While I was born in America, I grew up with my grandparents in Co. Carlow. I'm home often and live in the ancestral farmhouse of 250+ years.

Last summer, my youngest daughter Devin came with me. As the house is in a very rural spot, I was cooking all the time - breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

One night Devin says to me "Mom, isn't there any place around here we can go and grab food? No offense, but I could use something a little different."

I responded, "Me too, kid! How do you think I feel?"

So off we went to the local chipper in Ballywilliam (the only place for miles around that has ready-made food.) We went in, placed our order, and the fella said "Why don't you ladies go next door to the pub and have a pint while we make your food?"

Well, you never saw anyone's face light up like Devin's at this point. She started telling me how much she loved being in Ireland.

So we walked into the pub and ordered two beers which the bartender gave us with a warm smile. Just as Devin was about to take her first sip, I handed over my credit card and the man very gently said, "Ah sure we only take cash here. Sorry love."

I yelled to Devin, "STOP! Don't drink that!"

The bartender looked at me and with the hardiest laugh, he said: "What do you think we are, savages? Drink up, girl."

We all burst out laughing. I asked about an ATM, but no, that was all the way in the next town.

I said, "Well, they take credit cards next door at the chipper, right?"

"No, sorry love."

Oh God, this was turning into a complete disaster! I didn't know what to do.

That's when he said "Sit down you two and make yourselves at home. There's no panic."

A minute later, he walks over to our table with a €20 bill and tells us to go grab our dinner as he slyly says "Ah sure don't I know where you live!"

Devin could not believe her eyes. Not only did we not pay for our drinks but they were giving us money to go buy dinner!

We went to the chipper, got the food, and came back to finish our pints and eat and you'll never guess what was on our table - about six pints! The people in the pub had bought them for us. Now I was driving, but it truly left an indelible mark on Devin. She looked at me and said, "Yeah, Mom, we're home alright." (We made it up to him the next evening.)

This is but one of a thousand stories of kindness that I have experienced in Ireland over the course of my lifetime. My grandparents emigrated to America and came back, my parents emigrated to America and came back, and I emigrated to America and came back. It's always good to be home.

* Originally published in 2023. Updated in May 2024.

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