Growing up, I wanted to live anywhere but my homeland, Ireland. As I got older, I realised how amazing the island is. Here’s why I fell in love with Ireland over the years.
As a child, I never had much interest in Ireland. It is where I was born and where I grew up, but I never fell in love with it. I always wished I had been born somewhere else. For a time, I wished I’d been born in America instead. America was always on television; it seemed like everything in America was so much bigger and better than it was in Ireland.
Then, during my teenage years, I went on a couple of family holidays to Spain and began to wish that I had been born in Spain instead of Ireland. To my teenage self, it seemed like Spain had everything that Ireland had except the weather was better, and that is all that matters to a teenager whose only interest is playing football.
Beginning to feel the love
It wasn’t until I got a bit older and started travelling and learning more about the world that I began to see the appeal of Ireland. The more countries I travelled to, the more I realised just how special Irish people are and how beautiful our country is.
We have cliffs, hills, lakes, rivers, caves, and almost anything else you could ask for. Heck, we even have volcanoes (though thankfully they are extinct). And I reckon County Clare singlehandedly has more beauty than many countries in the world.
The Cliffs of Moher, the Dingle Peninsula, Newgrange, The Giant’s Causeway… These are just a few of the places in Ireland whose beauty you can’t fathom until you actually see them. It is so easy to know that these places exist in Ireland and that they must be relatively nice if tourists pay to come and see them, but until you experience them for yourself, you recognise the beauty of Ireland the same way, it seems, the rest of the world has.
The people of Ireland
On top of the beauty of Ireland, there is a lot to be said about the people. Irish people are known around the world for being fun, friendly and easygoing, and that is exactly what you will experience if you come here.
The only people I ever knew growing up were Irish people; I had no point of reference, so I assumed that this is what people everywhere in the world are like. But when travelling, I quickly learned that isn’t the case. Irish people just seem to have a different energy and vibe.
Of course, there are better and worse people and those with all different types of interests just like everywhere else in the world, but Ireland seems to be a nation full of individuals who can wake up in the morning, look out their window, and see a dull, boring, grey sky but still convince themselves that the sun is shining.
The amount of times in my life that I have heard an Irish person say “ah sure it will be grand” is far too many to count. This little expression seems so innocent, but it can be so powerful when applied to your life; it allows you to control your reaction instead of trying to control the world. It is no surprise that Irish people seem to be so happy, and I love them for it.
There is a direct correlation between how much of Ireland I have seen and how much I have fallen in love with it; the more I see, the more enchanting it becomes. When I was growing up, I never understood why anyone would pay money to come to Ireland on holiday, but that was because I had never experienced Ireland as a tourist. When you travel around this country with fresh eyes, it is a different place.
It’s the little things
Growing up, I saw hundreds of stone walls all around Ireland and thought nothing of it. Now, as an adult, when I drive through rural Ireland and see stone walls, they amaze me every time. The amount of work and skill involved in making these seemingly insignificant walls is impressive in itself.
Growing up, I also saw hundreds of little old Irish pubs scattered across the country and thought nothing of it. Now, as an adult, I look at these old pubs, and all that I can see is a wealth of heritage, community, and friendship. From the outside, they just look like another pub, but when you are inside a cosy little pub in Ireland, it isn’t hard to imagine the thousands of laughs, stories, and memories shared in these buildings.
To tell a long story short
These are just two examples of hundreds of amazing things about Ireland that I had to view with a different mindset to actually see them for what they are. I guess my point is that I had to become an adult before I started viewing Ireland with a child-like curiosity, and that child-like curiosity is the reason why I fell in love with Ireland.