The Journey

The Journey is the Destination

Oh, the places you'll go

Oh, the places you'll go


Friday, April 7, 2017

Ireland in a Wee Nutshell

My love for Ireland:

Imagine you are a wee lad, or lass, waking up on Christmas Day. You are greeted with your ultimate favorite breakfast that contains eggs, hash browns, french toast (on texas toast) with fruit, homemade waffles, pancakes, and maple bacon. Then you look under the tree and you notice 5x the amount of gifts than you asked for. You start opening them and realize they're everything you asked for and more! We are talking the original game that was requested and every expansion pack you could imagine. Every video game system. Every movie you've ever liked. All the candy you love. Also, there are things you can use for hobbies you will develop into the near and distant future. You have enough stuff to play with and keep you entertained for several lifetimes. When you finish unwrapping, you realize you have so many toys and you don't know where to start. You also realize you probably don't have enough time as a kid to play with all of your toys, and that is the only frustrating thing you notice about the day, then you spend the rest of the week playing with one awesome new toy and it's the best week ever.

Sheep and Hiking
You could say, that me in Ireland is the equivalent to Charlie in the chocolate factory, only the chocolate factory is filled with great scenes, beautiful women with wonderful banter and great accents, delicious beer, and sweet castles.

That is how I feel about Ireland.

Ireland is something else. Something beyond words. It is a mystical feeling of eternal bliss. Happiness is a not a wave to be ridden, but instead a tsunami that floods the entire land. I always longed to go back after my first appearance in 2015, after returning in 2017, I have solidified my visceral love for the Emerald Isle. One need not ask why, instead just go see for yourself.

A few things to note about Ireland:

1. The people are beyond amazing:

Go to a pub, sit down, wait. Eventually you will run into an Irishman or they will bump into you. You will begin talking about anything. They don't mind small talk, or jumping into a deep political discussion about the current state. You may get into a conversation about how funny each other's accents are, or why Ireland uses counties and not States like the USA. Although, anywhere you go, you will get some assholes who just don't want you to be there. I have heard a few of my friends say that while they were there, an Irish local (clearly intoxicated) said something rude do to the fact that they were American. I have yet to run into an experience like this yet and I have talked to countless Irish locals. My experience is that they want to be your friend, and they truly have the "gift of gab"*. Most of them want to help you find your way if you look the least bit lost. They will ask where you're from and will most likely know one small fact about it (I met a pair of Irish lads who asked where I was from and then they laughed at me and said they couldn't point out "Missooouuri" on a map, this made me laugh as well). They have a banter about their conversations that is hard to keep up with if you get offended easily because they are witty, but they go about it in a suave way that will have you laughing when they make fun of you. It is quite a gift.

(*The Gift of Gab is a folktale. It is believed you will be blessed with the "gift of gab" if you kiss the Blarney Stone... Or it was made up to attract unknowing tourists to come and spend their money. This is one of the most visited attractions in Ireland, they have done a good job on marketing!)

2. Only 10% of Irish locals live in Dublin:

Dawn in Cork, Ireland
Dublin is essentially a tourist destination for partying. I was talking to a middle aged guy named Steven from Limerick and he said that very few local Irish people live in Dublin. If they are Irish, they are most likely just students, but most Irish people have moved, or live in other major cities. Steven also said that if he sees Irish people drinking Guinness, then he assumes they're from Dublin (take this for what you will lol). I definitely recommend exploring Dublin because it is an awesome little city. There is lots of history, the Guinness experience, the Jameson distillery, and plenty of pubs for you to get lost in, but if you want to be engulfed in some true Irish culture, then venture on!

Hiking Through the Gap of Dunloe
3. And venture on you must!:

There is so much to explore in Ireland, it is hard to say any one thing is better than the other because it is all extremely beautiful. In no particular order:

The Ring of Kerry in Killarney: This is a scenic drive around the Southwest coast of Ireland that has many stops along the way which provide amazing views and local culture to see. This is a must.

Killarney National Park: Holds their tallest mountain: Carrauntoohil, the Ross Castle, and Muckross Lake, and you can begin or end the Ring of Kerry here.
Kylemore Abbey

Connemara National Park: A beautiful hilly park in western Ireland which has a stunning view at the top of Diamond Hill that overlooks Letterfrack and the Atlantic ocean. The Kylemore Abbey is on the outside of Connemara.

Just a small piece of awesome in Connemara National Park
The Cliffs of Moher: If there was a geologic location that metaphorically embodies the country of Ireland, it is the Cliffs. This place is another must see. Try to go on a day with limited fog, otherwise you will get unlucky and only be able to see 20 feet in front of you.

Errigal Mountain, Aasleagh Falls, Giant's Causeway, Aran Islands, Bog Lake, Poulnabourne Dolmen, Beara Peninsula, the list goes on!

Ireland is an outdoors lover's dream. If you like to explore, you will never be disappointed with the plethora of adventure options in Ireland. You may get tired of the rain, which usually moves in and out several times throughout the day. But, you will remember this rain gives the Emerald Isle it's name and is most likely the reason people are in phenomenal moods when the sun is shining! Ireland is a great destination for anyone to visit at least once in their lives, but if you're anything like me, there isn't enough time left to fully enjoy the entire country. Adventure on!