Ireland has been the only place in all of my travels (US included) where I’ve stepped off an airplane and thought, ‘Wow, I could move here.’ I came home from this trip and started researching how I could make it work to move to Ireland and live happily ever after. At the time it required a work sponsor, 6 months of living expenses and a number of other red tape items I didn’t have in place, so it didn’t work out- but I haven’t lost sight of it and 7 years later my husband and I are beginning to talk about moving there someday. Ireland is one of those places that just touched my heart and I think back fondly of this trip and this country in particular quite often. Dublin in particular is so full of life, music and culture mixed with the perfect amount of chaos and alcohol.
This was the third leg of a trip visiting England, Germany and Ireland via planes, trains, buses, taxis and a whole lot of walking with my little brother, Ben. We had our passports, backpacks and enough cash to last us a few weeks exploring these three countries of Europe. We had originally planned to include Poland in this trip but Ben mistakenly booked his flight for the wrong date (not the first time this has happened to him believe it or not) so we ended up having to scratch Poland and stayed in England a few extra days. I wish we would have spent those extra days in Ireland.
Our first day in Ireland we checked into our hostel and then caught a train to Greystone. We spent a few hours exploring the small fishing village, eating lunch and walking around the piers. We watched fisherman come and go, laughed as a group of sea lions played next to the dock and spent a few hours walking around town. We then caught the train and headed a little further North to Bray, Ireland. Without exaggeration, this is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Walking on the rocky beach you look up to see a beautiful green hill overlooking the vast Atlantic Ocean. It is here I’d like my ashes to be scattered when it comes to be someday. Without trying to turn this into something too morbid, do yourself a favor and Google image: Bray, Ireland. You’ll see the mountain I’m talking about, although these photos don’t do it any justice to how gorgeous it is in real life.
The rest of our time in Ireland was spent exploring the city of Dublin. We had drinks at the Temple Bar (a MUST do if you’re ever in Dublin). It was here I met Jaime McDonald, a local singer/songwriter who was performing at the bar and who I still keep in touch with. He has since moved from Ireland, but is still making music and still incredibly talented- you’d be doing yourself a favor to find his music online. Other things which made this experience so memorable:
Seeing an Irish Riverdance group perform
Visiting the Guinness factory (even though I’m not a beer drinker) the views from the tasting room at the top of the building span 360 degree views of Dublin and can’t be beat
Investing in tickets for the hop on/hop off red bus tour and getting to visit places in Dublin I didn’t even know existed including centuries old cathedrals & monasteries.
The abundance of vegetarian restaurants within walking distance of downtown
Walking across ha’ penny bridge and learning the history of it
Honestly, this list of what makes Ireland so special could go on for pages. I can’t wait to get back here someday, to take my husband and children here to experience it for themselves and to expand the list of memories of beautiful Ireland.