Dublin isn’t really Ireland.
I mean it is of course technically, it’s the capital. It has the highest population. It has an airport and a seaport.
But Ireland is more than Dublin. It’s more than the temple bar district. It’s more than a tour of the Guinness Factory. It is more than wearing green and getting souvenirs from O’Connell’s Irish gifts.
I do not say this from a boastful viewpoint, not an “I’ve seen more of the country than you” attitude. I say this as a tourist who is still a novice, who has much to see and learn from and of this country, yet as someone who realizes that there really is so much comprising Ireland.
I say this as a tourist to other tourists. As someone who is yearning a return to the country. I say this so others do not reduce Ireland to its pubs and (quite Americanized) holiday every March 17th. Because Ireland is more.
Green fields and farmland stretching kilometers onwards and backwards
One lamb chasing another, ducking under a fence and vanishing out of site
The quaint seaports of the South
The Gaelic language written on a storefront sign
Stumbling upon castles past a bend in the road
Learning how to churn butter in a museum dedicated solely to it
The solemn cliffs, further ones disappearing into the mist
Drinking Guinness in a local pub of a small village, side by side with locals
Taking to elderly men who wear wool sweaters and believe in the Faeries with all their heart.
The river Shannon, coast to coast cutting the country in half
The national symbol, the harp, and the people’s love of music
Fields of horses when the sun shines through the clouds
Learning of a past of druids and celts
Singing to rock classics in bars and nightclubs with life and unity
Colourful Cobh, the last port of call of the Titanic
Sitting on the left side of a car as a passenger
The thrill of a gymnast-like backward bend to kiss the Blarney Stone
Making a little house in the woods pleasing for the Faeries
Old stone fences along the side of the road, crumbling away
Live music every night in every pub in every city
Finally understanding the accent of one region, and then having to get re-accustomed as you travel cross-country
People who approach to help when seeing you with map in hand
The world’s oldest book kept encased in Trinity College
Centuries of folklore and enchantment
Abbeys where the ceiling stones fell away and blue sky shows through
Seeing the Aran islands by bicycle
Your hair tangling whilst walking along the Cliffs of Moher
Knowing that nor one weekend nor one month would ever be enough
Catching people’s eye and smiling back
The Craic, the spirit, the vivacity of life
If you ever decide to visit Ireland, step outside of Dublin. And if you can’t do so this trip, always keep a return in your mind and your heart.