2018 was a good year for this guy. I checked off an important box on my Bucket List. I saw our boys in Dublin for the e+i tour. I had never been to Ireland and it was fantastic.
If you had asked me even two years ago if I thought I would ever see them outside the States, I would have said no. As big of a fan that I am, I also knew that it probably wouldn’t happen for me. Ireland was simply too far away. It would remain a dream. I also understood that both the band and myself were getting older—if not old. The time to see them in their hometown might have passed.
But an interesting thing happened when my buddy and I began planning a European vacation last year. He had an event in Paris in the fall that he wanted to attend and once I agreed to that, we began seeing if catching the band in Europe was even a possibility. It was.
Suddenly, I was going and it still couldn’t believe it. It was like winning tickets to Disneyland but it doesn’t feel real until you step into the park. Up until that point, it is just a potentiality.
Even the during flight out of San Francisco did not fully register with me that I was actually seeing a band that I had been following for over three decades in their hometown. There was the subtle hint here and there. We flew Aer Lingus and hearing the charming Irish lilt of the staff was a pleasant reminder of where we were headed. I’m not sure if it would have been the same had we flown United or American.
The four-city European vacation would be bookended with Dublin with stops at Rome, Brussels and Paris in between. The last night in Europe would be at 3Arena. It was one of the best vacations I had ever taken.
I wanted to see the city where the band grew up. Although it probably had changed much since their youth, I knew that there were many places that would remain the same. Dublin is a very old city and rich in history. I hoped to see some of the places referenced in their songs. But most of all, I wanted experience a little Irish culture.
Happily, I did. There is much about the Ireland that is the same with the United States. We both speak English. It was nice hear Gaelic every now and then. I didn’t know how common it was (it’s not from where I visited). There were many familiar places like Starbucks and Burger King. I was also surprised to see a large number of Asian restaurants. I just didn’t they would be popular in Ireland, which shows exactly how much I know.
The one thing I noticed immediately was that traffic is the opposite of the U.S. It was so strange climbing onto buses on the left instead of the right. As I watched the cars and trucks driving in the left side I kept thinking about how badly I screw that up if I had to drive in Ireland. But that difference was nice and it kept reminding me that I was far from home.