One of my favorite memories is when I went to Ireland in March 2013. It was my first overseas trip and it was during St. Patrick’s day. I really think I was meant to go to Ireland. That is what I truly believe. I was 25 and I wanted to start traveling. I decided to travel with a tour group called EF Ultimate break back then it was called EF College Break. I heard of the tour group from a close friend of mine who traveled with them when she was in college. Let’s go back to September 2012. Back then, I was looking to travel. I was working full-time and could finally afford to pay for my own trip. I was looking at EF Ultimate Break’s website. They set your payments into monthly payments for your trip. The more advance you book your trip the less payments you will pay monthly. At first I wanted to travel in the end of December for New years. That was not an option because the monthly payments were not affordable for me. I could not travel in the summer due to summer classes for grad school and my friends wedding was in May. Back then I did not know when in May it was taking place. I decided on a trip for March for spring break. The monthly payments were more affordable and I was off from school. It would also give me more time to save vacation time for work. The only trips offered through EF in March were Ireland during St. Patrick’s day and Costa Rica. I decided on Ireland and never looked back.
I went solo on my Ireland trip. My trip was nine days and we would be traveling between cities in Ireland. The cities we were vising: Killarney, Cork, Dublin, and Galway. Spending St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. My flight was from San Antonio to Newark NJ and then to Shannon Ireland. I did not get any sleep on the fight. I just assumed we would get to the hotel after meeting in the Shannon airport. We did not go to the hotel. Instead, we ate breakfast first, then went to see the Cliff of Moher. They were beautiful and pictures can not give the view justice. After, we got snacks at a restaurant and I had my first Guinness in Ireland. Our first hotel was called Darby O Gills, it was cute and perfect for Ireland. I fell a sleep in the boat ride after the hotel. It was a great boat ride by Ross castle.
On St. Patrick’s Day Eve we went to a comedy show in Dublin, had green beer, and celebrated being in Ireland. I met a couple of friends on my tour group that wanted to see a Dublin Ghost Tour. The Ghost tour was a bus that stopped by haunted places in Dublin. It was pretty interested and I even won the Dracula book by guessing a haunted series theme song. The tour showed us an area where you can still see a ghost of a Catholic priest giving mass. I do not remember what day we went to the Guinness Factory or what day we to the St. Patrick’s Parade in Dublin. I think we went to the Guinness Factory before the comedy show. What I do remember is that the trip was amazing and it’s what started my travel bug. I have not been the same since.
On St. Patrick’s Day, I went to the parade with new friends but we did not stay long because it was freezing. I was so cold, I wanted to cry. We ended up seeking warmth in a Mexican restaurant where I lost my umbrella. The restaurant owners where from Mexico and it was nice to see Mexican culture in Dublin. After the restaurant we just walked around and explored Dublin while trying to find good WIFI. My tour group set up a pub run but we got lost and ended in a different bar with the same name. We ran into other girls that made the same mistake and we decided to make our own pub run. That night we went to pub to pub and just had a good time. We even met some locals that told us more about Ireland.
The last day we went to the Aran Islands from Galway. We had to get there by boat. It was was small but beautiful area. We met a local that told us that when he moved there, the phone company told him that it would take three weeks to set up his phone. It seemed like an isolated area but a cute community. Our tour group even left a dollar at the local pub. Tourists put money in the pub, so if they ever come back they can see it.
One of my favorite memories from the whole trip was visiting the sheep farms. Sheep farms do not make their money from selling wool anymore. So visiting sheep farms helps keep the sheep farm open because that is where they make their money. The sheep farm was so beautiful, the landscape was gorgeous. It was also amazing to see the dogs herd the sheep. Ireland is one my favorite places and it will always hold a special place in my heart.