Flashback to Ireland, August 2001, just weeks before the 911 terrorist attacks would change travel as we know it. We were there to see U2 perform at Slane Castle, but we decided to road trip around the country. Dublin was damp and exciting and challenging and busy, but Killarney won our first-trip-to-Europe hearts. It was the quintessential Irish town that fulfilled all of my fiddle-player-in-the-pub, troll-under-the-bridge, castle-on-the-hill fantasies. We wound up in a pub one night, as one usually does when traveling through Ireland, with a particularly lively band on the tiny stage. It was here that I learned the wonders of hard cider as well as every single word to Whisky in the Jar, Dirty Old Town and a fabulous little ditty about ladies getting locked in the lavatory.
As the evening wore on, the tourists were replaced by locals getting off work. There were two young garda (Irish police officers) who were particularly intrigued by the crazy U2 fans from California. Rounds of beers were gifted. At one point, Daniel wound up wearing one of the officer’s hats. At around midnight, the hatless man asked us if we wanted to join him and his friends at a nearby dance club. As tempting as it was, we had been traveling all day and had a full itinerary the next, so Daniel returned the hat, and we reluctantly declined the invitation. We quite literarily crawled up the stairs to our B&B.