Ireland is God’s Country

And in Ireland, he drinks draft Guinness.

I’m exhausted. From October 17th to November 3rd, I spent thirteen days outside the Czech Republic. Edinburgh, Ireland, and Berlin. There has been a lot of rain. A lot of long walks. A lot of reading. And, a lot of beer.

So what to say?

I wrote about Edinburgh in another story. Berlin felt like a smash and grab job. We showed up, we saw stuff. I touched the Berlin Wall. I went to the museum. I walked through the park. And then more than a few of us ended up at a student party held in a German university dorm. One of ours became the DJ and they sold beer and shots for a Euro each. It was a pretty good party.

But Ireland. When it isn’t raining, when it is sunny and pleasantly cool, Ireland is something truly special. Rolling meadows and fields streaked with dry-stacked stone fences specked with sheep and cows grazing in the fog. And honest-to-God thatched roofs alongside one-and-a-half lane roads winding their way through the Irish mist. The Burren, this corner of Ireland that I found myself in, is the literal manifestation of Tolkien’s Shire.

And the favored activity in Ireland’s Shire? Drinking beer. The favorite beer? Draft Guinness. If I could, I would drink draft Irish Guinness at every meal until the day that I died.

But Ireland is a place and Guinness is a thing. The best memories about traveling don’t come from places or things. The best memories are people. The eighteen hard drinking, foul-mouthed, working class Limerickmen who showed up wearing their loudest shirts for a night on the town of Galway and shared hard cider with me. The five university educated Spaniards working as au-pairs and retail clerks in order to learn English who were getting wasted in the hostel kitchen and wanted to dance with me. The three Dubliners who took me out to the bars with them and then split the cost of a club cover with me, as if I’d been friends with them for years.

So I embrace that one day all these experiences that I don’t know how to tell, or that I can’t tell, all the beer and late nights, all the hangovers, all the trains and planes and buses, all the money spent, all the buildings seen, all the doors opened, all the beds slept in, all the meals eaten, all the characters met, all of these facts will become nothing but wild memory. One hell of a wild memory and an insatiable thirst for more.

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