As the saying goes- “all good things must come to an end,” but in Ireland it is the craic that must end when I return to the states. (Reminder: craic = fun, not hard drugs). It has been a week of “lasts.” Last hike here, last exhausted walk to the bus station, last cider and last fish and chips. As a thank you for reading my blog, I have incorporated some of my favorite pictures over the semester with a special message 🙂 I also have incorporated simple pictures from Galway that tell of my daily life. What I walk by every day, what my campus looks like, what my favorite cafe looks life, etc. I realized I haven’t really done that yet!
My first “last” of the week was one last hike. A few girls and I went to Killarney for 2 days this past weekend and hiked on Saturday in Killarney National Park. We stayed at a cute Bed & Breakfast near the entrance of the park and spent Sunday traipsing around Killarney town in the rain. It is another adorable little Irish town. Little shops and pubs everywhere.
The past few days I have simply been enjoying my time in Galway. I visited all my favorite shops, cafes and pubs to take pictures of the shop fronts. Today, I walked down to the claddagh and ate fish and chips by the sea. It was a perfect day.
As I reflect on this semester I have some amazing memories in a lot of different cities all over Europe. I have learned to adapt to new situations and remember not to panic when alone in the Florence train station with no idea where anything is. My favorite memories come from two things: people and nature. The people I have met here are among the friendliest in the world. They welcomed me into their country with open arms and of course, promptly ushered me into a pub. As for nature, my favorite things I have experienced in Ireland and the rest of Europe were always outdoors. I hiked numerous hills, mountains and cliffs. I biked coastline after coastline and I even fed a donkey. I am sure people will ask when I get home- “How was your trip?” And the answer is it was not a trip, it was a once-in-a-lifetime EXPERIENCE. I didn’t go on a vacation. I was a citizen of Galway for 4.5 months. I will always have a home here and it has become a part of who I am.
The things I miss about the States are numerous: Chipotle, GOOD burgers, pickles, Gustavus, my family and friends, excellent service at restaurants, professors that know me and care about me, normal outlets and degrees Fahrenheit.
The things I will miss about Ireland: the live music every night, cider, the accents, the greenery, Irish hospitality, the fresh seafood, the ocean, relaxed lifestyle and no sense of worry. I will miss learning something new every single day and being pushed out of my comfort zone.
I have visited: Dublin, Ireland; Wicklow National Park, Ireland; Galway, Ireland; Castlebar, Ireland; Cliffs of Moher, Ireland; Connemara, Ireland; Connemara National Park, Ireland; The Scottish Highlands; Glasgow, Scotland; Florence, Italy; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Ghent, Belgium; Bruges, Belgium; Brussels, Belgium; Cork, Ireland; Blarney, Ireland; Clifden, Ireland; Inis More, Aran Islands; Croagh Patrick, Ireland; Paris, France; Versailles, France; London, England; Bath, England; Stone Henge, England; Killarney National Park and Killarney, Ireland. That’s a lot of bus tickets if you were counting. Over 26 places and cities in 6 countries. Pretty cool.
If you have never been to Ireland: GO. It is a magical land full of good people and really good music. I will never forget my experience here or take it for granted. A huge THANK YOU (if you didn’t catch those nifty pictures above- they spell out thank you) to all of you who have kept up with my blog. It means a lot to me and I can’t wait to come back to the States to see everyone. And even BIGGER Thank You to my parents who have given me this opportunity. I couldn’t have done it without their constant support. They have truly given me the world.
Sending love from Galway, (Oops I get on a bus in less than 4 hours)