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I met a lot of very nice Irish. Ireland is actually a very diverse country, and they have a lot to say about one another. First of all, I quickly noticed that everyone knows everyone. In the city, the girls playing live music in the pub went to school with my friend Karen. Karen and Carol also ran into some other boys they went to school with and hadn’t seen for years. A gathering of gentleman at a local pub, who knew the owner/host but not each other, found out how everyone knew somebody that the other guy knew. In the country, if someone they didn’t recognize someone who walked across their field, they would all talk about it until they figured out who they were and why they were there. And generally most people know where every town is and act so familiar with an area as soon as they announce where they’re from. And as soon as you’re out of the city, and on a mountain, per say, they all say hello to each other.
They also all have something to say about other parts of Ireland. As soon as I left Northern Ireland, the man in Sligo said that everyone was nicer down south, and won’t be as afraid to chat. Another girl from Sligo had lovely things to say about Derry and Northern Ireland. When I got to Galway, a guy said that they’re stuck up when you get to Cork, and that they’re nicest in Dublin. Speaking with Dubliners, they said they didn’t feel welcome in Belfast when they visited a couple years ago.
My favorite Irish were of course Karen and her family. Meeting them was truly a delight and it was so nice to see how they all lived together and individually and really loved each other. Karen and her boyfriend also have a great relationship and it was really fun to see how they lived and worked together so well.
Meeting the men at the pub in Belfast was very unexpected, but an interesting look into the history of Belfast and how it’s lingered, even though Belfast is supposedly the safest city in Europe currently. Meeting the people around Ireland showed there’s still an intense feeling of history. With such a torrid one, it’d be hard not to. It was interesting to see the Irish in comparison with the Icelanders, because they have a much more simple history, shorter, and they were colonized for a long time without much drama. Most of their drama was written down in the form of sagas, which were dramatic, but far removed and a bit more magical.
The few other travellers that I met in Ireland were all very interesting and very different. The New Zealander was a really nice guy and really into going anywhere and everywhere and was interested in meeting all kinds of people. He loved to host people and he loved to couch surf and had been doing it for ten years. He chose to work on the Aran islands because he had been there years before and knew he wanted to come back, and was also running low on funds before having to return home. He had worked in a larger tourist establishment in a great location in New Zealand for many years, and he wanted to open his own hostel when he returned to New Zealand. He was really an inspiration to meet in how to be friendly and kind to anyone he encountered, and form opinions and tell stories later, but take everything with a grain of salt. I hope he finds a good woman to share his love of travel with him. But at least he has his Swedish viking friend for the time being. He spoke many good things about him and I do wish I had a consistent travel buddy.
The American from Philly that I met was a very nice family man, with a love for Ireland and a true sense of adventure, but was tied down to his home life. He wasn’t unhappy about that either, he liked the steady routine and seemed to truly enjoy his wife and children and by the end of the week away was very excited to go home to them. He used his work trips to Ireland as his chance to explore a little, and told me how excited he was to go down little streets or meet funny characters. But, I could also tell he wished his wife could be with him, and he hoped that when he brought his children to new countries that they would appreciate the opportunity. It’s difficult to travel with children because its hard to know if they really understand how lucky they are to travel and see the world. He was a really good man, and it was really cute how much he loved Ireland and exploring all there was to see about it over the years of his work trips. Those trips and his one month of euro trip after graduating college seemed to suffice his wanderlust for the most part, and I could tell that him and his wife would have fun taking adventure vacations together if given the chance.
The girl I had met from New York had a similar perspective on travelling as I did, enjoying the feeling and inspiration of a place rather than needing to see the tourist attractions. She was inspired by Ireland when she visited years ago and that’s why she decided to go to university there. She learned a lot about herself during her time here but also recognized some things that she couldn’t live with, and I think she was excited to see a new part of America, because she was looking for work in Colorado or Oregon, and not in New York. She had a really positive energy about her and I could tell she would make a really good adventure therapist. It made me think about looking into a career like that.