Energy: West Coast of Ireland

Ireland’s usage of energy is very interesting and different from what my peers and I are used to back in the United States. Prior to my departure, my classmate and I were informed that we needed to purchase an outlet converter for our trip because Ireland’s plugs are different than ours. Therefore, if we did not bring a converter we would not be able to charge our devices. I found this interesting because I had never been out of the country and never heard about this before; this was the first thing I learned about Ireland. When first looking at the converter that my father went out and bought, I noticed it was bulky and had multiple parts to it. Once arriving to the first hostile, located in Cloughjordan, the outlets were much different than the average outlet used in the states. There were two outlets side by side together which was different from the states because the outlets there are typically placed vertically on top of each other. The outlets also had three holes, one located on top and two located below it, almost forming a triangle. These factors were intriguing to many but were most definitely not the most fascinating part of the outlet’s design. All of the outlets have switches located somewhere near them that requires the person intending to charge their device to switch ON before it will work and OFF after unplugging their device. This is done to conserve energy, something that is not available in many other places around the world. Personally, it took me a while to figure out how to effectively use my converter, but it took me even longer to remember and get used to hitting the switch when charging my phone or computer. When voicing our final comments about the trip to our classmates and professors, one female student raised her hand and shared a funny story. At first she expressed how she loved Ireland outlets and how they are making efforts to reduce the amount of energy used. Everyone in the class agreed and wondered if the unique and conservative outlets would ever make their way to the states. The student then began laughing and shared with the class that she and some of the other females that she shared a room with plugged all their devices in the first day, went to dinner, and came back only to find that none of the devices were charged because they simply forgot or were not aware that the switch needed to be on. All in all, Ireland’s strides to help conserve energy in their country is truly inspiring, even if some find it to be inconvenient or different from what they are used to.

Example of an Ireland outlet. Taken at the Rowan Tree Hostel in Ennis, Ireland.

Additionally, Ireland is big on using solar panels throughout their country and our very intelligent bus driver named Des provided us with details while driving us through the country. He first stated that it is very common to see many solar panels and even wind turbines in the distance. Their strong usage of solar thermal energy not only reduces bills, but is extremely helpful for the environment. These inventions help reduce the emission of C02, therefore protecting the environment. The process includes a team removing the cylinder and slates from the building or house to make way for the solar heating panels. Glycol is then flooded through the solar system acting as a heat-transfer medium. People can then enjoy free and renewable energy for many years. Personally, I loved learning about Ireland’s dedication to solar thermal energy while simultaneously looking out the bus window and seeing the panels with my own eyes.

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