My first month abroad has been everything I have hoped for and more. I have been able to see and do so many new things. There are endless opportunities to explore Ireland, which I find so beautiful. Since this has been something I have dreamed of doing since high school, I could not be more in love with my experience so far. I never thought that Dublin would exceed even my highest expectations.
I have been able to travel easily between different cities and attractions by train, bus and even by simply walking. I want to share all of the cliffs and castles that I have seen since they truly represent Ireland as a whole.
I was able to see Glendalough through a field trip that was provided by Trinity College. I got to explore this beautiful cliff with Holy Cross students and other visiting students, which made it even more memorable. We took a coach bus and watched as the city slowly transformed into grass fields full of sheep. When we got there, we learned all about the history of the Glendalough Cathedral (first photo), as well as directions to get to the cliffs and the water fall. There was actually a glacier at the top of this cliff and it melted into the water that we saw to create a lake. It was an easy walk with obvious paths so we did not get lost at all as we explored the scenery.
Cliffs of Moher
My two friends and I were able to take a weekend trip to Galway and also saw the Cliffs of Moher that same weekend. We were able to take two different buses that took us there directly from the Hostel that we stayed in, which was perfect. The pictures do not do these cliffs justice because they were HUGE! They were absolutely unbelievable to see in person. You could hear the waves crashing against them yet the water was so far down. We could stand right on the edge, which made the experience even more real. Although the intense wind tunnels scared us at first, the weather ended up being absolutely perfect. The sunshine revealed all the colors of the cliffs. The experience was unreal and it could not have been more perfect.
I truly felt immersed in history as I walked through the halls of Kilkenny castle. Before our tour, a group of Holy Cross students and I were able to hear all about the history of this castle and every room has a story behind its design. The castle was deteriorating until the 20th century when it was restored in order to encapsulate what it looked like when it was first built and when the Butler family resided in it. My favorite room was this art gallery, which the Butler’s took great pride in and the castle was built around their love of art.
Howth Cliff Walk
Howth is only one thirty minute bus ride away form Dublin and I am already planning my second trip there. These cliffs may have been my favorite ones so far simply because we were able to go to the bottom of them and look at them from below. Not only was there a rocky beach that filled the air with the salty smell of the sea, but we could see the cliffs up close. The water was so blue that we felt like it was tropical, even though it was forty degrees that day. Once again, the photos do not do justice to the size of these cliffs but they were magical.
This castle was a short walk away from the town of Howth, which made it very easy to add to the itinerary of the day trip. Howth Castle has very tall towers and it truly looked like a classic castle. Although we could not go inside, it was nice to be able to explore the architecture on our own. While walking around, we found a small stone building without a roof that deteriorated so much that trees were growing within the stone. It created a roof made out of leaves that made it feel like a house built by fairies. It was unlike anything I have ever seen.
I can’t wait to see so many more cliffs and castles! They were all so easy to get to and many of them led to new discoveries about the different cities in Ireland. I have also gotten very lucky with the weather as well and as someone who has lived in Massachusetts their entire life, forty degrees and sunny has felt like a vacation. I feel very grateful for this past month.