Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and whether you're really Irish or not, you might be celebrating all things green and orange. Since I've actually been to Ireland (bragging), I thought I'd share every single thing I know, in case you ever plan to visit.
1. Ireland is beautiful. There are rolling green hills, adorable little villages, cliffs that overlook the ocean, etc. The entire country is posing for a postcard. It's not a very large island, so you can see quite a lot of it just driving around and keeping your eyes open. There aren't a lot of indigenous animals but I did see some swans just hanging out in a pond. And sheep. So many sheep.
Sidenote: one my favorite things was visiting a sheep farmer and seeing how he works with his dogs, sheers his sheep, etc. I got to hold a PUPPY. It may have been all the fresh air but that puppy was one of the best things I've ever experienced.
2. The people in Ireland are just as nice as you'd expect. Very welcoming, so kind, great sense of humor. That's not to generalize too much - people are individuals - but for the most part, you'll be welcomed with a smile and a "how're ya?" Irish people do tend to be gabby so don't be surprised if a stranger strikes up a conversation. They're just genuinely friendly so be nice back and don't ruin the good vibes.
3. Ireland is so relaxing. It's quiet. It rains multiple times a day but in a pitter-patter sort of way that makes you want to wear a sweater and sip tea. It's dark and still at night so your brain will just shut right down. I don't think I've ever slept better.
4. If you're of Irish descent, like so many of us in America are, you might get that vague feeling that you're at home in Ireland. You'll feel like you're in a magical place where you can connect with your ancestors and find your roots. I felt it, too, just a little. Buy a family crest with your last name on it and carry that warm, fuzzy feeling home with you.
5. Don't be afraid to be a tourist. Ireland relies heavily on tourism and no one will look down their nose at you if you ask for directions or need help understanding things. Don't be shy about popping into a pub just to check it out or asking tour guides lots of questions. Be curious, be respectful, and relax. You'll have a wonderful time.
That's it - everything you need to know.