Monday, June 26, 2017

My Irish Experience

My time in Ireland brought many experiences that I never thought I would get to encounter. I toured a castle, ate lunch on the side of a cliff and many other things I never dreamed of experiencing. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I decided to study abroad. I knew leaving my home and family would be very hard, but I knew I needed to do this for myself before I graduated. Now that I have returned home and experience Ireland, I am very glad that I decided to go on this trip.

Malahide Castle

The thing I was most interested in was getting to know the Irish Identity better. To me, the Irish seem to be proud of their heritage and where they come from. They had to fight for a country of their own and break away from England. They aren’t ashamed of being Irish, in fact they show much pride in being from Ireland. 

I was talking to someone from Northern Ireland about how the felt about being part of United Kingdom. What they said really shocked me and got me thinking about Irish identity. They said “when people ask about my heritage, I don’t say that I am from the United Kingdom. I simply tell them that I am from Ireland and that I’m Irish”.  This really showed how strongly the Irish feel about their heritage.

Bloody Sunday was a very heart breaking event to me. Seeing the museum made it more realistic. I personally thought the museum was so special because many people who worked there had lost loved ones in the massacre. At the end, it made my feel happy that the victims had finally gotten justice. They were no longer seen as "bombers".

It reminded me of the poem “Easter Rising”.  The poem says, “Wherever green is worn, Are changed, changed utterly”. This saying means that the Irish went through terrible times to be able to have their freedom. They will never forget what happened to them, but they are still proud to be Irish. The time of The Troubles were very hard on the Irish, but they stayed strong and fought for what they believe in.

Being raised in the Catholic faith, I was very excited to go to Ireland. The trip the Maynooth and seeing St. Patrick’s Cathedral was very exciting to me. The beauty of the church was amazing. My personal favorite part was the angels and saints that were painted on the ceilings.  It was also really interesting for me to learn about the conflicts between the Catholics and the Protestants. Going to Derry, it was really interesting to see the wall that divided the Protestants and Catholics. 

My study abroad experience was amazing. It was very hard to leave my family and friends at home, but I quickly formed new friendships while in Ireland. I thought the experience was once in a lifetime. Not many people get the chance to travel all over Ireland for two weeks. My advice to future study abroad students is to not waste time sleeping! Make sure to experience as much as you can while your there. 

I would say overall this trip taught me a lot. I learned about the Irish history and culture, but I also learned how to travel and be away from home. Now that I have left the country, I can’t wait to do it again. Although the site seeing was very fun, I thought being on the trip and making memories with new people was a really fun aspect of the trip. 

I learned that Irish stereotypes aren’t true. Many people accuse the Irish of being uneducated, mean drunks. I however found them to be fun-loving people. I think this trip was important to show us who Irish people really are and the struggles they went through. 

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