Connemara Dreaming

I’ve only been in Ireland for a few days, and I’ve already experienced the Cliffs of Moher and Connemara. The Cliffs of Moher were breathtaking, amazing, beautiful and everything I dreamed they would be. Today I went to Connemara, and I experienced something quite rare. I’m still trying to find words to describe it. As I was walking down the streets of Galway to my apartment after the tour, the title “Connemara Dreaming” kept running through my mind.

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I still can’t believe that I did it. I took a tour, on my own, to one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. I saw wild Connemara ponies, Kylemore Abbey and beautiful mountains. It was beyond anything I could have ever imagined or dared to dream. It never would have occurred to me that I could strike out on my own in a foreign country to explore the world around me. Everything fell into place in new and surprising ways. For example, as I set out, my one regret was that I wouldn’t have any pictures of me in the landscape I was about to experience. Little did I know, I would be sitting next to a wonderful student from France on the bus and we would spend the tour day together exploring and taking pictures of each other. I worried that I wouldn’t see any wild ponies. As we drove through the countryside, we saw several. I wasn’t sure if I could find my way back from the bus drop off point to the student apartments, but I navigated the streets of Galway and didn’t lose my way. In fact, I’d say that today was a day that I found so much more than anything I ever expected.

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I found that it was beyond a dream come true. Things I never would have imagined possible suddenly became real, tangible and inexplicably personal. If you are studying abroad, thinking of studying abroad, or simply spending the summer near your childhood home, I would encourage you to get out and do something you never dreamed was possible. Discover something new or see something old in a brand new way. Bring a friend or two or make some new friends along the way.

In my last post, I said that in ten years, someone else may be glad you took a chance and pushed yourself to the limit. I don’t know yet if that is true for me, but I know that in ten years, I will look back at my pictures and be thankful for a girl named Laurann who happened to visit Connemara on the same day that my dream came true. Thank you, Laurann, wherever you may be. Without even knowing it, you influenced one of my greatest adventures. I never would have dreamed that a day could be this perfect, or that someone I knew for a short seven hours could influence it so much. Thank you for reminding me to look outside of myself and help others during this crazy, beautiful, unreal adventure. I know that I will never forget today, and I know that right now, at this very moment, I’m Connemara dreaming on a summer night.

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Photo credit to Laurann – Me at the Gothic Cathedral at Kylemore Abbey

 

Valerie Locklair is a student at Concordia University Wisconsin and an official API Student Blogger. Valerie is studying abroad with API in Galway, Ireland.

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