Savannah is blessed with a high percentage of Irish immigrants, and we know the term “Irish Goodbye” well. But, true Savannahians, whether born and raised or a transplant to this fair city, know that we do things differently in Savannah.
You’re at a party. It’s a great party. In all reality, most parties are. You’re just happy that you got invited. People start to slip out. “Quitters!” you say under your breath but begin to question your next move. You’re standing at a crossroads. You could pull the traditional Irish Goodbye or the Savannah Irish Goodbye.
The traditional Irish Goodbye can be spotted by any good party-goer. The couple slowly begins to make their way towards the back of the room or near the exit door. They disengage from everyone around them, pretending to be in an in-depth conversation with each other. Then, they quietly turn and walk out.
The traditional Irish Goodbye is not rocket science but does take a bit of finesse to execute without offending anyone. The value of this goodbye is that you’ve left while you’re still at the top of your game. Your shoes are still on, you haven’t sung with the band, you’ll still remember most of your evening and will possibly be asked to the next party. But, what fun is that?
The Savannah Irish Goodbye takes a lot more gumption. As soon as the “Quitters” make their way towards the back of the room, you move to the front. There’s no wimpy sneaking out the back. You go big before you go home. Making your way to the dance floor, you order a round of drinks. Sure, it’s an open bar, but everyone is happy to get a fresh drink. Raising your glass, you lead the toast. “Sláinte,” you call out, and the crowd holds up their drinks and calls back with enthusiasm, “Sláinte!”
When the folks around you, most of whom you’re related to in one way or another, ask if you’ll sing, you choose either “The Wild Rover” or “Danny Boy” and belt it out loud and proud. And finally, when the band starts packing up, and the overhead lights are turned on, you give a long, warm hug to all those around you - and end the evening with a proper Savannah Irish Goodbye.