Where I come from in America there are many people who do not own, or have access to, a washing machine. Whether it be for financial reasons or just the fact that their apartment is too small, those without parents nearby spend a good couple weekend hours doing laundry at their local laundromat. I have been fortunate enough to have only needed a laundromat for one month of my life. For our first month of marriage we lived in a tiny studio apartment (more like a hotel room with a kitchenette) while we waited for the house we were moving into next door to be vacant. We lived in a pretty dodgy part of Portland, Oregon, so it was an eye opening adventure each time we went to do our laundry. You meet some interesting characters at the laundromat…
One day several months ago, much to our surprise, we drove by a petrol station outside of Athy and saw the closest resemblance to a laundromat (albeit an outdoor freestanding unit) that we had ever seen in Ireland. Now granted, I don’t live in a big city and maybe Dublin is full of them and I’m just not aware. But for me this was the first I’d seen. There are two size options, small and large; and a dryer – an item not commonly found in a Irish home. (Photo)
And today was my lucky day as I finally had reason to drive 15 minutes from my house to try it out. (Two of my kids ate something wonky last night and vomited on their duvets, which do NOT fit in my teeny tiny washing machine.) It’s pricey, at €8 per large load, but in my case it was worth it. The machine is very user friendly, automatically adds laundry soap, and is speedy, as the cycle is about 30 minutes, compared to mine at home which takes an hour or longer. I grabbed a tea and muffin from the petrol station and enjoyed my little bit of quiet time in the car with my youngest baby while the machine did its job.
As I took my photo, a man said to me, “I never saw someone take a picture of a washing machine before…” We chatted and I told him what I just told you about laundromats in the states and he said the one I was using in Athy is very popular and busy all the time. He also said there’s another one twenty miles up the road that is equally as busy. Could it be that laundromats are just what Ireland needs? Maybe so.