While Ireland and Germany are both famous for having a beer drinking culture, I think that’s where the similarities end. There is of course a hype around having a Guinness in Dublin, and how overall magically green the country is, but I’ve wanted to go for many years now and it really went beyond any expectations I’d had.
The weather was near perfect for the whole 8 days, I made some wonderful friends from city tours, couch surfing, and the local pubs and we of course enjoyed many a Guinness/Murphy’stogether. Something about Ireland just felt so wonderful and right, to me.
Now, I may be harboring some resentment towards Munich at the moment due to my job, but I have to say the extreme in differences from Munich to Ireland was almost a shock for me. I was reminded how closed off the people of Munich are. In Ireland, left and right I saw people being genuinely nice and helpful towards others. One cab driver tried explaining it away saying that the Irish know their economy depends on tourism and therefore try to go out of their way to be friendly. But I find it hard to believe that THAT many people think this way.
I could give at least 5 different examples of this, but it was really the overall feeling and atmosphere I experience in each of the 5 cities I was in. People smiling at each other and stopping to say ‘Hi’ on the streets. They acknowledged each other. They apologized if they accidentally hit you. Everyday I got a greeting in passing from someone I’d never met before, and let me tell you that does NOT happen in Munich. It made my heart happy just to take a walk down the street.
And let’s not forget those famous Irish pubs. I have been to plenty of Irish pubs in different countries and they are indeed great fun. But even if they have a night or two with live music, it hardly compares to the atmosphere of the pubs in Ireland.
The live music is every night for starters. And assuming you are not in a touristy pub, the people there treat everyone walking in like family. The performers and regulars are so close they only have to request ‘their song’ and it gets played. My first experience with this was in Killarney, and I walked in mostly because they had wifi and I needed to contact my couch surfing host. Let me rephrase that, I tripped up the steps walking into this pub…smooth.
Anyways, I was almost immediately asked where I was from and after replying, I was known as ‘Chicago’ for the rest of the night. I chatted with locals, sang along to some well known tunes and basically had the time of my life watching the personalities of these people. This is their everyday life and I just had a small glimpse into it. I never wanted it to end.
In Galway, I ended up in a small city called Clifden after my plans to see the Cliffs of Moher fell through- there were not enough people to take the bus tour. It was a bummer, but I met up with a busker I’d met the night before in, you guessed it, a pub. We spent the day walking along the river and stopping to have a Guinness. It was a fantastic last day in Ireland for me despite not getting to the cliffs.
I hope that you get the chance to visit Ireland someday. It truly is a beautiful place.