I have never been to Ireland but it’s a place that I have always longed to visit. My grandfather was Irish and my dad was born in County Clare but migrated to the US before I was born. While Ireland was always someplace my parents promised to take me in my lifetime, I never quite made it there. I know my dad’s intentions were good but as a working class family, we just couldn’t afford the trip so every year, there was always an excuse as to why we couldn’t make it to Ireland. As I got older, visiting Ireland was something that seemed out of reach to me but just because I couldn’t make it to Ireland, didn’t mean I couldn’t bring Ireland to me! From my youth, I embraced Irish pop culture and attempted to learn as much as I could about Ireland so that one day when I actually visited, I was prepared.
As a teenager, unbeknownst to my parents, I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day fervently as if I was a native Irishwoman (I even experienced the March 18th hangovers to prove how hardcore an Irishwoman I am at heart!). I have always been fascinated with Ireland’s place in pop culture and have been enchanted by Irish musicians like Sinead O’Connor and Van Morrison as well as writers like Frank McCort and James Joyce. I feel that I know Ireland through these artists. I’ve seen photos of Ireland and am mesmerized by its natural beauty. The Wild Atlantic Way really appeals to me. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean and the coastline and from what I’ve seen in photographs, Ireland’s Western coastline is one of the most picturesque stretches of land in the world! I am a hobbyist photographer and I love hiking and I understand there are hiking trails at the Cliffs of Moher. A dream of mine is to hike along the cliffs with my camera. They look incredibly dramatic and a natural wonder that must be experienced to achieve the full effect of their magic.
Still, though, I can appreciate the metropolitan atmosphere of Dublin. I love Guinness beer and Jameson whiskey so visiting both the brewery and distillery are on my bucket list. While Ireland is a relatively small country, it seems like there is a range of experience ripe for the taking! I also hate snakes and from what I have read, there are no snakes in Ireland. If this is true, then I just know that Ireland and I are destined to be great friends! My 12-year-old son is also obsessed with Irish history and culture and has asked me to take him to Ireland on a vacation. As a single mom, this is a bit challenging so when I learned about this contest, I saw this as an opportunity to make both our dreams come true. To say visiting Ireland is a dream of mine is an understatement. It has been more like an obsession of mine since I was in pigtails. I can assure you that if my essay is chosen, I will appreciate every single moment of this trip.
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