When I first arrived in Dublin I expected to see the Ireland that was shown in movies, with large green fields and too many sheep to count. Three weeks in Dublin and I hadn’t really seen any of the things I was expecting. Then I went to Sligo. We stayed at an ecolodge and the whole area was absolutely beautiful. We spent our time climbing steep mountains, surfing in the cold ocean, exploring tombs, doing morning yoga, and visiting a donkey sanctuary. We even got to hear from a wise old druid. She told us mythical stories, sang songs, and accidentally taught us some Irish swear words. We also had a traditional irish band play for us. Sligo was filled with many amazing activities but perhaps my favorite part of the trip was looking out the window on the bus ride. As soon as we got out of Dublin and for the following four hours, I saw the Ireland I was expecting. There were probably more cows and sheep than the population of Ireland. Growing up in California, I had never seen that much green in my life. Green plants, green fields, green mountains, green everything. As much as I love the city of Dublin, the countryside absolutely took my breath away. The bus ride also took us through different villages and towns. I saw signs for candidates in the Fine Gael and Sinn Fein parties and I was thrilled I understand what they were. It was in that moment that I got excited to be taking classes to learn more about Ireland. During this weekend in Sligo, I saw an amazing country with a culture that I am dying to know more about. Because, for the moment, all I know about Irish culture is what i’ve been shown through media. And let me tell you, the landscapes and the sheep might have lived up to my expectations, but the culture and people are so much more.
– Clara Cutbill