It was said that when Vikings first arrived in Ireland in the ninth century to plunder and conquer, it wasn't long before they fell victim to the charms of the Irish and were converted into settled, peaceful citizens. If marauding invaders wielding sharpened swords can't defend against the charms of Ireland and its people, what chance do the rest of us have?
We pass a string of shuttered pubs. "A good puzzle would be to cross Ireland without passing a pub," James Joyce quipped. But with the fall from Celtic Tiger to Celtic Kitten in the past years, and with new indoor anti-cigarette laws, and stricter laws on drunk driving, folks are staying closer to home.