When I came to Ireland last year, I fell in love with the country.
And so, when it came to planning this summer, my destination was a no-brainer – I was going to come back to the country that, more and more, is starting to feel like home.
1. The fresh food
It’s quite the dramatic change for me: food goes bad in three days in Ireland, rather than the three weeks that I’m used to in America.
And the fish... oh, I could just live on the fish forever.
2. The closeness of the sea
Speaking of fresh fish...
It would be very difficult for me to express just how incredible it is to be able to hop on a bike for 20 minutes and be suddenly seaside, listening to the waves crash. I’m a brutal 1,400 miles away from an ocean back home.
This contrast is just stunning. Appreciate where you live.
3. The closeness of everything
Like the States, the east and west coasts of Ireland offer completely different vibes – but unlike the States, they're just a two-hour bus journey apart.
Refreshing, exciting and brilliant to know how close you always are to a complete change of scenery.
4. The fab coffee
I’ll admit – I’m a coffee snob. But I was pleasantly surprised by the remarkable coffee scene here in Dublin. And then I found out where to get the best coffee in every county in Ireland.
So yeah. I’ll stick around.
5. The hill and cliff walks
Bray to Greystones; the Wicklow Way; Howth Cliff Walk; The Prom in Galway; Glendalough Lake; The Cliffs of Moher, for God's sake.
All beauts and extremely accessible.
6. The incredible food variety
Fire-stone pizza? Fresh salmon? Cheesy nachos? BYOB sushi? Greasy chips? Healthy pick-me-ups?
Besides an initial difficulty in finding Cholula Hot Sauce (which I actually located in Tolteca for €4), I don’t have withdrawals from anything back home. That makes all the difference.
7. The good craic
The Irish are always cracking jokes, always engaging in conversation and always looking for a good time. Pints are not required, but definitely encouraged.
And speaking of pints – these don't taste quite the same in America.
8. The young people
Dublin specifically is absolutely buzzing with lads age 24-34; my preferred demographic.
We have these in the States, of course. But they're not the same.
9. The refreshing getaways
Even in big ol' Dublin city, there’s always someplace near to step away for a breath of fresh air. Phoenix Park, Dun Laoghaire Pier, Merrion Square, St Stephen’s Green, Seapoint.
Do you people realise how spoiled you are?!
10. The Irish attitude
Waaaay more chilled out. It’ll happen when it happens. No need to stress; I mean, feck, it’ll be grand.
Could do with a bit more of that back home.
11. Penney’s and Lidl
What is life without these brilliant shops? My clothes and my groceries are actually half the price... yet somehow, better.
12. The live music
There’s just nothing like it anywhere else, and sometimes I'm not even sure that you locals realise it.
Free concerts every night? I’ll take it.
13. THAT delightful accent
Although I have an extensive list of Irish phrases that absolutely baffle me, I can’t deny loving the Hiberno-English language.
Whatever the topic, I’m constantly entertained just eavesdropping on conversations.
14. And, of course, the people
My man Anthony Bourdain once said: “If you hate Irish people, then you hate mankind.”
It’s 100% true – the people here are what make the experience. The Irish hospitality is real, and the people's friendly, genuine nature has truly stolen my heart.
Long may it continue...