The beauty of Ireland is seen in many different ways; it is interpreted differently by everyone who is lucky enough to visit. For Brazilian Student Ambassador Caroline Pereira, she has seen the magic, charm and majesty of Ireland during her time spent in Limerick…
I’m from Santa Catarina, one of the most beautiful states in Brazil. Our capital is called Florianópolis and is an island. Many people wrote songs and poems to show how strong and deep their love is for the small piece of land. One of the songs that I like most is “Rancho de Amor a Ilha”, and I took the idea for the title of this blog from the song. “A piece of land lost in the ocean. A piece of land of unrivalled beauty”. Floripa is known as “Ilha da Magia” but it was on another island that I found all the magic in the world. The land of leprechauns, endless rainbows, Cailleach and Celtics legends – Ireland is such a magical island.
I always had a big love for travel, getting to know other places, cultures and people, but I never felt for another place, the love and connection that I felt at first sight for Ireland. It is probably a love from another life. I was probably Irish in another lifetime.
There’s not enough rain in Ireland to explain how much I felt at home in this place. All the green, all the stones, all the love that I found in this place changed me completely. Dublin with all the lights and people; Dingle with all the tones of blue in the sky and sea; the green of Kerry; Doolin and its traditional music; all the medieval faces of Kilkenny; the beautiful and colourful Galway, Cork, Ennis, Killaloe, Connemara – the list goes on and on. They are all beautiful, but the one that stole my heart was Limerick.
As singer Denis Allen said, ‘Limerick is a lady’, like a mother who cared for me, the city made me fall in love with the golden waters of the Shannon, the dark colour of Guinness and the wind messing my hair when I was walking down O’Connell Street. The lady is full of charm and sweetness that made me feel at home.
To my surprise, Limerick was not the sad, poor and cold place that Frank McCourt told me about in his novel Angela’s Ashes. Limerick is an unbelievable city, a place full of flowers, with happy people, filled with opportunity and generosity. Limerick was my place in Ireland. It was as if The Cranberries made a soundtrack for my time there: “Oh, my life was changing every day, in every possible way”. While I lived there for more than one year. I arrived in Ireland with only two small bags, my courage and my passport. The biggest adventure in my life.
Limerick is for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for peace in a church or to relax in one of the city’s many pubs. You will find what you are looking for. I went to Ireland looking to find knowledge, but I found so much more than that. I found inspiration and myself. Like Floripa, Ireland has people who wrote songs to show love and so, I will borrow some of their lines to finish my text. It is true that “the Isle of home is always on your mind” (Mary Duff) – Ireland has become that for me.
Caroline is doing a Masters in Mentoring and Leadership at Mary Immaculate College.