As the plane grazed the ground, I began to wonder what exactly had lead me to be sitting here. I had no intentions of leaving my home in the United States to explore the Emerald Isle. I thought of my English teacher’s announcement, only ten days before her trip about how a spot had opened up for her “Irish Experience.” While I attempted at keeping a level-head, I was not fooling myself as my heart ached for the potential adventure. ‘And now here I am,’ I thought to myself, on a plane surrounded by a group of ten young men, all whom I had never actually talked to, after all I was the only Freshman on the trip.
On the first day of the trip our group quickly ditched our luggage at the Dublin Hilton, and we headed straight the Guinness Brewery. The tour went smashingly and I was astounded to learn about the process of creating the thick black fluid that the Irish called beer. Smelling a whiff of the “beer” I deduced that this was definitely an Irish tradition, and while I could not understand it, the brewery still managed to impress me with its impeccable cleanliness and honorable process, that was clearly unique and worthy of observation. The tour ended with my group getting accidently locked into a courtyard surrounding the factory and having to break our way out of it. Needless to say, this day was enthralling, and fed my appetite for adventure. The day came to an end with a dinner at the Quay Restaurant. I dug into a cottage pie whilst traditional Irish Music and dance was performed by an authentic Irish group. The day provided me with the cultural experiences that I had sought out to find.
The next two days in Dublin were filled with a whirlwind of tours and trips. I found the most interest in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, which had remarkable architecture and a notable design that was a result of a mix of English and Irish influences throughout its vast history and development. In addition, the group toured Trinity College, I enjoyed observing a clash between the traditional structure of the school with the liberal student body that had formed within the schools wall. The tour was unique in that fact that it changed my perspective of the school.
Dublin faded behind us, as our group boarded a two hour ride west to the city of Galway. From the moment I arrived, Galway became an explosion of thrilling events. My group first headed to a farm out in the countryside where we were able to make homemade scones and jam. I was then able to feed a baby goat, which truly satisfied my search for a traditional hands-on Irish experience. I began to feel like a real local as I watched a collie collect a herd of sheep. The following day we visited the cliffs of Moher, which were unlike any natural landmark I had ever encountered. The most incredible element to the cliffs of Moher was the fog nestled midway between the top of the cliffs and the ocean below. I recall looking down at the fog unable to see the water below and questioning just how high these enormous cliffs really were.
I finished the trip with a sense of fulfillment, excitement, and success. My travel was truly one that I urge everyone to experience for themselves.
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