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Falling in Love with the Many Faces of Ireland

Falling in Love with the Many Faces of Ireland

I absolutely love Cork City. To me, it feels very small and quaint, but to the people in surrounding areas it is a huge urban center. To put things into perspective: you can drive out of the heart of the city and within 10 minutes you’re going through rolling green hills with cows and horses. It feels like a huge escape from the hustle and bustle of Chicago, a breath of fresh air. But after exploring the Irish countryside last week, I realized that my little town was only the beginning.

We took a trip out to Mizen Head, the most southwestern point of Ireland. Although it’s still in County Cork, it feels like a completely different world. After driving through the never ending greenery for 3 hours, we reached one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I am undoubtedly a city girl, but when I walked out along the cliffs with the wind in my hair and the waves crashing down on the rocks far below me, I felt a certain kind of exhilaration that only nature can provide. In this moment I knew that I was truly meant to come here. Despite all of the stress of school, travel, money, and so much more, it all felt worth it. This was the picturesque Ireland I had always imagined it would look like: tall grass blowing in the breeze on top of cliffs with no sign of civilization in sight.

Then there’s the other side of Ireland. The historical, yet mythical side of the island, where you can stand in a stone box that was once a bedroom 600 years ago inside of a castle and climb up flights and flights of stairs to kiss a stone because it is supposedly magical. Sometimes I feel like I’m walking through the set of a Disney movie, because in our very “new” America we aren’t used to bumping into history everywhere you look.

But I think my favorite part of all is getting to each destination. We’ve been taking buses everywhere from Mizen Head all the way to Giant’s Causeway on the coast in Northern Ireland, and it really gives you an amazing look into what most of the country looks like. On the days that we travel, I probably see more sheep than I do humans. I had this picture of Ireland in my head but I didn’t expect it to be so breathtaking in person. There are many moments where I look out at the beautiful scenery and everything just feels so right, and although locals make fun of me every time I talk I kind of feel like I belong here. My cheeks are in a constant state of pain because I can’t stop smiling, which, besides my aching legs from climbing up cliffs, is the best pain you could ever have.


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