My study abroad experience was amazing, and picking just one moment to write about was hard. I studied in Dublin, Ireland at Dublin City University. The program was through CIEE and was about Irish culture. My four week stay went by in a flash, but luckily I took some great photos to remember it by.

IMG_4253One of the best days I had while studying abroad, was a trip to Howth I took with two other girls in my program. Howth, a small fishing village just a 20 minute train ride outside Dublin, was a huge contrast to the bustling city centre of Dublin. We arrived in the morning, and ate breakfast at an adorable farmers market. While the food was delicious, and the handmade jewelry intriguing, the real highlight of the trip was the seven mile cliffside hike.

About two miles in, the girls and I found the perfect place to sit and enjoy the views of the perfectly blue ocean. The sunny, 65 degree weather, which we found to be a rare occurrence in Ireland, made this hike that much sweeter. We sat on the edge of the cliffs, taking in the view and watching as Irish families had picnics and enjoyed the beautiful Saturday. To me, it’s unbelievable how sharing a moment like that with IMG_4018 (1)two girls I had met only days earlier, makes you feel so much closer. We finished the seven mile hike, not without getting lost of course, and stopped for a beer before heading back to the city.

Thinking back on this day, I think I learned one important thing from all of the local people around us. Even though they live in such a gorgeous environment, or very close to it, they don’t take it for granted. They spent their Saturday very similarly to how we spent ours, in awe of the beautiful scenery around them. There’s no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to Ireland given the chance. The land is breathtaking, the people are incredibly generous and love to chat, and the Guinness isn’t bad either.

– Madison Raines, Dublin, Ireland