Fantastic! That is the word that sums up our 2-week visit to Dublin, North Wales and England. It was more than we could have ever imagined.

The hospitality was out of this world. Another word used by Europeans – “spectacular” or “terrific!”

The virtue of hospitality, in itself, is not just about appearances. It seems to have a higher value. Everywhere we went we were asked how we were, and then if we would like tea or coffee, or if we needed anything.
People were so friendly and helpful. The history was incredible. The structure of the buildings was so beautiful. But in their antiquity, we noticed that even the best hotels would not be tolerated in the states. We seem to want everything in perfect order, neat and tidy.

The Europeans put their energy into what really matters: people opposed to perfection.
In Dublin we contacted an uncle of Paul’s whom we had never met. Their welcoming us into their home, with no notice really, was unbelievable.
We were so excited to meet new relatives and first cousins. On very short notice, Aunt Kay put together the most thoughtful meal of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.
Our dishes were presented so beautifully!

Later that night their kitchen was transformed into an art studio where Uncle Gabriel taught 8 students. He toggled back and forth from the studio to the sitting room, making sure that his guests were all okay. We found out what a talented artist he was (which we got to bring a painting home with us! woo-hoo!), owning his own gallery right on River Liffy next to O’Connell bridge, for 15 years!

Our visit lasted for hours, as we enjoyed the newness of long-lost relatives.

We got a personal tour through the streets of Dublin and were shown where Paul’s Mom grew up. We hiked through Glendalough, a monastery built in the Wicklow Mountains.

During our hike we stopped for tea and cookies and enjoyed the magnificence around us.
We hung out in Kimmage where Paul’s Dad grew up, visiting with three elderly neighbors who knew him well as a young lad.
Benny still rides his bike every day!

We shed a tear when we left our relatives. Not knowing if we’d ever see them again was a sobering thought.

What did we learn about European hospitality?

These people were taught how to be hospitable. It didn’t just happen by chance. It has made me re-evaluate exactly what I am teaching my children. I am excited to be home, now, and to share our experiences with them!

Stay tuned for some of my upcoming “Myth-Busters” of entertaining!

(Photos: (top) cross at Glendalough, downtown Dublin on Grafton Street, Uncle Gabriel and Paul, me and Aunt Kay, Aunt Kay’s yummy meal, tea and cookies, (bottom two) Benny)

This is the receipt that we found in Paul’s Mom’s purse. We tracked down his Dad’s family home by looking up this address, dated back to 1954! It was quite an adventure, to say the least.