20th September 2018
Ireland has been and will always be a second home to me. I've been half Irish my whole life, obviously and have been lucky enough to feel like I’ve grown up half in Ireland and half in London. When I write it out like that and say it out loud it reminds me how lucky I’ve been to have grown up in, what I would consider to be, some of the most beautiful places in the world.
I spent many a weekend sitting in the back of a rental car looking out the window at the beautiful countryside all the while pretending that I was in an MTV music video because let's face it I was like 12… okay I still do this very regularly. I feel like that would have been a really good time for the embarrassed Emoji. After I got through the whole of my emotional playlist on my iPod mini we would arrive at my Uncles house where the back gate and door were always open so you could just walk in and instantly feel like you were home, like you had never left.
The majority of the time almost the whole of my Irish family would be there to greet us all with tons of food and drink and honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way, in fact, it wouldn’t be Ireland if it was any other way.
To be more specific we go to a place called Derry in Northen Ireland which is where my dad and his family grew up - hence the half Irish thing. If anyone is unfamiliar with Ireland or Derry, it has one hell of a history. It's not the most pleasant of stories as most historic ones are not but for me, and for most people, it's both heart-breaking and extremely interesting especially because my Dad lived through most of it. Now, I don’t really want to go into much detail mainly because I don’t want to get anything wrong or miss anything that was crucial but even just walking through the main town you get reminded of the History that is Derry through the most beautiful Murals and the Free Derry wall.
When I was younger they were just paintings that I thought were cool and it was something I didn’t see in London on that kind of scale but as I grew up and started to learn about the world and realise that they obviously weren’t just paintings and that they came from a place of pain and injustice and that on some level it must have been so hard for my Dad to come back here, again and again, being reminded of what happened when he was just a teenager and possibly even harder for my relatives to still live there, it is in-comprehendible the amount of respect I have for my Dad and his family. It was only on this trip that my Dad explained what happened to him during his childhood and what it was like for him growing up and part of me thinks that he decided to tell me this year because I was old enough to understand and to actually see a place that I had seen a million times before in a whole new light. This is not to say that I still don’t adore Derry, because if anything I adore it more now and feel so unbelievably proud that I have Irish blood.
This trip was a whole new experience for me because my Dad took us to places we had never seen before - the P.S-I-love-you-Ireland which I have to admit, I have always wanted to see. Now, we didn’t actually go to where they filmed P.S I love you but it looked heckin similar, just a lot of green grass, steep hills, wind, and rain. (Giants Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge - if anyone was wondering)It was just beautiful and a photographers paradise, insane scenic views and a whole lot of Dogos. I went through 5 rolls of film just essentially going up 2 hills and yes it was hard changing my rolls with the wind and rain on the top of a mountain/hill. After this beautiful hike in that really annoying spitty rain, yes I’m aware of the contradiction, we spent the night with family drinking and eating, as per usual. By the end of the trip I was completely exhausted; trying to do something every day even though half the time I just wanted to be half asleep on the reclining sofa watching Narcos. Despite this I’m so happy I made the effort ( 90% of the time ) to get up and experience Ireland in a way I never have before.
If you are ever looking to take a trip to Europe or the UK I would definitely (yes I'm biased ) advise you visit Ireland but you do have to be a fan of really shitty whether either that or you just have to be used to it. Basically, Ireland isn't the place to go searching for sun but it's a place for adventure.