I hadn’t visited Ireland for about eleven years, so when I went for a three day break it wasn’t surprising that I was, once again, blown away by both the city life, country life and incredible historical culture that Ireland prides itself on.
The city was the same, an eclectic mix of the new, fruitlessly trying to overpower the old; architecturally, artistically and as always with the modern society that inhabit the city centre. As an individual with a keen eye for the historical and the aesthetic, it was not hard for me to notice the constructive beauty of the place. As I have said in previous posts, all you have to do is look up. Low and behold, the pillars, the sculpting and mouldings on the walls of old pubs, the pubs themselves, the exposed tudoresque wooden beams, monuments celebrating figures throughout history, all dotted around the city to remind you of the age and authentic importance of this city.
On the first day I was there I visited the Brazen Head Inn, the oldest pub in Ireland. There, I had the best pint of Guinness I have ever drank, and also, ever poured.
I have to say, I am not one for beer, let alone stout, let alone Guinness, but ‘when in Rome’ as they say, and when I was in Dublin, it was a must do. (Especially when prompted by the thought of snapping a great picture for Instagram.) The Guinness settled beautifully and I even got a certificate for ‘pulling the perfect pint’, which, in my home county, is something to brag about. Then, there was the taste; in my experience, beer is too tacky for my taste buds and stout is to heavy, but Guinness in Ireland is nothing like Guinness anywhere else I have tried it. It is, I have to say, like a meal in a pint glass, but the taste was subtle and creamy, and for someone who doesn’t enjoy beer, ale, stout, or anything of that sort, I really did enjoy it. I guess you could argue it was because of the atmosphere, or because of the novelty of it; no, I really did enjoy it, everything else that surrounded me just added to the experience.
The Irish people are amazing. I am all too familiar with chatty and engaging people; I am from Yorkshire after all, but there was a certain degree of enchantment with the people of Ireland, and trust me, it wasn’t the faeries working their mischief. They were thoroughly engaged with your stories as you were with theirs, and trust me, stories were never not told during my stay in Ireland, whether they were historical, imaginative or just a basic retelling of people’s lives; stories are integral to the Irish collective.
I was told many stories during my bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher, on the West Coast. Yes I sat on a bus for approximately twelve hours. Was it worth it? Always.
My favourite memories of any trip always stem from the travel, as strange as it sounds, so the second day of my trip has to have been my favourite day. The people that host tours are so emphatically in love with their home land that their joy for the land only increases your joy at experiencing it as you journey with them. I was taught so much about the land, the history, the culture and the folklore that my entire perception of everything I saw changed. Farm land wasn’t just farm land; it was a place where peasants toiled building dry stone walls for the British and were never payed for doing so, they slaved away in the vain hope that this might bring an end to their poverty. A tree wasn’t just a tree; it was a faerie thorn, meaning an entire motorway had to be redirected around this tiny Hawthorn so as not to disrupt or aggravate the faeries. The Celtic language isn’t just an ancient language; it is an art, poetry even; for example the word ‘Keela’, or ‘Cadhla’ with the original spelling, translates to ‘something so beautiful it cannot be named’or ‘something so beautiful only poetry can capture it’.
The second night and third day were spent, once again, enjoying the buzz of the city. The museums, the art galleries, the food and the street life, the people and music in a wonderful pub called Cobblestone. I left Ireland as completely in love with the country as its own people are.
The land, the people, the music, everything I witnessed and learned in Ireland is testament to Cadhla. I was welcomed with open arms both figuratively and literally to Ireland. I find it is so wonderful to be able to travel and experience an old city such as Dublin and be wholly integrated into its rich and diversely artistic historical and cultural roots.
© Greta Alise Haley