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Finding My Irish Roots, Becoming a Red Head and Experiencing Ireland’s Cuisine

by Jessica Barney, Greenheart Travel Independent Homestay Participant

I woke up to the smell of an Irish breakfast or Irish fry. An Irish fry is sausage, baked beans, toast, eggs, ham and tea, of course. It was delicious, my friends from home would have been in heaven. After breakfast Catharina, Emma, Kavya, and I (Kate had to work) went to the JFK Park in New Ross. It was beautiful, and everything looked so green to me, after being buried in snow for the past few months at home. I met a lot of family members, and they all had a picnic at the park. That night I had a turkey dinner, and some of the family joined us. I learned that pie is called a tart, jam is what jelly is to me and jelly is jell-o. And I had a vanilla slice for desert, along with Cadbury and Aero chocolates, which you can’t find at home.

For breakfast, I had blaa and tea, blaa is only found in Waterford. It was almost like a biscuit with butter on it. But, it was very good. Today I had the day to myself, so I went into town, and got my hair died red at Karl’s. First thing I learned is, they don’t tip in Ireland, as much as the States anyways. Also, they offer you tea or coffee, when your getting your hair done! I had given the hairdresser a tip and I received funny looks. But she was so nice, she deserved it.

photo by Jessica Barney

After my hair was done, and I was finally a red head, I went to the Cathedral in Waterford, and I prayed for my return journey home. (Normally, I would have just taken pictures, but like I said, I’m an uneasy flier). I went to the tourist agency on the Quay (pronounced Key) Discover Ireland, and the tourist guide handed me a few maps, and then I ate lunch there. I had Shepard’s pie and tea. Shepard’s pie is made differently in Ireland than the way I am used to it, there is no corn. After my lunch, I decided to take a tour of the Waterford Museum. The tour was an hour long, and afterward I decided to shop. I shopped at a store called Occasions. Before I left I already had a list made up of what I wanted, and for who (it was helpful, since I had allocated funds for it).

I spent an hour in that tiny store, shopping and talking to the shop keeper, who was so friendly. He even helped me shop and gave me a free magnet. (Because he gave me a free magnet, I started collecting magnets of every place I went to in Ireland). Ollie picked me up after I was done shopping and took me to his mothers. She was the most ideal Irish grandmother to me, she reminded me of my own grandma. We had tea, and Madeira cake with jam together, while an Irish soap opera played. For dinner I had Salmon (for the first time) and potatoes. It was a fun day. Read more of Jessica’s adventure…

About Greenheart Travel

CCI Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders. We achieve this by partnering with organizations and governments overseas that empower their local communities through experiential learning and practical development. We provide others with the same positive travel experiences in which we ourselves engage. Through travel and cultural exchange, we help individuals reach their full potential, leading to a more tolerant, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.


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