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By sjm510

One thing that’ll surprise you about Dublin is everyone is talking about “crack”. Where to get the good “crack”, was last night good “crack”, etc. But, don’t worry, the Irish are not talking about cocaine. Rather, they are saying the word craic, which is Gaelic for having a good time or having a laugh.

Fun-loving, happy people may be the best way to describe Dubliners. Everyone is eager to help with directions, recommend the best sights to see, and of course, have some good craic.

Just the very first night, my friends and I went to a restaurant called the Hairy Lemon, which sounds really awful but actually has really good, authentic Irish food. But what stuck with me most about this restaurant was the waiter. He could tell it was our first night in Dublin and gave us lots of recommendations of good places to go, warned my friend whose purse was hanging off the chair about pick-pockets, and explained the unique décor of the restaurant. It was primarily American memorabilia given to him by the many people who had come through the restaurant and not only had great conversations with him, but once home, had kept in touch and sent him keepsakes to add to the wall.

Recently, I travelled with some friends to Cork to kiss the Blarney stone, bestowing anyone who kisses it with eloquent speech for seven years. The bus drive was 3 hours long and no exaggeration, our bus driver sang and chatted with us literally the entire time. Upon learning he and my friend both shared the last name of Cooney, he declared her his cousin and swapped contact information, telling her to keep in touch. All night long after that trip my friends and I sang songs like Molly Malone and Whiskey in the Jar through the streets of Ireland.

It’s refreshing to be exposed to such an open, welcoming environment. In the U.S., we tend to be a little more reserved; you’ll see more people avoiding eye contact on the street and keeping conversation with strangers to a minimum. Not that there aren’t friendly people everywhere, but the Irish sure stand out. Ireland is amazing, but it’s the people you encounter, all constantly in search of some good craic, that make it so much more.