It’s not just a place, but a way of living life and perceiving the world.
I dreamed of going to Ireland for as long as I could remember. Then, it seems, as if through a miracle, I was there, breathing in the sweet, chilled air, and gazing at the land full of colors you’d only expect to see at maximum vibrancy on Photoshop. Time seems to pass in a different, more peaceful and spirited, manner, the people were kind and inviting, and the earth itself packed with hidden jewels that just beg to be discovered and adored
I’d never been so far from home for so long before. I’d never felt so immediately comfortable in a place I’d never before visited. I quickly figured out the laid back rhythm of life in the Emerald Isle, had a routine, a community, and a discount pass for the rail and bus system. I was still me, but equally was I changing into someone new. That person was stronger, more confident, self-reliant; she was who she wanted to be without the fear of judgment from anyone, since everyone she knew was thousands of miles away. She had an insatiable sense of wanderlust that led her to travel, to do and see and experience life in a way unlike any she’d realized was possible.
I will never forget how I felt when I took my first trip along the Northern coast. For someone who had read fairytales, and then grown up to devote so much time poring over histories long past, seeing Dunluce Castle was a dream come true; it clings to the cliffs in ruins that to hold ancient secrets.The Giant’s Causeway, is like nothing you’ve ever seen; volcanic rocks cut and fitted together like a stone honeycomb, inspiring myths and legends as the waves of the Atlantic crash against it and further shape it to its whim.
The Mountains of Mourne are mysterious and spectacular. When wandering through the woods at their base, I expected at any moment to hear elves singing, and at the top felt like I could conquer the world- after a good long rest.
I’d also never truly felt a deep and real love for a place before I set eyes on Galway. A paradise of sea, stone, and rolling green hills, it bound my heart to it with so much ease I wasn’t sure what hit me at first.
Ireland, both the Northern portion and the Republic, is incredible in its scenery, in its national pride, and in its histories and the museums that tell those stories. Belfast proudly boasts a museum for the world’s most famous nautical tragedy, claiming vehemently that “Irishmen built the Titanic, but an Englishman sunk it.” Weather the fervor is really warranted is debatable, but the excellence of their highly interactive exhibits is not.Dublin’s National Archaeology museum contains things preserved over several thousands of years, that remain in relatively good condition; I’m not sure it’s possible to see it and not gape like a fish for a few moments before attempting to compose one’s self.
I felt a renewed inspiration in my passion for history and for writing; it’s as if you can step right into the past, and just breathing the air makes it obvious why so many stories have stemmed from Ireland’s shores.
I felt independent, yes, that I was growing in ways I’d not expected, living and learning so much, in a country that handed its magnificent self to me, challenging me to discover all it has to offer.
Ireland is outrageously beautiful, with a simple yet vivacious spirit. It has a magic all its own, and will forever contain parts of my heart and my soul.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amber Freeman is a history and creative writing major going into her senior year of college. She loves living in Lancaster, PA, but feels the British Isles calling after spending a semester abroad in the North of Ireland. She wants to go on to get her masters in History and go into museum work while meanwhile writing whenever she has a spare moment and working towards writing a longer work. She feels outrageously blessed in her life, and the way to her heart is paved with Peanut Butter Kit-Kats.
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