Wednesday, November 22, 2023
There is nothing at all ordinary about ordinary life.
Saturday, November 4, 2023
In the previous post, Sharon and I had just finished our lunch in the little town of Blarney, Ireland. On the way back we wanted to take time to do some people watching in the little park that we had passed earlier, where there had been plenty of empty picnic tables. To our disappointment, all the tables were now occupied. After dithering about for a bit, we approached one where a young man was working on his laptop, and asked if we might opposite him. He kindly welcomed us, and we gratefully sat down, fully intending to be quiet and not bother him.
However, the young man closed his laptop, smiled, and asked where we were from. We were soon deep in conversation, and he told us that he had been born in the next town over, and now lived in Blarney, where his wife had been born. Just then, a young woman approached and smiling, said (in the loveliest Irish accent you can imagine) something like: "Ah, I can't leave you for even a wee moment and ye're off chatting up the ladies!" We all laughed, and she joined in the conversation. She introduced herself as Sharon (pronounced very differently from my friend Sharon's name, more like this: https://youtu.be/ZzGUoSNVrxc), and her husband was Peter (pronounced Pee-tah).
Peter said that he worked at Johnson & Johnson (the prescription drug industry is very big in Ireland). They had never wanted to leave the place where they had grown up, and we wondered why anyone would ever want to. The village and surrounding countryside were so lovely and we were lucky enough to and have yet another sunny day, possibly not the usual kind of weather there.
When I asked if they were bothered by all the busloads of tourists descending on their town, they laughed and said they enjoyed coming into town and meeting people from all over the world, who added to the culture of the place.
I can't tell you how thrilled we were to meet "real" Irish people. Cruising is fun and relaxing, and the onshore bus tours are always interesting, but we might have done the whole trip surrounded only by Americans and Canadians. We felt so lucky to be able to spend some relaxing time just chatting about life in general with the people who actually lived in the places we had traveled to see.
We reluctantly said goodbye because we had to board the bus back to the ship. I am sorry I didn't ask them for a photo, but we will always remember these kind people who took the time to talk with two elderly ladies from far away.