I went there last year and I was right. Ireland is romantic, and romantic, magical things happen there. Hang on, let me explain the whole story.
Okay so it’s Christmas, and expats have to be creative around the holidays. Luckily if you’re an expat in Europe you have things like Ryanair that offers you cheap flights to hundreds of cool destinations, so you quickly find a way to get a little scrappy and snap out of those holiday blues (due to being away from family and old friends and stuff), you book a flight to Dublin and go meet other friends who are in the same boat as you. It turns out it’s a very fun boat to be on anyway, so it’s all good.
It was Christmas Eve and the city was absolutely crowded. Dublin is small, so add an extra thousands of American tourists to the mix (I only heard American accents on the street – lots of cute young families) plus countless of all the other nationalities around and you got yourself very, very packed streets. All the shops were on sale so you can imagine the mayhem: it was impossible to do any shopping or any browsing for that matter, and getting a table at a restaurant? Ha! You’ll end up eating at McDonalds. I looked up the best places to eat ramen in the city and although we tried, that was not going to happen because too many people everywhere.
We had just about given up the idea of having a nice lunch at a nice place when we came across a cozy coffee shop named Soma and even though we weren’t expecting much, they had the best burgers and fries I’ve ever had. I came back everyday for the mushroom burger and I still miss it occasionally.
The next day, when it was actually Christmas Day, the city was deserted apart from the flock of lost tourists roaming the streets. We had heard through the grapevine Bono usually sings on random streets on Christmas day so we got excited and went on a little city exploration, to no luck. But that finally brings us to the next day on the trip, when romantic things start happening in Ireland.
The day starts with us waking up at dawn and hopping on a tour bus to Cliffs of Moher. If you’ve watched Leap Year you know what kind of scenarios we’re talking talking about here and it’s nothing short of spectacular. Needless to say, expectations were flying high, but when we got there we were not disappointed. It’s simply the perfect Irish postcard, absolutely breathtaking and I guess the perfect background for…
…a proposal. Yes, a foreign couple got engaged right there. They travelled all the way from South America to celebrate Christmas, her birthday and unbeknownst to her, their engagement. She cried, everyone clapped and cheered, just like in a very cheesy romantic comedy. It was so cheesy and so heartwarming that it reminded me that life can be the cheesiest, most wonderful movie of all times, but even better because it’s real.
After the cliffs we continued on towards Belfast and Galway, and man, I love the Irish. Everyone was so kind and cheerful everywhere we went. I had the best time.
On the drive back to Dublin, our very funny Irish guide played Leap Year on the tv bus, so the trip couldn’t get any more cliche. I guess it was the most suitable ending to such a lovely little trip, after all. They call Paris the city of love, but romantic memories are made in Ireland. What a bliss to be alive.