I’ve been fascinated about Ireland for quite some time. Before even realising there was an open position in GEAI, myself and some of my friends were looking into flights to visit Ireland.

At the end of February I received the news I was going to Ireland! I couldn’t be more excited, I really felt that things were happening the way they were meant to!

DEPARTURE DAY

I woke up and it was still dark outside, I was too nervous to sleep or do anything because finally moving abroad was becoming a reality.

My home is in Aveiro, so the closest airport would be in Porto, but the flights weren’t the best, so I decided to go from Lisbon. Luckily my parents were able to drive me, so I had a little extra time with them.

I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, and everything went smoothly. My flight took off at 13:30 as scheduled.

ARRIVING IN DUBLIN

Obviously, I was greeted with very typical Irish weather, it was raining. So, there I was trying to figure out where to catch a bus to go from the airport to the city with two suitcases. My parents always told me if you’re lost no better way then asking locals. I did, and they were the nicest people! Irish people are not just polite, they are friendly and very kind to everyone. The Irish accent is beautiful and unique, which I hope to get accustomed to.

The bus left me at the outskirts of Dublin. I wanted to buy something to eat, so I asked in the ticket office at the train station if there were any supermarkets close by. The man was very nice and not only pointed where I could buy something, but also told me he could storage my bags while I went there.

At 19:23 I caught my train.

ARRIVING IN CARRICK-ON-SHANNON

It was around 22:00 when I arrived in Carrick-on-Shannon. When I got out of the train, it was dark and foggy so I couldn’t see much of where I was, but then I saw Aedin, one of the directors. She came to pick me up and literally welcomed me with open arms.

Unfortunately, because some of the volunteers had covid, and others had to also quarantine, I couldn’t meet most of the team.

JUST IN TIME FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY

A few days after I arrived, myself and some of the other volunteers made a trip to Sligo. We were fortunate enough to not only see a typical St. Patrick’s Day parade but enjoy some live music session in a cozy little pub. It was the perfect welcoming to this beautiful country and culture.

By: Carina Castanheta