On Tuesday October 10th, my Tourism Ireland colleagues and I were invited to a special Irish event in the European Parliament. In celebration of Sligo winning an important award, an exhibition space in the Parliament has been running which promotes the county as well as the Wild Atlantic Way. 

Sligo have been awarded the European Volunteering Capital 2017, which is a great honour for them and for Ireland. The exhibition was organised by MEP Marian Harkin, who represents Ireland Midlands-North-West in the European Parliament, here in Brussels. On Tuesday evening, people from all over gathered for this event including the Irish Ambassador to Belgium H.E Mrs Helena Nolan, who we had the pleasure of meeting. 

The next day I was delighted to work at the exhibition on behalf of Tourism Ireland. The Wild Atlantic Way and Sligo were the main focus, so I spent the day answering questions about Ireland from the curious people passing through. It was a great experience being able to work there for the day, and I met a lot of friendly people. I also attended a seminar hosted by MEP Harkin, where I learnt a lot about Sligo and also the volunteering opportunities available to young people in Europe. 

Before this week, I was not aware of the opportunities associated with volunteering such as the European Solidarity Corps. This is an initiative available to people between 18 and 30 years of age from the EU, that creates amazing opportunities for both the volunteers and the societies that they help. Projects can last from 2 to 12 months and are usually international assignments. What better way to travel than to be also helping others in the mean time? I met a lot of people over the past few days who have been dedicating themselves to volunteer work their whole lives, which really encouraged me to look into volunteering myself.

It was amazing to see inside the European Parliament and to meet a lot of inspiring people, so thank you to MEP Harkin and Tourism Ireland for the opportunity to be there.