One Sheep, Two Sheep, Three Sheep, Zero People

By: Amara Tamborini

5/18/16

After starting my day off with the European essentials (a baguette and brick of cheese), I was energized for the long day ahead. For the next three days, we would travel by bus looping around the coast of Northern Ireland, inland and back west to Dublin. Guided by our leaders Dave and Johnny, we got to experience a very authentic take of Ireland. When passing through the winding rural roads of Ireland, I was blown away by how incredibly green the land is. I was told that Ireland is “greener than green”, but nothing could compare to seeing the various shades of green in person. Even in the spring time before the land had grown back, it still surpassed any green I’ve ever seen. In addition, the lush fields we’re covered by hundreds of sheep. It has been nearly impossible to go more than a minuet without seeing a flock of sheep. It reminded me of walking through the Michigan State campus and how you see a squirrel every ten feet or so. Take the squirrels, multiply it by ten and that is my very crude equation for how many sheep I’ve seen in Ireland. According to Ireland’s National Goat and Sheep Census, there are just of 3.5 million; so I would say my math is pretty accurate.
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Every thirty minuets or so, we’d pass through a small village and wouldn’t see much of civilization until we came across the next one. When we finally arrived to our hostel, there wasn’t much civilization to be seen at all. The town is home to only on hundred and sixty people.  I instantly started comparing groups of that size I have in my life. The amount of people living in the town of Ballycastle is half the size of my high school graduating class, just about the size of my sorority chapter, and ten less people than the amount of students in my Mass Media lecture last semester. From living in such a heavily populated area coming to such a small village was a drastic change. Growing up, I thought I had a small school and felt it was hard not to know every detail about my classmates lives. In this remote town on the cliffs of Northern Ireland, all one hundred and sixty town members share the same pubs, market, and church. There isn’t any way to avoid running in to someone you know at the market or when getting a drink. But then again, this is coming from the girl who complains about running in to that one girl at Rick’s or Harper’s in East Lansing.

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