Spirited Wanderer: Ireland / by Jessica Ballerstein

Ireland wasn't at the top of my list of places I wanted to visit. My boyfriend however really wanted to visit based on the things he's heard about Ireland. Such as the cliffs, the landscapes, the pubs and of course the Guinness. None of those things really sold me the idea of Ireland, until I got an email about an all-inclusive week tour discounted from $900 to about $500 per person. From that moment, Ireland really didn't sound too bad. 

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The tour company we used was Expat tours, which was the same one I used when I went to Italy. Since I had a great trip with them before I knew Ireland wouldn't be any different. The tour had us go to 13 different towns and cities around Ireland. We also got to see Belfast which is in Northern Ireland. Each of the towns was great in their own way but I'm going to breeze through our notable favorites. Let's first start with Dublin.  

DUBLIN

Our first few and final days were spent in the capital city of Ireland. We explored quite a bit and ate quite a bit. The first place we ate was at a restaurant called Boxty House, known for, well, boxty. I never heard of a boxty but once it was described to me I was automatically down to try it. Boxty is basically a traditional Irish pancake that's made with potatoes and flour. It can be made into french fries, dumplings or simply pancakes. It's delicious either way its made. Jake and I opted for the chicken boxty, and we were hooked. We couldn't stop talking about it for most of the trip, asking our tour guide if there are any restaurants that serve boxty in almost every town we slept in.  

Other than our obsession with boxty we were able to explore more of what Dublin had to offer. We walked throughout the city checking out bookstores, cafes, and landmarks. One of the noteworthy places we visited was Trinity College, the home of the Book of Kells. Being completely honest I didn't care one bit about visiting the place. Jake was all for it so of course, I had to go. All I can say is I'm glad I did! Once we walked into the library we were blown away by the architecture and the overall history of the place! After our mesmerization, we went down to the Trinity college bookstore and it was the only place I was able to find non-cheesy souvenirs to bring back. Everywhere else had the typical hat, mug, keychain, etc. This place had feathered quills, dope bookmarks, journals, and hoodies that didn't look cheesy. 

Another place I have to mention is The Rolling Donut. I mean, cmon. look at these donuts. Overall we really enjoyed downtown Dublin the most. The vibe was laid back and grungy like 1980's punk roc. Leather jacket wearing, cigarette smoking, Guinness drinking, Irish men and, women. Not giving one f*ck about anything but the here and now. There was even a time we were walking by Temple Bar and these complete strangers were in the street singing Oasis together. It was like a scene from a movie!  There was a ton of street art and photo opportunities I just couldn't pass. 

 

KILLARNEY

Jake and I were both were in love with Killarney. The town was so vibrant and alive. The people, the shops were so inviting. The town itself reminded me of Iceland, and I want to believe that what I really like about it. However, Killarney has its own unique atmosphere. I can't put into words of our experience of Killarney, it's one of those places you simply have to go for yourself to experience. As well as the Ring of Kerry which starts in Killarney and takes you around the most scenic parts of Ireland. You'll see waterfalls, castles, mountains and so much more. 

 

Rope Bridge

Most who know me are aware of my fear of heights. Now I was faced with the choice of crossing an unsteady bridge made of rope or missing out in a possible once in a lifetime adventure. I went with the bridge, cause whats the point of being alive if you ain't living. The moment I went to cross the bridge all I saw was just water and rocks beneath me. My legs were shaking uncontrollably, I took a deep breath in and kept walking. The walk was less than a minute long and just like that, I crossed the rope bridge. I was able to see the beautiful view of the cliffs and the ocean surrounding us. If i didn't cross that bridge I would have missed out on the breathtaking view on the otherside. Now, If someone asked me if I would do it again, my answer would be no. Seeing the view was great and all but that shit was scary. 

 

Drumcliffe

This location was really a pit stop before we made our way to Galway. What made this place special is this was the place Jake proposed. We were walking around the grounds taking in the scenery. We walked by a stream greeting a local fly fishing. On our way back, Jake asked me to have my picture taken in front of a tree. At the time I was thinking "of course Jake would want to take a picture of this old ass tree". Then he suggested a picture with the both of us then asked does my camera have a time. While figuring out the positioning and the compositions, Jake was already in front of the tree. Once I figured everything out I place the camera down, turned around, made my way to the tree then next thing you know Jake is on a knee. I couldn't contain myself or the tears! I was overjoyed and didn't even let him finish, I said yes! The timing was perfect and the proposal was exactly the way we wanted it. Without an audiance we were able to capture have that intimate moment with Jake's strategic planning. We couldn't have been happier. We celebrated our engagment in Galway where we ate a savoury Guinness beef pie in a hole in the wall called The Pie Maker. 

 

Overall our trip to Ireland was definitly an unforgettable trip. We were able to eat and meet. Had the opputinity to eat a great deal of tradional Irish meals and baked goods. We got to spend time in the Guinness storehouse, tasting freshly brewed beer while learning the history. We met all kinds of Irish men and women. We can't forget Peytar our driver who would break out into a song at any given moment. Ireland was a place that will be a permamant memory of ours. Absolutley unforgettable.