For the past few years, my new year usually begins in a quiet way, wrapping up winter break and trying to get to all the books I can before heading back to school and ‘real life.’ However, my 2020 started in the most exciting way possible by going on a study abroad trip to Ireland!
I always knew that I wanted to do some sort of study abroad program while in school. Blame it on all the books I’ve read, but I’ve had this growing sense of wanderlust in me for the past few years. I admit that I was intimidated by going abroad, having never travelled outside of the United States before and how pricey study abroad and travelling can be. However, everything seemed to fall into place during the fall semester of my senior year and I decided to apply to my school’s winter break program in Ireland. I have a few countries on must travel-to list, but Ireland has always been in the #1 spot because of my own Irish heritage.
In short, I am so, so glad that I went to Ireland because I had such an incredible experience. I have a ton of photos featured below, but even they do not fully capture how beautiful everything is there. I’m going to be breaking down my trip more for you below, but I quickly fell in love with the West Coast of the country and know I need to go back someday. It’s true what they say about going abroad or travelling: once you go somewhere, you want to get back on a plane and go somewhere else! I’m hoping my adventures abroad or at a travel feature will become a somewhat regular series here on Fangirl Fury.
And yes, I admit that I’m disappointed with my bookish self for not taking a long a copy of Jenna Evan Welch’s Love & Luck for ALL of the bookstagrams.
My day spent in Derry was one of the trip’s highlights. As a Derry Girls fan, going to Derrry was one of the things I was most excited about. During the first half of the day, we visited the Museum of Free Derry, hearing from a relative of a Bloody Sunday victim and walking through the museum’s exhibit on civil rights. After the museum, we toured the Bogside murals.
The second half of the day was spent in Derry City, where we had complete free range to explore the city. Since our bus dropped us off at The Guildhall, we walked through the Plantation of Ulster exhibit and later took some nice nightsky photos. After the exhibit, my friends and I walked across the Peace Bridge, which again prompted for the nice photo ops. We then went into the city, with our first stop at the Derry Craft Village. We popped into a few stores, where I picked up a belated Happy Christmas ornament for my family and a pair of claddaugh earrings for my sister. My must-see stop for the day was of course the Derry Girls mural! After, we walked along the 17th century wall near there and also stopped at St. Columb’s Cathedral. We also stopped at a print shop that sold a ton of Derry Girls merchandise, picking up a postcard for my equally obsessed Derry Girls friend and I, and at an ice cream shop called Joe Jackson’s. After falling in love with lemon meringue pie at dinner earlier in the week, I treated myself to lemon meringue and salted caramel ice cream.