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Ireland is an oasis on earth, by Isabella Tafa, Landscape Contracting major, Horticulture minor

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Posted: June 1, 2017

No matter where you go people are very similar, they all enjoy food, music and good company...
I couldn’t give a "Cahir" in the world that I didn’t pull the sword out, I saw a castle! Taken at Cahir Castle

I couldn’t give a "Cahir" in the world that I didn’t pull the sword out, I saw a castle! Taken at Cahir Castle

Going to Ireland was such an amazing experience that I could not be more thankful for this adventure. By far the National Botanic Garden was my favorite place to visit. I really admired the giant green houses that seemed like they never ended. I was in heaven when first entering the gardens coming upon a miniature succulent display that used a variety of different succulents to achieve a cohesive overall design. I was also surprised by the number of tropical plants that were able to grow in Ireland itself since it never really get too hot or too cold.

Another thing that I was amazed by was the stained glass windows in all of the cathedrals and churches. I was raised as a Catholic so I've spent my fair share of time in churches and the one thing that I always feel like is unappreciated is the stained glass. No one ever takes the time to look up and appreciate the work. St Patrick's Cathedral specifically had me intrigued because all of the stained glass told the story of his life. I could have stayed there for hours just admiring the glass and just thinking how the heck were they able to create these with such precision and detail.

Finally my last favorite part that I'll mention was going to see some real castles. We stopped at Blarney Castle, Cahir Castle and the Rock of Cashel. I would never have thought I'd be able to walk inside of a castle and see the architecture and details they put into building it. Now even though they've aged quite a bit, just being able to walk up the winding steps of Blarney castle was very scary and kind of claustrophobic. Just imagining how small the people who lived and worked there must have been baffles me because at one point I couldn't even put my whole foot on the steps and had to walk sideways.

Overall I am really grateful for being able to explore some of Ireland’s National Parks and given the opportunity to travel over half of Ireland in 7 days. Enduring long drives through Cork, Kilarney, Kinsale, the coast of Youghal, Cahir and Dublin I was able to see so much in such a short amount of time. Between touring the Guinness storehouse and Kilarney National Park, each place offered me different experiences. I was able to meet a variety of people that I never would have spoken to otherwise, such as a sheep herder who does his work in the Ring of Kerry, a mother who sent her child to Chicago for college and wishes him well as she sells her wool clothing in Cork, or college students from Trinity College and UCD. All of this has widened my horizons and allowed me to be more open to different cultures. I wasn’t afraid to branch out and talk to strangers; I became more confident and more sure of myself.  When I realized that people are just people, having a conversation and managing my time became easier. No matter where you go people are very similar, they all enjoy food, music and good company and so Ireland I bid you adieu.