Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Time for another overdue update

Since the last time I updated I've been very busy with school and even travelling. For Easter the first weekend of April my friend Pat and I went to Paris to visit my friend Danielle who is studying abroad there. It was AMAZING! Once all my papers are passed in I'll be posting pictures but we went to Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, Champs Elysees, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and so much more. The second day that we were there we decided to walk up the Eiffel Tower (instead of taking the lift). Even though we were only able to go up 2 stages thats still a TON of steps. Plus it was rainy and windy so it was the most enjoyable weather in which to climb the tower but it was still fun. And the view from the very top is incredible. My favorite part of the trip was going to Versailles. The Palace was beautiful and as a history major who has studied Versailles both in history classes and French class it was surreal to be there.

Just this past week my whole program went to Northern Ireland for our last field trip. It was a very emotional trip in comparison to our Westport trip. I dont have time for a full update now but basically we were able to take a look at the history of the troubles, the murals all over Belfast, the Peace Wall separating the Nationalist side and the Unionist sides of Belfast, as well see where Bloody Sunday occurred. Sometime next week I'll be doing a longer update but for now I have to go write papers!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More Pictures

Kylen, Katie, Hannah, Isaac, and me in Bray

Bray Head (I think): we went up the left side to the top lol

Me and Isaac at the top!
Leanne and I in Dun Laoghaire

Me Issac and Kylen at the St Paddy's parade

Fal, Leanne, and I with some randoms on our way to the match

Croagh Patrick

Clearly very excited about hiking in Connemarra


Me and Dan at the Gravity Bar on the 6th floor of the Guinness Factory

All the NU kids in Delphi Valley on our trip out west

Howth: No editing in this picture, that's just how the sky looked

Dan and I on the Ha' Penny Bridge in Dublin

je vais a Paris!

Once Leanne left it was back to classes :( And this past Saturday we went to Bray which is a town outside of Dublin right on the ocean. I went with a few friends, two of whom are from Michigan and really into hiking and outdoorsy type stuff so when we got there and saw this mountain in front of us we knew we'd be walking to the top (there was a really pretty cross on top). We walked along the beach and then started on the trail up. It was gorgeous, overlooking the water and it was nice and peaceful with a gradual incline. Then we saw these stairs and a path that led up the side and we decided to be adventurous. While I was not prepared for that kind of walk (wearing Uggs and carrying a purse) it was so worth it. Its hard to even describe how beautiful it was, and the climb up was just as breathtaking as the view from the top. Plus it was nice that the whole time I wasn't too out of breath!

Oh and since this weekend is Easter we have Friday off and I'm going to Paris!!! I'm so excited :) I'll be staying with my friend Danielle who is studying there for the semester and I can't wait to see her! It'll be interesting to see if my 6 years of French class will pay off :) And I'll be sure to take tons of pictures. As of now, a lot of my Ireland pictures are on facebook but I'll try to put some up here when I get back :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Leannes Visit

Now for an update about Leanne's visit (I really need to keep up with this). So she got here really early the Sunday before St Patrick's day so Pat, Fal, and I went to meet her at the airport. Then we came back to DCU before going out to walk around Dublin. Monday morning we left for Galway. It was so pretty, we spent a lot of time just walking around and enjoying the quaint Irish feeling of the city. That night we went to some pub and listened to this really cute Irish band. Then Tuesday we walked around some more by the water before heading back to Dublin. That night we went out with my roommates, Pat, and a couple of guys from the CIEE group. The great thing about the Westport trip was that we actually meet people from the group that are nice and really fun to hang out. So we went out to a club and had a really good time but didn't get back until really late which meant maybe 4 hours of sleep before waking up for St Patrick's Day :) We got up around 8 or 9 to get all decked out in green and we just hung out in our apt while we painted each other's faces. Then we eventually made it out of the apartment and down to the city to watch the parade. The parade was definitely not what I expected but it was still really entertaining. It had more of an international feeling rather than the traditional Irish stuff I thought I'd see. But anyways, then we went to Croke Park to watch a hurling match and a Gaelic football game. I was confused when I heard a lot of the Irish call soccer soccer instead of futball like other places in Europe but I found out why. Its because they have Gaelic football which they just call football. Its a really interesting but difficult to understand sport coming from the US. Its a mix of soccer, rugby, and who knows what else. Both the games were really fun to watch though. Then we came back and just hung out for the night. On Thursday Leanne and I went to Howth which was amazing as always. We spent Friday walking ALL OVER Dublin and the Saturday we did a tour of Dublin's south coast. We went to Dun Laoghaire, Enniskerry, Bray (where all the famous people in Dublin have houses- Bono for example) and this amazing estate called Powerscourt. It was so sad to have her leave too but it was good to have time to get working on school work!

long overdue post about the CIEE trip to Mayo

I guess I can finally update about our field trip to western Ireland! The first weekend in March Dona and Martin brought all 35(ish) of us to County Mayo in the west. The main focus of the trip was to learn more about the potato famine and its effects on the country, especially because the troubles of the famine were felt most there. We left on the Wednesday morning- which really sucked since Dan was still here but I didn’t have to go to my 9am class which was nice.
Our first stop was the Strokestown House and National Irish Famine Museum. Strokestown House was the residence of a wealthy landlord during the famine days. It was a great stop because unlike most museums where everything is roped off and behind glass, the house was left just how it was when the last family members lived in it. It turns out, a local truck-company owner had wanted to buy a portion of the property when they were auctioning it off but it was an all or nothing kind of deal and so he bought the whole thing- including the house and everything inside. It was so cool to walk around inside because it was filled with all the original furniture, old toys, and even a first edition Charles Dickens book. And we were allowed to touch stuff, which was a surprise since normally like I said, stuff is roped off. We also went to two famine museums. One was just a quick walk through next to Strokestown- the man who bought all the property turned the barn into a museum. And the other was the Museum of Country life which showed how people lived before during and after the famine especially in County Mayo where the famine hit the hardest. Then we went to our hotel in Westport. The town was really cute had a nice center to walk around. Everyone just explored a little bit before going to dinner (best meals I will eat here- 3 course meals!) and then going to a couple pubs.
The next day we visited Croagh Patrick, the mountain where Saint Patrick fasted for 40 days, built a church, and banished all the snakes from Ireland. We also learned the importance of the shamrock to Ireland and how St Patrick used it to teach the native pagan Irish the concept of the Holy Trinity. The mountain was beautiful and we lucked out with weather. We didn’t walk very far up but we found out that every year on Reek Sunday (last Sunday in July) thousands of people take a pilgrimage and climb the mountain barefoot! We also went for a hike (more of a brisk walk with a slight incline) in Connemara which was beautiful.
On Friday we went to Achill Island (yeah that’s what it’s really called) and drove around the countryside to see all the famine memorials (there are a lot). The famine is still very much in the memories of the Irish- there was much more to it than what we learn in the states. One of the most interesting places we went was an old famine farm house. The guy who ran it actually grew up there and lived there until the 1970s. Behind the tiny house the man had created a more extensive famine museum, collecting artifacts from people all over and giving a good idea of what life really was like in Co. Mayo during the famine.
Then on Saturday we headed back to Dublin and I was very shocked to find that Dan was still there :) So then we went to the food festival and just hung out and enjoyed his last day in Dublin! I hated having him leave but really glad he got to visit.