I left America with a preconceived notion of what to expect in another country. I was under the impression that once I’d entered the U.K/Ireland, things would be vastly different to the point of culture shock and I’d be in an entirely different universe. Though I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the multiple differences in Ireland’s lifestyle, things such as movies, pictures, advertisements, television, etc., are all extremely similar to those found in the states. I’ve come to the conclusion that in a typical media sense, Ireland is equally as inclined as America.
In the back of my head, I knew that the U.K. and Ireland were extremely advanced countries and because of that, I feel as if I was expecting to enter into a New York-like atmosphere made up entirely of lit up billboards and continuous advertisements. Clearly, that wasn’t the case. I automatically associated that vision with “different” because to me, that lifestyle isn’t an everyday experience. I’ve never visited New York and because of that, I figured a large city such as Dublin would be similar.
That being said, I didn’t experience an ounce of disappoint throughout my travels. Though I found the media to be similar to that in the states, I still allowed myself to become engulfed in the things that I don’t have the luxury to partake in at home. Through that, I noticed that Ireland’s form of mass media is translated through the endless tour packages that they offer to visitors. The Shamrocker tour, a three-day long bus tour that our group went on, is a perfect example of Ireland’s mass media outlet.
The “mass media” aspect of the tour is simply the fact that our tour guide, Conor, was speaking to our group as a whole. Alongside of during the bus rides themselves, Conor would speak to our group and tell us history, stories, and fun facts about every destination we stopped to explore. It find it interesting that I came into the U.K/Ireland thinking that the country’s media would be very city-based and similar to New York, but it turned out to be the exact opposite. The media is shown both through things similar, yet different than the U.S. Yes, America has guided tours in which guides speak to mass amounts of people, but it was incredibly different due to the fact of what we were actually exploring and learning about.
The things I explored through both Northern Ireland and Ireland were once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The Giant’s Causeway, Slieve League, Loughcrew and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge all offered beautifully unique and breathtaking views that I’ll never be able to enjoy in the states. To me, none of my life experiences have compared to those. While enduring the challenging hikes that accompanied each of these, it never crossed my mind that the way I was exploring such wonderful nature was actually a form of mass media.
If it wasn’t for Conor and the information he communicated to the group, the experiences wouldn’t have been the same. It’s easy to just pile a bunch of people on a bus and cart them around, but actually keeping their interest while educating them on the things their seeing is absolutely necessary. Though Conor played a large part in executing the mass media aspect of the tour, some of the destinations had their own ways to communicate to tourists.
After being quickly briefed by Conor, we arrived at The Giant’s Causeway and were instantly greeted with employees handing us these devices that audibly gave us information as we openly explored the area. It was our own little personal tour guide that we had to the freedom to carry with us as we went. Alongside of that, there was a separate facility in which was set up as an interactive museum, displaying different facts and bits of information that tied into the destination. A short film was playing that acted out the legend behind how the Causeway came to be, using a creative form of media to appeal to the audience in a captivating way. I thought it was interesting that not only Conor was able to provide information through word of mouth, but the Causeway offered plenty of media-related resources that appealed to a variety of audiences.
I’d go as far to say that the Causeway was the most “touristy” attraction. The rest of the endeavors were more rustic in the sense that we solely relied on Conor’s knowledge to guide us, apart from having alternate media-related resources readily available. Even if we did seek alternative information, we weren’t able to access it due to the fact that we didn’t have service of wifi for 90% of the trip. For a trip without easy access to the rest of the world, we still managed to be a part of something that relied solely on mass media. That concept itself is incredibly interesting.
I’m incredibly grateful that I was able to partake in something that was very media-based, yet done so in a way that I wouldn’t be able to experience back home, especially in a tourism sense. I was constantly and pleasantly surprised by the experience on the three-day Shamrocker tour and I know that because of the media resources and Conor’s knowledge, it was an experience I’ll never forget.