I had heard before arriving that the Irish were a notably friendly people. Being friendly may not be the top characteristic many think of when they think of the Irish (fiery, feisty, stubborn and spirited are a few stereotypes i had coming into the trip) but the examples of their inherent amicability were surprisingly evident on our very first day. The first thing I noticed on the bus from Dublin airport to the Dublin City Centre was that local strangers openly asked each other for advice on how to get to certain areas and locals were also very helpful in guiding visitors to Dublin which stops were close to their destination. It was very familial as if everyone were speaking with close friends. The locals were warm and inviting in their conversation and seemed genuinely interested in helping their fellow bus rider. It was also evident in the first bistro we visited, Gallagher’s Bistro, where the waiter mapped out his recommendation of a tour around Ireland giving tips on where to cut out unnecessary driving. He did this unprompted and completely in the interest that we have the best possible time in Ireland during our stay. It was also exciting to find that that first Gallagher’s Bistro had vegetarian designations on the menu which was a pleasant surprise for me for our first real meal in Ireland. It seems to actually be pretty easy in Dublin itself to find vegetarian-friendly fare with designations listed in the menus. Additionally, on our first night we couch surfed with a lovely gentleman who is widely traveled and a native to Dublin and he ensured that we make the most of our experience in Dublin by giving us maps and suggestions about where to best get in our training runs for the Prague marathon. There is a really beautiful running path by the sea that he recommended that did not disappoint! Our host met us in Dublin City Centre from his workplace and we took the train to his home about 20 minutes outside of the city, in Sutton, by the sea. We then had tea, went for a walk around the neighborhood and had fish and chips (or just chips for me) while he played Irish music on Spotify through the television and later we watched Father Ted, which was a popular comedy about priests and their misadventures. Two other travelers were staying with him as well who added to the enrichment of the experience and it was nice to chat about each of our life experiences! Over our 30+ hour travel day we had about 3 hours of sleep on and off and the friendliness of the people here helped welcome us with comfort and ease.
Now I need to get back to my Smithwick’s…. 🙂