Past Travel: Ireland
It feels like a lifetime ago that I took my first overnight flight and landed in Europe. I had a teeny bit of travel under my belt and landed in Dublin looking ahead at 4 months away from family, friends, new boyfriend Zach!! :)
We did Dublin college style - booked a couple of hostels. Europe at first glance is a bit dirty and Ireland tends to be dark and dreary. The hostel was in a maybe weird part of the city (can't remember)? But it was booked full with some strangeeeeeee characters (that we shared a shower with....).
HOWEVER. When we got ourselves past jet lag and out into the city, it was great! We had nothing but free time to explore, walk, eat and drink for a few days. We then toured across the plains of the island, and then eventually down to the southernmost tip to spend time on a friends dairy farm!! Here are a few of the highlights that we experienced/ideas if you are visiting;
All of the districts surrounding the river are either very touristy (like TGI Friday's and Hard Rock Cafe) OR they have little Irish bars, restaurants, and shops that just naturally gain a lot of international traffic because of proximity to historical sites. Either way, expect a lot of tourists.
St. Patrick's Cathedral
St. Stephan's Green and Iveagh Garden
We were a little affected by the dark cold stone everything. So happening into this secret garden did wonders for our little hearts.
Heinekin is right off of the River Liffey. The Guiness showroom is just down the way. And the Irish Whiskey Museum is also just a few blocks away.
Temple Bar Area
All the party bars. A ton of tourists being idiots. And a whole lot of loud karaoke sing along bars. And also Guinness. But also good meatloaf in a cozy fireplace setting.
Burren National Park
Everyone loves being sea-side. These harsh rocks and bright greenery made us feel at home after spending time in Dublin.
A free site open to the public - built between 1402 and 1433.
Cliffs of Moher
Classic stop on the far west coast, but sooooo beautiful. so beautiful. We spent hours here just looking and standing in awe.
All of the towns you will pass through will look something like this: DREAM.
We only spent enough time here to kill time between buses. The river is beautiful and the little main streets are full of cafes and shops. It was a good taste of a small city.
I have a really romantic dreamy memory of our time here. The town is a little fishing town. The tide comes in and then goes wayyyy out. The harbor is next to the city center. We had some really very good food here.
ANd then we started to go in the country a bit further.
And drove past pastures and pastures of cows! There is a lot of dairy in this area. As well as homesteads and rural farms. The towns are teeeeeny.
We got to stay with a college friend who had lived in Ireland, met and married an Irish man, and moved there. She is a strong lady and fits into their culture so naturally. Their life is beautiful and so rich. I remember these few days vividly- how they hosted four college girls bumbling around Europe. And the friends they introduced us to, the church they were growing with, and the experiences that they shared with us.
We walked into the tiny tiny town nearby Amy's house to get snacks and see all the things.
One of the places that Amy took us was upppppp to the top of this hill (of course next to a cow pasture) that overlooks the bay, Whiddy Island, and Bantry Bay Golf Course.
Uhhhhhhhhh I mean.
I started with the most concentrated area of Ireland that we experienced and at ending at the very very least.
One afternoon, we were invited to Picnic. Next. To. A. Stream.
It was truly lovely. We met a few of Amy and Rob’s friends and their children played in the stream while we snacked and laid in the grass.
Looking back, Dublin is wonderful and rich in Irish culture. We toured ollllllld castles, cathedrals, and universities. And then walked home past teenagers wearing metallic belly shirts and side ponytails.
However, what I have come to realize about myself as a tourist stepping into another culture to gain meaningful experience, is that I tend to find those in quiet authentic places. Amy and Rob inviting us and showing us their personal life- full of trials and joys and family and friends-is how I will think always about my time in Ireland and my understanding of its people.
Sooooo, in honor of St. Patrick’s day this year, I hope you celebrate the culture and heritage and people of Ireland. And if you ever get the chance to go and be there, go out into the country! Leave the tour bus and Temple Bar area and go to the seaside or the hilltop.