Going to Ireland has always been a dream of mine. For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamt of engulfing myself in the green fields, and experiencing the adventure that I believe to live where the leprechauns are.
Whenever anyone asks me why I want to go so badly to Ireland, my answer remains the same: “I don’t know. I just do.”
Maybe it has something to do with the miles and miles of grasslands, the beautiful trees, or the rainy weather (just kidding).
No matter what the reason, I just know that I feel drawn to this interesting little island.
It wasn’t until I got to high school that the dream of trekking across the sea started to seem a little more realistic. My school did trips to different places every year and one year they were traveling to Ireland. As much as I wanted to go, I knew in my heart that going for a week and a half with my classmates wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to be able to go and explore on my own and do things on my own time. I didn’t want guided tours, and rushing to make it to our scheduled lunch. I wanted to experience living in this country.
Flash forward to college. Studying abroad is a real thing! This makes the dream even more of a reality. I started researching study abroad programs when I was a junior in high school to ensure that I picked a University that had Ireland as a location.
Last year I also became really interested in my family history, so I joined ancestry (I did the free trial of the most expensive option, but don’t worry, I cancelled it before my card was charged). I learned that my 4th great grandmother on my dad’s side was born in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. She got married, had kids, and then moved to Lowell in the mid 1800’s with her family. The list of family members I could find trace back to my fifth great grandparents. Some of which were born in County Sligo, Ireland, while the others were born in County Antrim.
After finding this out, it made me feel more connected to my history and the island. At least now I have an internal reason for wanting to go the country. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my family history kept leading me back “home”.
Okay. Present day. I’m looking into doing an exchange program at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. The safest city in the UK might I add. Now, although Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom, I would consider myself a nationalist because I feel that it is still part of Ireland. Not literally, obviously because they are separated, but I still call it Ireland. Regardless, that’s not really super important.
I am currently waiting to hear back about my nomination for the exchange at Queen’s. I’m hoping to be there in January. Praying extra hard!!!
Crossing my fingers,