Going into this trip, I was more excited to see cute red headed Irish boys than I was to see the Cliffs of Moher. I was more excited for the puns I would put as my captions on Instagram than I was for the delicious Irish food. What I didn’t expect was to fall completely in love with the simplicity and authenticity that is Ireland.
So there I was, touring the Ring of Kerry when I had asked mom to take a picture of me dabbing. I know what you are thinking “Wow typical American teenager.” And while you may be right, I must say that you can take the person out of America but you can’t take the America out of a person. But then somewhere along the 8 day journey, Ireland used its magical powers and transformed me into a person opened to the eyes of culture.
Ireland transformed me into a culture seeker. Maybe it was the horse drawn carriage to visit an abandoned cathedral in Killarney or maybe it was kissing the Blarney Stone on St. Patricks day. Sure maybe it has something to do with those but I think this culture shock came from observing the people around me. It was experiencing the genuine friendliness that overflowed from the Irish people. It was experiencing the accent and helpfulness from the owner of O’Mahoney’s Book Sellers in Limerick escpiecally when we asked if we could buy all the books that had been written by Frank McCourt. It was true Ireland.
Ireland was full of eager faces that were ready to share their culture. Our CIE Tour Guide, Liam, would always start the day with a friendly smile, even if it was 5 a.m. The lingo and passion he had when he said, “Off we go like a heard of turtles,” (cue the most awesome Irish accent ever) seeped into my pores and I found myself wanting more of what he had. People in Ireland were proud of their culture. They were proud of their local futbol team even though the team hadn’t made it to the playoffs. They were passionate towards life.
The people at the Irish National Stud were overflowing with enthusiasm to share the success of their million dollar horses. Even the brilliant actors from the Dungaire Medieval Banquet, who I assume got paid very little for the night, were enthusiastically devoted to proclaiming the truth that is Irish heritage. All around, people were protecting and proclaiming the goodness that is Ireland.
So, there I was sitting at an ancient wooden table surrounded by 28 other tourists that had gone from being complete strangers to new Facebook friends in a span of 8 days. It was the last night in the rainy paradise, and I was watching my mother fail miserably at the Irish jig on stage at the Merry Ploughboy Pub. I sat there realizing that every one of us was on that vacation because we wanted to experience that passion. Every single one of us, whether we realized it or not, had expectations for this journey and seeing everyone smiling that last night just proved that our experience exceeded any expectations that we had.
So, maybe I didn’t get any numbers from the cute Irish boys and maybe I did take one too many selfies but I also witnessed Irish heritage that can’t be shown through The Travel Channel or in Travel Pamphlets. I learned that culture and passionate people create longing for more travel.
Ireland, Thanks a mil.
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