Fall Break: October 28th - October 30th
Welp, this is fun. I had written up my whole spiel on Ireland (the first three days at least) and was going to post it, when low and behold, I delete the entire thing. Oh well. One more lesson in patience I guess. Here is what I would like to share with you about Ireland...
Being in Ireland for more than 3 days was an amazing experience. I loved seeing more of a country than just the big cities and having time to just enjoy my surroundings and the people that I was with. It was a blessed Fall Break. I didn't know what to expect from my trip to Ireland other than beautiful landscape and English speakers with fun accents. God had a lot more in store for me than I did for myself.
From the first day that I was in Ireland I felt an abundance of joy (even abundance doesn't describe how much joy I had). It must have been something in the air, or maybe just God's love, that made me smile and feel so happy I could die! Ok, I didn't want to die, but I was really happy.
The first place we visited was Galway City. Galway is a really fun, young town, with a lot of things to do and see. There were street performers playing classic Irish tunes or their own songs. It was a very lively place. I enjoyed my first cup of soup and hot tea to warm me up from the cold fall day outside.
While we were in Galway I got to reconnect with a friend from High School. Kayla is student teaching in Galway for this semester and I was able to meet up with her and her friends before she headed on her own fall break trip to Italy and Germany. Seeing people from back home in foreign countries is so fun! It was a little reminder of where I come from and what is waiting for me back home.
Halloween is a huge celebration in Ireland, so the whole time we were in Galway people were dressed up in various colorful costumes, kids performed the "Thriller" dance, and Halloween parades were going on every night. It was a continuous party!
I have realized that traveling is not so much about what you see and where you go, but it's about who you are with and who you meet. I was so blessed to meet two girls on our walking tour of Galway. Lisa was from Holland and Theresa was from Austria (Salzburg to be exact, where the Sound of Music was filmed!). They are studying in Limerick, Ireland and in Galway for a holiday. It was so cool talking to them and exploring Galway with them. When we had to leave it felt like we were saying goodbye to two good friends. Hopefully our paths cross again one day!
Not only did we meet a lot of awesome fellow-travelers, but meeting the natives was awesome too! They are all so friendly and welcoming! The joy I received from being able to strike up a conversation with anyone was unmatched! I know that I am a people-person, but this trip reminded me how much I really do love people!
When in Ireland we took a 3 day tour of Southern Ireland with the Paddy Wagon Tour Company. It was awesome! We saw so many small towns, tons of beautiful views, and countless Kodak moments. I was also in my element because I was able to meet all the other travelers on the tour with us. We had Croatians, Canadians, Italians, Aussies, Frenchies and a few Germans. And how could I forget our awesome tour guide, Mark! He was a native Irishman and full of that good 'ol Irish humor. It was a very colorful group of people.
A few of the highlights from our tour:
- Visiting Cong, the city where John Wayne's movie "The Quiet Man" was filmed.
- Walking through beautiful parks and seeing Ashford Castle.
- Visiting Cork and walking through the colorful English Market.
- Listening to Irish music and rockin' out with all my tour bus friends.
- Taking a horse and buggy ride through Killarney National Forest.
- Listening to Live Irish music almost every night of the week.
- Listening to "Fields of Athenry" while driving through the actual fields of Athenry!
- Visiting the Cliffs of Moher and climbing the "baby cliffs"
A pub in Galway with the same name as my mom's side of the family. Maybe I'm related to them!?
Loving the tea and soup on cold fall days.
Happy Irish rubber duckies.
Me and my travel buddies with the Claddagh village in the background.
We had lunch with our new friends, Lisa from Holland and Theresa from Austria.
The cottage where "The Quiet Man" was filmed.
The Ashford Castle, and me, pretending to be the princess.
A peaceful walkway.
Background story: I was so happy and amazed by my surroundings that I couldn't stop smiling. I decided to document the moment and the God-given joy I had with a selfie. The end.
They love their ducks.
Our Paddy Wagon tour bus!
The Kylemore Abbey. Definitely a place I want to visit again.
This monument had a very interesting inscription on the back to commemorate a very special event... Continue to next picture...
Haha! Gotcha! Gotta love that Irish humor.
Irish traffic jam.
Our tour guide, Mark. This picture pretty much defines our relationship.
Authentic Irish dinner: Bangers and Mash
The whole Paddy Wagon Gang!
Cliffs of Moher with Theresa, my roommate.
Haven't seen that recently. Still makes me proud.
In conclusion, I was reminded in my first few days in Ireland that I need to thank God for new friends, good travel buddies, English-speakers, good beer and the beauty of His creation. Soon I will post the last few days!