You know the saying, everyone does. The Luck of the Irish. Okay, I have to admit; I didn’t think twice about that phrase while I was in Ireland. Nor did I see any particularly lucky events. I’d like to propose a change to the phrase, what about the heart of the Irish… doesn’t really have a ring to it does it? Now you know why I had trouble naming this post.
Here’s the thing. I like to say that I’m open-minded, and I try to actually be open-minded but let’s face it: no one can be all of the time. I get weary when people are too friendly. It could be a result of living in Italy for a year, where some people will actually look directly into your eyes and still cease to acknowledge your existence. It could be the result of growing up in America, or spending my Uni years in fast-paced Seattle. Anyway, the point is that I tend to not trust strangers right off the bat.
There was a trend we noticed in Ireland. Everyone wants to talk. All of the time. It took us a while to figure out what was going on, it all started fairly early one morning in Galway.
As we were heading to the Spanish Arch (I seriously don’t know how we missed it the first time…) we were stopped by a couple of local lads walking by. The first words out of the guys mouth were ‘nice camera ya got there’, can you give me a little of sympathy for being standoffish… even at 10am?
This man, Gary I believe his name was, rattled on and on about how beautiful his city was. He imbibed us in the story of his best friend (let’s call him Patrick, because really, why wouldn’t we?) and how Gary was devastated that Patrick was about to head off to Thailand and leave him all best friendless in this lonely, little city. I felt for the guy.
He continued on to tell us the entire history of Galway and insist that we go see it for ourselves.
Get away from Quay Street for the day and go across the river; there is the real Claddagh Ring–you can see it from the sky!
That’s not a word-for-word quote, Gary’s version had a few extra slurred words and half-thoughts in it.
The point is that this guy was just super friendly. He wanted to share his city with us and possibly extract a bit of sympathy for his lonely future.
He wasn’t the only one. Everywhere we went, every bar, every street, there was someone that wanted to share their country with us or learn our story.
While waiting for a friend outside the The Quays Pub a man came out to smoke a cigarette. In the time it took him to smoke it, he had asked us where we were from, what we were doing, what we thought of Galway, and how we had met. He even attempted to speak Italian to Lorenzo (it came out in Spanish, but hey, he tried!).
This doesn’t even scratch the surface. Wait until you hear about the people we met through Couchsurfing!
What country have you encountered the most friendly people in? What happened?