My experience in Ireland | Our summer intern Alessandro
Posted on August 14, 2015
There is a mysterious alchemy that binds people, land and culture together, brewing a magic potion that will charm you forever.
I set off for Dublin on a sultry July afternoon. The weather in Italy was suffocating, so I was really looking forward to enjoy a fresh climate. Yet, I did underestimate the Irish weather. When the door of the plane slammed open, the howling wind greeted me with its cold embrace, herald of the dreary weather that would accompany my stay for the month.
Once you get the hang of the proverbial weather – which is indeed one of the first discussion topics between people– nothing will stop you from having a great time in good auld Éire. There is a mysterious alchemy that binds people, land and culture together, brewing a magic potion that will charm you forever. The more you stay in Ireland, the more you become addicted to it. So don’t be afraid to be awakened by the Banshee’s cry; here in Hibernia all the folklore comes alive.
The capital is so lively. You can easily wander without a goal, just going with the flow, and enjoy the atmosphere. If you have an adventurous attitude, the experience gets even more enthralling. It is really easy to find yourself in stimulating situations. On my very first day, for instance, I got involved in a street performance, throwing flaming torches to a downright goliardic Brazilian juggler who was keeping his balance on a ladder. Thus, I obtained my one minute of fame – and a pair of ash-stained trousers. But you only live once after all; it was totally worth.
Dublin is filled with history. Although the style of the city is mainly Georgian, the capital’s roots fall back to the Viking invasion of the 10th century. The remnants of this age can be seen in the stunning medieval churches and in museums – the National Museum is free admittance, so it’s totally worth a visit. For a history enthustiast like myself, exploring the roots of Irish culture is really puzzling. Furthermore, you don’t need to venture far from the capital to visit evocative historical sites. The Newgrange tumulus is just a thirty minute drive; how can a half an hour ride even compare to milleniums of history uncovered? If you also want to experience a true haunted castle with its own ruined abbey just head to Malahide – a perfect scenery for a fine gothic novel worthy of Bram Stoker.
There are many legends about Irish pubs. As myths come by, many will tell you to ignore them. But the stories surrounding our favourite country’s inns are true. The atmosphere is just like in the tales. The moment you cross the pub’s doorway you are carried to a parallel dimension, where all the worries and angers are banished. You bathe in a magic atmosphere, in a world of positive sensations. And there you are, raising your glass, cheering to good times, not worrying about a thing. Live music accompanies your stay and, pint after pint, you get transported by the traditional tunes, dancing to the sounds of “Cooley’s Reel” or silently crying to the melanchonic notes of “The Lonesome Boatman”.
I do believe that Irish dancing needs a mention in this small account, since it is such a peculiar tradition of this country. I had the luck to grab a ticket for the Riverdance – the greatest Irish dance musical. The performance was held at the Gaiteys Theatre. It was such an amazing experience witnessing the utmost synthesis of Irish heritage, exported all over the world. The blending of traditional music and stunning coreographies is just marvellous.
The last honorable mention goes of course to Guinness. You must drink Guinness when you’re in Ireland; while it is absolutely 100% Irish, it also tastes much better here compared to the rest of the world. And the Guinness Storehouse at St James Brewery is indeed a must see for all Guinness enthusiasts. I can still see myself drinking my pint of Guinness in company of the cute protagonists of the famous vintage advertising. Toucans and seals, turtles and crocodiles – they all share the same passion for the finest beer.
It is with a broken heart that I must say farewell to Dublin and Ireland. My month’s stay has been really a flash – time has rushed in a blink of an eye. But of one thing I’m certain: I’ll be back. And be rejoined with this cozy country and its friendly people. And thus, as Thomas Moore writes:
Though the last glimpse of Erin with sorrow I see,
Yet wherever thou art shall seem Erin to me;
In exile thy bosom shall still be my home,
And thine eyes make my climate wherever we roam.