Happy St. Patrick's Day! This day holds a special place in my heart, particularly since 2020 when I had the incredible opportunity to celebrate it with dear friends in Dublin, Ireland. The Irish food, drink, music and the Irish people were fantastic. It was a life-changing experience. My first time going overseas; the first stamp on my passport. I have so many awesome memories and pictures from the trip and I'd like to share some with you.

Once Covid travel restrictions were lifted my friends Rochelle, Sean, Mark and I decided to go to Ireland over spring break  and celebrate St. Patrick's Day 2022. We booked our flights and hotel rooms six months in advance and flew out of Williston's XWA airport, it was so convenient. Landing in Dublin, I was surprised how SMALL the airport is.

However, our arrival wasn't without a hiccup. Rochelle's and my luggage failed to make the journey with us, resulting in three days of recycling one outfit (with nightly hand-washing rituals) until my bag finally arrived on Wednesday. Unfortunately, Rochelle's luggage remained elusive, until it mysteriously appeared on her doorstep in June. Lesson learned: always pack a spare set of clothes in a carry-on.

I recommend taking a guided bus tour. You can really learn a lot and see a lot. Our first full day, we hopped on a 13 hour Wild Rover bus tour to Belfast, Dunluce Castle in Bushmills, and the Giants Causeway - all in Northern Ireland. In Belfast, we took a Black Cab political tour and visited the Titanic museum.

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Back on the bus to go see the Giants Causeway. It is made up of some 40,000 massive black basalt columns sticking out of the sea. The dramatic sight has inspired legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland.

Also part of the tour, Dunluce Castle, a now-ruined medieval castle perched on a cliff in Northern Ireland. It is recognizable from the hit show Game of Thrones. The landscape and views were truly breathtaking, and you could actually see Scotland in the distance.

The second day was spent walking around Dublin. We saw St. Patrick's Cathedral, checked out some art at the National Gallery of Ireland, and found the Oscar Wilde Sculpture in Merrion Square. Rochelle and Sean went shopping so she could finally have a change of clothes. Marc and I found a pub and had beers and chippers (potato chips) while we waited for them to join us.

The third day was St. Patrick's Day. After two years of cancellations due to covid, the national St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin was back. The streets were packed and people of all ages were dressed up and ready to celebrate! There were floats, artistic elements, audience interaction and 12 marching bands from around the world. By far, the best and biggest parade I have ever seen. Afterward, every bar was packed, with lines of people waiting to get in. The lines were too long, so we went back to our hotel which had a rooftop bar, and watched all the revelers below.

Our final two days we toured the Guinness Brewery, attended a Tori Amos concert at the Olympia Theater, shopped some thrift stores, stopped by the world famous Liberty Bar and Rochelle and I got matching possum tattoos at Liberty Ink. Not sure what screaming possums with bouffant hairdos have to do with Ireland, but who cares? While the girls got tattoos, the boys took a bus tour of Dublin.

Reflecting on my maiden voyage abroad, marred only by the luggage mishap, I realize our reluctance to rent a car limited our exploration. Next time, we'll muster the courage to traverse Cork, Kerry, and even the Blarney Stone. For anyone venturing abroad, I urge you to embrace every opportunity for adventure—whether by car, bus, or foot—and to document your journey with countless photos. Cheers to the magic of travel!

Check out some of my pictures below.

Mad Max's Ireland Vacation

Gallery Credit: Mad Max

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