“Come back Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff, Come home Paddy Reilly to me”. A quaint old man sat in the corner of Grace’s bar belting these last few lyrics to a song. His vocals were accompanied by his own friends and acquaintances at the bar. Also incorporated in the tune were a bodhrán, a whistle and a small banjo. Grace’s pub in Cloughjordan was my first experience at an Irish Pub. I left that pub smiling from ear to ear that night because of the vibe and the atmosphere that was inside those walls.
Every pub after this experience had a similar feel. Pubs in Ireland give off a genuine sense of community. These places are used as a home for a neighborhood crowd to come in and find some happiness. Visitors are welcome and treated as if they are part of the crowd. Growing up in the United States I always viewed a bar as a place for people to get a drink and that was that. I thought of alcohol consumption as being the main goal for going to a place like this. What the Irish pub has taught me is that before being a place that serves alcoholic drinks for consumption, they are a unique culture focused center that prioritizes a casual and friendly atmosphere. All of the people I have met at the pubs here have been kind to me. From conversations about the weather to politics there was always something to talk about. I appreciate the openness that an Irish pub creates. It’s no wonder why they don’t shut off the pub’s water even on Islands that have strict water restrictions!
Going to a foreign country is often nerve wrecking and the possibility of getting homesick is always high but with experiences like the ones at these Irish Pubs I can say nothing but the opposite. It is safe to say Irish pubs reflect the overall sense of community that Ireland provides for its citizens and outsiders alike. The main importance of a good ol’ Irish bar is not what you’re drinking or how fast, but rather the people who surrounded you.