As I discussed in my “In Awareness” country analysis paper, the economy of the Republic of Ireland has seen rapid growth over the last several years. This in turn has led to higher wages, a higher mandatory minimum wage (nearly $12/hour in American currency) and an increase in product and service prices overall. I have found that this aspect has most significantly and evidently affected my stay in Ireland. It is not only the elevated price of goods and services which are extremely higher than that of the U.S., nor that the euro is worth a good bit more than the American dollar. The most influential aspects has evidently been the cost of things that I took for granted as free in the U.S. In Ireland most everything has a cost attached to it, from plastic shopping bags in grocery stores to a cup of tap water (sometimes extra cost for ice…). Needless to say, I was quite surprised by all of these “additional” costs I have so thanklessly taken as a right in the U.S. And as I prepare to leave Ireland and return home tomorrow, I do so with absolutely no remaining money to speak of.