Friday, June 15, 2018

The kindness of the Irish

In May, I took a long-awaited trip to Ireland. Spending time in the Irish countryside had been on my wish list for decades, and I finally arranged the time to go with one of my very best friends for 10 days. We travelled by train and rental car to three different places on the Atlantic Coast. 

Everywhere we went, people were exceptionally kind and friendly. On our first train ride out of Dublin, a young woman saw us trying to figure out which car we had seats for and she asked to see our tickets, took charge of our luggage, got us in the right car and the right seats, and put our luggage in the overhead racks. She did all this with a cheerful curiosity about where we were from and where we going. 

We met this kind of friendliness everywhere, in small towns and cities alike. People chatted with us, answered our questions, helped us out when we looked lost or concerned. The manager of the fish and chips place where we ate one night gave us directions to a supermarket and spent 10 minutes talking to us about where the fish came from (their own boat, caught two hours before we ate it) and wanted to know about our travels. This was in a little working class town where we saw no other tourists. 

It is hard not to compare this to the guarded indifference of most Americans totally absorbed in their phone screens. It made me come home determined to be kinder to all I meet and proud to have Irish blood. 

1 comment:

Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer said...

Your trip soulds like a dream come true; one that has been mine as well (though my destication would be Scotland and my ancestry there.)

Strangely, I just had the same experience with kind people in Texas! Could it be our lovely Left Coast has become the seat of indifference, or is it that we are different at home?