Most visas are significantly easier to get in India than elsewhere in the world, mainly because they process applications in such volume that "legitimate" frequent travelers with solid bonafides are shuffled along quickly. The same countries' missions in first-world countries though seldom have to deal with visa applications from locals and are hence immediately suspicious when a non-citizen comes in to apply.
I am still smarting from the note the Czechs sent me 3 years ago sayign that "we do not seek to encourage tourism visits by citizens of India, hence we are unable to issue you a visa at this time". Also the South Africans who wanted a US$1000 cash bond placed in escrow before they would issue me a visa. Or the Costa Ricans who insisted on a referred visa and $5000 bond to simply transit (not even transfer planes - just sit on the same plane on a through flight) through SJO. And of course the US whose visa procedure has been known to make grown men cry on a regular basis. None of which I will visit for personal reasons anymore, and Ireland is likely to join them if this nonsense continues.
I've got, without any difficulty, Swiss, French & Danish visas in America; a Slovenian visa in Austria; Canadian, Austrian & Slovak visas in Britain; American, Swiss & Australian visas in France. Of all these cases, the only time I was actually living or working in a country was in France. The rest of the countries I was either a tourist or on a short business trip.
What I have experienced, though, is that the poorer the country, the more the attitude they have. The woman at the Indonesian embassy in Paris was a real bitch and demanded all kinds of things, including an actual ticket before she even considered looking at my application. I didn't have a ticket, amongst other stupid little things, so I didn't get the visa. I did get into a big argument with her though. Which pissed her off and pleased me (it was, apparently, my time of the month - there's no other explanation!). At the Australian and Swiss embassies in Paris, on the other hand, they had started processing the visa before I had even completed filling out the form! The Swiss woman had already stuck the visa in my passport before I was halfway through.
As for the US, I've never actually been inside any of their embassies or consulates (always managed either through the post or through an agent), but agree on your diagnosis of the procedure, from what I've heard. Fortunately, I'll probably never have to go through it.
Actually, I've scanned a bunch of them and tried emailing them to Gabriel to put up on his site, but the damn email keep coming back every time I send it. I lost my passport some time ago, so I don't have all of them, but the few I do have on my current passport I've been trying to send him.
As for Costa Rica, I remember reading somewhere that it's the one country India does not have a full diplomatic relationship with (or the other way around). Perhaps that's the reason, if it is indeed true.
Getting back to Ireland, though, I still find it a bit strange. Aren't procedures and requirements meant to be the same everywhere for citizens of the the same country? The Irish are actively promoting their country here and are really encouraging tourists and students to go there. And the bawi at their Fort consulate was super nice. Don't give up on Ireland - it's a lovely place!