One of the things I’ve loved most about my time in Ireland has been experiencing the island’s incredible landscapes and natural areas. Living in Dublin, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the east coast, with its dramatic cliffs and views of the Irish Sea. Howth, Bray to Greystones, and the Wicklow Mountains have become some of my favorite places to explore after class or on the weekend. The wind-whipped coastline, the blue-green water, and the undulating rocky paths of County Dublin are harsh and gorgeous.
Ever since the year began, it has struck me how much the look and layout of Dublin reminds me of my hometown of Boston, MA. Both are port cities, relatively flat, oriented around rivers that flow east toward the ocean. The similarities between the two cities’ urban cores struck me right away, and the similarities continue when I venture out into the more remote natural areas surrounding the cities. I’ve found it really interesting how both cities came to be primarily because of their proximity to the ocean, and the importance of their shipping and fishing industries, and today, that same proximity to the ocean makes them both especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Back home in Boston, I did a lot of work around coastal climate resilience and urban sustainability, and that’s something I hope to learn more about in Dublin in the coming semester as well.
I’ve also gotten a chance to hike further south, in Counties Cork, Kerry, and Limerick, where I’ve explored some more mountainous terrain, including sections of the Ring of Kerry and seen amazing views from the tops of Mt. Strickeen and Cruach Mhór. On the west coast, near Galway, I hiked around Rosscahill Lake and the Ross Woods. The unique beauty of the Irish landscape never gets old and I’m so glad that I have the chance to explore more of it this year. At the top of my list for the springtime is Carrauntoohil, the highest peak in Ireland (I tried and failed to make it to the top when I was around 13 years old, and I’ve always wanted to try again!)