“You need to go out onto the patio!” A small young woman bounces up to me and L at a pub in Adare, Ireland.
Adare already feels like a fairy tale straight out of a picture book with its thatched roofs, charming village, and the warmest people on earth. Now this adorable young woman oozing excitement appears out of nowhere.
L and I had been watching a joyous circle of 20 or so 20-something men sing, stomp, cheer, and raise pints on the patio.
“Will you come with us?” I smile and ask the young woman.
“No! My husband is right over there!” She points to the other end of the pub, smooths her long dark hair, and waves at her husband. Then she turns back to us.
“You’ll have to go out there for me!” She grins.
“What are they celebrating?” L asks.
“They’re the hurling team!” The woman’s eye widen in shock that we don’t know why there’s a joyful ruckus on the patio.
“The what?” I ask.
“The hurling team! You have to meet them. They know how to use a stick and a ball!” She grins wider and pumps her eyebrows, clearly unable to understand why L and I aren’t running toward the patio. We can't help but laugh at her enthusiasm.
“What’s hurling?” I ask. “It’s a sport! You know, hurling, with a stick and a net!” She throws her arm out like she’s tossing something. “Like lacrosse?” L asks. The woman stares at us like we’re speaking another language which at this point, we basically are.
“You know, where we come from, ‘hurling’ actually means vomiting.” I say. Just when I think we can’t shock this lovely woman anymore, we do.
“That’s disgusting,” She makes an “ew” face. Then she glances back at the patio where the young men now clap, sing, and jump all over each other.
“You really need to get out there! I’ll be watching from over there.” She points back to the table where her husband sits. Then she disappears. After a slew of crazy Irish nights, L and I are tired, in a slight food coma, and don’t have the ambition to approach a group of men so young that we could be their mothers. We decide to pay the tab and go for a walk. As we wait for the bill, a young man standing at the bar says, “You’re from America, aren’t you?” It’s not the first time someone has asked us that. I don’t know if it’s our clothing, mannerisms, or if he simply heard us talk. “Yep,” we respond. He begins to tell us about his experiences in the US. How much he loved Las Vegas and New York. He’s funny, smart, and sweet. We tell him how much we love the way people in Ireland will strike up conversations with us. “We’re Irish, we’ll talk to the wall,” he says with a smile.
We laugh and tell him we’re going for a walk.
“The DJ starts at 9:00. Come back,” he says as we exit. When we do go back to the pub, he’s sitting at a table with a group of guys from the patio. There happen to be two empty seats, so L and I sit down. The young woman we met earlier sits a few tables over with her husband, smiling and nodding approvingly at us.
We drink and talk with these lovely Irishmen until closing time, which is early due to Covid. Then L and I find ourselves on the sidewalk with three young lads; Andy and two Lukes. “Where are you staying?” One of the Lukes asks. “The Dunraven Arms Hotel,” I say. We decide to walk back to the bar in our hotel and see if they’ll let us have one last drink. The hotel’s front door is closed. Andy jiggles the knob. We're locked out. He pushes a button next to the big wooden door. An old school buzzer sounds somewhere inside.
L and I, plus our three new friends giggle.
“Do you think we’re locked out forever? L asks. “I hope not,” I say. We all laugh like it’s the funniest thing, which after 3,000 pints of Guinness, it actually is. A tall man appears in the doorway. We explain that we’re staying there. He opens the door and the five of us stumble into the lobby. “Can we have a drink at the bar?” I ask. “The bar’s closed. There’s a wedding,” the man explains. “Ohhhhh…” All of us moan in disappointment.
The man disappears down a hallway. At the end, behind glass doors, music bumps and people dance. “You should crash the wedding!” One of the Lukes says to me and L. “Dude. Look at us! We’re wearing jeans!” L says. All five of us burst out laughing and talking and likely waking every person in the entire hotel.
The man reappears with two arms full of beer bottles.
“Wow!” All of us cheer like he’s Santa.
“Thanks so much man!” Our new friends say.
“Now go find somewhere to hang out!” The man herds us out of the lobby. The five of us walk down a long corridor and spot French doors that open into a room that looks like an antique little library, complete with two sofas and a roaring fire. L and I look at each other. Of course the perfect room is right here. Our whole trip to Ireland has been like that. From joining a bachelor party to meeting an artist and being invited to her art gallery, to having a wild night in a castle, everything has fallen into place so easily.
So, it feels like a Guinness-sponsored fairy tale as we sit by the fire in a lovely room in a 200-year-old hotel originally built by an Earl drinking beer a stranger gave us while laughing with our new friends feeling ever so grateful that the Irish will “talk to the wall.”