I ramble A LOT in this one so in case anyone doesn’t make it through I decided to put this PSA at the top: if you’re planning a trip to Ireland please do not hesitate to reach out to me via the contact page. I am super quick with emails & would love to help you!
Also: anyone looking to study abroad I travelled with Athena Abroad. They are so kind and helpful- definitely 10/10 if you’re looking for a program to work with.
MY LONG INTRO:
In the Fall of 2016 I got on a plane and headed to live in Dublin, Ireland for 3 months. I really didn’t have any idea what I was doing and honestly it didn’t hit me that I was going until I got to the airport. All of a sudden my dad said, “you ready?” & I just burst out crying & then my mom burst out crying…and then everyone was staring at us…and then I had to get in line for security with everyone staring at me. BUT after my parents hid behind poles and security guards to make sure I didn’t see them stalking me, I was completely calm & completely ecstatic for my adventure. When I get nervous, I talk a lot and I would like to take this moment to thank the sweet British woman who sat next to me on the plane and made conversation for 85% of the flight.
I love looking back on the day I arrived in Dublin because it’s so funny how things turn out. When I got off the plane I met up with two girls- one which I had spoken with on Facebook and one who was actually on my flight, but we didn’t know each other previously. We were put in a van (that sounds concerning, it wasn’t) and brought to our school. It was a crumby day, the city was dark, I was wondering what the heck I was doing there. We didn’t have much time to ourselves which was good because I would’ve fallen asleep. We were treated to lunch in a small cafe near campus by our advisor and introduced to the rest of our program. At this point there were 12 Americans all together in that cafe. We were all jet lagged, nervous, and insanely hungry so no one really spoke to each other. Little did I know those 12 girls would become my family, my best friends, and everything I needed for the three months I was away from home. We lived with one another, went to dinner, drank a lot of wine, ate a lot of chocolate, had classes together, & travelled all over europe. They were there for all of the “oooo’s” and “ahhhhh’s” and shared so many unforgettable experiences with me. We became each other’s friend when we were out at the bars or going to a party and family when something was wrong and a little lovin was needed. I’m forever thankful for them.
I also made some amazing Irish friends who I am lucky enough to be able to keep in contact with. I am excited to return to Ireland and be able to go out for “prinks” with them or have them come visit me here in America. It’s such a growing experience to be able to share your culture with someone else and have them show you theirs.
LET’S PLAN YOUR TRIP:
Back to the country, itself. Ireland is as amazing as they portray it in the movies. Every little piece of it is filled with its own beauty and unique history, including the people. Irish people are the friendliest humans can possibly be. I am extremely happy I lived in Dublin because, being a 21 year old, it was nice to be in the city with lots to do and so many people to hang out with…but if you’re planning a short vacation to Ireland I highly recommend the West Coast. My personal favorite spot of the whole country was Dingle. It was a special place in my heart because of getting to share it with my parents, but also because it’s scenery really showed me how big the world is. You look at something so breathtaking and realize how much is really out there. I could’ve sat on those hills for hours and just stared into the sea, but the hills are covered in sheep poop so don’t do that.
I don’t want to anger any tour groups out there, but if I could say one thing you don’t need to do while you’re in Ireland it would be kissing the Blarney Stone. First off: no one tells you that the Blarney Stone was actually the medieval toilet. Second: do you have any idea how many people’s germs have been spread all over that rock? Not counting the amount of times it was used as a toilet. Third: the photo op stinks…(again no relation to the toilet) it just really is not good. Whoever takes your photo has to be by your feet which makes the picture focus in on a very strange angle of your crotch.
Electric fences for cows IS A THING. DO NOT TOUCH THEM, I repeat, DO NOT TOUCH THEM. It hurts…A LOT. We will leave that there. Also I fell in cow poop…another story for another time. Cliffs of Moher day was not my luckiest day but it was still gorgeous.
By Dublin there are also plenty of opportunities to get out of the city and into nature. They filmed P.S. I Love You…(cue every American girl screaming) in The Wicklow Mountains which is about 40 minutes outside Dublin. You can see Glendalough & The Wicklow Mountains all in one day on a 5 hour tour with Get Your Guide (Not sponsored). They were awesome and I really recommend that trip to anyone. The views are incredible. You can also hop on the Dart and go to Howth for the day. Howth is a small fishing town outside of Dublin that offers great food, boat rides, and lots of sea lions! You can hike up to the top of a mountain overlooking Howth and walk a trail for some great photo ops by the Irish sea.
If you take the Dart in the opposite direction you can go to Dun Laoghaire which is also a sea town. We swam in the Irish sea in October which was about as COOL as you’d think- HA get it? Moving on…
GO TO MUSEUMS & CASTLES. The very typical places for people to visit, but I’m telling you it’s so worth it. Rock of Cashel over on the West Coast is so so cool…
In Dublin- The Book of Kells is one everyone always wants to do because of the history & The Trinity College Library. The Library is like something out of a Harry Potter novel…The Book of Kells is historically significant and I’m going to leave it at that You’ll also want to head down to Grafton Street & O’Connell Street. They are both well-known and The Spire (or large pointy thing) on O’Connell is a great place to find your friends if you’re lost.
Pubs to visit in Ireland:
The Brazen Head (oldest pub)
Woolshed Baa & Grill
I suggest everyone goes to Ireland at least once in their lifetime. It will change your life. I’m currently working full-time to save up and planning my return to that beautiful country. It’s been a year and I’m already looking to go back.
“May your pockets be heavy & your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning & night.”