A bunch of years ago I was in Dublin, Ireland for the St. Patricks day celebrations. I had flown over from LA, with only two nights booked at the Brewery Hostel at the base of the Guinness brewery. The night of the festival I was without a room, all at once ecstatic to be in Dublin for the Merriment and panicked to be without a place to stay.
I had three options.
1. Through a friend of a friend twice removed, I was connected with an Irish man willing to take me in for the night.
2. I had met some lovely Australians who were working on renovating a flat in town, but it was completely empty of any furniture and the electricity and water were both shut off, but it was walls and a roof.
3. Wander the streets for the evening, falling in and out of pubs, until I pass out on the street with some of the more rowdy locals.
I hesitantly opted for option one. If you have ever been a young girl with a backpack and a guidebook in a foreign city, I don’t need to underscore the concerns I had with this set up. Lucky for me, this man was Irish to the core: friendly, hospitable and a perfect gentleman.
I spent most of the evening running around Dublin, from pub to pub, drinking the local beer (Guinness), probably offending the bartenders by tipping them (not a custom in Ireland, "Would you tip your doctor?!") and watching the locals swell with patriotic pride as fireworks burst over the River Liffey in the heart of Dublin.
All of this, the people who welcomed me in, the beer that warmed my soul, and the celebration that swirled around me, will always give me a deep love for Ireland and Her people.
Kiss the Irish, they deserve it.