Today I gave my family a tour of Dublin. It's hard to know what are the important things to see, especially since they are only here for a week. So we went to some of the more famous sites and some other random ones in hopes they could get a taste of Irish culture. Our first stop was Trinity College and the Book of Kells. I loved it when we went there for a field trip and knew my mom would really appreciate it. I was right! Then we wandered down Grafton Street. It's a really cute cobblestone street with has lots of shops. And we stopped at Bewley's for coffee and a snack. Then we headed over to the National Museum, but it was closed so we went into its twin that is right across the lawn- the National Library. They all got to wander through the Yeats exhibit that I had just been at for class on Friday. I think my Grandmother in particular appreciated this; she was a librarian for a long time. Then it was shopping time so we headed to O'Connell Street. We split up boys and girls. We went into Penny's where all the clothes are adorable and really cheap. The boys went off to find sports stores... and wherever else boys like to shop. Our day concluded with dinner at a traditional Irish restaurant in the Temple Bar District. All in all, a perfect way to introduce them to Ireland.
But now, I'm sure you're wondering about the title and what that has to do with all of this. Well, that came after dinner when we got back to where I live. So basically what happened is... The 7 of us (me, my parents, 2 siblings, and grandparents) were walking back from the DART stop which is about 10 minutes away from where I live. We got spread out along the sidewalk, so me, my siblings, and my mom got back first. As we walked up the driveway, we see my director Kyle talking to another man. We are all introduced to Brian, who Kyle deems "The best Irishman in the country." We make small talk for a little bit and a couple minutes later my dad and grandparents arrive. More introductions are made since they haven't met Kyle yet. And then, my mom motions to Brian to introduce him, "And this is Brian! The nicest Englishman in the country!"
Yep. She said Englishman. For those of you who don't know, that is just about the worst insult you could ever give to an Irish person. Because of all the conflict in the past, the Irish still definitely distance themselves from the English. So when she said this, Kyle and I gasped and poor Brian got a bit red. My mother (remembering the bit of Irish history I had been telling them throughout the day) realized this was probably a huge blunder, and quickly apologized. And then apologized again. And then again. And probably one or two more times after that. Thankfully, Brian was very gracious and forgave her, proving he really is a grand Irishman to be so understanding with the clumsy Americans. But it was a very awkward exchange to say the least. I don't think she'll be making that mistake again!
*Note: I have my mother's permission to tell this story!