Before I came to Ireland I had learned a few different styles of English. In school we learned at first the good old Oxford English. Later we had a look on American English.
When I started studying I could choose between British and American English to focus on. This meant basically that I could choose to do my phonetics class and my pronunciation class either in British or American English. I decided to do British English, because I did not and still do not like the chewing gum sound of American English. However I failed my phonetics class for British English in the first attempt so I gave it another try with American English this time. It was kind of mixed up, but I used to stick to British English.
Until I came to Ireland. Irish English is so different from British English. Intonation, pronunciation, vocabulary, etc. There are so many differences. It was quite hard to understand the Irish accent when I first came here, because I was not really used to it. I was used to hearing different kinds of Englishes, as I study Translation we have a lot of English native speakers(Scottish, British, American, etc.), but not a single Irish English native. The only experience I had made with Irish English before I came here was in the form of an Irish movie. I actually liked the accent they had in that film. It was quite pleasant. And I still find the Irish English very pleasant. They do speak fast and they have a lot of colloquial expressions you do not learn at university in Germany, but they don’t mind repeating what they have just said, because they know they are fast speakers.
After more than two months in Limerick now I got really used to the way the Irish speak and do not have that great difficulties to understand them any more.