My expectations for what I'd find in Ireland, what I'd experience in Ireland weren't high and that was only due to the fact that I knew NOTHING about the country; well, I mean I knew some things but I never dove into the things to do, places to see, foods to eat, or local weather aspects of a visit. Perhaps my lack of preparation only prepared my heart and mind to receive one of the greatest gifts I had yet to receive, while traveling abroad.
For me, the anticipation of a trip doesn't smack me in my chest until I'm in the airplane heading towards a destination or I've landed at my final destination; when our flight began to separate itself from the ground in New Jersey and I began to see the lights of the city become smaller and smaller, I thought to myself, "I'm really going to Ireland." Ireland, the home of clovers, red heads, beer/whiskey, potatoes, and toughness, I don't think I missed anything (looks at list).
There's typically an on-plane routine which I go through in order to get on track, time wise, with where I'm heading and that routine is called either stay up or knock the heck out and catch some sleep. My routine worked enough to where when the message came over the speakers that our plane had begun its descent into Dublin, my energy levels were on point to where I wasn't overwhelmingly tired and craving five more minutes of sleep.
As I looked through the window, I saw a country side that was plush with the colors green and blue, green vegetation and blue water all around us as we approached the tarmac. Maybe it's the fact that I live in State that can't get its water issues correct, maybe it's the fact the city I live in doesn't have much upkeep to ensure things stay green but whatever it was that pulled me towards the colors other than the colors themselves, it was a bit magical. IF you can imagine my face seemingly pressed up against the window attempting to take in all that was around me, yes... I was child, again, and my gaze was transfixed on the places I'd have a chance to play in during the visit!
Not being a fan of the hustle and bustle of the big city life, we decided to stay about an hour outside of Dublin, in a town/city/village (as the locals called it) by the name of Multyfarnham. I'm only spelling it correctly after visiting but I digress. We drove into town, found our flat, dropped off our bags, and made our way to one of the two watering holes which were literally thirty feet from us in either direction; I mean it's Ireland and Irish pubs who wouldn't run to grab a pint (don't judge me).
I don't know if any of you have ever walked into a place that was foreign to you and the patrons of said place could immediately tell you weren't from there, yeeeeeeeeea maybe it was my hair that gave us away, then again maybe it was our awkward smiles which begged the attention of the guy behind the bar to say, "Heeeelloooo, can I help you guys" to which we quipped "Guinness we're here for the Guinness."
In the end it was more than just the Guinness we found! You see, I've been to a "couple" places in Europe and I've always found my experiences to be pleasant and the encounters with people along the way meaningful as well but what I experienced in Ireland was like anything I've experienced elsewhere. Now, I have friends in Switzerland who've laid out the red carpet per se upon an arrival and those moments were special but from my first sip of the drink shown above to my almost tearful goodbye, this place, this distant place felt so much like home and I'm talking about family, roots, belonging type of home.
We saw a country which is full of beauty and I'm speaking of the people more than I am the castles, rivers, lakes, and greenery. There was a general sense of excitement that I had every morning, I wondered what I was going to encounter next; I was a sponge and this country was the water which I was consuming and holding onto!
The final night before our flight back to the States, we slowly prepped our luggage, and just laid around the house. There was a standing invite we'd received, from the patrons at the local bar, to come and take part in a traditional Irish music night which took place once a month at the pub (Weir's Pub) , "You have to experience this before you leave..." they said to us a few days prior but that would mean truly having to say goodbye to a pub/place that had become our CHEERS.
(Tap, tap, tap, on the front door of our flat)... "You're being requested at the pub, there's only about thirty more minutes left of music" said our buddy George, bartender and overall nice guy, who'd pointed us in all the right directions during our visit. We were blown away and we tied our laces, grabbed our wallets, and took the short walk which we'd taken so many times leading up to this our final time.
When we walked into the pub, it was lit with the sound of music which was unfamiliar, initially, but it was also lit with the faces of people we'd laughed with, spoken with, cheered with while watching soccer matches and hurling matches, during our time in Multyfarnham.
The man pictured above, Mr. Weir himself, was a quiet man and I observed how he interacted with the patrons known or unknown at his pub and restaurant. There was a quality about him that I find in myself and that is a love for people and fun; his wife was no different than him, though I figured she's the one who keeps him and business in line (wry smile being given).
The songs and sounds of the night were almost reminiscent to that of summer camp songs, you know, the night before you leave and you become overly sentimental to the fact you might never see the faces around the campfire ever again and the only thing that will remain are the songs. We listened for probably about an hour or so and my buddy said, "Go sing..." In all honesty I love to sing and I love to sing alone, I sing and make up stuff on the fly when I'm with my friends but hey it's your friends and they're the last ones who are going to tell you that you sound like a wounded animal so when the "Go sing..." was thrown out there, I thought, do I (A), make a fool of myself or do I (B) make a fool out of myself in a place where no one may ever see me again?
Let me add the fact, power went out on the block and the pub was now illuminated by candlelight by the time I took to a stool and began to make "noise". I sang New York City's Killing Me by Ray LaMontagne because it encompassed what I was feeling what I've been feeling for some time now. The moment I opened my mouth and the first words began to pour out, the room got quiet, I got less scared, I opened my eyes to see eyes looking back at mine; I wasn't home but I was home. As the night progressed and I drank a few more Guinness' and loosened up a bit more, I sang the harmony behind whoever or whatever was being sang at the time, in the pub, and before I knew it, my friend hollered out, "Just make something up, you're always making up songs, just take the guitar and make something up." (An African in headlights) "Uuuuuuh oooookay" I said and I took Mr. Weir's guitar and I started to make up a song, a song which I sang quietly at first but then as I sang, the words I sang started to weigh on me more and more, perhaps it was the moment, perhaps it was the look on some faces.
You see, we really do move and at times it's the same old movement but in essence we just have to simply keep moving; I didn't want to move, at that very moment, I just wanted to stay at the pub, in that very seat and sing, and not have to worry leaving about being sad about if I'd ever return to a place which felt so much like home.
(chorus written at home, Weir's Pub and Restaurant)
"I dong want to leave
Don't want to go from here
Feel I found love
Here in this moment
I don't want to die
I need you in my life
For all of time
Not just in this moment
I found love
I see it in your eyes
Be my prize
So we can keep movin'..."