10 Things I’ve Learned about (Northern) Ireland So Far:

1. Airports are confusing.
Despite my best efforts, my plane still landed in Terminal 1. Dublin Airport isn’t that confusing, but hauling gigantic bags up escalators on 2 hours of airplane sleep isn’t easy. Granted, with only 2 terminals I was bound to land in the wrong one. I live my life according to Murphy’s law.

2. The Irish are friendly.
The Irish are some of the friendliest people I have had the pleasure of meeting overseas. It probably helps that in a smaller town like Armagh my own accent makes me stick out like a sore thumb and I can’t help but notice. But more than a couple of people stop and say hi, asking me where I’m from, what I’m doing, ask if I’d like any help and are just in general lovely. 

3. Irish Netflix is a thing.
Somewhat unfortunately, my Canadian Netflix did not travel with me, but Princess Diaries 2 is still online so every is A-okay here.

4. The constant association of Ireland with green makes a lot of sense.
Everything here is green, and in the most beautiful way. It is so lush, with beautiful gardens, trees, and parks. There are plants and flowers sprouting out of every brick wall and sidewalk, much to my nature loving delight.

5. Converters may set off intruder alarms in the hostel you are staying in. Be warned.
(This one is pretty self-explanatory).

6. History is everywhere.
Everywhere you step, and almost every person you see has experienced some incredible history. There are so many stories I’ve heard and already my mind is bursting. Some of these buildings are older than my own country, and everywhere I turn I am confronted with another mind-blowing fact. Did you know that Armagh is the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland? And that it was an ancient pagan ritual site? Mind. Blown. And that’s just the beginning.

7. Dairy tastes better.
Before my departure from the Great White North, I looked up a number of facts about Ireland, and this is a legitimate thing. The dairy here is brilliant because of the way the cows are fed. Based on Ireland’s climate and soil (wet and rainy, and not so fertile respectively) the crop that is most easily grown in abundance as feed is grass. North American feed (usually corn or soy) doesn’t really grow well here. Cows, being ‘ruminant‘ organisms have a unique four-chambered stomach and are happiest when fed grass. Thus, in Ireland, all the grass means happy cows, delicious cheese, and a very happy Clare.

8. My accent (and yours, probably) is funny.
After an incident ordering Fish’n’Chips on my first evening in Ireland, I can confirm that yes, I sound funny. And “we’re not Irish” is not the proper response to any question, especially not “Salt and Vinegar on your chips?” so don’t be surprised when the gentleman behind the counter laughs too hard to repeat himself.

9. Crossing streets is complicated.
There are very few street lights or cross walks. I may be brave when it comes to crossing streets back home, but Armagh is a whole different ball game. Everything is reverse road-wise. Let’s hope I figure it out or I may become Irish road-kill.

10. I belong here.
Maybe it’s the cheese, or the fact that I’m not the only one drinking tea constantly, or eating Scotch eggs, or maybe it’s even the abundance of green, but I have a huge crush on Northern Ireland, and I’m hoping they feel the same. 

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