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Green is the New Black

Since St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, I think about our two trips to the Emerald Isle and what a pleasure they were. To be honest, I didn’t want to go. My husband had business there and cajoled/ bullied me into it. And am I ever glad!

I’ve often thought about what country I’d choose if I had to leave America. The food in France is delicious; the weather and food in Italy are grand; theatre and learning are wonderful in England, and there are many other wonderful places we traveled. But for me, the deciding factor would be the people. I’ve never met such a charming, courteous, quick-to-laugh group of people, as those I met in Ireland.

While walking one day, we got lost and stopped in a shop to ask directions. The shopkeeper came out onto the sidewalk and began to direct us, with abundant gestures. Finally, he said, “Oh, just come with me. I’ll take you there.” The guy ABANDONED his shop and walked us to our destination several blocks away!

Another time, my husband and I accidentally locked ourselves out of our room, so we approached the young man at the front desk for an extra key. Instead, he accompanied us to our room with the passkey. As we walked, I told him we’d seen a peat farm and asked questions about how Irish people heat their houses. He launched into a fascinating story about peat farming and its use. I could have listened to the kid all evening. In fact, we invited him into our room to continue the conversation, but he had to return to his post.

After multiple meals of Irish Stew we were ready for something more lively and found an Indian restaurant in Killarney. As we entered, I noticed a petite woman, who certainly didn’t look Indian, but DID seem to be in charge. When she came to take our order, I asked her job there. She drew up to her full 5’2” height and said, “I am the proprietor of this establishment.” I commented on an Irish woman serving Indian food, but she laughed and explained that her husband was Pakistani. “But no one would come,” she said, “if we put up a sign that said ‘Pakistani Food.’ They wouldn’t know what it ‘twas!”

I was enchanted with the many charming, talkative people who knew how to make this “cheeky Yank” feel at home. Maybe it’s not just Old Schoolers who want to be Irish for a day—or a lifetime.


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