By: Amara Tamborini
Coming in to the Shamrocker tour, I had no Idea what to expect. My initial thought was we’re doing the same thing three days in a row? After experiencing the second day of the tour, I am so glad we were able to take this tour. We hiked up the Atlantic’s largest sea cliffs. Every turn or bend, I was captivated by another stunning view. Alike everywhere else in Ireland, the the cliffs were home to countless grazing blackface sheep. The sheep showed no fear as they wandered to the very edge of the cliffs, standing just one trot away from their death. Though the weather was not ideal, the light mist felt like a relaxing sea breeze. We may not have been able to see for miles off in to the distance, but when we were high in the peaks, the way the fog and clouds covered the cliff tops created a beautiful and hazy sea coast view. It wasn’t until later that night did I actually figure out that we had gone to the Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal. Up until I saw a sign that had the name written on it, I had no clue where we were or what we saw because I couldn’t understand our guides thick accent.
When I prepared for this trip, it never crossed my mind to pick up a few basic terms to survive in the UK or Northern Ireland. I assumed I would have no trouble getting by in an English speaking country. I knew there would be areas with thicker accents, however I did not anticipate there being a language barrier because of it. I constantly found myself feeling like a total moron asking the locals to repeat themselves during just about every interaction. Luckily on the second day of our Shamrocker tour (I highly recommend), our guide Dave gave us a little bit of advice and taught us a few slang words. First he gave us the “third time rule”. If you’re having trouble understanding an Irishman, you’re allowed to ask them to repeat themselves two times. If on the third time you still don’t understand, you reply with “cheers”. In Ireland, cheers can be used in many ways such as thank you, hello, goodbye, or as Dave said “whatever the hell you want it to mean”. Later that night, Dave’s advice came I handy when I met a lovely old man named Johnny at the local pub. After he introduced himself, I could not tell you a single word he said. I gave it a good two tries and after the third failed I gave him a nice “cheers”.