Why Now? Why There? 

I’ve heard this question so many times now, I have a short answer ready to fire for any adults curious about it. It goes along the lines of, “I have always wanted to travel and Ireland is the number one spot I wanted to go!” Although I did write a brief Odyssey article about it, I plan on going more in depth about my decision on this post, so bear with me loyal followers!

Whenever I tell people of my plans to go abroad, they’re surprised I’m going my sophomore year. I know it’s more popular to travel junior or senior year, but every inch of me wanted to go this fall. It also relates to how badly I’ve wanted to go to Ireland. I have been researching going since I was in 5th grade. Ask my parents, I looked up flights and hotels and places to go while over there. To top it all off, I made a PowerPoint with all of the information on it.

When my parents told me we didn’t have the proper funds for the six of us to fly over, I didn’t let it slow me down. I kept looking up programs that would let me travel to Ireland. In high school, I found a summer program and asked my parents repeatedly if I could go. This is when my dad gave me the definite “no”, but then told me I would have the opportunity to study abroad in college. Suddenly, the option to study abroad became one of the biggest deciding factors when I shopped around for a college for me.

When I finally hung up the last poster and put my clothes away, I made sure to schedule a meeting with the study abroad director. When I said I wanted to go fall of sophomore year, she didn’t hesitate to help me out. I found my program, filled out the thousands of forms, applied, and (with much luck) was accepted to study at Maynooth University!

Now, when people ask me why I chose Ireland, it again goes back to when I was but a child. I was around 7 years old when my family taught me what being Irish meant, but more importantly, what my name meant.

For starters, I understood that when I went outside, I would always need sunscreen unless I was going for a lobster look that day. My family always loved to serve potatoes, and my dad liked to play music with bagpipes and a fiddle. I understood all these things separately, but when my family explained my Irish background, it all came together.

Then, it came to the meaning of my name. I remember my dad telling me how in the Irish language, Gaelic, my name meant Ireland. I was so shocked by this information. How could my parents name me after a country? I imagined people going up to each other, “Hi America” “Oh Hey Finland” “What’s new, Russia” “How’ve you been Greece?” The thought of it makes me laugh.

Now that I have a better understanding of the meaning of my name, it gave me greater pride in being Irish. The most popular phrase with my name is “Erin go bragh” which roughly translates to “Ireland forever”. It is truly spelled as “Éire go Brách” in the Gaelic language, but it was anglicized to what we know as “Erin go bragh”. After learning all of this information, it only increased my want to go across the sea and visit the country.

So, those are some main reasons why I chose there and now. If you have any other questions about my trip, leave them in the comments below! Until next time, Sláinte!

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