Roots

I can’t believe I have less than a week left in Dublin. It went from feeling like I had so much time here to feeling like I was out of time in the blink of an eye. With only a few days left I am trying to think of any other activities that I have been meaning to do while in Ireland. Luckily, while reflecting back onto my time abroad so far, I feel like I have done a lot of the things I have always wanted to do in Ireland. From Cliffs of Moher, Giants Causeway, to the Blarney Stone and more, I have definitely hit most of the tourist sights. In that regard I am quite happy, because now for my last week I can just relax and maybe revisit some of my favorite nearby places like Bray just for something easy to do after work.

 This past weekend, my dad was fortunately able to come and visit me in Dublin. I had such an amazing time traveling with him. On Saturday, he drove me to Sligo. We didn’t have much of a plan as to what to do there—we only went because we heard from a family friend that it was pretty there so we figured that we’d check it out. The drive there was a little nerve-wracking, since my dad had to get used to driving on the left side of the road, while also driving a manual car. The road trip started off a little rocky (he hit the curb twice) but then the drive became much smoother once he got used to it. After walking around a town in Sligo, we got a recommendation from a local to go to a place called the Gleniff Horeseshoe—a mountainous range with spectacular views including a waterfall with plenty of sheep surrounding. We had so much fun walking around that area and it just might have been my favorite sight that I’ve seen so far.

After going around the horseshoe, we drove into Longford to stay at a bed and breakfast, with the plan being to meet some family members there the next day. The town in Longford was very rural, and compared to Dublin, felt like a different country. Although the atmosphere was quite different, I thought Longford was very charming.

The next morning, we got up and drove to meet with some of our second cousins. They were extremely friendly and made us feel welcomed in Longford, as if my dad and I have known them for years. Talking with the McGlynns at their house was so much fun. Something that I thought was incredible was that Michael, one of the cousins, lead my dad and I to the house that my great-grandfather lived in in the early 1900’s. The house was practically in ruins, but it we could make out where the fireplace used to be, and a few yards over, where the family used to work as blacksmiths to keep themselves afloat. We also walked to the church down the road that my great-grandfather went to as well as many of the cousins in the present day. My dad was very close to his grandfather, and even lived with him for a while growing up. Going through the family sites of Longford meant a lot to my dad, so being able to see it with him is something that I will always cherish when looking back at my time in Ireland.

As my internship also comes to an end, I have had a lot of time to reflect on differences between the Irish and American work culture. Before coming to Ireland, I was told the country was very much a “work to live” society, which differs from the United States’ “live to work” mindset. Through my internship experience at the nonprofit, I would have to agree to that sentiment. While my supervisors work very hard to keep the organization running, they have family lives outside of work and that take priority and are subject to the majority of conversations throughout the office. When it comes to being considered successful, it seems that it is a little different in Ireland compared to the United States. In the USA, I think of a successful employee as someone who dedicates themselves and makes sacrifices for their job with the goal of advancement. In Ireland, a successful employee is someone who will do their job during the day, but also someone who is friendly and able to converse with other people on the office.