Getting down with your Irish roots
Posted by Megan Brothers
As promised from last week, I will be exploring the Ireland trip that is offered here at JMU. The link provided shows everything you need to know about the trip including program cost, dates, places of study, and what the program is about. The other fun part about the website is that it has links to the students’ writing/photos/videos that they worked on while in Ireland in past years. It also has photos from the trip and a testimonial video which is pretty cool, so check them out!!
Ireland is somewhere I have always wanted to go. I don’t know what its appeal is. Maybe it is it’s mystic mountains, or irish pubs, or the singing and dancing of the Irish folklore, or maybe its because I have a lot of Irish descent in me, who knows. But regardless of why you are attracted to the particular country, Ireland is definitely a place to look into, whether studying or traveling for pleasure.
For those of you who are, say, “illegal here in the US,” the drinking age is 18 over in Ireland, so for those of you that are of age, Ireland has that option. Scratch that, Ireland has many options. As many of us know, the Irish know how to drink. So if you go to a pub in Ireland, I wouldn’t recommend a drinking competition with the Irish; you’ll get drank under the table. For more information about the Irish and their alcohol content, read this article about why the Irish drink so much; which I thought was pretty interesting.
Besides drinking and the eccentric nightlife, Ireland has many other things to offer. If you can nurse your hangover from the night before, Ireland is a land worth exploring. Depending on the area and time spent in Ireland, I’ve found some things to do while in Ireland.
1. Visit the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. According to travelers, it is a “must see before you die” item, even for those who don’t like the taste of beer; sampling the extra dark beer is a must when visiting Dublin.
2. Festivals galore. According to the “things to do in Ireland” site, no matter what time of year you go to Ireland, you are bound to experience some kind of festival. After all, the Irish know how to enjoy themselves. Can you imagine what St. Patrick’s day looks like if every day is a celebration? A town painted in green, toasting beer bottles and cheering all night; what a sight to see.
- To actually see Ireland from the local’s perspective, take a look at this youtube video. Its about 9:30 minutes long, but I think it accurately depicts what I’m talking about. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nO79X5sUng
3. For those of you not quite at the legal age, or those who need to take a break from all the parties Ireland has to offer, take a relaxing cruise on the River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland.
4. Visit St. Patrick’s cathedral. See what all the hub-bub is about St. Patrick by going to that website. When in Dublin, this is a must see for anyone who knows anything about Irish tradition, or St. Patrick himself.
5. This is something that wasn’t really on any itineraries that I found on the web. I was on stumbleupon.com a few months ago and came across these pictures of beautiful cliffs, called the Cliffs of Moher. When I was reading on stumbleupon.com, which I didn’t save, otherwise I would show you the actual link I used, it showed people walking near the edges of the cliffs. Apparently, there are no guard rails or anything. There are tours that lead you on a path, but staying on the path is not mandatory, but recommended. The winds near the edge are sometimes unbearable, forcing people standing too close to the edge to plummet to their deaths. The US Coast Guard is always on duty in case something like that does happen. However, do not let that stop you from witnessing the absolute beauty that these cliffs provide. Feel free to google search the cliffs for more outstanding pictures as well. Also, for those of you Harry Potter buffs out there, in the picture underneath this text, you may notice the rock formation jutting out of the sea. Yup, that is where Harry and Hagrid went in the first movie when Hagrid rescued Harry from the Dursleys!!
So whether studying abroad in Ireland, trying to escape the homeland for some peace and tranquility in the mountains and scenery, or getting down with your Irish roots in the pubs and festivals, Ireland has something for everyone to enjoy!