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Ireland is a beautiful country, with a wonderful vibe

There’s no question Ireland is a photographer’s dream location. With its rolling foothills, picturesque farmland and gorgeous coastline, there’s plenty to see and experience. But for a newbie to the country, it was the people who really made our visit special.

So much so, it really showed me how uptight us Americans really are. Even in a large, busy city like Dublin, residents did not hesitate to stop and be helpful. Never did we run into a person who was rude, or couldn’t care less how our trip was going. It seems like the citizens of Ireland really do want to make a good impression with tourists, hoping that we love their country as much as they do.

For someone who brought a drone to photograph the sites, I was unsure how my little quadcopter would be received. After almost 2000 flights, I’ve experienced a variety of situations with the public at large. But much to my surprise, the locals barely noticed what I was doing, regardless of whether I was in the big city or climbing a waterfall. As a traveler, there were other examples of glass-half-full attitudes.

It all started after my first meal in Dublin when I left a nice tip to the waitress. She came back thanking me for my generosity. I don’t know about you, but that hasn’t happened to me very often—and yes, I do tip! Turns out, tipping is optional in Ireland, and in most cases not done. The cost of a gratuity is included in the price of the meal, so even servers don’t feel the need to be compensated further.

Need to stay an extra hour at your hotel to catch a flight? Ask that question in the US and in most cases you will get a blank stare, or be charged for every minute past checkout. Not in Ireland, where hotel staff takes care making sure we are comfortable for the upcoming trip. Oh yes, checkout is at noon everywhere.

During conversations with the locals, I was expecting stronger opinions about President Trump. Not so. Residents were concerned about the United States’ role with global warming, but would go on to say the people they talk to either love or hate Trump. But that’s not them. It was a great example of how uptight we Americans can be.

But it really didn’t stop there. Question someone on the street for directions? You not only get an answer, but a conversation. Need to use the restroom on the road in the middle of nowhere? There are no signs or attitudes for customer use only. Ever been served cold food while eating out? I’m sure it’s happened in Ireland, but not to us on this trip. In most cases, food was served too hot to eat right away.

My wife Betsy and I obviously had a great time visiting Ireland. We will be back. But with a country with so much natural beauty, we found the people to be the bright spot of our trip. They know how to treat people well.

This is something we all should remember in a society as diverse and unique as the United States of America.

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