During our two-week program in Ireland, I came across a variety of communities within the many places we visited along our journey. Our first stop was the Cloughjordan Ecovillage located in County Tipperary, where villagers use their vast 67-acre farm to build and practice living a sustainable lifestyle.
During our time spent living in the Django hostel, I was able to distinguish a common theme among the villagers: hospitality. Every single person living in the village knew one another on a first-name basis, and I was astounded by how quickly the locals were able to learn and remember each and every one of our names within our short stay. Johanna, a woman living in the village with her husband and young daughter, hosted a delicious dinner for which she made a chicken and curry dish. As well, she made us each an individual pizza tailored to our personal tastes. The point I am trying to make is that the people of Ireland care about others just as much as themselves, if not more. This theme continued to appear in each town and county we faced throughout our journey. Walking down the streets of Westport, people were more than happy to stop and take the time to point out a few local hot-spots for a genuinely fantastic nightlife experience. In Achill Island, it was incredible to see people watering their plants outside in the front garden, waving to all of us as we raced by on our rental bicycles– which, by the way, was one of the most gratifying adventures on this trip. When a group of us realized we had traveled too far off the marked bike path, we stopped at a house where a man was working outside in his driveway. Upon asking for directions on how to recover our path, he literally put a stop to everything he was doing to fully explain in detail the route back to our hostel. People in Ireland are so genuinely kind and open to sharing their knowledge about the area with other locals and tourists alike.