The key to successful travel is to go into every trip with no set expectations and an open mind. When I planned my trip to Dublin, it was so last minute that I didn’t even have time to conceptualize what it was going to be like. Even during the cab drive from the airport to the city I was interrogating the cab driver. I had no idea what I was about to dive into. Little did I know, I was going to be exceeding any expectations I could have possibly imagined.
The second night in Dublin me and my friend, Sam, decided we were going to take it easy and not go on another pub crawl. Instead, we went to one of Dublin’s oldest pubs for dinner. The Brazen Head Pub was founded in 1198 and is made up of an old Irish coach house. It’s the epitome of what you would expect an irish pub to look like. Brick walls, a live band, green and orange all over. When we arrived, we found out it was a free for all. There were no hosts to seat you, instead you kind of just had to walk around and look for a table or a seat at the bar. It was packed so we watched and waited for a couple minutes, then luckily a small table was available. We snagged that spot immediately. Shortly, a band walked in with their equipment and began to set up a few feet away from our table! I couldn’t believe our luck.
I ordered fish and chips and a Kilkenny beer, trying live as the romans do and try out as many irish staples and local beers, as possible. Sam, on the other hand, could not let go of his American ways and ordered a bacon cheeseburger. To give him some credit, he did order another locally brewed Irish beer, called Smithwicks, and it was great.
Soon after we were done eating, the band introduced themselves and began to perform. From Molly Malone to Little Lion Man, this band performed the perfect songs for the ultimate Dublin experience. On top of that, they were personable and interactive with all of us. They called me “Girl who doesn’t dance” because I refused to dance with my friend, Sam. They even took two seats from my table, sat on them right in front of me, and had a mandolin vs. guitar battle.
After a short intermission, a turkish man we befriended bought 15 Guinness and offered them to each band member and everyone around. Soon, the band was back on stage and asked for volunteers, including me, “girl who doesn’t dance”. At first I said no, then I grew the balls and ran up on stage. They begin playing a song and I immediately recognized it. It was Hey Jude by The Beatles, whom I grew up listening to with my dad. Basically, it would have eaten away at me for the rest of my life if I didn't get on stage for this opportunity at that moment in time.
I, Barb from Tampa, was singing a Beatles song on stage with an Irish band… Wearing my Guinness crewneck sweater... In the oldest pub in Dublin.... With the entire pub singing along.... On St. Patrick’s Day Weekend.. UNREAL.
I left the pub in tears. After that moment had ended I had gone into a completely existential state. Life truly is what you make it. I walked home along the river at about 1AM, crying like a baby, telling Sam “I don’t want to go home!!!” But we both knew that tomorrow was the day we had to pack our bags and head back to reality.