I’ve never been to Ireland–unless you count Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. I lived vicariously through my brother’s adventures and always yearned to go to the land of abundant greenery, stone castles, and the birthplace of Guinness. The people, the history, the lore, the music, all appealed to me at a young age. It got to the point where my parents would tell me to turn down the celtic music and deny me access to a penny whistle (though in their defense, I already had a recorder and we all know how kids with loud noises are). Yet here I am, at 29 years old, with that need to visit still unsatisfied. Most people will discuss how their heritage is Irish, ancestry, and the want to experience their history. As of today, I have no idea whether or not there’s Irish in my blood. I am adopted and do not know my heritage. I do swear up and down that my heart must have a bit of green in it. Matched with my undeniable love for potatoes, there must be, right?
My reason for wanting to go is not bedazzled with stories passed down from my grandparents, nor is it visiting relatives. I don’t have a sad story or one that makes your heart break. I want to experience a culture different from my own. I want to step out from the only country I’ve ever been and have my first trip out of the country be one that my inner child squeals with delight at the sight of castles while my adult side bounces with the history that is contained behind the castle walls. My eyes need to show my mind the beauty that I’ve only seen in pictures that will live with me for a lifetime. My ears need to hear that music that lulled me into a fantasy world to know that Ireland isn’t just a place that I dream about, but it is indeed a reality. My tongue wants to sample beer, diluted with Irish heart instead of water (here’s looking at you, Miller Lite). It’s walking away from the paths paved by tourists to one that is made by the locals. It’s taking part in their life as they would be making a big impact on mine. It’s the memories that are made with pictures and actual experiences and not mere images in my head.
Of course, we cannot forget the merriment that seems to saturate the Irish. I can drink with the best of them and still sing Rocky Road to Dublin or Mary Mack with very few mistakes. Even in a slightly inebriated stupor (who goes to Ireland and not drink), I can understand an accent without need for subtitles. I think about my boyfriend, my obvious plus one. He is of Irish descent (the boy burns if he’s in the sun for ten minutes) and has never visited. How awesome would it be to experience him experience Ireland for the first time as well? “Experience-ception”. We’d both be losing our Ireland virginities together, which would mean the world to him as well as myself. Ireland means everything to me. I know it sounds a bit broad, but to me, I’d be embracing my childhood and having my dream to visit this land which seems too beautiful to be real. It would be immersing myself in history, my boyfriend’s heritage, and the locals story, all while drinking a pint of Guinness. In other words, it would be a dream come true.
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