‘Muff’ is an Irish village in which Mickey Doherty resides. Strangely Mr Doherty is white and there is no mention as to why he is nicknamed Black Mickey. At least Metal Mickey’s name left little to the imagination, but such is the intrigue of the Irish.

I look forward to a future visit despite no doubt being dragged, again hungover, up a hill at 5am on day two to drive a tractor (difficult after lying that I knew how to) whilst cutting bog peat turf as a hardy gaggle of locals stand on the edge of the field and cheer merrily. It is this type of spectator sport that leaves me feeling as if there is little in way of entertainment in the rural confines besides drinking, or, maybe, just maybe, they have it right.

Friendliness, hospitality and eradication of the jellyfish spined who we seem so eager to pacify in England, being the mantras with which to live trusting, if tough, lives. Live hard, play hard, seems to be par for the course, with a sense of community and a wanton abandonment of the rules that was, in some part, alien to my nature.

Ireland, I look forward to visiting once more, but will have to snowflake out of any more hod carrying. I enjoy the craic but have a bad back and think I’ll stick to personal abuse in a farmhouse kitchen as I slave away over the Aga, so I will.