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In putting together a list of travel destinations for my year abroad, I felt about Ireland the way I have felt about Italy. I was drawn to its magical allure. And, while Italy will forever hold a special place in my heart (Italy is magic), our trip to Dublin did not disappoint.

I traveled with three other Fulbrighters, and we spent our first day wandering by various shops and cathedrals on our way to the Guinness Factory. This factory is THE thing to do in the city of Dublin, and is basically the beer equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. We spent about four hours there.

Spire

Spire

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Trinity College

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Inside the Guinness Factory

Inside the Guinness Factory

Inside the Guinness Factory

Inside the Guinness Factory

That evening, we wanted to check out the Temple Bar area. We were lucky enough to catch a lively street performance before heading back to our hostel to rest up before day two.

Dancing in the streets!

Dancing in the streets!

On our second day, two of our group headed to Galway, while the other two of us headed off on a full-day bus tour. We stopped in Limerick before heading over to the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs themselves were majestic enough when we could see them through the fog and mist, or when we weren’t caught in wind tunnels! I am a little surprised I managed to survive the experience with only a sharp tear in my leather jacket, and severely knotted hair.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Proof that I was there!

Proof that I was there!

After the Cliffs, we had lunch at a nearby tavern before making our way to a gorgeous national park. The Burren is a very unique, stony national park. This part of our trip, in addition to the sometimes sweet and sometimes lewd Irish ballads our tour guide serenaded us with, was my favorite part of the trip.

The most amazing Fish & Chips

The most amazing Fish & Chips

The Burren!

The Burren!

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After the long trip, we headed back to our hostel for hot showers and some rest. Once we felt like humans again, we made our way back to the Temple Bar area. We had a great time listening to crowds go wild upon hearing traditional Irish songs, and catching some live music as well.

On our final day, we made an unplanned visit to the Leprechaun Museum. You guys, this was definitely a highlight of my trip! This museum is actually an interactive storytelling museum about Irish folklore, complete with an Irish guide! We had too much fun climbing up on giant furniture and walking through all the cute sets they had set up. If you have the time, this place is worth checking out! But only if you feel like catering to your inner child. 10359228_10152433113231187_8259906020505488521_n 10409494_10152433114596187_8646340377476722601_n

By the time we finished acting like children at the museum, the Dublin Castle was open. We headed over to explore, bought some souvenirs, and grabbed a last Irish meal before heading to the airport.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

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Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

I left satisfied, and also convinced that road-tripping would be the best way to see all Ireland has to offer. Next time!

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