02.04.2015 - 02.04.2015
Familiarity is a welcome feeling. Consistency is calming. Stepping back into Ireland felt just plain good, which I didn't expect. The kids were happy to see their Tayto chips in the vending machines as soon as we stepped off the plane, just as Luke and I were happy to see pubs every other building and know the warm feeling of their food and folk that awaited us inside. We chatted with our cabbie about driving the tight roads on the west coast near Galway like it was no big thing. We laughed about tourist traps and discussed varying Irish dialects, knowing we'd had the opportunity to hear many of them ourselves and discern the differences. We drove past large advertisements for Dingle Gin, smiling, knowing we'd just driven the Dingle Peninsula and seen it with our own eyes. What an experience it has been! Our cabbie informed us that with tomorrow being Good Friday, the city would be crazy today with people out and about. There are only two days each year that the bars close - Good Friday and Christmas. The streets weren't even close to what we experienced on St. Patty's Day, but he assured us everyone would be out scouring the markets and bars before they closed. You can think of it as an Irish Zombie Apocalypse.
I booked our last night in Dublin on a seemingly far-fetched request of Luke's that couldn't have suited us better! He wanted a room above a pub downtown. Why not? They checked us in at the front desk (i.e. bar) in between pouring drinks and chatting with the locals at O'Donoghue's Pub, which sits next to Stephen's Green in the heart of Dublin. We were given a warm welcome and assured them we'd be back to spend our evening in as we headed out for the afternoon. We retraced many of the steps that we had taken during the parade, but they looked quite different now that they weren't covered in people, flags, and green! We ventured back to the Temple Bar and were fortunate to walk in and have a barrel (table) with 4 stools open amidst a crazy crowd and live music. We quickly snatched it and settled in to enjoy our perfectly poured Guinness and toasties. As the music played, I could feel the emotions welling up inside as I thought of leaving something that I've come to enjoy so much. We recalled our last night in the small village of Mürren, in the Swiss Alps, where we sat with similar feelings. Travel allows us to meet and fall in love with a place and its people, but even more, it forces us to reconsider ourselves - who we are and who we are working to be. Is it selfish to say I could easily use more time for this?
We tucked the kids into our room tonight and Luke and I headed down 54 stairs to the small, open air portion of our pub that was filled with heaters and people. We toasted our Guinnesses and soaked in our surroundings. As we opened the heavy door in the pub to climb back up the stairs to our room, a guy standing nearby in the crowd looked over and said "Oooh! I want to live there!" Me too, I thought.
The laughter and singing from the pub was radiating through the floorboards and windows as we climbed into bed. I could nearly decipher the songs they were singing, but the floorboards, Gaelic, or Guinness may have been a bit too thick. Good night, Ireland. You will be an easy one for us to miss.