My first solo trip is in less than a week! Oh, Ireland, you are so close! As you can tell, I am very excited to go to Ireland. This trip has been a long time coming and for that reason I have a lot of “wishes” for my trip. So I decided to write them down, because “if you build it, they will come,” right? So I figured, “if I write it, it will happen…” Not as catchy, but who cares, a girl can wish, can’t she? And what better place to wish than Ireland!
1. See everything I have planned to see.
Some people like to go overseas and relax in their hotel all day…I’m not that kind of person. I’m going overseas to see places, meet new people, and do a lot of fun things. To make sure I maximize the ten days I will be in Ireland, I created an itinerary. I’ll spare you my minute by minute layout and just tell you where all I plan to visit: Guinness, Old Jameson Whisky Distillery, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral, Glendalough Monastery, Rock of Cashel, Cliffs of Moher, Kilkenney Castle, Dubli Castle, O’Connell Bridge, Grafton Street, Temple Bar, River Corrib, Spanish Arch, The Quays, Museum of Archeology, Trinity College, and The Book of Kells.
Don’t worry, I have back-ups in case I see everything in one day ; ) Wish me luck!
2. Make friends with the locals.
I don’t have enough friends across the globe…it’s a fact. ; ) And if you’re going to make friends with any group of people on this earth, why not some Irish men and women? From what I hear, they know how to have fun, love sharing stories, and don’t mind doing it with a drink or two…Kind of sounds like my family–hey, Mom, are we Irish?
3. See a Faerie and a fairy mound or fort.
The Aes Sidhe, the Fair Folk, the Little Folk, they go by many names, but you will probably know them by “Faeries.” This is not a Tinker Bell type of Faerie. No, the Irish fairy lore includes a variety of Faeries. Some are nice, some are tricksters, some are beautiful, some give you good luck, others cause bad luck, some bestow gifts, while others can cause harm. So I say this with absolute caution (because I do believe in the possibility of unexplained things), I would like to see a nice Faerie and have a pleasant experience during my meeting. I promise I shall not eat or drink anything they give me (a way to trap me in their Fairy world forever)!
Faeries live in a great many places in Ireland but fairy mounds or fairy forts are very well-known to house Faeries. These fairy mounds are visible earthen mounds while fairy forts can be a ring of roots and trees. This is definitely a must-see for me. Part of my trip includes driving across the Irish countryside…I might be making a lot of stops anytime I think I see a fairy mound.
This is probably the most important thing on my wish list for Ireland because Faerie lore is what made me fall in love with the idea of going to Ireland. I’ve always been interested in mythology and folklore but Irish folklore is by far my favorite because it has such rich tales of valor, peril, love, and best of all, magic. So fingers crossed that my childhood imaginings of Faeries become a positive reality.
4. Meet an Irish druid.
Irish Druidism is just one more magically awesome thing about going to Ireland. “In ancient times a Druid was a philosopher, teacher, counselor, and magician.” Who wouldn’t want to meet a Druid after reading that description? Although Druidism in ancient times was held in high-esteem and Druids were placed in important positions such as advisers to kings, Irish Druidism has changed with the times and now it is more of a spiritual order. Today Druids focus on wisdom, creativity, and love. (Forgive me for simplifying this practice; I encourage you to read up on it!)
I think Irish Druidism is very cool, not only because it involves magic and ancient wisdom, but because there were Druidesses, Druid women! So I’m wishing that I meet a Druid on my trip who can share some Druid knowledge with me because I’m very intrigued.
5. Learn a lot about Irish history and culture.
I love history and culture and Ireland has a fantastic array of ancient, medieval, and modern historical places that makes a history major like me get all goosebumpy. I’m super excited to visit as many ancient sites as possible and go to museums to learn more historical facts about this amazing culture. I’ve already read all that I can from my Irish tour guide-book that my House Roomie got me and I plan to read all of my Cultural Guide on Ireland that my Office Roomie got me on the plane trip over. I’m like a learning sponge just ready to soak up more historical and cultural knowledge!
6. Try as many Irish dishes as possible.
I’ve never had a traditional Irish dish. The closest I’ve come to eating traditional Irish food might have been tasting an Americanized version of Sheppard’s Pie from my undergraduate university cafeteria. Definitely not real Irish food. So I’m excited to try as many Irish dishes as possible during my trip. My friends and family who followed me on Facebook or Instagram during the Christmas holidays can attest that when I get it into my mind to eat as much as I can in two weeks, I get it done, Texas-style.
7. Learn Irish Gaelic.
Obviously I can’t learn an entire language in 10 days but I would love to learn some Irish Gaelic. This old language is dying out and only a few places in Ireland are keeping it alive through daily practice. I’m fascinated by this language that is so rich in stories, history, and mythology and it would be kind of cool to know a few words of the language. And it would bring me a little closer to the land and it’s people and perhaps help me understand many public signs that are still written in Gaelic.
Breithlá fhéilire!!!!! (This might mean Birthday Month)
8. See a bog.
Growing up in Texas, I sure didn’t see any bogs which is why I’ve added it to my list of wishes for Ireland. So what’s a bog? Apparently a bog is a type of wetland covered in different types of moss. Ireland’s bogs are covered in peat and they have preserved many artifacts from ancient times…including people. So yes, I want to see a bog. Bog. Bog. Bog. I like saying that word.
9. Hear amazing stories
I love stories (Duh, I’m a writer).
Reading stories are great but hearing stories is even more amazing because someone is sharing a part of themselves with you which creates a personal connection between you and someone else and their history. I can only imagine that I will learn so much more about the country and it’s people through their stories. So here’s hoping someone feels chatty at the pub!
10. Learn how to dance to Irish music.
I cannot sing, I cannot play a musical instrument. The only musical talent that I have, if it can be called “musical,” is that I can dance (if I can’t, please leave me in the dark). So one of my Irish wishes is to learn how to dance to traditional Irish music. Is there different types of Irish dances? Does it involve jumping, movements of the hips, tapping? What exactly is a jig? Is it like country dancing where you dance with a partner? Any similarity to line dancing? Do they dance differently in Irish pubs than we do in American bars? I have so many questions, just about dancing! Can’t wait to learn…who wants to be my dance partner?
11. Discover if Irish men really as hot as we think they are.
Are Irish men as hot as we, in America, think? Or are we under the spell of their Irish accents? Regardless, I hope to discover this, just for you, my readers. (I have no ulterior motives on this one; purely educational ; ) haha)
12. Meet an Irish clan.
Clans, or traditional kinship groups of Ireland, used to run Ireland. Clans protected their own during war, negotiated with other clans for peace, maintained cities and lands under their name, and celebrated each other in happy times. In very simple terms, clans were groups of families brought together by a name and kept together with love and pride. Although the Irish clans no longer manage Ireland, clans are still an important factor for many Irish as many can trace their ancestral roots to their clans. Just another part of this culture that I find so cool and would look to learn more about by meeting people who can tell me about their clan’s history.
13. Clear skies.
There’s a chance of, you guessed it, rain. Which isn’t surprising since Ireland isn’t green for no reason. However, it’s MY birthday month and although rain does make Ireland so green and pretty, I think the land can survive for ten days without rain. Okay, I’ll compromise. Rain at night while I’m sleeping and let there be clear skies during the day! What do you say, Rain Gods?
14. Have the lead singer of a band give me his leather jacket and then single me out in front of the whole pub when he sings Galway Girl just for me.
Oh, wait…that’s from P.S. I Love You…Still, a girl can add it to the Ireland Trip wish list, can’t she?