Remember when I mentioned I often find out information from complete strangers? Maybe it’s because I am inquisitive, perhaps it’s my friendly Canadian nature. Or maybe I have an inviting presence that spurns people to confide in me.
Either way, we decided to go for a lovely 10km walk through Dublin’s southeast suburbs last Saturday, where I had an in depth conversation with two 60+ male locals who filled me in on everything from council politics to the history of Grace O’Malley. Before this encounter, we had stopped along the way to watch some Gaelic Football and get a bite to eat in Ranelagh. Then we popped into a Rugby pub in Booterstown for some tea before moseying to Dun Laoghaire for a bit of post-Belgium Leffe at Dunphy’s.
This cosy spot has been open since the early 1900s and upon entering the supposedly low key pub, we were met with the sight of locals enjoying ‘a few quiet pints’, including an older gentleman sipping his Guinness while reading a novel and writing notes to himself at the bar. Cue music from Tourism Ireland. It was like discovering every tourist’s dream – a real authentic Irish pub with real authentic locals going about their Saturday night.
We sidled up to the bar, drank our Leffe and were asked for travel advice by a couple of American tourists. That’s right, I blended in and my Galway-influenced Canadian accent can now be mistaken for a local lilt.
The highlight of the night though, was meeting my two older friends, an artist and a politician, who after helping me look up DART times, started talking about the history of Irish emigration to Newfoundland in Canada. Where I just happen to be going this October to visit my youngest sister! We traded travel tips and pirate stories about Ms O’Malley, discussed the expense of the new local library during the recession (€36m lads, can you believe it?) and I was even given some advice on integrating in the Emerald Isle.
I told them I’d be back after my trip to ‘The Rock’ (Newfoundland) for a few quiet pints. Who knows who I’ll run into then?