This won’t be your normal, run-of-the-mill “Hey, I went to an amazing museum!” review or whatever travel bloggers normally write. Epic Ireland is a truly amazing museum. It’s spectacular – it’s absolutely awesome because this museum ticks all the boxes. However, the day I went to Epic Ireland, I discovered more about myself than I expected. I had absolutely NO idea I was about to experience something truly epic that would have such a lasting affect.
I first walked into Epic Ireland expecting a museum but that’s not what happened this day…
Epic Ireland is just a short walk from Temple Bar. It’s located in a gorgeous building with lots of places for a coffee or a meal, so you can pretty much plan to have a bite to eat before or after heading into the realms of epicness.
Grab your tickets on the ground level and take the stairs to the departure lounge. This is where you’ll be given your new passport to start your journey! What’s cool is you get to stamp your passport as you walk though the rooms. I loved this!
Upon first entry, a wall demonstrates the migration patterns of the Irish over hundreds of years. If you think about it, Ireland packs a pretty massive punch for such a little country – I mean, I don’t know of many other planets where the ENTIRE POPULATION OF EARTH claims to be Irish on the 17th of March. Just think about it – it’s totally true.
… I had this jarring feeling. See that photo above… It’s confronting – no doubt. But in person, it pretty much captures the feeling of dread that I get every single time I’ve walk though immigration.
For me, I find immigration quite unnerving. I’ve never done anything wrong, but I mean, they always make me feel like I have. And yes, I have been asked a lot of those big questions. Why are you travelling alone? How much money are you travelling with? What’s your occupation? Let me see your return ticket… the list goes on…
We all travel for different reasons. Some of us are adventurers and thrill seekers… or we’re looking to make a difference in the world… and sometimes, our life has been so completely shattered that we’re seeking a new life in a foreign land.
It’s true, we all have our own stories. But, have you ever really given much thought to the person sitting next to you on your flight? I challenge you to ask your seatmate where they’re going; start a conversation! Try and get to know them regardless of who they are – I believe you might be pleasantly surprised to learn their story.
And then I saw this: Why would you leave? Oh my gosh. Why would I leave? Why DID I leave? It had me really question and remember back to when I dropped everything and moved to Australia. A lot of my memories came flooding back to me:
I was tweeting my experience at Epic Ireland in real time as I remembered it. I packed six boxes of my life and only four arrived. The rest of my life had to go – meaning, this girl had to choose what she was going to take with her to her new life in Sydney, Australia. What didn’t fit in the six boxes had to be thrown out. This was no easy fete. All my childhood possessions became distant memories in a flash because there was entirely NO WAY I could keep them. (A lot of people have family they can count on to store things – I wasn’t that lucky)
It was getting pretty deep. I wasn’t overwhelmed, but I was totally aware of what I was thinking and I was thinking a lot. I also read that 2 out of 5 young Irish adults migrated out of Ireland in the 1950’s. That’s HUGE! But, I started to think about the good that must have come from this.
Since being in Ireland the past few weeks, I’ve learnt that Ireland has a wealth of culture. The Irish are natural born romantics, writers, scientists and all around good people. Ireland, you should be proud. Really PROUD. I’m proud of you! You have left a positive impact on the world and I just think that’s truly amazing!
And I mean, your culture is everywhere… Just look at Australia. Ned Kelly was a notorious Aussie bushranger – not for all the right reasons, but he’s an Aussie hero – an underdog if you will. Fearless and charismatic, he represented the struggling classes of the time and for a large part, still does.
I was also shocked to learn that my namesake, Foster’s, was brewed by Irish migrants to Australia! As we say in Australia “On ya, mate.”
So I guess what I took from Epic Ireland is this: This is not just the story of Ireland, this is the story of all of us. We are all on our own journey. We all have our own stories to share because “we all come from somewhere.”
I left the museum. I went for a walk and I started to think – like I started to REALLY think. I was feeling a bit uneasy – like almost a bit lost but not in a bad way. Epic Ireland was on my mind and I didn’t know why. I wouldn’t say that what I was thinking was “heavy,” but Epic Ireland caught my attention. I was thinking about how I moved to Australia over ten years ago and didn’t look back. It had an incredible impact on my life. I consider myself an immigrant rather than an expat – I feel Australian. I migrated. I’m no different than anyone else. I really do feel and I’m so incredibly proud to be Australian! But, something was going on in my head that I just couldn’t shake. I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Later that night, I went to a lecture in Temple Bar put on by HeadStuff. Basically, it’s stuff you never thought you’d ever be interested in or normally care about and then somehow you actually become really interested! One lecture, in particular, that captured my attention was presented by Dr. Niamh Shaw. Niamh spoke about how she was a little girl who wanted to go to space but then “life happened” – and all these years later, she’s throwing everything she’s got to go to space. I truly commend her.
So here I am, Tara – a girl who’s bicycling around Ireland… who today had some sort of experience at Epic Ireland and then… listening to Niamh talk about her dreams. Let’s just say I lost it. I cried. I cried and it was awesome! This brings me back to Kinsale – I didn’t know why I was crying on my way to Kinsale – at all… But you know what, I think I’m starting to figure it out.
The next morning when I woke up, I started to reflect back and then IT TOTALLY HIT ME.
Here I am putting on mascara and it hit me…. This is not about a girl on a bike, it’s about a girl trying to find her place in the world.
I’m not exactly sure where I belong just yet. I don’t know where I’m going, or for that matter, what I’m really doing… but ya know what.. that’s ok. It’s really ok – because life is one big adventure! Life is amazing. And I’m ready to see what happens next!
People have asked me what I’m going to do after Ireland – and my answer has always been “I don’t know.” This is because, I don’t know where I’m going. But, I can say this: Wherever I go, it’ll be amazing.
A girl gone walkabout in the great big world!