Ireland. Fran and I just got back from an eleven day trip and what can I say? We had a fantastic time.
I did some scientific research about what the Irish really think about Chicago. By that I mean we randomly talked to people around the cities and mostly in pubs, so I'm pretty much an anthropologist.
We stayed in Dublin for the first week. We then rented a car and spent the rest of the time traveling south down the Emerald Isle. We stayed in Waterford, Kinsale, Killarney and Limerick before heading out of the Shannon airport on the west side of the island.
The first morning we were there, we asked a Dublin tour guide on one of the double decker buses what he thought of Chicago. He immediately started to pretend he was shooting a machine gun and said, "Al Capone! Also, you all have big, beautiful skyscrapers."
Later that day we headed to tour Kilmainham Gaol when we came across another tour guide. When we told him we were from Chicago he shouted, "Jerry Springer! Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! Ah, you got to love Jerry."
For those of you that don't know, The Jerry Springer Show used to be taped in Chicago. When Fran mentioned that he attended a few Jerry Springer tapings ages ago, he became an instant celebrity. Or something like that.
Late one night a jolly gentleman asked about the Sears (AKA Willis) Tower. "I don't know if I could got up in that thing, he said. What would I do if I got stuck in the elevator? I guess either pry the doors open or make love."
I busted out laughing to that and said that I would have those doors pried open in a second. His group started laughing hysterically. Did I mention we were leaving the pub at closing time?
Some other young chaps we came about also remarked about the "magnificent skycrapers." (For the record, a ton of people mentioned skyscrapers when we talked about Chicago.)
Another said that he lived as an exchange student with a family in Arlington Heights. He loved Chicago and reading the Chicago Tribune. He also said that the city has a lot of great suburbs. Suburb shout out!
Seriously, so many people have told me to watch that show. Although it's filmed in New York, the show is supposed to take place in Chicago.
We were waiting in line for food one evening when we struck up a conversation with a man from Montreal. He said he loved Lincoln Park and the farmer's markets in the city. He also said that Chicago will always have a special place in his heart because he proposed to his wife there "under a big weeping willow tree." How cool is that?
We were told it was completely unusual for Ireland that it only rained twice while we were there. The rest of our vacation was warm and sunny. When I remarked how friendly everyone was, one gentleman joked to come back when it's rainy because the Irish will all be really mean.
I'm not buying it. The people of Ireland were some of the nicest I've met, rain or shine.
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