Monday, March 7, 2011

Back Trackin', Ireland Edition - Pub Adventures

You can't go to Ireland without going to a pub. You just can't. Pubs are a part of life in Ireland, and Husband J was going to make sure we had all of Guinness and Irish traditional music that we could muster for one week. To this day, I am shocked that I drank that much beer. It wasn't all that much, but I am NOT a beer drinker (a beer or two perhaps but not much more than that..I get full :( ). Our trip to Ireland was like the Beer Olympics for me. I kid you not.

Our first taste of the pubs was in Dublin. Here's the Brazen Head. We didn't actually get a chance to get a drink here, but it is (or so it claims) to be the oldest pub in Ireland and dates back to 1198. Supposedly James Joyce and Jonathan Swift were big fans and faithful patrons of the Brazen Head.

Husband J was pretty disappointed that we didn't get a chance to spend any time there. Next time, dear.

Even if we didn't get to go to the Brazen Head, we did have our fair share of pub time. The pubs were an interesting experience for me in Ireland. People were either very friendly, OR they stared at me...A LOT. I'm used to being stared at when I travel (more on that in another post), but I actually wasn't expecting that to happen in Ireland of all places. We met some really friendly people who made us laugh and allowed us to learn more about everyday life in Ireland. You take the good with the bad, I guess.

Anyway here's Pub Friend #1, Charlie, a veterinary pharmaceuticals sales rep, who warned us not to drink the water in Galway, our next stop on the trip. Apparently there had been a huge sewer issue there in the last week. Hmmm...

When we finally got to Galway, in addition to our many pints of Guinness, we also indulged in a lot of traditional Irish music called "trad music" by the locals. Most of the bars in the center of Galway have some trad music at least a couple of times per week.

This brings me to Pub Friend #2, Barry. We met him at a Galway pub, and he's actually a musician that specializes in trad music.

Here's Barry rocking out on the accordion with his partner.
Husband J said a funny thing. While he was enjoying trad music, it started to kinda sound the same after awhile. Umm...I'm going to have to agree with Husband J on this one. It's beautiful music, but after an hour I'm good to go.

Barry wasn't our only pub friend in Galway. We bumped into a Stag (Bachelor) Party of guys from Northern Ireland. We had a really great conversation with them about many of the issues between Ireland and Northern Ireland. In their minds, they're Irish first and foremost regardless of the historical political and religious divisions. They feel more connected to Irish in the southern part of the island than to anyone from England. They told us that they got a kick out of American tourists especially who say that they Irish. To these guys, you are Americans. They also dubbed us "Cool Americans" since we were actually nicer and little more open than some of the past American tourists they'd met.

Here are Pub Friends #3 & #4 Dave and his friend, whose name I'm forgetting. Hey, it's been almost four years. I'm usually good with names.

Our last major stand at the pubs came in Doolin, a small town not too far from the Cliffs of Moher. Doolin is THE mecca of trad music. It's such a cute tiny little town, too.

A whole lotta trad music goin' on.

Pub Friend #5, Simon (our last one), was from England and in Ireland for a charity bike race. As an Englishman, even he agreed that Ireland pubs had a better vibe than English ones (the English beat the Scots though). His friends were funny and encouraged Husband J to marry me. We were definitely not talking about getting married at the time. In this pic, we're supposed to be showing off my non-existent engagement ring. :) These guys actually made into Husband J's vows. Really! :)

I hope these pics and stories encourage you to go out and hang in a pub or two in Ireland. You never know who you're going to meet.

P.S. Here's a little sampling of traditional Irish music for those not familiar with it.

Have beer, bars, local music and nightlife been a central part of a trip you've taken?


kelsey@mintedlife said...

These are such great pictures! It looks so fun!!

lavenderpug said...

what a great time! and so nice that you took pictures with your pub friends!

Morgan said...

That looks like such a blast! Whenever we get to Europe, Ireland is on my 'must visit' list of countries!

Diana said...

This has to be the best post Ive seen on Ireland and would make anyone want to go there! Looks like loads of fun! I love all the fun pictures with the locals!! What a great time! :)

Ellen Warfield said...

i've been to Doolin! I was 16. time to go back i'd say. Let me know next time you fancy a pint. :)


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