Is my alarm really going off? I constantly pose this question at myself these mornings in Ireland for it seems I don’t place head to pillow until the late hours of the a.m. Must…wake…up…five more minutes. Strummm! Integrating myself into the Irish life style hasn’t been a far cry seeing that I constantly am being exposed to new people and events, and this Saturday wasn’t an exception. In fact, despite a lack in sleep accumulation over the past three weeks, a soar of pent up energy rushed through my system responding to what was in store for the day: my first day-trip along the countryside of Ireland!
Arriving at the Foundation Building, our Robin 59 crew[plus Cam and Chloe] feasted our eyes on three Greyhound style buses filled with students eager to discover Ireland’s offerings. Though our first stop of the day would be basic providing, gas, a delicatessan and toilet facilities in Ennis, our enthusiastic Tour Guide never could have predicted the gorgeous star light of sun streamed across the unbelievably picturesque location. Ironically behind what most would avoid, the bathroom, we were treated to a serene lake still as ice reflecting the winter tree branches framing the water. Not to mention I had a few dashing and smexy friends to pair with this experience, I instantly could tell this day was heading toward a pot of gold.[I know, I know, terrible cliche]
After gawking at the sight you don’t see every day, we were cattled back onto the bus for several more marvelous eyegasms. Driving along small countryside roads, I often commented on our transition into Hogwarts when our bus would somehow manage to share the road with another large vehicle or manage to avoid steering us off the winding roads. Mind you, the speed limit on the back lots is 80 km/hr. Yes, the Europeans like their adrenaline. And their myths and castles accompanying these tales.
Though the countryside filled me with awe when glimpsing at the cozy farm houses, wild sheep and goats, and rolling hills in an absolutely vibrant green hue, we reached our first destination: The Burren. Hooray for rocks apparently! Situated in the north west of Co. Clare, the Burren is a karst[plateau of rugged limestone sprinkled in random formation] landscape formed under the sea over 350 million years ago. Featuring hundreds of caves draining the land with little soil coverage, the thin covering of glacial deposits left after the last Ice Age sure provided us a slice of history…and a time machine back to our childhoods. Ever heard of the game ‘lava’?[we youthfully found ourselves jumping from one rock to the other to avoid the ‘lava]
As we said goodbye to the Burren, we were to be on the bus for a lengthy period of time periodically evacuating to snap a few pictures of our presence on the land. Stories in photos ya’ll>
Though as a whole we were excited to keep the adventure rolling, we are only human and our rumbling stomachs signified an intense longing for authentic Irish food. Upon arriving in Doolin Village featuring thatch roofed houses colored in candy pastel hues, we were delighted to take our group of 200+ hungry students into the famous O’Connors pub. For only 6.50 euro, I was treated to a generous cup of Seafood chowder[which as a pescatarian was positively delightful!] featuring fresh salmon, hack, mussels, and cod in a creamy broth complimented by a slice of Irish Soda bread[similar to banana bread without the banana]
Stomachs full? Check. Wallets still slightly full? Semi-check. Jumping for joy? Hellz yes! Channeling my inner Jonas brother, my spirits were high once exiting the bus to yet another open view of the Atlantic Ocean.
At around 4:30pm, we herded ourselves back to the bus in anticipation for the climatic event of the day: Cliffs of Moher, here we come! Sadly my knee being out of socket was a bit of an inconvenience, however my yolo mantra encouraged me to pursue the cliffs past a reasonable distance~ I’m only here once right? Prepare yourselves friends because these pictures are a doozy.
After a long day of walking, eating, exploring and adventuring, Ben was to come face to face with an exciting experience from never before. Ben, meet the ocean.
Living in the landlocked country of Hungary, Ben was delighted to literally touch the icy Atlantic Ocean encapsulating the persona of our monumental and unforgettable trip. Seeing that this is only the first day trip of many, I must take a moment to reflect on the fact that I am able to have this privileged lifestyle for the time being even including the wind chill and frigid air[my skin seems to appreciate it]. I can definitely say I am still in the ‘Honeymoon’ phase of this Study Abroad love story and cannot wait to endeavor and dabble in the future events to come!