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An Irish Odyssey - Andrew Haverstick

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Posted: June 14, 2012

It fascinates and delights me that you can travel over 3000 mile across an entire ocean and still be able to connect with someone of a different culture and upbringing on a personal level...
Andrew feeding the seagulls at the Dingle Peninsula

Andrew feeding the seagulls at the Dingle Peninsula

I had the privilege to be a part of a group that toured the country of Ireland between the dates of May 7-15. The course that this trip was a part of was Horticulture 499 – Gardens and Landscapes of Ireland. To begin with, many of the stereotypes that exist about Ireland and Irish people are false. However, there are a few that are true. For example, it rains almost every day in Ireland. On the first three days of our trip, we experienced overcast conditions with rain and no sun throughout the whole day. This was not a major issue though because our group came prepared for this type of weather. After spending considerable time touring Dublin and mingling with the people of the city, I learned that the Irish people as a whole are extremely friendly and polite. They are always willing to converse with you should you desire to talk to them. In addition to this, they will always use proper manners and thank you for things. It fascinates and delights me that you can travel over 3000 mile across an entire ocean and still be able to connect with someone of a different culture and upbringing on a personal level.
   
HaverstickIreland2.pngThis ability to converse with the Irish people was instrumental in helping me to develop my communication skills. I enjoy meeting people and making new friends so this course helped me do that with both the members of my group and the people that I met while in Ireland. Spending a week with the same group of people might frustrate some people because of grievances they may have the other group members throughout the week. This was not the case with our group. We quickly realized before we left that we would have a blast spending time with each other in Ireland. Everyone got along with each other very well and no one we left out of conversation or activity at any point on the trip because we all enjoyed each others company so much.
   
Not only was touring and sightseeing an integral part of the trip, learning was also a central focus of our time. Because of the amount of time spent on a bus travelling from one destination to another, we were able to learn about Irish culture and history from the incredibly insightful talks our tour guide gave us. He was extremely knowledgeable on his country’s history. HaverstickIreland3.pngThis knowledge allowed him to give us an unbiased view towards the events of Ireland’s long and storied history. It was fascinating to learn about why the Irish people believe some of the things they do today. Certain events or situations may have forced them into thinking one way or influenced a decision that would have led them down a particular path. It was very evident through the talks that our tour guide was passionate about Ireland’s history and culture.
   
Overall, the trip was an incredible experience and I am very thankful to have been given this opportunity. I would love to go back to Ireland at some point to experience certain things again as well as see some new locations that Ireland has to offer.