The gaelic word’s literal translation is “safe home” and is used to bid goodbye to someone traveling home.
Throughout my time in Ireland and with my theme of #FailteFridays, I have been able to learn about the historical side of various locations that pertain to the Irish people. It’s one thing to visit these locations throughout Ireland, but it’s a different story when you ask to hear the history and the important events that revolve around it. My experience has allowed me to delve deeper into the past than I ever thought possible. I highly recommend taking tours and hearing the purpose/meaning behind the buildings and structures. It’s one thing to do a self-tour, but through my own experience, I left those locations with interesting pictures and little impact of its importance. Just as an example, when I traveled to the Giant’s Causeway in Belfast, I was told the myth of how it was built and then took a tour inside the Visitor Center where it explained the scientific side on how the rocks were sculpted into hexagon shapes. It gave me deeper insight on how it was formed to where I could then appreciate it as I walked down and climb along the rocks.
As for traveling itself, I would recommend spreading out your trips over several weeks and weekends. While Dublin has a lot to offer, it’s better to fully experience a historical location or building rather than rushing through it to say you went there. As an example, take a nice sunny day in Phoenix Park and just walk around, visit the zoo and the monuments. I blew through the most famous locations in the first 3-4 weeks and then I ran out of steam and took a couple weekends off. If you’re looking for the best experiences, plan ahead and take your time wherever you go. While the study abroad may only be 3 months long, you’ll be able to see all of Dublin and the surrounding areas with weekends to spare.
Another important lesson I learned while living in the apartments is to buy food from grocery stores and cook for yourself as much as possible. While this might be your first-time cooking food away from home, take some time looking up recipes and make pasta. You’ll be surprised how fast those $6 Boojum (knockoff Chipotle) add up. The grocery stores are super cheap and affordable to the point where I was spending roughly $40 for an entire week’s-worth of lunch and dinners. While we’re on the topic of money spending, please take it from someone who didn’t follow the budget per week and devise a plan with the money you have. Before the trip even begins, set a limit that you can spend every week/month. You could even go as deep as to specify for food, drinks, and trips. This way you won’t have to worry about checking the bank account for the last month of the trip. There will be nights out where you forget how many drinks you’ve had and it catches up quick.
Out of all the advice I have to give, the most important is to figure out a way for you to remember your trips and your time spent abroad. Whether that be by yourself or with a new group of friends, remember the stories and the incredible nights that helped you grow as a person. You’ll be talking about those nights for years to come and laughing at the dumb stuff that you did during this magical time.
Good luck out there and Slainte! – Mason Lipford