An Open Letter to Ireland (no this is not a cliche post!)

Reagan Villet 5/24/16

Well Ireland (and Northern Ireland!), you certainly know how to exceed a girl’s expectations. I am absolutely blown away by the past eleven days I have spent in your amazing cities, hide-away towns, and scenic coastlines. Media certainly does not do you justice. I had clearly heard of you before, Ireland, but I had never in my wildest dreams imagined you to be so breathtaking, enthralling, and captivating.

And Ireland, you certainly know how to draw a girl in. With lush greenery spreading for miles, sheep around every corner, unbelievably scenic views, and people with accents to absolutely die for (sorry NOT sorry!), you are everything I could ask for and more. Coming in to you, Ireland, I had no expectations other than what I had read online or seen in movies. I was expecting bland food (no), loud pubs (yes, but not in a bad way), and an average scenery no better than I have seen in America (no). I did not expect to fall in love on this trip, but Ireland, I’m head over heels.

So this is my thank-you to you, Ireland. A few words to show my appreciation for your beauty, your culture, and your ability to take my breath away every single day.

Thank you for your coffee

Yes, you read that right, because without your coffee to wake me up every morning, I may not have been able to experience all of the beauty you have to hold, Ireland. That burst of caffeine energy each morning propelled me through days of exploring your vast wilderness, your busy cities, and your sleepy towns. (Also thank you for having more options than Starbucks because lord knows I do not need to spend that ungodly amount of money every day.)

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JavaMan coffee from St. George’s Market in Belfast (5/15/16)
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Caffe Nero coffee in Belfast (5/16/16)
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LavAzza coffee from Trinity College in Dublin (5/24/16)

Thank you for your food and drink

Ireland, don’t listen to anyone who says your food is bland, because I licked my plate clean at every meal. I was never disappointed by the selection of meals, and being able to go to the pub with my fellow classmates was a fun way to celebrate our visit to you, Ireland. Thank you for continued laughs and intellectual conversations over Irish stew, crepes, pints of Guinness, and copious amounts of sandwiches.

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Crepes from St. George’s Market (5/16/16)
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Freshly poured pints from the Guinness Storehouse (5/23/16)
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Gelato from Gino’s in Dublin (5/21/16)
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Jameson Irish Whiskey at Temple Bar in Dublin (5/21/16)
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Irish stew in Dublin (5/24/16)
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Berry bramble in Belfast (5/17/16)
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“Make your own Magnum bar” in Dublin (5/24/16)
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Last meal in Dublin (5/24/16)

Thank you for the views

Thank you, Ireland, for your never-ending beauty; for your endless adventures; for your perfect photo backgrounds (haha kidding! but also not?). From your natural scenery to your epic cityscapes, you have some excellent views, Ireland. I have never experienced such vibrant nature, and so many unique places to explore. How many people can say they spent one day staring over cliffs at endless blue ocean, and the next in a thriving city with a crowded pub on every corner? Thank you for showing me things that I simply could not see anywhere else on Earth.

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Guinness Factory (5/23/16)
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Giants Causeway (5/18/16)
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Belfast Castle (5/17/16)
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View from Dunluce Castle (5/18/16)
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View from the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse (5/23/16)
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View of Dunluce Castle (5/18/16)
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Slieve League cliffs (5/19/16)
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“Sphere in a Sphere” at Trinity College in Dublin (5/24/16)
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View from Belfast Castle (5/17/16)
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View from Carrickfergus Castle (5/17/16)

Thank you for giving me new experiences

As I mentioned before, Ireland, I saw and did so many things that I could not do or see anywhere else. From the Peace Wall in Belfast to the Dail in Dublin, I experienced things that many can only dream of. Thank you Ireland, for giving me once-in-a-lifetime opportunities; for opening my eyes to new ways of thinking.

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First gender-neutral bathroom experience in Belfast (5/15/16)
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Tour of the Dail (5/23/16)
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Mural and Irish flag in Derry (5/19/16)

Thank you for helping start new friendships

Thank you Ireland, for bringing together people who had no connection before except a school. Your beauty and wonder is something we have all experienced as a group, and will be able to bond over and remember in the many years to come. You have created an environment that allowed me to meet people I may never have if I was not here. You have helped me create bonds and friendships that I hope will last for a lifetime. Thank you, Ireland, for introducing me to people who I, in just eleven short days, consider some of my favorite people.

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Morgan L. making friends with the locals in Belfast (5/16/16)
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Our group in front of the entrance to Victoria Square in Belfast (5/15/15)
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Out at The Dirty Onion in Belfast (5/15/16)

Most of all, Thank you for giving me a reason to come back.

Ireland, thank you for holding so much wonder in such a small location. I know I have so much more to see, and I am excited for our future together. I know I will be back, and I can only hope that you will hold on to your untouched beauty, your fast-paced cities, your friendly people, and your wondrous culture.

 

Thank you Ireland, for eleven of the greatest days of my life so far.

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