Cliffs, cows, graves and pubs: my first day in Limerick | Opinions | daily schoolboy

Last week, I left the United States for the first time, and so far it has been unreal.

I first decided that I was going to study abroad during the winter break last year. I needed something new. I love Pennsylvania, but I’ve spent my whole life here. I needed to do something I had never done before: I was going to leave the country.

Ireland was the country I most wanted to visit. I have some Irish heritage, and have always found the country interesting. I had seen pictures of the country, and it looked incredible.

Now, nine months have passed and here I am: in Limerick, Ireland, attending the University of Limerick. Limerick is Ireland’s third most populous city and sits on its western shore on the River Shannon, which is Ireland’s largest river.

I chose Limerick after looking up some images of the city online. I thought it looked like a very lively city with beautiful scenery surrounding it. Nor was it as big as a city like Dublin. Although I like Dublin, I didn’t want to be in a city that was too big.

My dad came with me on the trip to Limerick. We left my hometown of Pittsburgh around 6 pm, and after a layover in Newark, New Jersey, we landed at Shannon Airport, the closest airport to Limerick, around 11 am local time (which would be 6 a.m. Eastern Standard Time).

We were then picked up by a taxi at the airport, which was originally going to take us to our hotel; however, what was originally a short trip turned out to be something very different.

When we realized that it was too early to check into the hotel, we asked the taxi driver to take us to the Cliffs of Moher, a set of sea cliffs not far from Limerick. We had heard of the cliffs before we left and had been recommended by others who had been to Ireland to see them.

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They were beautiful, unlike anything he had ever seen before.

The river seemed to expand forever beyond the horizon. The 390-foot (120-meter) high cliffs gave us a perfect view of the vast Irish coastline.

After the cliffs, our taxi driver asked us if we would like to take a ride to Doolin, a small town not far from the cliffs. We said yes, this was a great decision.

Doolin is a beautiful town nestled on the coast. It is notable for being one of Ireland’s centers for traditional music played in its many pubs. We didn’t get a chance to visit any of those pubs, but we did drive through town. It is a very pretty town.

After passing through Doolin, we visited a number of small sites along the way that weren’t necessarily tourist spots. One of my favorites of these sites was a path of hazelnut bushes.

This path was impressive – the bushes were about 8 or 9 feet tall and full of ripe hazelnuts that were free to pick. I ended up choosing a couple of them.

At the end of the path was an incredible view of the Irish countryside: more hazel bushes stretched out along the horizon with rolling hills resting in the background.

Rocks protruded from the ground on the hills, as if they literally grew out of the ground. Some of the terrain here is unlike anything I’ve seen before.

Another interesting aspect of the Irish countryside is the number of cows that roam the meadows. I’ve never seen so many cows in my life, which is especially interesting considering I’ve been at State College for the last two years. You can’t go less than a mile without seeing a herd of cows in a pasture somewhere on the side of the road.

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One of the last stops we made on our tour was an ancient Celtic tomb along the way. The tomb, called the Poulnabrone dolmen, was built between 4200 and 2900 BC.

It was surreal to see a structure of this age and stature, something frozen in time. There are numerous places like this in the area that I want to visit while I’m here.

After a nearly four hour drive through the area, we finally arrived at our hotel and checked in. I was exhausted. He had only slept two hours on the plane ride from Newark to Shannon. My dad and I got some rest and then went to The Locke Bar, a famous pub in Limerick.

This pub is phenomenal. The food and drinks are great, but the best part of the night was the traditional Irish music and dancing that was performed in the center of the pub. There are several pubs in the area that play traditional Irish music, which I will definitely visit while here.

Those were my first 24 hours in Limerick. It was a long and eventful day, and in the end I fell asleep.

Ireland is one of the best places I’ve ever been and I can’t wait to discover more this semester.

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