Shanell Peterson has been an official CAPA blogger for summer 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A journalism major South Dakota State University, she has been studying abroad in Dublin this term.
In her last post as a CAPA blogger, Shanell shares the reasons why she'll definitely be heading back to Dublin in the future. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us, Shanell. We wish you all the best!
Despite having a lot to say, I had a hard time writing this last article. Putting my experience down on paper will mean it’s really over. And how can words ever actually articulate how I’m feeling or what I’ve been through in the past two months?
I am pleasantly surprised to say that I only cried four times during my final week. That’s an accomplishment since I am a slightly sensitive person. Each cry was quiet and soft, a sad goodbye to this wonderful, life-changing experience.
But, if I’ve realized anything during this trip, it’s that this doesn’t have to be “goodbye.” I have the ability to take my life wherever I want to take it.
So, here are 10 reasons I'll be back and why this is purely just a “see you later,” Ireland.
1. Kilmainham Gaol.
I never got to see this prison-turned-museum when I was in Dublin, but I really think I need to. I hear it is super cool and brimming with history. I’ll just be sure to buy tickets well in advance since the attraction books up quickly.
2. Queen of Tarts.
My friends raved about this tearoom/cafe, but I never got around to going there. This adorable restaurant serves breakfasts, lunches, and even brunches! However, I want to to find an excuse to get a nice, big cake!
America will never have tea as good as you'll find in Europe. I will have to have my Irish friends send me tea via mail while I’m in the States. Because, although I didn’t realize it before this trip, a good cup of tea can cure almost anything.
4. Wicklow Mountains.
Why, oh, why didn’t I make my way deeper into the Wicklow Mountains? I only want to see Lough Tay, also known as Guinness Lake and Powerscourt Waterfall, Ireland’s highest waterfall.
5. Glenveagh National Park.
Glenveagh is Ireland’s second biggest national park. (The first is Wicklow National Park.) It is very north of everything making it off the beaten path for me, but I hear that it is ridiculously beautiful and something worth checking out.
6. The Giant's Causeway.
While I’m in Glenveagh, I should swing into Northern Ireland to see Giant’s Causeway. It just looks so cool! The hexagonal rocks are something out of this world, but, from what I’ve seen, even if the area didn’t have the famous rocks, it would still be a place worth seeing!
Photo: Don’t you dare forget to see the Cliffs of Moher when you’re in Ireland! The Cliffs and Giant’s Causeways are two places you can’t see anywhere else.
7. County Kerry.
The Ring of Kerry, a scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula, and the Skellig Islands - small, steep, and rocky pieces of land - are two very popular places in County Kerry. These are two other scenic places I would’ve loved to see.
8. Blarney Castle.
I wasn’t particularly interested in going to the Blarney Castle during my visit. While I heard it was beautiful, the only reason I would go is because it is one of the first things I think of when I think “Ireland.” Next time I am in the country, I would like to see the area, although I won’t go out of my way to make it happen.
I spent the weekend in Galway City, but I would have loved to have had more time there. It’s a fun and lively place that deserved to be experienced for more than two days. I don’t know exactly what I’d do if I returned, but I am sure it would be easy to figure out once I get there!
Photo: Galway is a must-see if you’re going to Ireland. It’s a place with so much energy!
10. My lovely, wonderful Irish friends.
My CAPA friends may not be in Dublin when I return, but my Irish friends might still be. And we will laugh with each other and have deep conversations about life and talk about the state of America’s economy with Trump or Clinton as president. And it will be just like old times.
Photo: These are just a few of the wonderful people I met while I was in Ireland.
So, no, Dublin. This isn’t goodbye. This truly is a “I’ll see you again soon.”