I used to race with Bemsee from 2005-2008 and started real road racing this year. I did Cookstown and Tandragee in April / May and just did the Cock O'The North meeting at Scarborough this weekend gone.
It is way better than short circuit racing, the paddock is 100x more friendly and relaxed and the racing is much more enjoyable for it. Everyone leaves their ego at home and the racing is to be done for the enjoyment, unlike BSB, where everyone is just convinced they're the next Rossi. I don't know if it's the danger aspect of RR that brings everyone together, but there is a commeraderie in the road racing paddock that draws you in and makes you want to be a part of it, far more so than on short circuits.
As for riding styles, yes, it is SO different from short circuit, but a lot of fun. You just need to take your time and build up your speed. The most important thing is to be in the right place on the circuit, doing the right thing, e.g. on the throttle over a jump, pointing to where you want to be going. Only when you are getting that bit right do you start to add more speed, a little at a time.
I would totally agree that Cookstown is a great little place to get started and although Tandragee is a bit quicker and a lot more technical, I also loved the place.
I would not however recommend Scarborough as somewhere to go until you have experience. It is much more like a short cicuit but with jumps and no run off! Very very technically demanding and IMHO the most dangerous of the three.
The only issue with racing in Ireland is the ferry costs, it is expensive to get over the Irish sea. But totally worth it.