I wanted real adventures to happen to myself. But real adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad.
- James Joyce
Ed Sheeran's Galway Girl routinely playing on my ipod. Getting drinks from an Irish waiter. Photos from friends recently visiting Belfast. Air Canada filling my inbox with seat sales to Dublin.
Something was calling me to Ireland, and one day I simply decided to listen. I'm currently unemployed, and so I didn't have to worry about taking time off of work or school. I'm also fortunate enough to have parents who were able to loan me some money (interest-free, woop woop!) to help pay for the trip. I wanted to see if I could make this trip as inexpensive as possible without missing out on any experiences, and I think I did decently well. My expense breakdown is given at the bottom of this blog post, for those interested.
One thing that certainly helped cut costs was couchsurfing for many of my nights. If you haven't heard of it before, you can check out the website here. I was nervous at first as it was my first time as a "surfer" (I had previously only been a "host"), but the experience was extremely positive for me and I met some truly wonderful people! To thank the people who hosted me, I brought them some maple candies and chocolate bars, which I packaged into little gift bags.
I spent my first three nights in Galway, and wow - what a beautiful city! It has a small city centre that is easily walkable, and I instantly fell in love with the narrow cobblestone streets, misty air, and warmly lit pubs. I was initially surprised with how almost every pub was busy, but I then realized that it's probably because they were warm and it was cheaper to buy a drink or two than to crank up the heating in an old and poorly insulated apartment. Plus, the Irish are just so friendly! So of course a night in a pub is more enticing than a night at home! I absolutely adored every night that I spent out in Ireland, and I have the amazing people I met to thank for that.
The next day I met up with my friend Delaney, who I met while working at Disney and who now works in Scotland. We had quite a day of walking through Phoenix Park, covering its width 1.5 times over! I had a great time though, and again, the weather was sunny and bright! That night I went to Temple Bar with Delaney and my friend Sam, who flew in that afternoon from Canada. The live music was excellent, and the bar was decorated for Christmas! I love the holiday season, and so I was thrilled to see garlands of pine, red bows, and twinkle lights everywhere. It was a lively night and the music created a perfectly traditional Irish and tourist-filled pub.
Thank you, Ireland. You were wonderful.
Some expenses are approximations.
Round-trip flight from Canada
Round-trip bus to airport
Round-trip bus to Galway from Dublin
Round-trip bus to Belfast from Dublin
Transportation within cities
Cliffs of Moher tour bus
Car rental for Giant's Causeway day trip
Rideshare for Connemara day trip
Accommodation (airbnb and hostels)
Lockers for luggage storage
Entrance fees to tourist points (Book of Kells, Marsh Library, Guinness Storehouse, Walking tour of Belfast)
Gifts for Couchsurfing hosts