A couple of years ago, I had a twenty-four hour layover in Dublin. I crammed in as much sightseeing as I could. I got to see the sights but I never got to know the city and vowed to come back.
The Emerald Isle has always held an allure: Guinness, friendly locals (never met an Irishman (or woman) I didn’t like), rolling verdant green hills, leprechauns, pots of gold, lucky charms, hearty food, and ancient castles.
Last month, I went back to Ireland for a travel conference.
But, sadly, I didn’t get to stay as long as I wanted. My trip had to be cut short due to a commitment in the US, and many of the things I wanted to do were rained out while there (but what’s Ireland without the rain?).
That long road trip around Ireland will just have to wait.
But while I didn’t get to see much of the country, I did get to meet a lot of locals — and I have to tell you while Ireland itself is beautiful, the Irish make Ireland.
The Irish are some of the most amazing, friendliest, warmest, outgoing people I’ve ever met. I’ve met Irish travelers before and one of my close friends is Irish (probably the only vegetarian, non-drinking Irishman in the world!), but nothing compared to experiencing the Irish in their own country.
First, Dublin cab drivers might be the best in the world. When I arrived in Dublin a few years ago, the cab driver chatted my ear off a we drove to town from the airport, telling me all about his daughter’s thirty-three (spoken in an Irish accent, which sounds more like “tertee tree”) birthday, every neighborhood we passed through, and which Irish food I needed to eat during my visit.
His warm, friendly nature has made that taxi ride one of my favorites.
Because of that experience, I took cabs wherever I could during my recent visit. I generally avoid cabs (they are expensive compared to the local bus) but every cab ride was like learning about slice of life in Ireland. Each ride begin a new chapter of a very long story. There was never silence. I had one make fun of me being an American (“here’s your change DUDE”), one gave me the lowdown on Irish politics and an upcoming election, another talked about why how Ireland has developed since he was a kid, and others just chatted my ear off about life in Dublin.
Taxi drivers in Dublin are a league apart.
Next, there was my Airbnb host in Galway (probably the best host I’ve ever had). He helped out by getting me a free tour, showed me some pubs, and overall made my time in the city spectacular. He went out of his way to help.
During dinner one night in Galway, two Irish men sat beside my friend and I, looked over, and after a simple “Where are you from?,” chatted our ears off all night, even asking us to take their picture to show their wives they were having a great time. We enjoyed wine, laughs, and I enjoyed a thick Irish accent I couldn’t always understand.
There was the abundant friendliness and hospitality I was constantly showed. Whether it was asking questions on the street, interactions in stores, or banter in the bars, the Irish were always happy, helpful, and energetic. They have an infectious charisma.
Their demeanor, their attitude, and their willingness to share a pint and tell jokes with you. The Irish are incredibly hospitable hosts and left a lasting impression on me.
Ireland is a beautiful country, with verdant hills and castle ruins around every corner but what will bring me back to Ireland is the people and a desire to learn more about their history and culture.
Visit Ireland for the beauty, stay for the people.
The post I Loved Ireland (But I Fell in Love With the Irish) appeared first on Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.