Why You Should Venture to Ireland
A year ago, my mom asked me if I’d like to join our family on a trip to Ireland. She said she would pay my way if I paid for everything while we were there- duh, of course I said yes. How could I pass up that offer?! If I had to pay for it all myself, though, I don’t think I would’ve said yes. Truth is, Ireland seemed kind of dull to me….sheep, green grass, and…beer? I just loved my trip to Zambia so much,I it was hard to imagine paying to go anywhere else. Ireland just wasn’t a bucket list place for me. Now that I’ve gone, I have to tell you that I was so wrong. Ireland should be on everyone’s bucket list; and here’s why.
It was green, as expected, but oh my gosh, it was so incredibly beautiful. We oo’d and awed all day, every day. There were sheep covering the greenland, right alongside the ocean. Often, due to the weather, the clouds steeped low and covered the tops of the hills. The twelve of us had rented a bus and a driver, and for two weeks, he drove us along the Northern coast, staying in big towns along the way. I was naive, as I always seem to be about traveling, about how small Ireland is! It didn’t even occur to me how often we would get to be by the ocean!
Umm…corned beef and cabbage? NOPE. Before we left, I googled “Irish food,” and was disappointed in the results. I was not expecting anything great. I was SO wrong. Every single meal we ate was raved about. We spent a lot of time on the bus talking about how good the food was! Their lamb stew is incredible. It’s usually served in a gravy/stew with potatoes and carrots, and everything is served with their brown bread (which is to die for.) Now I’m not a big seafood gal, but my relatives LOVED the seafood chowders. How amazing the food was was such an incredible surprise.
This might’ve been my favorite part of Ireland. These darn people are so friendly and happy. Everyone was so hospitable, and made us feel oh so welcome. The pubs are the place to go in the evening; they’re filled with locals and tourists alike, all joined together. Their accents are to die for, and I swear they’re always smiling. We stayed in some hotels, but my favorite was the bed and breakfast we stayed at. It was so cool to spend a couple nights with a local, and to really see what Irish living is like.
Having a driver (His name was Con O’Leary- how adorably Irish! 🙂 ) was a huge plus for us, because he was able to teach us all about the culture and history of Ireland. He also did a really good job of relating their history back to US history to help us better understand the timeline. We toured a few castles, stopped at some cemeteries, and got to explore a few old fortresses! The castles had the most beautiful architecture inside and out, and the ancient headstones looked so neat covered in Ireland’s green.
I can’t wait to go back to Ireland. We really only toured the Northern half of the country, so next time, I’d really like to tour the Southern part. If I were to win the lottery (lol,) I would absolutely buy myself a little Irish cottage right on the ocean as my summer home. It’s just such an underrated place, and I hope this convinces at least some of you to add it to your bucket list.
I’ll say goodbye with one of my favorite travel quotes:
“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” -James Michener