The sound of the ocean as it crashes into the base of the Cliffs of Moher.
The crowds of people that form to watch high energy street musicians in Temple Bar.
The salty sea air that one tastes on a walk through Kinsale. Or Cork. Or Howth.
The music in the pubs of Galway, the history of Derry, the friendly smiles and conversations of every person you meet. The tales of fairies and the castles and the green. Everything is so green.
I didn’t expect to fall in love with a country I had never thought to visit before; it was only a short stop on my way to a further destination. But I did. I have become homesick for a land that I only got to experience for a few days but that enters my thoughts and dreams constantly. Every sense is awakened when one visits Ireland, the architecture and colors to be seen, the music and laughter to hear, the new food and stout to taste, the air to smell, the nature and sheep and cobblestone and old masonry work to touch. It’s all so different than city life in the States, really like a different world, but one where you can almost understand the locals.
Ireland is more than just an escape from the every day. It’s a magical land that takes visitors back in time and lets them forget all of the worries and stresses and issues of life in America. I love my country, but I’m in love with Ireland. If I could pitch a tent on the Cliffs or on some rolling hill in the middle of the Green Isle, or even just behind a local pub, and stay there for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second.
When I hear the word “Ireland” I think of the old men who walk their dogs every day in St. Patrick’s Park and will have a conversation with anyone; my first night sleeping in a hostel, laying awake listening to the people and music of the Temple Bar district; meeting strapping young gents with fantastic accents that I could listen to for days on end; trying Guinness for the first time (trying alcohol at all for the first time!) and not 100% loving the taste, but 100% loving the experience. I think of what I didn’t get to do, but will when I return: explore abandoned castle ruins, rent a car and get lost driving without a map, make local friends and never return home.
To me, Ireland is an inspiring fantasy that reaches down to the depths of your heart and holds on so tightly that the moment you leave, you’re ready to book your flight back (if it weren’t for the “poor college kid” status that keeps you from doing so). I often tell people that as strong as my wanderlust is, if I had the choice of being able to freely visit every country in the world, but never being able to return to Ireland, or moving to Ireland and never being allowed to leave, I would choose the latter every time.
And I would recommend everyone I meet to do the same.
Ireland is my greatest memory and my ideal future.
But most importantly, Ireland is the craic.
Authentic Ireland specializes in tailor-making Ireland Tours, as well as Scotland, England and Wales. Our travel specialists have an intimate knowledge of the land (many of them grew up there!) and have planned thousands of vacations over the years for some happy travelers. If you can’t wait for our next travel contest, reach out to us and we’ll work with you to plan the vacation of a lifetime!