Frolicking in Ireland

I’ve been in Ireland for two weeks now, and I really love it. I’m studying abroad here for six weeks, and I was planning on blogging about it sooner, but I don’t know–it’s hard to really sum up what it’s been like. The first week was sort of me being exhausted and having a lot of social anxiety. Pretty typical. But I’m at a point now where I can be like, IRELAND IS SO GREAT.

What I like best about it is just exploring. There are so many things to see and do, and the country is not that big so you can get to a lot of places. Last weekend, we went to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher, which are really absurdly beautiful.

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There’s a wall surrounding most of the cliff parts so people don’t fall off and die, but if you go past a certain point, there are some sort of shelf areas where you can sit. The grass feels like pillows and the water is blue, and it’s all just unreal.

My camera was dying when we were here so I had to be really strategic with my pictures and shut it off immediately to conserve battery power. Then it died after a while, which was kind of disappointing, but really I had most of the pictures I wanted. You can take a lot of pictures but eventually they all do start to look the same and they don’t really capture the moment that well. I kept thinking of that Matt and Kim song, when they say No time for cameras, we’ll use our eyes instead.

Our bus driver/tour guide was talking about getting a good picture to change our facebook profile pic, and I feel like if you’re just trying to take the perfect picture to look cool on the internet, how much are you really experiencing the moment? I suppose this is kind of a cliche thought. I’m sure it’s been said before, and I mean, I do want pictures of my trip. I want to remember all of this, but I think it was maybe a good thing that my camera died after a while, so I could just lie back in the grass on the cliffs ingrain it in my memory instead of the camera screen.

Anyway, today some of us took a bus to Bray, which is a seaside town pretty close to Dublin. We weren’t really sure what to expect when we got there, but the beach was grand.

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You might not be able to make it out but if you look really carefully, there is a cross at the top of the mountain(ish thing), and we climbed all the way to the top of it. We started out walking on a wide path and then it turned into a kind of intense hiking trail, which none of us were really dressed for. But after a certain point, we figured we had to keep going even as it started pouring on us. It felt like a very gritty, rugged journey to the top, and it was completely worth it. When we got to the top, it basically stopped raining. It was super windy, but it was beautiful. None of my pictures really do it justice at all, but I’ll throw a few in anyway, I guess.

On the way up:

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At the top:

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My ‘I kind of just climbed a mountain” selfie (one of the few times selfies are acceptable):

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So it was kind of like that part in the Sound of Music, ‘The Hills are Alive With the Sound of Music’ and also sort of like the Cliffs of Moher, cause it was still CLIFFS but in a way it was even cooler because we didn’t know it was going to be there, and it’s not like we just went up some stairs to see it. We trekked up that mountain through the wind and rain. It was, to say the least, an adventure.

And really, that’s the main thing I’ve taken away from Ireland so far: that I need to go on more adventures. The world is so big, and there is so much to do and see. I think that when something in my life doesn’t go the way I want it to, I’m really quick to assume it’s a huge tragedy, and I will probably be somewhat miserable forever. But no. You can always up and leave, you know? I mean, traveling isn’t always easy and sometimes you have to stick it out through things you don’t enjoy to get to where you want to be, but… how could you ever really be unhappy when places like this are out there, waiting for you to find them?

It’s maybe an oversimplification, and I’m sure I’ll be unhappy about petty things again in the future, but the world is really cool, guys. Go out and see it.P.S. I was going to end my post there, and I thought it was a really solid ending but I remembered some other thoughts I’ve been thinking, like how study abroad is kind of weird because you’re in all these cool places doing all these cool things but with people you don’t know at all. I think of Chris McCandless heading off into the wilderness and then scrawling in one of his books “Happiness only real when shared” and how you want to do cool things with people you love, but in this situation you don’t have them, so you learn to love the people you’re with. It’s been sort of difficult for me at first, especially, because AS YOU SHOULD KNOW IF YOU’VE BEEN READING MY BLOG FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME, I’m just a super introverted, super shy sort of person. Interacting with people is not my strong suit. And as a group of writers, I think we’re all just very different. But it’s been good. We are building our lives here for these six weeks and doing it together.That said, if you are a friend or family reading from home, I’d like the chance to walk through cities and climb up mountains and sit on cliffs with you sometime. Let’s do it.

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