I don't think I'll ever forget that night. A few colleagues invited me out for pints. They'd been through the same thing as me and, even though they never said anything, I think they could tell I was feeling a bit down. We went to a bunch of pubs but ended up in their regular hangout. This place had great music and just a super friendly atmosphere, even though it was in central Dublin. I went out for a smoke and ended up talking to a bunch of strangers for hours. As time went by this pub became my place. It was a place I went to when I'd had a busy week at work. It became the place I went to when I felt lonely. It became the place I went to celebrate. I made friends and, in the end, when I walked in through the doors they knew my standing order. As I moved between houses this pub remained my home.
During the last year, my visits became more and more sporadic. I got busy with work but working in esports meant I never felt the need to unwind with a few pints. I had other relationships, so I never felt lonely. I celebrated my big weekends at various Dota events and celebrated at their afterparties. However, with my time in Ireland is coming to a close, I wanted to go back one last time. Walking through the doors I could immediately tell the place has changed. The pub had declined over the last year.
For the four years previous you could count on at least a few out of the 15-20 regulars being there as you walked in. This time I saw a lot of people but I saw no one I knew. The bartenders that I'd spent hours with, having a drink after closing, weren't there. The singer they used had also moved on. Instead of walking in with a smile on my face I was more shocked. Instead of feeling the warmth I had always associated with the place, I felt cold. Me and a mate ordered a pint and stood around for a few minutes before we walked out to the smoking area, hoping to run into a regular. But nothing. So instead we finished our pints and walked out the back door.
At first, I was sad about this. I wanted my last memories of this place, my second home, to be a night filled to the brim, celebrating with people I enjoyed being around. Instead, I got this. The next day I thought about this and realized it was a perfect ending in a way. I have the numbers of all my friends and people can travel. Places can't. While Dublin will always be in my heart, that pub was the last place that I felt I would really miss. But both I and the pub has changed. I'm ready to move on. Utrecht here I come!