Thank you, Ireland, for giving me an experience I will never forget. I never knew such beauty would be held within the boundaries of such a small island. Through the alleyways of Galway to the streets of Dublin, you knew how to show a girl a good time. Within the backtrails of the Cliffs of Moher to the floral gardens of Blarney, your powerful spirit is felt within each gust of wind that grazed my skin. Your history shone through all the places I went, each spot teaching different lessons. With every discovery, I was rewarded by your immense beauty.
Thank you for staying by my side as I grew in the few months I had with you. Being on my own in a new country was daunting enough, but I was able to learn from my mistakes with you. I learned how to take care of myself without the safety net of my grandparents being an hour and a half away. When I needed a quiet moment away from everything, you provided me with a place of tranquility.
Thank you for showing me a whole new world to engage in. There were so many layers to unpack culturally with you. I was baptized in the rhythmic folk music that played throughout your streets at night. I was able to dance with my boyfriend without a care in the world on each cobblestone pathway. I learned of the folk religion and beliefs of the past as I saw your rural outskirts. Holy wells, fairy trees, monasteries and so much more gave me a step into your complicated but impressively preserved past.
Thank you for giving me more friends to welcome into my life, people who were able to understand me at times where I felt alone. Companions, in whose company I could discover places beyond what I was accustomed to, brought me out of my comfort zone. I can never thank you enough for that. I was blessed to meet some amazing people, and that is one of the greatest gifts.
Most importantly, thank you for giving me a home away from home. When I first stepped off that plane, my nerves got the best of me and I almost cried from anxiety on my way onto the bus. However, as I gazed out the window with, in true Irish fashion, the rain pouring down, I took a deep breath and knew everything was going to be okay. You presented me with all the elegance your country has to offer, even within a short bus ride. I knew my explorations were going to be wonderful. You provided me with anticipation and a desire to learn everything you had to teach. That brought me to where I am now. You revived my passion for travel.
I know we will meet each other again, which is why I am not too terribly sad to leave you. I cannot thank you enough for each day I was able to spend exploring all the beauty you have to offer. Although throughout my life I will be uncovering new places to travel to, I will be paying you a visit again one day, and I know I will be as thrilled as I was the first time we met.