Vagabonding Field Report: Experiencing the luck of the Irish
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen lately?
With a pint of Guinness in hand, I listened to an old, Irish man play his guitar and sing folk songs about Ireland’s beautiful country side, fight for independence and love of drinking while the entire bar sang along. It is rare – and strange – that prior perception and reality are aligned when traveling, but this scene was exactly how I had pictured Ireland in my mind.
Describe a typical day:
Take a stroll through Trinity College’s campus, one of the oldest and most beautiful universities in the world. Get rained on. See St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Go to the National Museum and learn all about Ireland’s exciting history. Go to the Guiness distillery. Get rained on, again. End the night at a pub in the Temple Bar district.
Describe an interesting conversation you had with a local:
I met an old man from Belfast who told me stories about what it was like when the terrorist attacks were at its peak. He said that one night he was at a restaurant and he saw a suspicious man leave a bag and walk out. He knew what it probably was and thought, “well I can either die in the restaurant or die in the street, makes no difference to me.” So he grabbed the bag, ran into the street and threw it as far as he could. He lived and so did everyone in the restaurant. I have no way of knowing if this was a true story, but hearing this old man tell me the story through his thick Irish accent was entertaining none the less.
What do you like about where you are? Dislike?
I liked the Irish character. They are undergoing a huge economic crisis, yet it didn’t seem to impact them much. Perhaps the Irish are simply too used to hardship, or too stubborn, to let it interfere with their daily life. They have a knack for letting life go on and even embracing their troubles – giving each person a better story to tell and greater respect for having endured the suffering.
I disliked the weather. It never stopped raining!
Describe a challenge you faced:
There were no challenges – it was a very smooth and pleasant trip! Boring answer, I know.
What new lesson did you learn?
There are lots of good flight connections through Dublin. If you are traveling anywhere through Europe, you can easily have your flight route through Dublin and have a layover for several days. It is well worth it!