Being a girl from the suburbs I had no idea what it was like to live in the city. I believed I would live in a big city as an adult and never leave. However Sligo made me realize how much I missed the easygoing lifestyle of the countryside. Going to Sligo had initially seemed to me a burden. Why would we leave our lives in Dublin with our own apartments, scattered cafes, and Wi-Fi to go to an Eco lodge in the middle of the Irish countryside? However I looked at it as a free trip and decided to go with a group of my friends.
When we arrived we learned about the Eco lodge and the owner’s idea of being as close to nature as possible. We ate fruits and vegetables from the garden and told stories by the fire. We watched the stars and hiked the highest mountain in Ireland. Learning about the thousand year old homes made of rock on the top of a mountain made me realize how much history was there. Every native Irish person was quick to start a conversation or tell us about their past. This was the Ireland I had heard about from distant relatives that had visited Ireland decades ago. An Ireland that wasn’t about the newest club but about the idea of family settling down for centuries.
Saturday night we listened to a druid speak about her lifestyle and tell us old stories. She spoke about how she tries to live off the earth as much as possible and she told us that she believes in spirits that either help or pull pranks on her family. These stories are so much more than the tales of leprechauns and pots of gold I had been told as a child and automatically associated with Ireland. They were about a new lifestyle and religion I knew nothing about. There was also a band playing traditional Irish music and we learned that the same band may play the same song every day for a year and it would never sound the same. In a world where we strive for perfection and exact repetition I admired this idea. The music was such a surprise when I first came to Dublin. I expected the same three Irish jigs in every pub but instead I found a new style of music that was thousands of years old. Each song had a story and a background and each musician put as much passion as they could into their playing. Overall it was a pleasantly surprising change from our busy lives in Dublin.