When I first decided to go abroad, I had a huge imagination of all the places in Europe that I would be able to see and I was so excited! It wasn’t until I got to the point of being over half way through my trip abroad that I realized that although I was in Ireland, I hadn’t really seen much of it (aside from the bus ride from Limerick to the Dublin airport of course). Once I realized this, I was awe struck because I’m here, I should want to see this country just as much, if not more than seeing the other countries in Europe!
It was because of this realization that I had, that aside from my trip to Greece (and now the last min. trip I booked to go to Paris tomorrow) I have spent the vast majority of April just exploring Ireland. And wow, I have no words for this country. Literally every corner of the country you go to is absolutely beautiful. I have been almost brought to tears in complete and total awe at how amazing God’s beauty is in this country. I seriously don’t think there is another country out there that is literally just beautiful from north to south, east to west (I could be a little biased with this one though, but probably not ).
Horse cart ride through Killarney National Park
The weekend after spring break, we took a day trip with our program to Killarney. We started the trip at the Killarney National Park, which was unbelievable. We got to take a horse cart ride through the park to the Torc Waterfall. Unfortunately we only had a little bit of time to spend at the waterfall and in the park in general because we had a full day planned for us. But, what we did see was absolutely incredible (how many times can I use that?! It doesn’t even do the place justice!!!) Once we were done at the park, we got to go into the town of Killarney for a few hours, and just like every other Irish town that I’ve seen, it was just so cute!
Torc Waterfall at Killarney National Park
Two weeks ago, I went to Dingle (what a fun name I know!)! And wow I have no words for Dingle, it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, the weather was perfect, the people were so nice, and it was just such a fun weekend! On Saturday morning, Bri and I went to the sports bar to get some homework done, and we ended up finding a bus (three buses actually) to Dingle and booking a hostel for us to stay in for that night.
Sunset over the harbor in Dingle
Once we got to Dingle, we found our hostel and put all our stuff down and then just walked around the town. It was a Saturday evening, so must restaurants were pretty full, so we just walked around for a little while longer before eating. We went to the marina and got to see the sunset not only over the harbor, but over the mountains as well and that was breathtaking. To walk from out of town on one side of Dingle to the other side of out of town took less than 10 minutes, just to give prospective of how tiny the town was. But there was so much in that one mile (ish) perimeter of Dingle, that there was a lot to see.
Kayaking in Dingle with Bri
On Sunday morning, we woke up early to walk around the town a little bit, and you would have thought it was 6:00 am (it was actually 9:00 am) by how empty the town was, but it was so peaceful. Around 9:30, we reported to Irish Adventures to go kayaking (the main reason we wanted to go to Dingle). Let me tell you, I have only kayaked a few times in my life (always in Green Bay up in Door County) but it was such a fun experience! We got wetsuits and little water shoes and everything. Our tour also ended up being a private tour for Bri and I because no one else signed up and also lasted almost five hours. We got to see the wild dolphin, Fungie, that lives in the harbor, got to go into a cave, and just see the peninsula from the water which was so amazing (of course)!! Dingle quickly made its way near the top of my list of all the places I’ve been this semester! ☺
This past weekend, we took our last AIFS trip (WHAT?! ), which was to the Aran Islands, which are off the coast of Gallway. Going into the trip, we were told that we just kind of had free time to do whatever we want, so I began to look up what there is to there. Much to my surprise, the only attractions on the entire island were stone walls, a giant lake, and beaches. This got me wondering what the heck I was supposed to do for two days, but low and behold it was an amazing trip. On Saturday, we took a bus to Doolin, where we met the ferry which took us to Inisheer, which is the island closest to the mainland of Ireland. It was probably one of the most beautiful days, weather wise, that I have experienced thus far while being in Ireland. The sun was high, jackets were not needed, and it was around 65 degrees.
Cliffs of Moher from Aran Islands
Most of us decided to rent bikes for 10 euro and ride around the island, and that was probably the best 10 euro I’ve ever spent. We got the bikes for the entire afternoon and just rode around the island. The stone walls in most parts of the island were probably four feet tall or so, and in some of the plots of land there were cows or horses or sheep and one even had a ram in it. On one of the coasts of the island, there was a huge shipwreck that we found and explored which was so neat! Across the ocean from the shipwreck, you could see the Cliffs of Moher. That was a sight to see, let me tell you. Seeing the Cliffs is one thing that many people don’t get to see, but seeing them from across the ocean was unbelievable. Once we continued our bike ride, we found a light house, that’s still in mint condition because they still use it.
Ship wreck on Aran Islands
AIFS group in the Aran Islands (just missing a few people!)
It was so fun to have that one last weekend with (most) of that AIFS group. It’s crazy that when we met in London just 3 and a half months ago, we were all complete strangers, and now I am leaving in less than three weeks with almost 40 new best friends! I never expected to meet so many amazing people on this trip, and they have all impacted my life in such a way that I can’t even express into words. But now’s not the time to get all sappy (that’s for a later post ), because I still have 20 days left to spend time with these kids and enjoy the time I have left in Ireland.
Long story short, if you ever get the chance to go to Ireland you should. You could spend months here, traveling everyday, and although it isn’t a very big country, you probably still won’t see everything! I’m looking forward to a few more day trips to different spots around the country in the coming weeks as I conclude my experience here! ☺
Thanks for the pic Bri! No filter on this, that’s how beautiful Ireland is! (Picture taken in Dingle)