Coming from a rural area in Maine and moving to Ireland has been shocking at times, but what has shocked me the most is the size of Ireland. Ireland is roughly the size of the state of Indiana and fits into the state of Texas about 8 times. It is an 7.5 hour drive from top to bottom and a 2.5 hour drive right across the middle. For someone such as myself who had to drive 30 minutes just to pick up milk or get gas, this is extremely small. The best part about it is how easy it is to travel from place to place.
Ireland has a well functioning public transit system. You don’t need to own a car to get around and see things. There are regular trains, buses, and trams to almost every corner of Ireland and great infrastructure for seeing the more well known sights such as the Cliffs of Moher and Killarney Castle. It is also easy to get off the beaten path even if you are reliant on public transit for the trip home. Some of my best day trips have been on the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) which is the commuter train along the east coast of Dublin.
You don’t have to go far along the DART to see new places. Most stops are only 10 minutes apart, but each has its own separate atmosphere. My favorite weekend trips have been walking along the coast from one DART station to the next. I did the walk from Bray to Greystones with fellow Mitchell Micaela Connery (photo below) and recently did a day trip by myself walking from Dalkey to Killiney (photo below). Howth on the North side of Dublin is also a great city getaway.
In Maine and other parts of the US it would be very hard to function without a car and there is a new level of independence and experiences that come with getting your license. In a year here, without a car, I have been able to see many parts of Ireland and some of them in just a day. It has been rewarding to be in a place where you can live in the heart of a city and be outside in the country side in a short 30 minute train ride. This is a luxury I surely won’t have once I return and has really highlighted my time here.