Ireland is known for their open and welcoming communities. Throughout my journey here in Ireland, I observed different styles of living. We stayed at Cloughjordan, Achill, Spiddal and other rural areas. Observations I made focused on the people here and their interaction with one another. Similarly, I examined the communities we stayed in and see how the villagers interacted with outsiders, such as us 16 college students.
Irish people smile a lot. That is one of the first Irish customs you will notice when getting off the plane. Their smile is inviting allowing you to feel comfortable starting a conversation with them. The people of Ireland uphold a conversation and are not afraid to ask you questions such as “What do you think of your current president?”. They tend to over apologize especially if they feel like they offended you. We went to the Parsons Mansion in Birr and our tour guide was very apologetic for simply losing her train of thought. The tour guide told our group “Things in Ireland work and then they don’t and then we don’t fix them” she followed her statement with “sorry this is a typically Irish thing” . Overall, the individuals I have encountered go out of their way to make the visitors feel welcome in their communities and country.
Our first couple nights stay was the Eco-village in Cloughjordan. This is a very small tight-knit community where there are only 90 people in Eco-village and under 200 people in the whole community. This was a village where everyone knew everyone and everything. They all encouraged each other and would lend a hand if anyone needed help. The community prides themselves on both being environmentally conscious and community focused. A survey was conducted and 33% of the people said they chose the Eco-village for their environment choices and everyone else said because of the community. The community itself farms together and all put in hard work to improve their lands. While I stayed in the Eco-village, it seemed to me the community was more a family rather than townspeople. Westport and Achill are focused on their community but are not as closely as Cloughjordan.
The communities and the villagers are some of the most welcoming individuals I ever met. They truly care about who you are and want to know more about you. Not only do they care about the travelers, they care about one another and their village. The people also focus and have pride for their country and the history behind who they are. In the States, as they call it here, people are nowhere near as welcoming. It was a nice change in life.