All That Glitters

Whether traveling to Ireland for two weeks or a month I always take a carry-on suitcase. While this ensures my luggage doesn’t get lost, it’s also more than adequate space for what I need and traveling light is always a good idea. After twenty years the clothes practically fold and pack themselves. Rain pants, check. Hiking boots, check. Red, white, and blue tinsel wig…oh, probably not.

Reflecting on my last post a dear friend commented that showing up as the ugly American is not limited to men. True. And I was immediately reminded of an experience a few years ago in Doolin. It was July 4th.

tinsel hairAs we tucked in to McGann’s Pub there was suddenly a commotion at the bar. Four young women had just arrived with tinsel wigs, their faces painted with stars and stripes. Americans. They were well into their cups, loud, and very flirtatious. And they were immediately the center of attention. It was novel but the novelty soon wore off for everyone in the pub except them. They were too much into their experience to notice that the bar tenders and pretty much everyone else, save a few hopeful young men, were very uncomfortable. Against their loud laughter and singing it was difficult to hear the trad music we had come for. Even the musicians were put out. Throughly embarrassed we left and as it was late made our way back to our Doolin Lodge accommodations. Imagine our horror when a bit later, hearing the noise and looking out the window, we discovered these young women, with a couple of Irish lads in tow, were staying at the same place.

The Irish have long considered America the land of golden opportunity and have much admired Americans. This is changing and that night the four young women did their part to tarnish our image. They demonstrated that all that glitters is sometimes just cheap tinsel.

Judith –