“Dia dhuit!” – an Irish Gaelic hello. What does it sound like? Well, I’m still attempting the accent, but you can hear it here. Accents vary county to county, so if you find yourself in Ireland, wanting to say hello in Irish, rest assured your best attempt will likely be met with grin and a wink. Much thanks to Finn Lannon (Masters in Marketing and Psychology, 2022) for igniting my interest in learning this incredible language! Go raibh maith agat.
An Unexpected Homecoming
Céad míle fáilte – A hundred thousand welcomes! The People of Ireland are extraordinarily friendly. There’s a cultural belief that to make a friend, one must be a friend.
Every interaction is an opportunity to make a new friend and set up a time to have a chat! Blessed with the “gift of gab,” the Irish love to chat, especially over coffee or tea and biscuits.
Our plane arrived early and we were greeted by the loveliest of rental car agents. It felt almost intimate, like we were home, coordinating taking a family member’s car out for a spin!
My brother was thrilled to drive a manual on the “opposite” side of the road, and we ventured off with the spirit of children on Christmas morning.
The Magic in the Air
We watched the sun come up as we explored our new surroundings. More arrival pictures available here.
Ireland is known for lush greenery, but I’ve been most fascinated by the mystique of the grays. The way the sunlight tilts in just between storms, the clouds offer a conversation, and the sky flirts from above… All so mysterious and intriguing.
I’m an ocean lover, so forgive me please if there are more posts of water with grays and blues, than of fields of green. It would be remiss of me if I did not make a valiant effort to show you the greenery, but I’m confident we’ll get to that as spring approaches and we take to the golf courses.
From the Skies
This may surprise you, but it rains quite a bit here!
Much like the Irish, who do what they want, when they want, the sky opens when it wants and how it wants.
For the first week, my brother and I noticed the ground was always glistening, although it rarely rained. It was a bit puzzling, but we focused our attention on appreciating the gorgeous weather and taking in the breathtaking views!
We explored Shannon, Galway, Cork, Blarney, Buttevant, Bunratty, Limerick, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren National Park, and even enjoyed a weekend in Dublin sans rain.
What a welcoming vacation for us!
One of my favorite moments was an unexpected stop at the ruins of an Augustinian Abbey, Ballybeg Abbey, founded in 1237, dedicated to St. Thomas. Located on the bank of the Awbeg, close to Buttevant, there was light in the air and the feeling of history in our hands.
After my brother returned to the states, the weather got real. I’ve watched it rain, snow, and sunshine with a purpose from the dorms in Thomond Village. The skies even brought hail to my laptop through an open window in our International Criminal Law module!
As my Irish friend, Saiorse Forde Juneja (Bachelor of Arts, 2023), says, sometimes it “lashes out at you” and you’re forced to face the truth: there may be little to no value in your umbrella. Cheers!
What’s Next? Tune in for a special segment on the University of Limerick’s International Society, and an interview with our current President.