January 7, 2004
When we touched down at the airport this morning, weary and sleep deprived, we were greeted by our guide, John Byrne, who will be with us the rest of the trip. He seemed to be a bank of knowledge, giving us an introductory lesson in Irish culture, history, and politics. He also informed us that Ireland is hosting the presidency of the European Union, so we came at a very interesting time in the Irish political scene.
Before I came to Ireland, I had the impression that the Irish people were a fiery lot with a strong sense of nationality and self. This seems to be true so far. In addition to what John had told us earlier, I noticed the abundance of shops around our hotel that sold Celtic craft goods and other items of Irish culture. The one thing that surprises me about Dublin is the diversity. I had never really thought of Ireland as being a diverse place. It was strange, and a bit humorous, to me to go into a restaurant in Ireland serving American food and be waited on by an Asian person.
Almost everyone that I have come into contact with so far has been friendly and agreeable. The locals have been helpful in suggesting good places to eat and sights that might interest us. I was, however, taken aback by the driving of the locals.
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