November 16 2016
I’ve always been very much in love with Ireland. Before was even able to visit, I was charmed by their culture, music, dance, and history. A large part of this is my heritage. I can trace it back to Ireland through the O’Conners on my father’s side. In my own way, I’ve always considered myself more Irish than American (which isn’t a wink true).
The first time I visited the green Isle, I remember looking through the window of the plane and being enchanted. There really is no place that looks like Ireland from above- the perfect squares like a giant quilt of green, the water running up against the shorelines where lush beaches meet, the distant cliffs that plunge drastically into the Atlantic ocean, and the entire island an overwhelming color of green.
This time was even more of a spin for me because of the language barrier I’ve experienced in Spain. The minute I stepped off the plan it was acceptable to speak English, and accent or not I felt like I fit in much more. (Cue the pale people.)
It was also charming to be picked up by my friend, Megan, who is studying there in the city, and ride back via taxi, talking and falling in love with that great Irish accent all over again.
I arrived on Thursday afternoon after taking a 1 am bus to Madrid and 10:30 plane to Dublin. (They have a one hour difference, so the flight was a total of 3 hours.) That night we went to dinner for traditional Irish fare and then, very randomly, a country concert. Who, do you ask, was gracing Dublin with his presence? Thomas Rhett!!
And for some reason the country concert was even more charming because the place was really just filled with expats and students from America, singing their heart out to some classic country soul and drinking Guinness from a plastic cup. Which the Irish consider a sin, by the way.
The next day I played tourist and shopaholic, visiting the newly opened Epic museum at Megan’s suggestion. This museum is really neat, featuring much of Ireland’s history, famous figures throughout history (Obama made the list), and the many wars for independence that they fought over the years. I think I overly enjoyed it because one of the many people they followed had the last name Reilly and was a screenwriter and poet. For me, the potato famine was the direct result of my ancestors taking a boat to America to start life anew, and much of the museum covered this continuous struggle for Irish and their forced movement throughout the world.
That night Megan found me a bar named Reilly’s with live music and a small atmosphere #publife and there I sat for many hours, completely content to do nothing more.
After that we did magically remain out until 4 in the morning, which by Spain comparison was nothing, though for the Irish (and fellow American, raises hand) that was really, very late.
Random history facts include: Ireland went through much the same struggle for their Independence as America against the British. The British and their refusal to lower taxes during the potatoes famine. This led to the thousands of deaths and flight of the Irish. There are three times as many Irish and Irish descendants living outside of Ireland then in it. Dublin is in the middle of a housing crisis. Instead of building more places for people to live they are resurrecting a 100-year-old trolley system through the center to create more traditional tourism ideals. A pint of Guinness will set you back around 7 to 8 euro, and food is equally as expensive.
A tribute to the Potato Famine victims.
During my visit, I was able to pop into Trinity Library. Which, for those of you who know me as a great lover of books and libraries in general, led to a quieted outburst of excitement and almost tears.
I’ll say this- it’s far cheaper to get fat and drunk in Spain. Slainte.