I have now been in Ireland for two months. Half of my time here has come and gone, and half remains. Ireland has exceeded all expectations I had; it’s everything I thought it would be and more. It has lush, rolling green hills and the natural scenery reminds me of Tennessee a great deal. The cities are similar to many old European cities with small, quaint houses cobblestone streets, an abundance of pubs, streets dedicated solely to shopping, intricately detailed abbeys and cathedrals and people on foot or bicycles everywhere you turn. There are buskars on many street corners, artists drawing or creating something unique on the sidewalk, people doing acts in the city centre such as singing and dancing puppet shows, women with string giving girls hair wraps, a random man levitating, and more that you could never imagine that I have yet to see. Markets are bustling with people and offering everything from local produce to fresh bread, homemade pies, artisan cheese, Irish meats and specialty olives. Plus there are castles dotted everywhere. Ireland truly is beautiful and it’s one of those places where pictures really don’t do it justice. But it’s more than just lovely landscapes. Part of what makes Ireland so beautiful is the culture, the history, the music and the people. The country is filled with people when you ask them for directions, will talk to you for an hour. They are eager to hear your story and they want to know where you’re from and how you discovered their wonderful island. By the time you leave you not only have descriptive directions with tidbits of history thrown in about things and places along your path, but you also have a friend. The people and the life-style are very laid-back. No one is in a hurry to do anything. At times, this can be very frustrating, especially coming from the fast-paced life found in the States. However, once you get on board with this lifestyle change, you have the opportunity to reflect and appreciate the little things. One of the best things about Ireland I have been able to appreciate is the music. Nearly every night, tiny, ancient pubs will have traditional music. I am not referring to the tourist pubs, I am talking about the true Irish music in hole-in-the-wall pubs. Though I wouldn’t classify pubs to be commercial necessarily, many are focused and geared towards tourists. It’s the pubs that locals go to that are hands down the best.
Moving to Ireland has been an experience like no other. I have been pushed so far beyond my comfort zone, met amazing people, had crazy and wonderful experiences and grown as a person. Ireland is phenomenal and I wouldn’t trade my time here for anything. More information, stories, adventures and pictures to come soon!