Friday, October 9, 2015

It's the people


I couldn't leave Ireland without dwelling on what impressed me most.  The people.  I just loved the people!  I'd never been on a tour before (and wouldn't hesitate to do another) but the one drawback with being escorted is it restricts opportunities to meet and mix with 'the locals' to a certain extent.  Although it did allow me to get to know our two guides/drivers.  Sean who, I'm sure not only kissed the Blarney Stone but was kissed in return - if such a thing could ever happen.  He introduced us to Ireland’s charm, wrapped in myths and legends, filled with heroic warriors, deadly goddesses and trouble-making supernatural creatures.  And Henry. with his lovely soft voice, gentle humour and oh so knowledgable about so many things.  When he's not being a tour guide he teaches navigation to outdoor recreation students at university, drives a private ambulance and sometimes does a bit of guiding for fly fishermen.  
  
I loved the Irish people. I swear they are some of the friendliest people I've ever come across.  No matter where you are on this wonderful island – be it in a big city or a small town - go into a hotel, pub, restaurant, café or museum you’ll experience some Irish hospitality first-hand.

My first introduction was the Dublin shuttle bus driver.   I was his first pickup at the airport and he sat me close to him so we could chat.  And chat he did, telling me all about the "big" football game that had been played that day, his German girlfriend who was soon to return home and his dilemma about whether he should follow her, his wayward brother who was now 33 (sounded like “tertee tree”) and "hopeless", and which Irish food and drinks I needed to try during my visit.

I loved the abundant friendliness and hospitality I was constantly shown. Whether it was asking questions on the street, or interactions in shops, the Irish were always happy, helpful, and energetic. They have an infectious charisma that just makes you happy.   They are incredibly hospitable hosts and left a lasting impression on me.

They have faces that wear a smile so easily and a smile is their go to expression.
Perhaps I was being fanciful, over-imaginative but I felt very "right" in Ireland, as if I belonged.  

I felt I had experienced “Céad míle fáilte” - a hundred thousand welcomes.

To quote a Maori proverb:
He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

7 comments:

  1. To get out and mix with the people opens your eyes to what you are seeing in the country.

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  2. Oh, my gosh... You're in Ireland. How wonderful. I need to come visit more often. I will try to catch up with your posts. Glad you're having such a good vacation. I've heard about the people of Ireland before. I guess it's true.

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  3. I couldn't agree with you more Pauline. I haven't been in Ireland for many years but the hospitality I experienced left such a lasting memory that I have never forgotten. I am fortunate enough to have extended family who are Irish and we don't get together that often, but when we do the laughter flows. Marvelous people the Irish. I am so happy your time over there was a great one.

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  4. It is a slightly off kilter place but does have it's dark side. I have always enjoyed their sense of fun and humour.

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  5. The sights to see may bring you, the people bring you back, right?

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  6. I so enjoyed all your stories about the people and particularly the drivers and guides you met. As always you are such a good listener and have that ability to see the really interesting things in people.

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  7. Oh Pauline...
    Your descriptions of Sean and Henry are so spot on!
    They were both treasures in their own ways.
    I've so enjoyed reading (and seeing) your take on Ireland.
    The benefit of being on a trip on your own is that you can wander off and followwhat you want without having to take another's wishes into consideration. You were able to track down some great photos by doing that and see soem things I never even noticed.
    Erica

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