Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pubs of Ireland

It's the Pub Life...

It's not the beer, but the food and the company
There are many reasons why one would visit the Emerald Isle as described a few times within this blog but one of the most rewarding is get a taste of the pub life.

Is that L in the window?
Before there was Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other forms of social media, people used to rely on face to face communication to get local and even international news. Conversation was a big wonderful deal. Sitting together and discussing the day’s events personally instead of relying on zeros and ones. The distance from face to face started to devolve when Alexander Graham Bell developed an instrument folks could talk with each other over a distance without the benefit of facial expressions – the telephone. It really changed when Mark Zuckerberg invited people to join a network where despite its name, there is no face to face time on Facebook. Now, 140 characters is all you get to speak of love - instead of a lifetime.

But even with all the modern conveniences there still is a bit of magic when talking with someone up close and personal. Not just family members or loved ones but those humans we come across in our travels. Those individuals whom we may only encounter once in a lifetime but that meeting proves to be very rewarding as we learn about each other on a very private or semi-private manner.

As we traveled through Ireland, one of the most enlightening times was when we stopped in the various pubs for a bite to eat and possibly some libation to quench our thirst. This is where social contact was not media and is the utmost in communication. Pubs are where the locals go at all hours to discuss politics, the weather  --though “its gonta rain again doncha know” – was the predominant weather forecast heard daily, business, and any other topic that was not taboo. Then again, the Irish are very vocal and we rarely found any topic that was untouchable – politically correct is not in the Gaelic dictionary – rather refreshing for a couple of American explorers.

No phones out? What gives?
Restaurants, though there are many and very tasty, tended to be not as much a draw for J and L while driving the highways and byways of Ireland. Pubs were where we spent meal times and thoroughly enjoyed the experience while talking to the locals who seemed never to be shy with a couple of strangers.

That's a Pub meal - yummy!
We learned where to visit ruined castles off the beaten track, which museums were 
worthwhile, legends of the wee people, stories of truly ghostly hauntings, which tours were legit, and numerous other bits of advice travelers need to know in a foreign country. Hours were spent while sipping a Guinness listening to local fisherman extolling on the catches of the day, business people discussing the ups and downs of the local economy, and even one late afternoon with a barrister as he laughed and entertained us with stories of the formalities of the Irish court system.

A local told us of this quaint spot to visit
Never once did we encounter, as we have in other countries, a cold shoulder because we were not locals – no, on the contrary it seemed we were hits and the locals wanted to hear tales about the United States, and share their opinions of our politics and political leadership.

This was rather logical since there is a true feeling of kinship between Ireland and the United States where according to the Unites States Census Bureau nearly 40 million Americans claim to be of Irish descent.

The most famous Irish descendant shaking hands with L
Perhaps that is why Ireland does feel like home away from home for so many – J and L included.

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