Whenever I travel, I seem to always look around and wonder – where is everyone going and why are they going there? Every traveler has a story; whether they are visiting a loved one, attending a business meeting, returning home for school break, or simply just exploring. For me, this time I was neither moving my life to a new country nor wandering with a back-pack – I was visiting three wonderful Irish friends I made this past summer in Croatia.
After disembarking another on-time Ryan Air flight [enter trumpet sounds here] I stepped into the crisp Irish air and made my way to customs. Weaving my way around crying babies and young couples, I reached the arrivals exit and immediately saw my two lively friends holding a “Ms. Amelia Rose” sign and waving me down. It was Halloween weekend and I planned a quick getaway to the Emerald Isle to reunite with friends and see how the Irish live.
Within an hour and without skipping a beat, Clare and Shona dropped my bags off at a friend’s house, put us on a tram into Dublin city center, and ordered four Guinness’s to commence my long-weekend in Ireland. Two months had passed since we last saw each other but the banter of jokes and stories returned easily.
The next morning we met up with Carol (aka Camp Mom) by the Leprechaun Museum – which I thought to be quite fitting. From there the four of us lazily walked Dublin city streets and made our way to Trinity College. We enjoyed that glorious fall day on a bench, and later cozied up inside with a few Bulmers, where we caught each other up on our lives. The conversation naturally flowed from camp stories, to problems at work, from the old and new men in our lives and to plans for the months to come. Even with the cool Irish weather, it warmed my heart to sit and relax with these great women.
Over the whirlwind weekend, Clare’s gracious friends provided beds to sleep in and the entertainment. I came to the country as a stranger to them yet they willingly welcomed me into their homes and lives. We celebrated Halloween at the bars, an epic house party, and with a small town’s tradition of a pub crawl.
Dublin is a beautiful city; however, I believe that the true charm of Ireland is kept in the countryside. I have always pictured Ireland’s landscape as rolling green hills, surplus of cows, cozy cottages, and overcast skies – and that was exactly what I found.
Clare brought me to her family home in Wexford where she revealed the other side of Ireland. Her family farm is home to many cows, a gentle horse named Oscar and gorgeous Great Dane named Ava. Her tight-knit family welcomed me into their house as if I was one of their own and showered me with true Irish sarcasm and plenty of potatoes. With a full belly and heart, we ventured into town where I was honored to be part of the Wexford tradition of the Halloween pub crawl. During this memorable night I met town locals, Clare’s hometown friends, as well as some of the legendary travelers (a sub-culture of Ireland that I find extremely fascinating).
I said goodbye to Clare, Shona, Carol, and Clare’s friends and family knowing that I will return to Ireland. The Irish truly have the biggest hearts. They make it very easy to want to stay in their country forever and enjoy Irish fry-ups and perfectly poured Guinness.
It was refreshing to travel somewhere with a purpose of visiting friends rather than just arriving in a country not knowing what to expect. It comforts me that I am only a quick Ryan Air flight away from three amazing ladies along with their extended friends and family.
I look forward to the time when I can welcome them at an Italian airport with a big sign and reciprocate their generosity. However, instead of with Guinness and potatoes we will enjoy each others' company with gelato and great wine.