It had always been a dream of mine to go to Ireland. It always felt romantic and rustic and green and beautiful, a perfect background for a love story or at least some fun adventures with friends.
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 – there’s not even that much to it but it’s nice to add a bit of suspense, eh?
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 locations, so you get a little scrappy and snap out of those holiday blues (because you’re away from your family and old friends), 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 young families!) plus lots of all the other tourists around and you have 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 there! I had the mushroom burger and it was so good I came back everyday after that!
The next day, when it was actually Christmas Day, the city was pretty much deserted apart from the lost tourists roaming the streets – we heard Bono usually sing random streets on Christmas so we got excited about that, but no luck. Then here comes the next day, when we took a tour bus to Cliffs of Moher, and if you’ve watched Leap Year you know what I’m talking about. I can’t think of a more Irish location than that, it’s the perfect postcard and it’s breathtaking and…
…someone got engaged right there. She cried, everyone clapped and cheered, just like in a very cheesy romantic comedy. It was so cheesy but so heartwarming and it reminded me that life can be like a cheesy, wonderful movie sometimes, but even better because it’s freaking real! Even if it’s cheesy or a cliche. And guess what, there’s more: it was her birthday! He planned it all carefully: a trip to Ireland for Christmas, on her birthday, and a surprise proposal on the Cliffs of Moher. Call me silly, but I found that sweet.
Oh and we also got to visit Belfast and Galway, and man, I love the Irish. Everyone was so kind and cheerful everywhere we went. I truly had a wonderful time and hope to go back for more someday soon.
On the drive back to Dublin from the Cliffs (by the way if you ever visit Ireland and fancy a trip to the cliffs I highly recommend the company Wild Tours. Our guide was so funny and told us so many cool stories about Ireland. He played different Irish music throughout the entire trip, giving us fun facts about each artist, and that made the trip so much more interesting), the recently engaged lovebirds sitting next to me, drunk in love, our guide played Leap Year on the bus, since it was shot on the cliffs and a perfect fit for the occasion, rightfully ending the trip on the most romantic note, as you can imagine.
So yeah, lovely, romantic memories are made in Ireland. What a bliss.
Have you ever been? I’d love to hear your Irish memories!