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Is Ireland Metric?

Spring 2002, Kilkenny —

I still haven't figured out whether Ireland has really gone metric or not.

Dunne's Stores, the supermarket, sells produce in kilograms. The produce shop Roots and Fruits sells it in pounds.

People talk about places being so-many miles away. They use feet, inches, and pints — but kilometers (well, kilometres, as the Europeans spell it) and kilograms, as well. Beer is served in pints at the pub — but sold in half-liters by the can or bottle.

The Irish talk about people's weight in stone. A stone is 14 pounds; any discussion of personal weight is going to use this unit. I weigh a little less than 12 stone — "eleven stone thirteen." Stone is used to weigh potatoes, as well. Potatoes and people.

Potatoes, indeed, can sell by the stone, by the pound, or by the kilogram — and do, in various shops here in my neighborhood.

— Spring 2002