I have never had the best of luck meeting people while staying in hostels. Maybe it is because I am shy and travel with my boyfriend, which does not force me to interact with others. Even though Ireland is not my favorite destination, the people are.

I can’t tell you how many times we were invited to hang out by a local in Ireland. I do not think I would have enjoyed my trip as much if it was not from the following experiences.

Grabbing a Pint

In Belfast, we opted to stay a little outside of the city but within walking distance. As my parents slept off their jet lag, Andy and I were invited to go to the Garrick Bar with a neighbor of the Cherryville B&B. Handing off his bottle of beer into my jacket, Chris paid for all of our bus fares into town. What generosity! We returned the favor by paying for his pint of Guinness. After finding some seats at a picnic table on the patio, we met Stephen, a chef on his lunch break. As we all drank our beer, Andy and I learned more than I ever thought we would on this journey about the current rivalry between Catholics and Protestants with a riot ending just a week before our visit.

Drinking in a “Man Cave”

Above the Oaklands B&B in Letterkenny, the owners had their own private escape from their guests. As Martin would call it, his “man cave” with its own plumbing, bar, and TV built by Martin himself. As we pulled into the B&B after dinner, we were flagged into the man cave to drink with Martin and Majella, the owners. After few glasses of wine for the ladies and beer for the men, we were all swapping stories and learned their son actually lives in Seattle (they would be visiting in a few weeks).

An Irish Performance

While hanging out in the “Man Cave”, two teenagers and their mother joined us. Originally from Cork and owning their own B&B, they were in the area for the Irish music festival being held in Derry. The Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann had competitions for all ages and musical talent. We were honored to listen to some traditional Irish music by a 14 year-old play the concertina, a small accordion like squeezebox, and her 16 year-old brother playing the banjo and whistling. Below are the audio recordings from these talented kids.

irish_music

Some Great Musicians!

Whistling an Irish Tune

Irish Music with Concertina

Irish Music with Concertina

Irish Music with Concertina and Banjo

Irish Music with Banjo

Irish Music with Banjo

Where are the friendliest locals you have met?

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