Our last night in Dublin was fantastic. We went to a traditional Irish restaurant for dinner where Tanya had beef Ireland and I had bangers & mash. Bangers & mash is a very typical Irish meal consisting of grilled Irish sausages served over colcannon with a red onion gravy. For the unfamiliar, colcannon is braised cabbage mixed with mashed potatoes. I make it at home occasionally, but mine has never tasted as good as this did. I’m convinced there is something about European dairy products that make everything taste better here.
Later in the evening we went out to the Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Dublin. I would have to say that this was the highlight of my time in Dublin. I’m not much of a drinker, so going to a pub was one of those things I felt I should do in Ireland for the experience of it, but not something I was terribly excited about. It’s funny how often life is like that…the thing that you least expect becomes your favorite. I guess I had equated Irish pubs with American bars. My mistake! While American bars are often filled with loud, rowdy, obnoxious college students, Irish pubs are filled with happy, festive, friendly people of all ages. While American bars are where singles go to find romance, Irish pubs are where all kinds of people go just to make friends. And make friends we did! We sat at a table (sharing tables is common and a great way to meet people) with a couple from Germany. We hit it off immediately and were great friends by the end of the evening. We sang and laughed and had a ball. There was a very good band and they even played “Carolina on my Mind” for me. One of the funniest and most ironic moments of the evening was when the band, who had been playing traditional Irish music with some contemporary pop tunes thrown in, suddenly launched into the John Denver classic “Country Roads” and the entire pub joined in to sing along. Even our German friends knew all the words. I kid you not! Last night I sat in a bar in Ireland and sang “Country Roads” with Germans. See…this is exactly why I wanted to take this trip!
I’m finding that even though it is a big old world out there, it’s also, as the saying goes, a small world. Tanya and I wandered into St. Patrick’s Cathedral early yesterday afternoon to find that a choral concert was about to begin. We decided to listen for a little while and picked up a program. The chorus that was about to perform was from Chowan College in Murfreesboro, NC. Go figure! They were excellent, by the way, so if you ever get a chance to see them in the Carolinas, take it.
In another example of how small the world can seem, we ran into our German friends from the pub on the street as we were waiting for the airport shuttle this morning. We were standing there and I looked up to see Gunter standing a few feet away. I know exactly 3 people in Dublin and ran into 2 of them this morning before leaving. In a city packed with St. Patrick’s Day tourists that seems like a miracle to me!
Our new friends! A little blurry...sorry.