The 3-Minute Guide to Appreciating Ireland
A friend of mine related this incident and with her permission I relate it to you. Molly, I’m withholding her surname, swears that after Ireland she will never again take another bus tour—cheap package deal or not. Molly writes like she talks, without punctuation, stringing together as many thoughts and details as possible before needing to take a breath. She writes: “ My husband Phil and I had never been to Ireland so the offer seemed the perfect opportunity to finally visit the ancestral land of my fathers, and mothers, and the rest of the inauspicious Murphy clan ushered out by the Brits in the 19th century for complaining about starvation and that no one seemed to care. Backs against the water’s edge, British bayonets before them, the Murphys landed in America along with migratory hordes of other micks who there also starved and lived in hovels somewhere in the bowels of lower Manhattan where they did more fighting than working and more writing ditties about the old sod and their plights as exports to be sung in revolution by stubborn stalks who remained to fight on.“ “Our driver and guide, Jimmy Ryan, genial and redfaced, while the wittiest person I’ve ever met was also the most intolerant of any ethnicity other than Irish. We left Dublin at about 6am on a foggy Monday with Jimmy calling out seat numbers for each passenger which in the end made the group from Texas who had announced themselves as “crazy drinking southern Celts” happy to find they were all together in the front seats close to Jimmy but leaving my husband and I and our Italian surname feeling a bit singled out to be seated with an older Jewish couple which Jimmy obviously deemed appropriate since we were all from New York, in his mind a seething bastion of Italian Mafioso and Hebrew bankers all out to get the micks.” “All this, however, was not the crux of my dissatisfaction. That stemmed from incidents which occurred over and over again during the entire trip that seemed only to bother me and oddly our Jewish co-travelers involving abbreviated stops along the way at Irish pubs the single purpose of which seemed to be how much Guinness Jimmy and his favorites could consume in the fifteen minutes we were given amid hails of bawdy laughter and cackling which effectively drowned out local storytellers seated on low stools who did not seem to care whether they were heard or not or whether their pub was merely a pit stop for ‘If this is Tuesday it must be Killarney’ flash tours. “ “That disappointment lingers like sour milk once swallowed then discovered bad. My advice to travelers is this: when going to Ireland take a chance, rent a car and drive the narrow byways on the wrong side of the road which is what you have to do if you are truly interested in the real Ireland told in the context of stale smoke and beer and Jamisons spilled and not yet wiped and yes, even the obnoxious cackling of ancestors who know or care as much about their real roots as their Aunt Nellies. When you do this be sure you sit and listen attentively from dawn to dusk to the endless stream of prose unpunctuated into sound bites by tour buses leaping herky jerky from one Guinness to the next otherwise you’ll never find the Murphys or anyone else you might be seeking not to mention the real soul of Ireland as revealed each day and night in stories told in its pubs.” Thank you Molly for allowing me to publish this.
Submitted by: Saffron Flynn