The Size of Indiana

Grace McGovern
April 5, 2017

There is one fact in particular about Ireland has stuck out to me: it is approximately the size of the state of Indiana.


Ireland has always had a sort of mythical status to me. My dad is huge into genealogy and ancestry, so I’ve heard tales and tales about this wonderful green land of my great’s and great-great’s and great-great-great’s. It felt like this huge swirling wonderland to me, filled with immeasurable miles of rolling green fields speckled with cows and sheep and hills for as far as the eye can see. To think that this country could be as small as my neighboring state seemed unfathomable to me. And even living in here, and knowing truly how small it is first hand, I still can’t wrap my head around it. Ireland is unique in that every inch of this country is covered with something beautiful or interesting to be found. I’ve decided to lay out a couple of my favorite places I’ve voyaged to while being in this little island, and try to show just how large and impactful something so tiny can really be.


The Cliffs of Moher

This one is obvious. You’ve seen it in every picture book of Ireland, watched the waves crash in slow motion against its steeping green cliffs in countless tourism commercials.  I made the cross-country trek here in just the second week of my time here, based on endless recommendations and urges that I absolutely must go. And though it’s cliché, I absolutely have to agree. There’s something entirely otherworldly about this place, even though it is a mere 2-hour bus ride away from the urban center that is Dublin. Even though the cliffs are always bustling with tourists, regardless of the season, there is a tranquility to be found here.


Dún Laoghaire

A personal favorite of my friends and I, and one that is especially close to my heart, is the coastal town of Dún Laoghaire. Every Sunday it boasts my favorite market, the People’s Park Market. There are rows and rows of every type of food you could dream of, ranging from falafel wraps to crepes to hand rolled ice cream. My personal favorite, however, is the Teddy’s Ice Cream stand to be found here. With its iconic 99 cone, this ice cream is by far the best I’ve ever had. That’s saying a lot, considering how obsessed with ice cream I am! Beyond just the amazing food are the amazing views, being right up against the coast and speckled with brightly colored houses and frolicking dogs and kids. With it being just a 20 minute train ride from Dublin, this has become one of my favorite places in Ireland.


Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk

Another nearby destination is that of the cities of Bray and Greystones. But more specifically, there is a lovely cliff walk that connects the two places. Clocking in at just about 2 hours, the walk is not too difficult but still incredibly rewarding. The few of the ocean is spectacular, especially when contrasted with the towering cliffs above you. The walk is also speckled with ruins, some you can wander in. It’s like stepping into another world when you find these little landmarks, and feels wholly and authentically Irish. To make the journey even better is the ultimate reward you get when you’ve landed in Greystones: The Happy Pear. Renowned around Ireland for its healthy and delicious vegetarian food, stopping in to eat here after the long walk just makes the food that much better. After you’re done in Greystones, you can just hop back on the DART and get back to Dublin in under an hour.




The most historic of all the locations I went to, Newgrange doesn’t seem like much when you walk up to it. A large but simple rock lined mound, its simple structure hides its impressive past. Newgrange is estimated have been built around 3200 BC, making it even older than the Egyptian pyramids. The sheer age of this place is astounding on its own, but visitors are lucky enough to get to venture inside the chamber itself. To be able to stand inside a structure that is older than most things still on this planet is an astounding and humbling experience. The most unique aspect of the chamber is the small strip of light that shines through the passageway and illuminates it on the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice. They stimulated that experience for us, showing the strip light up warm and yellow along our feet. To think that I could travel a mere hour and wind up at this piece of history is still something I marvel at.


These are just a few examples of the depth and breadth of culture, beauty, and joy to be found in Ireland. Though its tiny, I like to think that Ireland makes good use of the space it does have.

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Grace McGovern

<p>I am a junior English major at Illinois Wesleyan University studying in Dublin, Ireland. I love the rain, which is a good thing, since it never stops here. You can find me sitting in a café reading Sylvia Plath in my down time, as any good English major would. Poetry, the sea, and finding the best ice cream in any given location are just a few of my passions.</p>

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