Where to begin? This trip has already been pretty amazing. This world is a big one and I feel blessed to be even able to travel it.
To start, my trip began a bit unpredictable as my connecting flight to Dublin from Toronto was delayed 3 hours. So I just sat around the Toronto Airport and drank a bunch of Molson (Canadian Lager), hahaha.
When we finally boarded at 1 am, I was sat next to a gentleman I would come to know and befriend named Don Cummer. Unbeknownst to me, he is kind of a big deal in the writing world having published a series of historical fiction novels about two friends who came up right before the War of 1812, one Canadian and one American and the complications of that politically and historically. He is even published by Scholastic! He also writes children's books for which he is pretty well known. I will link Don's website at the bottom of this page so you can look into him. Oh also, he was a musician who traveled Europe during his younger years bopping around just like me now.
Anyway, so I was on this flight and Don was a naturally friendly human and we begin talking so I explain that I am over in Europe traveling and playing music and he mentions that his Irish wife Paula was the niece of none other than Dubliners legend, Luke Kelly (This is a big deal as almost all Irish folks and many non-Irish know who the Legend Luke Kelly is). Fast forward to the end of the flight after we get out of customs, Don encourages me to meet Paula and is adamant that they could give me a ride to my AirBNB. As a solo traveler you do your best not to put anyone out and to stay in your own lane, but there are people in this world who WILL prove to you people are great. Paul and Don were these people.
As I exited the airport Paula was asked by Don if they could give me a ride and very quickly she sprung into host mode and scurried to her vehicle to move boxes so my guitar could fit into the vehicle. I was floored because I am a stranger to these folks, you know? I could have just kept on my way and found a ride, but the kindness of a Canadian and an Irish made me see the same special orb of humanity is in all people, it is just how we decide to access it. Don also ended up meeting with me a couple afternoons later and we had some Guinness at O'Donoghues (where the Dubliners' and Luke Kelly used to frequent when they were in their hay day). Don walked me around St. Stephen's green (a local park that is full of vibrant beauty, vegetation, and wildlife) and told me about the shootout of Easter 1916 where a set of 160 Irish Rebels tried to take the Shelbourne Hotel (a hotel that sits directly across from it's northern side) from the British who had been occupying it. I could go on and on about this story, like most history, but if you are interested..read about it! He was full of knowledge of the Irish and how they got their independence and explained Michael Collins and other Irish figures in history.
As I walked the windy streets of Dublin I played "Where The Streets Have No Name" by U2 into my headphones. I wanted to feel the ground of Dublin and the weather in my face as I walked through the city that had seen many catastrophic ups and downs over the years.
What would I make overall of the city? I would say they are a humble people, but it is a very very international city and welcomes many different types of people from Muslims to Catholics. From French to American. From Canadian to German. Dublin is only a small taste of what Ireland truly bears. As I return on November 13, I will witness more of Ireland and get to travel to the countryside a bit. I am very very excited about that. The high end popular touristy area called Temple Bar was also very nice, but I found the other parts of Dublin to be much more interesting.
I will have much more to say about Dublin as I will be spending another 2-3 days there near the end of my trip.
I am writing this while in my Manchester, UK AirBNB and will have much to say about England, but want to take another few days to gather info.
Check out my photos from Dublin below!
Also, if you would like to learn more about Don Cummer, please follow this link.
So long for now and I will update you on England shortly as I want to be able to have time to reflect!