Ireland

That isn’t Ireland

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.

Ireland is

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

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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.