Early in the morning, I woke up in Iceland, and a few hours later, I landed in Dublin, Ireland. I lugged my two backpacks through the airport and onto a downtown bus. I had booked my stay at a hostel the day before, but check-in wasn’t available since I had arrived so early.
The bus stop was a few blocks from the hostel, and the backpack straps were digging into my shoulders pretty well by the time I arrived. I was grateful the hostel had a place for the guests to place their luggage, and though I felt a little odd leaving my belongings behind took them up on it.
After releasing my burden, I hit the road. I wandered around for some time and hit Lidl, a local grocery store. I grabbed some carrots and a croissant and snacked my way through the town.
One of the things that delighted me the most was seeing so many bookstores. Dublin seemed to have one every few blocks. I imagine with so many well-known Irish writers; it would be a well-read city.
Tired from the early morning, long flight, and walking around, I started heading back to the hostel. Check-in wasn’t for another hour, so I decided to hit one of the pubs a block away.
Sauntering in, I found an available seat at the bar. There was a coat draped over the stool next to mine, and I asked if anyway was sitting there. The bartender said no and asked me what I would like to drink.
For ciders, they had Orchard Thieves and Bulmers on tap. I chose the Orchard Thieves since I thought I had tried Bulmers before. Orchard Thieves is sweet and goes down easy. But since I had an hour to kill and didn’t want to drink too much, I just sipped and began to enjoy the personalities around me.
Some ladies were trying to leave and getting flirted with by an old man. They finally said their goodbyes, and the old man gave one of the ladies an inappropriate squeeze. Everyone was laughing and having fun, though, so it seemed harmless. A few people were at some tables behind me, enjoying a box of sandwiches they had brought. The bartender was giving a lighthearted jab to the guy two seats away from me.
After saying his goodbyes and groping the ladies, the old man and owner of the unattended coat came and sat next to me. He joined in with the bartender giving some crap to the guy, and then he turned to me.
“So, what’s your story?” he asked in a thick Irish accent.
I started with, “Oh, I just got to town and was waiting for…”
“Oh, a f**king YANK? What a c*nt!”
The bartender immediately started apologizing though I had a smile spreading from ear to ear.
The old man proceeded to call me names and curse me out for a good long while, but I would catch him smiling like this was a gag. The bartender Declan, would say, “Oh, Mic, he is going to write us a bad review on Yelp.” But with a smile of his own like he didn’t care if I did or not.
I was at the corner of the bar, and a man leaning on the other end was apologizing and trying to explain that was just how Mic was.
Then Mic asked Declan for another small shot of whiskey and ordered me a round too.
Mic went back and forth from cursing me out to buying me a round. Coming back from the restroom, Declan apologized for Mic’s behavior again, but I told him he was making my Dublin experience.
After many free rounds and being called, no, hearing the c-word more times than I ever had in my life, Declan started passing out sandwiches from the box and was encouraging us all to eat.
Mic started telling me he had hung the American flag outside the pub. I had entered through the side door, so I didn’t even notice it. They assumed my being from the United States was why I came to this particular establishment.
I found out the reason everyone was harshing on the guy two seats away was that he was bringing his wife’s dog to Spain in the morning.
Eventually, Mic was drunk enough we started talking about our families, and he conceded that I was alright for such an effing c*nt.
Mic invited me to play pool with him against another couple, but by that time, I was on the edge of being obliterated, so I declined. Even with the sandwiches, I had blown way past my limit and, after tabbing out, stumbled out of the bar and staggered down the street to the hostel.
It was late when I arrived, and I was hammered. As I approached the counter at the reception, I tried my best to pretend I wasn’t completely smashed. I’m sure I was wobbling, smelled like a brewery, and wasn’t fooling anyone. Much to my delight, I was given a room close to the entrance. Having drunk so much, I had to use the restroom every few hours. I would pull back the curtain from my bunk bed, exit the room, stumble down the hall, go up the stairs, down another hall, hit the restroom, and reverse the process back to my bed. Luckily there were large murals on the walls pointing the way to the facilities.
The three other guys I shared the room with bounced out, and it was only then that I realized a bathroom was in the room with us. No need for me to have made so many arduous treks throughout the hostel; there was a toilet a few feet away from my bunk.
I showered and got ready to hit the town but, in my haste, dropped my toothbrush on the floor. I stared at it for a while, contemplating using a toothbrush that had the business side hit the floor of a hostel’s bathroom. Ultimately, my overwhelming desire to get the drunk morning breath taste from my mouth won out. I poured some of the Icelandic Vodka I had bought at the airport over the toothbrush and hoped my immune system would hold out.
It was the perfect start to my Ireland adventure.