So I’m pretty excited because last weekend I was able to check another thing off my bucket list. Study Abroad was on my short term bucket list, since I only had two years that I could potentially complete this one. But one of my long term goals was to spend St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, and I got to do just that. More so I spent the day in Dublin with a great group of friends.
We stayed in a cute little town about an hour out of Dublin called Virginia. We took a bus into the city in the morning and stocked up on silly green attire to wear to the parade. I was really surprised by the whole thing to be honest. For anyone who has really celebrated a day out on St. Patrick’s Day in America knows its all about green beer and being stumbling drunk. But here, was very different. The parade itself wasn’t a huge “Disney-esque” production. While the costumes were amazing and the person operated floats were equally impressive, nothing felt forced. Not to say everyone was sober. It was still a drunken fun fest. It was great to see people from all over the world celebrating together, especially despite of recent events. The parade had the theme “Ireland is…” and it was amazing to see some culture, history, and folklore of Ireland. There were a lot of bands playing with kids from Jr.High through college age, as well as adults playing. It was really beautiful. I will say, I might be slightly biased as the Northwest Intercollegiate band was in attendance. I had a great time yelling “GO COUGS” as the band passed by, doing my best to ignore any Fuskies in attendance. Despite the sudden pouring rain towards the end of the parade, we stuck it out, it is Ireland after all. We spent the rest of the day touring around Dublin, popping into bars here and there enjoying some Guinness and singing along to “Galway Girl” and “Belle of Belfast City” as much as we could. We passed by St. Patrick’s Cathedral, because what better way to honor St. Patrick’s than to see his cathedral on St. Patrick’s Day!
If you ever make it out to Ireland, spend a week there. Go to Dublin, go to Belfast, go to Blarney castle in Cork. But also go to Virginia, get an airBnB and take the forest walk along the loch, it’s a great way to get away from the touristy places but still be able to see the natural beauty of Ireland.
Although I had an incredible first three days in Ireland, I’d have to say the highlight was the final day. We went back to Dublin to catch our flight, but had a good 6 hours to kill beforehand. So we did what any sensible 20+ year olds would do: tour the Guinness Storehouse. I wouldn’t recommend this tour if you have anyone under 18. But if you are old enough to drink, its great to learn about the process, but even better to learn how to pull your own Guinness. You even get a certificate at the end!
Not sure if I have said this enough, but if you do study abroad, no matter where you go. When you budget, travel should be a priority. You can spend your money on clothes, on shoes, eating out, drinking. But these are all things you can do back home. But when you are home, you can’t just hop on a plane and fly to a new country for the weekend. Keep that in mind.