After my trip to Israel with Kristen, I had to face the reality that I had less than two weeks left in my study abroad experience. I started applying for summer jobs and making appointments back in the U.S. rather than booking flights to new destinations. While I was excited to return home and see my friends and family, at some point I had fallen in love with Ireland. There are so many places I wanted to go back to and even more I didn’t get to see. But my life and bank account said it would soon be time to go back home.
However, I wasn’t about to leave Ireland without visiting a few more of its historic sites. Luckily, Kristen hadn’t visited me in Ireland yet and decided to tag along for the last leg of my journey. After landing in Dublin, we visited the Hill of Tara, a site that I’d wanted to visit since learning about it in my Celtic Mythology class. The Hill of Tara dates back roughly 5000 years, with various modifications over its long history, and has long been associated with kingship in both mythological and historical contexts.
At the Hill of Tara, we followed the coronation path with which begins over the Banquet Hall and ends at the Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny. In Celtic mythology, it is said that when a true king touched the Lia Fail at his coronation, the stone would cry out. Kristen and I both touched it, but sadly, it looks like neither of us will be the next king of Tara.
After visiting the Hill of Tara and Dublin, Kristen and I headed back to Galway, so I could give her a tour of where I’d been living for the past five months. Since she hadn’t seen the Cliffs of Moher, we had to go there again. We got lucky, as it was remarkably sunny and clear. I will admit though, I kind of missed the foggy, Irish aesthetic.
However, we didn’t only stop at the cliffs this time. Since I wanted to experience more of Ireland, we took a tour that also showed us a variety of other sites around the area. If I hadn’t already been in love with the Irish landscape, this trip would have convinced me otherwise.
Saying goodbye to the place and people was hard. No way around it, I didn’t feel ready to leave and truthfully, I don’t know if I will be able to return, although I hope I will. Because of the latter, I felt more homesick leaving Ireland than I had leaving the U.S. However, it is comforting to think about the people I have back home and the opportunities I’m looking forward to upon my return to Linfield.
Now that I have experienced traveling abroad, I know that should there come a time when I can return to Ireland or travel to another country, I will be ready for it. I have already been planning to teach abroad after college, and this experience has just shown me how incredible an opportunity like that can be. This is not the end!