Sometimes the people you meet while traveling can make or break your experience. While I consider myself lucky enough to have not really had to deal with the latter, I’ve been even more lucky to have had the former while visiting the Emerald Isle.
I’d been told previously that the people of Ireland are very friendly, and from what I encountered, this was very much the truth. I’ve never felt so welcomed before as I did from the Irish people I met during my walks through town and at pub nights and restaurants. One person who really made an impression was our tour guide, Carl. Not only did he extend our tour for free and give us great advice on food places to try, but he called up some people he knew to help my friend Chelsea and me spontaneously purchase tickets for a 12-hour bus trip the following morning through the Irish countryside to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway.
I never realized how little I knew about Ireland until Carl gave us a brief history of the island and its people. When we visited museums later, it meant so much after hearing the backstory from Carl. I’m a bit of a history buff anyways, but I thought it was so amazing. One of my favorite things I learned was that Gaelic (which apparently is not an interchangeable word for Irish, as I had believed, and is in fact a grouping of languages, like Slavic) does not have the same letters as standard English. The name for Dublin came about through the Vikings, as they called the area “Dubh Linn” (pronounced dove-lynn) meaning “black pool.” Since the Irish did not have the letter “v” in their language, they substituted “bh” for the same sound. When the English came to Ireland they mispronounced the city and forever made it Dublin.
I’m so glad I could get the opportunity to get to know more about Dublin than just what is on the surface, and I have to thank the wonderful people who live there for that. As they say in Ireland, going to Dublin is good craic – a lot of fun!