One of my favorite things about Ireland is being able to strike up really interesting conversations with locals, since they’re just so easy to talk to. They seem to always know that I’m American… surprise surprise. Maybe that’s because I always look a little lost or something! Anyway, they always want to hear about America and how it’s different from Ireland. On occasion, it becomes very apparent that some of them don’t know much about America at all. One time I had to explain the difference between Washington D.C. and Washington state to an Irish guy. I don’t think I’ve ever had to explain that for anyone before! These conversations usually happen in pubs, since that’s where the Irish typically have the most social interaction. I guess it’s sort of stereotypical, but it’s true! So, last Friday, some of my friends and I went to a pub and were sitting and listening to the Irish music (they played “Galway Girl”!) and my roommate soon struck up a conversation with the two guys sitting next to her. I joined in after about 10 minutes, but I could only hear some of the stuff they were saying since the music was so loud. What I gathered was that they were from Dublin but had come to Galway for a wedding that was going to happen the next day. I noticed that one of the guys had a Macklemore haircut, so I asked Corrie (they couldn’t hear me over the music, since we were practically sitting next to the band) to ask him if he knew who Macklemore was and if that’s who inspired his haircut. Well, embarrassing for me, he had never heard of Macklemore. Corrie repeated the name several times because the guy was politely asking again and again if he heard it right, but after a few times of yelling “MACKLEMORE” he admitted he had never heard of him. The other guy said he felt like he had heard the name before, but couldn’t think of where. Corrie told them that he’s rapper from Seattle and I really like his music. To my dismay, Corrie mentioned casually, “oh yeah, and Alex can rap some of his songs!” Well, once the guys heard this, they asked me to actually rap Macklemore literally next to the Irish band. I refused, while laughing, but Corrie assured them that I could do it. The guy with the Macklemore haircut said, “Wow, I guess we’re sitting with the next Will Smith! Except she’s female and white…” So there ya have it—that’s a (somewhat) normal conversation between two American girls and two Irish guys at a typical Galway pub!
The next day all of us ISA champs got up early, boarded a bus, and headed to the Cliffs of Moher, with a few stops on the way. We stopped at lots of old archeological sites, which were all very interesting, but the best stop was for lunch! I would have to say I ate the best seafood chowder I will probably ever eat in my whole life. And if that wasn’t enough, I also finished it off with possibly the best fudge I’ve ever had. When we boarded the bus after lunch, everyone swapped fudge pieces, so I got to taste all of the different kinds. One bumpy bus ride later, we finally reached the Cliffs of Moher. I was speechless for a moment before exclaiming “WHOA” once I was able to see them in their entirety. I feel like the word “whoa” by itself is a good enough description of what the Cliffs were like. They were simply breathtaking. The pictures I took (and I attempted to be really artsy) honestly don’t do them justice. They also don’t accurately show just how scary it was to be on the edge! There were fences in only a few areas (which was quite a shock), so most of the time the path we walked along was totally open. I probably got as close as 2 feet away from the very edge of the cliffs. Although being that close was thrilling, I got the most thrilled after hearing what movies the Cliffs have been featured in. Just a couple of my all time favorite movies: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Princess Bride! My residential director said that he was so glad that we got to see the Cliffs on a clear, sunny day. He said that some people visit them multiple times without getting weather nearly as perfect as it was for us. Looking back on it, I am just so glad I got the chance to see them. Witnessing such natural beauty in that sort of magnitude is undoubtedly something to be thankful for.