Irish history is full of ancient mythology and folklore. Much of it came to the U.S. with the Irish immigration. Two of them are quite familiar to most of us, Irish or not. None are better known than St. Patrick’s Day itself. Most of us think of St. Patrick as the man who brought a day of celebration and green beer.
But he wasn’t made a saint until centuries after his death. And he was not even Irish! He was born in Britain to a wealthy family. But he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland. He converted to Christianity during his slavery days, but when freed, spent the rest of his life teaching the Irish about the Christian religion.
Though forgotten after his death, the monks kept the tale of St. Patrick forcing all of the snakes out of Ireland. Don’t tell anyone that Ireland did not have any snakes.
As widely known as St. Patrick are the leprechauns. They are the most widely known fairies living in Ireland. They have existed in Irish legend since medieval times. Leprechauns are tall fairies , often appearing as an old man to humans. That is much different than the modern view of a small, child like fairy in a green suit.
Legends says that leprechauns love to collect gold, which they store in a pot and hide at the end of the rainbow. Further, if a human catches a leprechaun, the fairy must grant the human three wishes before he can be released. I hope I run into a leprechaun in Dublin!
Can you believe I went on a literary pub crawl, complete with a quiz? I finally had to give up after three pubs and numerous stories. In fact, I took a cab back to my hotel and the cabbie was wearing UC Berkeley sweat pants! After meeting the bartender from Nepal last night, I hope you realize the world is getting smaller.
The Irish have a great sense of humor. They know they can’t sing or dance, but do so anyway. We should learn from them. Having a pub on every corner with live music transforms anyone with a guitar into a singer and professional musician.
So, what is the downside to pub life? Two things stand out, the inordinate number of smokers and the portliness of the patrons. Pub food is maybe a half step above fast food, maybe. The reason I say maybe, the portions are huge, reasonably priced, and consist of a rather varied cuisine. And the extra calories from the beer make dessert almost superfluous.
But I have fallen for this little part of the world. The city knows how to have fun, and seems quite clean and safe compared to most cities I know. Some homelessness exists, but nothing like back home. Even the drunks tend to be rather passive, though terribly wobbly.
Brutally, women’s fashion is behind the times, though the men are not exactly GQ material. About one in ten people are dressed like anything resembling thrift store chic. The rest look like they just walked out of Cosmo Kramer’s closet. Maybe it is the weather, or maybe they just don’t care.
I just had to show the people next to me at dinner last night, one of my photos of Lexi, our new labradoodle puppy. They were looking at doggie photos on their phones, so I just had to interject.
My hostel is more like a tourist or bargain hotel. But many hostels I walked past, smelled and looked like homeless shelters. But the location is great, fairly quiet outside, with many services close by. BTW, I have the “luxury” suite here, since I have my own bathroom. Ask me if I miss the days of bunk beds, and group showers.
Today, I head to the land of wooden shoes, The Netherlands, a place where I have fond memories, of what little I remember. But this little stopover has been great!
PS: I forgot to tell you that I almost had to volunteer on my flight over. A woman got terribly sick, and spent the entire ten hour flight in the toilet. Finally, a male nurse came to the rescue, and I went back to sleep.