A Love Letter to Dingle

Studying abroad was the one thing I told myself I needed to do while I was in college. When I was a senior in high school searching for schools, I made sure to only apply to ones that had impressive study abroad programs. I was determined to travel during my college career.

Flash forward about three and half years, and my time is almost up. I’m in my senior year and I haven’t traveled abroad, haven’t experienced another country and culture on my own. This year more than ever it was on my mind; not only because my last chance to make it happen in college was fast approaching, but also because the more I thought and dreamt about my future, the more I saw myself traveling overseas and even possibly living there for some time.

I finally made the decision to go to Dingle for the winter program over the summer. I was a bit nervous about spending the money, but as I’ve mentioned in a previous editorial, spending money on experiences is always worth it for me. I made sure one of my close friends was going, constantly checking up and confirming he was applying and even reminding him of every deadline. I did not want to go alone. Little did I know my fear of not making any friends this trip would completely dissipate the second I stepped off the bus in Dingle.

Just as I had suspected, this experience was completely worth it. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. What I was most looking forward to in the months leading up to my departure was the walkable city and beautiful landscape that I would be surrounded by every day. When I think about my environment here in America, I am immediately saddened by all the industrialization I see around me. Highways, big gray buildings and traffic lights. Tall fluorescent signs for fast food or stores. Modern bland architecture. Concrete barriers and potholes on roads that seem to go on forever. I was looking forward to seeing something different, seeing a part of the world that was simpler than the busy, claustrophobic world around me in America.  

Dingle was refreshing, a gust of fresh air that blew all my worries away. It really is true what they say about walking and being outside. I felt happier even though it was cold, even though at some points I couldn’t feel my toes and my face hurt when the wind would whip against my skin. All things considered, we got lucky with the weather. It was mostly sunny, something unheard of for the typically wet Januarys.

The physical features of Dingle were breathtaking. In addition to the green hills and mountains that towered over the town, with sheep scattered throughout like specks of clouds, every building was unique and incredibly vibrant. Bright yellows, blues, reds, and greens plastered the town like a paint palette. Each building had its own personality, with its older architecture as if nothing had been touched in decades, maybe even centuries. The locals were friendly, and so were the bartenders. Being twenty-one, going into pubs and ordering drinks didn’t feel exactly special. What did feel special was the environment inside the pubs. The music, the conversations, the seats and tables, the décor on the walls. I was fascinated just sitting inside and starring at anything I could. Everything about Dingle felt like a home.

I already look so fondly on my short two weeks in Dingle, and I’m already trying to plan my next trip there. The friends I made there, ones that I’m lucky enough to still see around campus; the sites I saw while lugging two cameras around my neck; Lidl, my haven before class; Foxy John’s and Dick Mack’s and Dingle Pub, places where I will hopefully live on forever with my name carved into their bathroom stalls.  

Dingle, you were a dream.

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