Hope everyone is well 🙂 I haven’t been posting much over the past couple of weeks as I’ve been busy finding a flat, moving in and getting settled. However, I have been writing down my thoughts and feelings about my new surroundings and I finally have time to share them.
Firstly, Dublin is a beautiful city. The architecture is stunning; cathedrals, Victorian pubs and incredible public works of art such as monuments and statues line the city. There is so much to see and do and a lot of it is free of charge. The nightlife is, of course, second to none here. Even if you’re not a big drinker, you can appreciate the live traditional music (“trad music” as it’s called here) that can be heard throughout the bustling city. Head out for a bit of “craic” as they say for fun and you will end up meeting people from all over the world. In my first 48 hours in the city, I met an American, two Germans and someone from Spain. There are many people from all over the globe here for work or on holiday and everyone is incredibly friendly.
That leads into my second point. The Irish are some of the kindest people that I’ve ever met. There were a few instances that I made sure to take note of, as they made me smile.
- I had stopped at a bench for a brief moment and while I was there, noticed a little girl (around 5) drop some chocolate that she had been eating on the ground. Of course, she started to cry because at her age, this would have been a devastating ordeal (can’t really blame her if I’m honest, I’d be crushed at my age). Anyhow, a woman who had seen this happen, ran over immediately and gave the girl a donut from the box she had just purchased. It was a small gesture but it made the girl’s day and it brought a smile to my face. Nowadays, we’re too busy to notice much of what’s going on around us, so it was pretty refreshing to see this act of kindness.
- I was taking the bus into the city and had my headphones on listening to music on my iPod. I saw a man waving his hands at me and when I looked up, the elderly man smiled at me and asked if I was listening to anything good. I told him it’s a band called Joseph from the States. He asked if he could listen too and we shared my headphones for the rest of the ride. He loved their music and told me that hearing it had made his day. It made mine too.
- Everyone here sings. I don’t just mean at a karaoke bar or at the club. I was in a pizza shop late one afternoon and a group of friends came in and while they were in line, a popular song from the 80’s came on (I’ve completely forgotten what it was) and they all started singing along. Another day, I was at a pub waiting to hear an Irish band play and American Pie came on and the whole bar started singing – it was amazing. People from all over the world with different backgrounds, speaking different languages, connected by music. What a beautiful thing.
- I went for a long walk at Phoenix Park one day and ended up getting turned around at the end of my 4 hour stroll. I saw a couple Park Rangers nearby and I guess I looked a little lost so they asked if I needed any help. They ended up driving me all the way to the other end of the park to my bus stop. On the way, we chatted about the park and they gave me a bit of a history lesson on the area. Even though it only took a few minutes, it meant a lot as I was cold and tired from all the walking.
- I was taking the bus to the National Botanic Gardens one day and wasn’t sure if I was boarding the right bus. The driver told me that indeed I was and that he would flash the lights and call out at my stop. He ended up being my driver on the way back as well and asked how the day was and was very kind. Again, a small favour can mean a lot.
- While I was having lunch at the Botanic Gardens, a pair of sisters sat down at my table as it was very busy. They were apologetic and told me that they didn’t want to disturb me. When I told them it was no bother, they heard my accent and were really excited to hear that I was from Canada. We ended up chatting for over an hour. They told me stories of their childhood, growing up without cars, how dating was back then and many other interesting facts about life in Ireland. I could have sat there for hours listening to their insights on the world. They told me that our meeting was meant to be and they hoped I would enjoy my stay in Ireland. One of them was pretty cheeky – she said I should stay single until I find a nice Irish man with a farm. I may just take her advice 😉 One of my favourite things about travel is meeting people from all ages, backgrounds and walks of life. It’s amazing what you can learn.
“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”-Anthony Bourdain
I’ve gotten pretty familiar with the city and how to get around by walking and taking public transportation when need be. Many people complain about the public transportation here but so far, I haven’t had any real issues. In addition to exploring Dublin, I took a day trip to see the Cliffs of Moher and a friend took me out to the beautiful fishing village of Howth. Everything is very accessible here – there’s a bus that takes you to various locations outside of Dublin. I plan to take a few other day trips in the near future and continue to explore this wonderful city. I am also planning on visiting many other European countries while I’m here and have plans for England, Scotland & Wales in the next few months.
All in all, I am very happy that I decided to move to the beautiful country of Ireland. Adjusting to the weather has been a bit of a challenge but it’s something I think I will get used to. I just have to make sure to exercise regularly and take my vitamins 🙂 I’m looking forward to meeting many new people, having adventures and sharing my stories along the way.
You can check out some of my favourite Dublin attractions (so far) here.