The paperwork needed to get a visa to Ireland was a nightmare! Bureaucracy, benevolent as it may be, sometimes can get too convoluted. It took me a while before I finished working on all the documents required. Thanks to Good Energies Alliance Ireland for helping me in this endeavour, especially Liam, one of the Directors. Without their guidance, I would for sure have failed to navigate through various rules and regulations of Irish law. But finally, after so many weeks of trouble and setbacks, what could go wrong? I had already bought my tickets to Dublin and booked a bus to the airport – all I needed was to take my Covid-19 Test, and I would be in Leitrim in the next two days. 

Never was I so wrong!

Dublin Airport Arrival

My journey was delayed yet again. This time not because of papers, stamps or rules, but something much much worse. My Covid test was positive – worrisome development just an hour before my bus to the airport. Well, that’s not right, not right at all! While I was feeling fine and healthy, I couldn’t risk exposing sickness to others. Instead of the fields of Leitrim, for the next week or two, I would enjoy a pale view of the Belarussian quarantine. All according to the fundamental law of the universe: anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

It wasn’t that bad except for a few nights of fever dreams with an overall feeling of sickness that appeared a few days after the test, but the vaccine had done its part. While I had to stay in quarantine for a week, the worst was over. The moral of this story is pretty simple: stay safe, be careful and get your vaccine. As my second test in Belarus was officially negative, I was ready to take the road again! 

It is fascinating how Europe is well connected nowadays. It was quite a ride to get me from Belarus to Ireland, but comparing travelling now and what they were a century ago. From my student days, I was familiar with the bus route between my home city of Mogilev and the capital, Minsk. Awaiting my train to Moscow took a while, and the Russian capital met me with rain and – as always – crowded streets. After a quick supper, I went straight to the airport. While I had plenty of time before my flight, you’d better be safe than sorry when you deal with Moscow’s traffic. All this mess left me exhausted, so my flight was swift for me: I quickly fell asleep. Once I opened my eyes, we were landing at the Dublin airport. Welcome to Ireland!

That was the hard part, now to the easy one. The road from Dublin to Drumshambo wasn’t that big of a deal. Not to mention a bunch of amazing people I’ve met at the airport. Talks with strangers at the crossroads are always interesting. Tanya, one of the volunteers, picked me up when I crossed the county border. After an hour’s drive, we were in Drumshambo, and I finally could enjoy a soft bed and warm food after two days of my voyage. Overall the whole trip was quite exhausting, but it is part of the adventure!

Quarantine went smoothly. Other volunteers showed me the house, surroundings and explained the rules. Leitrim is an amazing place that captures the magical atmosphere of rural Ireland. And after five days of quarantine and negative Covid test results, I was finally able to join the GEAI team! 

I know there is much work to be done. But I’m excited to be a member of this team and do my part in the effort of preserving this small but beautiful place that many call home.

Lough Allen viewpoint

Written by: Ilya Linevich