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Beannacht Do Anois

*The title translates as ‘goodbye for now’ in Irish.
As the time of my departure draws near I have come to realize that living in Ireland is different from what I thought. A very naive part of me thought that American and Irish culture were fairly similar, however I have learned that there are many differences between both the Irish and American traditions. One day I can specifically recall was St. Patrick’s Day, which was easily one of my most favorite days in Ireland. In America one would find everyone wearing green clothes, shamrock headbands, and shirts that say “kiss me I’m Irish”. There are parades with young girls Irish dancing, men playing bagpipes, and then perhaps a drink or two between festivities. However in Ireland the tradition is a bit different. Some people wear green, but not many. The parade was a bit strange and did not seem to have anything to do with St. Patrick’s Day; it seemed more like a celebration of many other cultures. And since St. Patrick’s Day is a bank holiday and students have the day off it is a great excuse to go out on the town and have a good time. Now, even though I was not dressed in all green, and I didn’t enjoy the parade I still had the best St. Patrick’s Day of my lifetime. It seemed as if everyone just wanted to have a good day with their friends and family which made for an amazing atmosphere in town. There was plenty of traditional music to be heard, friends to be with, and even a few Irish ciders here and there as well. Although this year’s St Patrick’s Day was much different from any other that I had experienced before, it is definitely one I will never forget!

In all the time I have spent here I have gathered that the Irish are much more laid back in general. Now this is just my opinion so it really means nothing, but it will be difficult for me to go back to the uptight American ways. At home I feel like everything is always moving at a fast pace, people are typically rushing to get somewhere, where as in Ireland many people refer to time as the “Irish minutes”. In my experience and Irish minute is a period of time that you can basically double, so if a friend tells you they will come over to you in ten minutes, you will see them in twenty. They say that only in Ireland can a person say “just give me one second, I’ll be there in a minute.” In my opinion there is nothing wrong with taking your time, maybe taking the long way home to enjoy the country side rather than taking the motorway. Even though this is hard to admit sometimes I think the Irish genuinely enjoy their lives more. From my experience many people are close with their big families, they have loads of friends, and everyone seems to know how to work very hard, but play even harder. The only thing I can hope is to bring these qualities and attitudes home with me to make my life that much better!

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