On Sunday, May 15th, our group went on a trip with Wild Rover Tours to rural Ireland (Glendalough Valley in the Wicklow Mountains National Park) and Kilkenny, a city located southwest of Dublin. Although I prefer living in an urban area, if I were to choose between Dublin and Glendalough Valley, I’d absolutely go for the latter. Imagine waking up every morning and the view outside your window is a shimmering lake?
Despite having gone from a densely populated area to one that is lightly populated, I haven’t really noticed any communication differences. I believe the main reason for this is because the bus took us to see places and meet people who were expecting domestic and foreign tourist groups, so they were prepared to interact with us in ways we’re familiar with. For instance, the farmer we met discussed how he ran his farm and cared for the livestock, all while speaking in a slower fashion and using lower-context language. I’m sure that if we just, for example, began talking to an unsuspecting local on a public bus in Kilkenny, we would’ve had a much different experience.
In a similar manner, I believe that the local perceptions of us Plus3 Ireland people certainly differ depending on where we are—although the sheep we encountered in Glendalough Valley probably couldn’t care less about who we were and why we were there. Most notably, I found that the people had varying perceptions of us when moving between The Liberties (an older, more traditional region) and Temple Bar (a known tourist trap) in Dublin. The types of businesses/industries in those areas and in rural Ireland likely also contributed to the unique perceptions people have of tourists. In the capital city of Dublin, there are many international workers and companies (specifically giant technology ones) that would have allowed people to easily explore and share perspectives/information with one another, whereas technology is not as prevalent in the rural areas of Ireland which would have made it harder for those people to be more receptive of people of different backgrounds.
While I have enjoyed my stay in Dublin thus far, it was nice to take a break from the city life and experience the rural version this weekend. For anyone reading this who is thinking about visiting Ireland, I highly recommend making time for a trip to the rural parts of the country in addition to the urban ones.
An interesting tidbit (7/?) of this day is that one of the Border Collie dogs that were herding the sheep was 18 months old and still undergoing training (even learning by mimicking the older, more experienced doggo)!