Travel Ireland: Experiencing Ireland Through Local Eyes

November 20, 2015
ireland travel
Travel Ireland: Experiencing Ireland Through Local Eyes

Growing up with a father from Ireland definitely has its perks. For one thing, he has an accent that all of your friends think is cool and for another, you get to go abroad! Because my dad is from Europe, we go abroad to see family and friends and we usually stay with the people we are seeing.

Getting to visit and live with locals provides a whole new experience when traveling abroad. You are able to see the local culture and experience different things that tourists would never think to visit.

When I was 17 years old, I flew to Ireland with my father to spend more time with our family who I had not seen in a couple of years. Our family lives right outside of Dublin in a small town known as Ballymore Eustace.

When we first arrived at the Dublin Airport, my father and I decided to rent a car instead of having one of our family members pick us up. We decided to do this so that we could stick to our our own schedules instead of relying on our family. Also, it’s important to note that locals you’re staying with may have to work or do other activities while you are visiting, so it could be very useful to rent your own car so that you can do what you would like.

When we first arrived in Ballymore Eustace, we were able to settle into our home-away-from-home with ease. The first adventure on our trip was to walk down to the local pub and grab a pint with everyone.

Getting to visit and live with locals provides a whole new experience when traveling abroad. You are able to see the local culture and experience different things that tourists would never think to visit.

Every small town in Ireland has a grocery store, a church, and a pub that all the locals use. This means that everyone knows one another in these areas, which gives you the opportunity to easily make friends.

With our trip already in motion, we decided to rely on our family to pick the locations we should see, so that we wouldn’t simply hit the very touristy spots. Trim Castle, Naas, and Powerscourt Estate were just a few spots on their list of attractions. Of course, I did want to visit some tourist attractions, too, including Glendalough, New Grange, and Trinity College.

Hundreds of years ago, our family had run Trim Castle and the land that surrounded it. Although it was a smaller castle, it was very interesting to see a landmark that was connected to my family’s history.

Powerscourt was a wonderful surprise to find while abroad. The estate is absolutely beautiful with multiple gardens and a lot of beautiful scenery. My family and I spent the whole day visiting this beautiful estate and were still not able to see everything that the house provided. The estate is located only 20 minutes south of Dublin.

Travel Ireland: Experiencing Ireland Through Local Eyes

Visiting tourist spots with locals can also have some perks. While we were visiting Trinity College in Dublin, my dad gave us the tour. Although my dad is no longer a local, he did grow up outside of Dublin and knows Trinity well. He was able to tell us different stories about his and my uncle’s experiences as undergraduate students there. His tour really helped me envision the college as a college and not as a tourist spot.

I recommend staying with locals when you travel! You will learn so much about the culture and see more of the country that you ever would have dreamed of seeing.

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Travel Ireland: Experiencing Ireland Through Local Eyes top photo credit: Robert Taddeo

 

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About Molly OToole

AvatarI am a junior at James Madison University with a journalism major and theater minor. My dad is originally from Ireland which has provided me the opportunity to go abroad to Ireland and Scotland. I will be studying abroad in London in the spring of 2016 where I hope to visit multiple cities and countries around Europe to experience different cultures and learn more about the world!

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