Stories From The Emerald Island Part II

Stories from the Emerald Island Part II © Stefanie Neumann - All Rights Reserved.

Dieser Beitrag ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar.

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day which will be celebrated by many people around the world, I choose to share some of the experiences gifted to me during my time in Ireland…

Genuine Friendliness

One thing that was evident to me in Ireland was the genuine friendliness of the Irish. No matter in which situation we would encounter other people it would at least feel as if I would meet an old acquaintance to my German perception.”

-Stefanie Neumann

Let’s, for example, take the situation of somebody asking for directions…


In my hometown Hamburg, Germany, people are known as somewhat cool-ish but friendly. This must be the north German attitude: sparse like the landscape, yet, once connecting, warm like the fire in home’s hearth.

When somebody out on the street asks for directions, people usually will help if they can but won’t bother any further if they don’t know the way, themselves. That, at least, is how I experience it.

For me this is quite normal, although, personally I always feel uncomfortable with leaving a stranger who is lost to their fate instead of trying to help them to find somebody who knows the way. (Hence, I usually spend more time than the average Hamburg resident with helping strangers to find their path…)


In the German capital people are known to be tough and rather blunt. Think: people constantly exposed to the high stress of life in metropolis. Although, I have to say that all folks from Berlin that I came to know in person are kind and gentle people to the core of their beingness; and I do appreciate the honesty that comes with the bluntness.

When somebody out on the street asks for directions, people usually won’t even hear the question to the end, in the best case. Should they happen to need a vent for a really bad mood they might even yell at the stranger. Again, that is, at least, how I experience it.

For me, this feels rather outlandish in spite of the awareness that the Berliners themselves would probably say something like: “Dogs who bark don’t bite.” Well, let’s just put it this way: Whenever I stay in Berlin I avoid a situation where I have to ask for directions.


In the Irish capital people are, as I said before, genuinely friendly. It sometimes seems to me, the darker the rain clouds get, the brighter the smiles of the people become.

When somebody out on the street asks for directions, people will not only help if they can, they most likely accompany the stranger to the desired destination. If they don’t know the way, either, they will move a mountain to find somebody who does. Once more, this is, how I personally experience it.

To me, this feels in a way like coming home, like finding my tribe. Meeting people, who care as much as I do. A place where one is not an alien when showing some friendliness.

It may sound strange to some, but for me this experience was so encouraging. In fact, I sometimes started to feel ashamed for my open heart and for supposedly caring too much about others. Staying at a place where everybody is caring that much for another brought me back on track, as it feels so much better for me to live my life open heartedly.

Do you have a place or a group of people that makes you feel at home like that? How much of the qualities that you would like to see more of in the world are you actually living? What are simple acts of kindness that you can incorporate into your everyday life to brighten up each day?

Much love,