I am studying in the CUA Rome program. For my spring break, I chose to go to a place that had been a long time goal of mine — Ireland. As many Catholic students could probably say, I come from an Irish background on both sides of my family, so a trip to the Emerald Isle had always been on my mind. I had been told by my grandfather, especially, about how to experience the country to the fullest, depending on the amount of time I had there. The itinerary was set to start in Dublin for a day for a bigger city experience, then across the country to Galway for a day for a more local feel, and finally in a very small town called Doolin, about ten minutes from the Cliffs of Moher. I will summarize briefly — the trip did not disappoint in the slightest, and Ireland is beautiful.
One small world moment occurred, and then continued to occur as I was there. At a pub in Galway recommended to me by my father, there was a tradition of adding your own currency to the wall of the bar, to show how far people had come to the town of Galway. There were bills from Russia, the Caribbean, euros, yen from China, you name it; cool sight. I noticed one man in particular that night put a $2 bill up on the wall. A fellow American, and one willing to give up a $2 bill! I did not think much of it until I was taking in all the glory of the Cliffs of Moher the next afternoon, when I saw this same man climbing along the edge over the Atlantic Ocean. I did a double take, but was sure it was him. Keep in mind that there were thousands of people there at the Cliffs that day, and Galway is about two and a half hours from them too! We did not interact at that moment because I thought myself a bit creepy to say “hey I saw you at pub in Galway last night.” I would not want to bother anyone during a walk along the Cliffs. He passed along as I walked in the opposite direction. A few hours later, just before I was about to leave the cliffs for the town of Doolin, I saw the same man in the visitor’s center. At this point I had to say hello. So I did, and the man thought it was just as strangely hilarious. I ended up having a solid chat with him, Josh from New York. I thought that would be the end of my time with this Josh fellow, as we did not ask each other what our next stops were in our travels. Sure enough, Josh and I made it to the same pub that night to listen to some traditional Irish music.
When he noticed me, he shook his head and laughed.
“This is weird man, if I see you back home in New York next weekend you are going to have some explaining to do.”
I assured him that I would still be in Europe and he had nothing to fear; I guess we just had similar tastes! Lesson learned: it’s a small world, and Irish friendliness can be found anywhere.