An Irish Adventure: Courtney Meyer, Agribusiness Management


Posted: January 4, 2013

Ireland was a trip of a lifetime and I will never forget this experience or the people I became friends with!

I had the opportunity to travel to Ireland from May 7-15th along with 15 other Penn State students and faculty. I was a part of the Horticulture 499 – Gardens and Landscapes of Ireland class and only had one friend going into the class. Needless to say, I left the class having a lot more friends and had an experience I will never forget. I was worried at the beginning of the trip because the people in this group didn’t really know one another before leaving. Throughout the trip, we bonded and many of us became good friends and still keep in touch.

I decided to take the class because of a very good friend of mine, Katherine Laughlin. Ireland has always been a place on my bucket list that I wanted to go to and going with one of my closet friends was a bonus. I remembered how excited Katie and I were on the trip to the airport with her parents. We couldn’t wait until we landed in Dublin and had the chance to explore one of the greatest cities in the world. 

MeyerIreland2.pngMy passion has always been in agriculture and this class attracted me because we got to do a weekly blog on any topic that was related to Ireland and its culture. I decided to research peat and peat bogs throughout Ireland. I learned many interesting facts such as how peat can preserve items or even bodies for hundreds and possibly thousands of years!

This trip was a chance of a lifetime and a great learning experience and our coach driver, Murt O’Shea was full of knowledge about the history of Ireland. Our trip began in Dublin then continued into Ennis, which was followed by Kilarney and Kilkenny and ended in Malahide (which is right outside Dublin) for our last night. Throughout the course of this trip, we saw many historical sites as well as landmarks that were breathtaking.  From the group dinners to pubs to a medieval meal, we always had interesting food and boy do the Irish love their potatoes! Potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner; I don’t know how they can eat so many servings of potatoes a day! 

The typical weather in Ireland is either rainy or overcast and we were prepared for this type of weather. However, we weren’t prepared for 3 days of beautiful weather to follow, with not a drop of rain in sight. While in Dublin, we got to have dinner at the Brazen Head Pub, the oldest pub in Ireland. This was one of my favorite meals because we went as a group and had the opportunity to eat a delicious dinner, listen to folklore about fairies and luck, and enjoy some Irish music.

MeyerIreland3.pngOne of the days we traveled to one of my favorite places on this trip, Dingle Peninsula.  Words can’t even explain how beautiful this journey was, clear blue skies, the water splashing onto the cliff walls and the many different shades of green that covered the landscape. While exploring the Dingle Peninsula, I got to ride a donkey. The owner then tried to sell him to me to take him to the “land of the free.”  

One night when we all went out for drinks as a group, I ended up talking for hours to one of the bouncers at the pub about farming. Our conversation was beneficial to the both of us because we got to discuss different techniques used in the dairy industry. Communication is a very important skill to have no matter what job you have or where you travel to. Experiencing unique cultures and different traditions is also important because of understanding and respecting their way of life will make a person better-rounded. Ireland was a trip of a lifetime and I will never forget this experience or the people I became friends with!