I spent the last week exploring Ireland. It wasn’t a place too different from the United States – much of the culture I found almost indistinguishable from our own. That’s not to say Ireland wasn’t unique though – not by a long shot.
The Irish – more-so than any culture I’ve experienced – are a hard bunch to dissect. They have a soul of iron that is almost impossible to pierce. The hundreds of years of British occupation, the civil wars, the bad economy – but nothing about any of this is revealed too easily. The Irish are layered. They don’t live with the hearts on their sleeves – and to a tourist you almost miss entirely who the people. It’s complex and maybe that is the real distinction between Ireland and America – a thousand years of history have made things a little more complicated.
But if you want to understand any of this you have to understand the heartbeat of Irish culture – the pub. The pub isn’t a place to dance your ass off and fist pump until you puke all over your friend’s shoes – the pub is proper. It’s a meeting place where you discuss the goings on of the world: politics, religion, life, and love. If you can see the pub as more than just a place to grab a beer you can start to uncover what it means to be Irish.
Here are few bars I crossed paths with: