As one Irish actor told me in a Dublin pub…”I like the English. In fact my wife is English. That being said, I don’t care much for the British.” That barb was followed by a knowing Irish wink and another sip of beer.

Like Americans, the Irish also speak English. But it is a far different version of our flat twang, and it takes a while for Americans to develop an ear for the colorful lilt of the Irish tongue, especially in the beautiful green countryside, where the rural folks speak in a heavier local version of the language.

The fondest memory I have of Ireland occurred in the small town of Oranmore outside of Galway. It was when our large clan went to a nice, polite brunch of Irish salmon. Upon exiting the restaurant my father spied a thatched roof pub across the lane named McDonough’s. With a touch of the dramatic Dad said, “Follow me. I’ve been wanting to do this my entire life.” He proceeded to lead his wife and six adult children into the bar and announced with a broad smile, “We’re the Roaches of America and we’d like to buy the pub a round!”

There were some twenty folks in the bar, and we were witness to one of the great Irish rituals…the pouring of the Guinness. Twenty large pints were lined along the bar and then with ceremony rivaling a papal coronation, the bartender minded each glass so that the rich head of the brew would be allowed to rise and breathe for the perfect amount of time before being served.

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Visit the cliffs of Ireland on a Trek Travel cycling trip.