As Rachel Allen talks to Barry Egan about her cool Icelandic mother (see page 14), Pat Fitzpatrick asks what else the land of Bjork and Vikings has done for us
1 THE VIKINGS
They gave a right kicking to the Irish clergy in the 8th Century who then took it out on the rest of us for the following 1,200 years. Thanks so much for that, Vikings. A local greeted the first boatload of them to sail up the Liffey, wearing their horny helmets and just itching to go on the rampage after a feed of drink. “So you must be the Vikings then,” says yer man. “No mon, we're a stag party from Newcastle. Can ya, like, show uz t'way a Temple Bar?”
“You look like you've seen a ghost.” “No, I was just listening to a Bjork album.” “Let me guess, you forgot you had it on because there was nothing for 20 minutes and then she scared the bejaysus out of you when she made a sound like a crazy whale.” “Got it in one.” “Why do you go around with her on your iPod all the time, so?” “Bjork gets me a lot of action with the arty chicks.” “You're a complicated man.”
3 THE SHOPPERS
Apparently planeloads of Icelanders flew to Dublin in the early Noughties to do their Christmas shopping. Nobody saw them. We were all in New York buying nine pairs of 7 For All Mankind jeans because the total savings on eight pairs didn't quite cover the cost of the flight. If you still can't see what's wrong with that logic, our good friend the former president of Uganda will be in touch. Keeps having problems with his bank account.
4 GEIR H HAARDE
The H is in case you mistake him for Geir Haarde. Different fella altogether. This one is Iceland's former prime minister, prosecuted for his mismanagement of Iceland's economy in the run-up to their financial collapse. Geir H's biggest mistake? Not being born Irish. The closest that one of our lot came to being locked up was when Bertie did that News of the World ad from a cupboard. Honestly, history will piss itself laughing at us.
5 EIDUR GUDJOHNSEN
Iceland's most famous soccer player. Most people would find it difficult to name the second most famous. Maybe because it is Tottenham midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson. Try saying that after a few pints. Or before them. Eidur was glad to leave England when he swapped Chelsea for Barcelona. He had enough of this: “What's your name, mate?” “Eidur Gudjohnsen.” “Either Gudjohnsen or what, mate?” He was so sick of that pun. It really wore Eidur down.