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My dream

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Vancouver, BC
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My dream

So I am a fifteen year old living in Canada. My dream, however, is to travel the minute I get out of high school (provided I am able to obtain the sufficient financial security required for as much of course), and among one of the places I'd like to visit sooner rather than later is Ireland. And while I know I'm a small ways away from when I'll actually be turning this dream of travel a reality, I still immensely enjoy looking up these travel sites and finding new destinations I'd like to someday see, and to get advice beforehand from seasoned travelers and natives of the places I hope to go would be incredible and I'd really be ever so appreciative.

So, to break it down, when I think Ireland, I think bed and breakfast. I'd really love to find that homey, wake up to sheeps grazing outside your window and a breakfast with an innkeeper who treats every guest like long lost family feeling. However at the same time, I don't want to be completely in Vacation Town. I'd enjoy meeting people who actually LIVE in Ireland when I travel there, and if that's unrealistic for the relaxing B&B backdrop I envision my trip having, I'd at the very least like to meet people who are around my age (so, 18-25's I suppose). I guess I'd like to stay around the Dublin Area, however it doesn't have to be exactly within the city. I'm looking for that place that just feels like a warm hug on a cold morning, y'know, the kind of place you feel at home in immediately. Whether you're able to recommend a certain city (county?) or a specific B&B you've visited, I'd be eternally grateful for any recommendations. Thanks again!

-Someday Traveller

london, ontario
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1. Re: My dream

hey someday - I enjoyed reading your dream.

I don't have any specific recommendations for oyu regarding where to stay - you should some time in cities though - you can get lost and yet feel like you belong, it's wonderful especially if you can find a quiet park to sit and people watch.

Some advice I do have as a solo traveller who likes to meet other people while out and about are the walking tours of the various cities that have them. I've done a bunch when in London (UK) and it was great - I knocked around all day on my own schedule and did what I wanted and then at night to make sure I was sociable but fairly safe I booked various walking tours - particulalry pub walks where you stop into a few pubs on the way. I always had a drink and ended up meeting great people and a few times stayed on after the tour, but there were lots of solo travellers that didn't drink but just wanted to explore pubs and feel part of something.

It's a great option and lots of people your age (or the age you will be - remember drinking age is lower in Europe).

Good Luck!!!

Pasadena, California
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2. Re: My dream

Someday traveller, what a great (and achievable, better yet) dream. I do think that Ireland is a wonderful place to begin your international travels. The shared language, the relatively small scale of the country, and especially the friendly, approachable and kind Irish people, all combine to make a good "port of entry" for international travel.

I especially like that one of your main goals is to get to know local people. Our innkeepers in Kilkenny, at Dunromin B and B, were warm and friendly, and also our innkeeper at Pax House in Dingle. Kilkenny is a small medieval city, about 1.5 hours by train from Dublin; Dingle is your dream of Ireland, with the sheep in the field...

However, you may find that not too many people your age or in their early 20s are staying in B and Bs. Your fellow travelers will mostly be a bit, or a lot, older. But I must say that you seem like the kind of person who probably gets along well with all age groups, so that may not matter.

Youth hostels are a great, fun, inexpensive way to travel, and to meet young people from many countries. From my son's experience, at youth hostels in Dublin, one tends to meet a lot of people (which is fun), and spend the day with them, ending the evening in a pub with a lot of drinking...the alcohol is not required, of course. You might want to mix it up: a few nights in a hostel (in Dublin, perhaps), followed by a few quiet nights to decompress and relax in a rural or small town b and b.

Pasadena, California
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3. Re: My dream

One thing to remember though... I don't want you to be disappointed with B &Bs... They are run as a business. And the "family" quarters are usually separate from the guest quarters, including separate dining areas and living areas. So, while you may have wonderful conversations with the friendlier b & b owners, you will not be likely to be watching tv in their living room, or having breakfast with their family. If there are exceptions to this rule, perhaps someone on this forum can tell you. I do remember that once, in York, England, perhaps 28 years ago, we did stay in a pub owner's "spare room" and watch TV with his family in his living room... but I no longer recall how that came to happen.

When you start university, you will find that there are summer-abroad or semester-abroad programs available where you can stay with families...so that might be something to keep in mind for the future.

Dublin
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4. Re: My dream

www.hostelworld.com/hostels/Dublin…

Another angle?

Dublin, Ireland
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5. Re: My dream

Here's a trip report from 2009 by an 18 year old Israeli girl who followed her dream and made a very successful solo trip to Dublin.

tripadvisor.ie/ShowTopic-g186605-i90-k311649…

Vancouver, BC
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6. Re: My dream

Thank you all so much for posting these reviews for me! You've no idea how pleasantly surprised I was to check my e-mail this morning and find I'd already gotten responses, and it's only been a day! :D

Needless to say, your responses have all been very enlightening for me (and I also greatly appreciate your support of my traveling aspirations) already. However, I was wondering if I might be able to pry a little further and perhaps inspire you to come up with some more recommendations?

On the matter of staying in youth hostels, I will admit I never lingered upon the idea, as my general impression of those is that they simply house a bunch of teenagers whose main intention is to party. And while that's all very well and good---I'd like to acquire a good time as much as anyone at the places I travel---partying isn't the only thing I want to do. However, taking walking tours and bus tours and exploring the city's history isn't the top thing on my agenda either. So, I guess what I mean to say is... how would you go about arranging your trip to Ireland if you wanted to feel like you were just living there for a little while? Not on vacation, not for holiday... How would you just be there? Any thoughts are welcome.

Dublin, Ireland
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7. Re: My dream

Have you investigated any student/educational exchange programmes at your school or in your locality? We have no personal experience of them but they usually involve living with a host family for a period which would be a great way to live like a local and to experience the country, its culture and its ways from an everyday perspective.

NJ
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8. Re: My dream

Hi Someday-

I really enjoyed reading your post. Best of luck to you as you plan your future adventures.

I would agree with the other posters about considering a study abroad program through a college as a way to start your travels. I was lucky enough to do two. One to England and on to Ireland. They were some of the best experiences of my life, not to mention college. If your college does not offer a program- look at other schools. There were a number of students on both of my trips from other colleges. In fact, for the England trip, there were four 50-something women not in college, but who always wanted to study abroad, so they contacted the school, and off they went. (As an aside, putting a study abroad experience on your resume is also a nice feather in your cap).

As far as too much partying with the college crowd... yes, there were a group of kids on both trips that thought the only cool thing about being oversees was the fact they could legally buy beer. Our US professors were staying on campus with us, so as far as late noisy nights on campus- it just did not happen.

The vast majority of students, however, wanted to learn and experience as much as they could of the culture they were visiting. Yes, pubs were most certainly a part of that, but, most pubs are happy to serve you a pot of tea, or a coca cola if that is what you want.

All the best to you as you plan.

Aiken, South...
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9. Re: My dream

I agree with studying abroad in college. For now, does your high school offer a foreign exchange program? That would be a great way to travel and learn too.

I too, began dreaming of visiting Ireland when I was young, actually I was a very little girl. It's taken me a long time to be able to go, but I'll be leaving later this month. Don't ever give up on your dreams. Try to travel before you begin a family, as that often makes it easier.

Pasadena, California
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10. Re: My dream

You do seem like an ideal candidate for a study abroad program. Most are for university-age students, and run by universities or colleges, and I have never heard bad reports about any of them. Most university students speak glowingly about their university-organized semesters abroad. Keep in mind that some of the programs have students living in dorms with people from their own countries, some mix them with local students in dorms, and some have family stays. So look carefully at your options when you get to university.

There are also many programs specifically for high school students-- many run by "for profit" organizations--- which tend to be expensive. Some are tours, and some are home-stay programs. There are tons of organizations running these high school summer programs, and the quality seems to vary quite a bit. There is a lot of demand for these programs among affluent students, at least in the US, partly because some parents assume that such trips look good on college applications. One summer, we "hosted" a German high school student in our home, for a "cultural exchange". He was a lovely boy, but his main reason for the trip was that his parents... you guessed it... thought it would help with university admission. So if you decide to go this route, research carefully and talk to a number of students who travelled with that organization the previous summer, to avoid disappointment.