Monday, February 22, 2010

Some pictures from Howth

Me and my roommates Fal and AnnCatherine at Howth :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Today was the best day ever. It started out being the most beautiful day, nice and warm so we went to the food festival in Temple Bar. After stuffing our faces we walked to the train station to catch the train to Howth. It was less than 5 euros for a round trip ticket. As soon as we got there we discovered two things: first that it had gotten a lot colder (and we'd regret not dressing appropriatey) and second, that Howth was amazing. Its probably one of the most beautiful places I've evr been. It reminded me a little of Maine, but when you look out into the water you see these amazing cliffs and the occasional castle. As we were walking we saw a bunch of seals in the water right by us so we decided to go buy fish to feed them. It was so much fun ad for only 2 euro we got 3 big fish to throw. Needless to say, the seals loved us. Then we just walked around for a few hours, taking TONS of pictures and playing with the many dogs that happened to be walking around. Then we went to this restaurant called The Bloody Stream (weird name, not sure about the story behind that) where we of course got Fish and Chips. It was soooo good and really filling. Then an hour or so after we got back to campus we looked outside and it was snowing! This was so exciting because it apparently never snows in Dublin. Last time it snowed (an it wasnt as much as tonight) basically the whole city shut down. It was really hard to believe the snow since the day started off so warm! I should be able to put up a few pictures tonight :) I'll definitely be going back to Howth and I think everyone needs to go if they're ever in Ireland!

Friday, February 19, 2010

classes and such

Today was the first time I had my Irish Cinema class and it just about put me to sleep. I'm hoping that as the semester goes by the films will get more interesting. We watched the Man of Aran today which was made in 1934 in western Ireland. I have no problems with black and white films or silent (almost silent) films but this was tough to sit through. I thought it was going to be my favorite class but now I'm thinking it might be my least. I'll just have to wait and see. My other classes are really great. As I've mentioned before I'm taking an Irish history course, one about contemporary Europe, one about the US, and another about Russia. I really like the Irish one. Our program director teaches it, and he's hilarious. Exactly what you expect an old Irish man to be like. The only thing I don't like about the class is that its with the rest of the group I came with. Its very frustrating to sit in there with so many annoying and ignorant people but luckily I've found a few of them that aren't so bad. I'm not sure what to make of the contemporary Europe one just yet. Our first class we spent listening to one of the 'mature' students talk non stop. I think its great that older people want to come back to school but this one woman was absolutely ridiculous. She spent the whole class bringing up things that were not entirely related to what we were discussing and she would constantly interject when someone else was talking. Then our professor wasnt there this week so we didnt have class. My America and the Wider World class should be interesting. The issue I had with the first class was that it was entirely student presentations and the professor did little more than ask a few questions at the end of the presentations. I have a real problem with classes like that because when I am paying so much money to be taught by professionals who are experts in their fields, I should be taught by them and not students. However, it turns out that most weeks will be split in half so most of the time will be lecture and a small portion will be student presentations. My Russia class is probably one of my favorites. The professor is very personable and knows so much. He has an incredibly Irish name I will probably never be able to pronounce. The only thing I'm worried about is that my entire grade is based on one 16 page paper turned in at the end of the semester. Not looking forward to that.

On another note, we went out last night to celebrate (or in some cases forget) exam results. Of course I didn’t take exams since I wasn’t here but I made Dean’s List so I thought that was sufficient. We had a bunch of people come over and then we went to this club, Spy. It was such a fun night. The club itself is really awesome. There are 3 floors, and each room has its own DJ. It was just crazy. Then when we left and were walking to get food we passed through a couple of knacker fights. If you don’t know what a knacker is it’s the Irish term for people who are just really trashy, scumbags etc. It was probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen, especially cause it was all girl fights. The Irish girls we were with were explaining everything as it happened and were surprised I’d never seen anything like that in Boston. We didn’t get home until very early in the morning but I still had plenty of time to sleep since I didn’t have class til 1.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this in an earlier blog (or even if I’m allowed to mention it yet since it hasn’t been officially announced) but my roommate Chris won an award for Best Radio Documentary in Europe. Its an especially big deal because he scored like 60 points higher than the BBC entry. Here’s the link to the documentary if anyone is interested: It’s a really moving piece about his mom and her struggle to overcome her heroin addiction.

So tomorrow we’re going to Howth and either tonight or sometime this weekend I really hope I can upload all my pictures online. And Dan will be here this time next week!! Emily will be here a week from tomorrow and Leanne will be here in a few weeks for St Patricks day!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

exciting news!

I feel like I've been raelly busy snce I last posted! So on Saturday we went into the city to shop and get food at the food festival in Temple Bar. Monday and Tuesday we went to the NU Bar on campus (makes me miss NU back home). My roommate Chris was DJing so we went to see him. We also ended up finding an open mic night next door. Its a really fun place to hang out, everyoe is really nice and we ended up meet a ton of people. Last night we ended up going to a club in the city which was fun, but it was incredibly crowded and way too hot. But I was excited cause I wore a dress I bought awhile ago and hadn't had the chance to wear yet haha.

My classes are going really well although it's turning out that I'll be VERY busy this semester. I dont have a lot of assignments but the ones I have are big and important. I have a 6 page paper, two 2 page papers, a presentation on the 2008 presidential election (easy for us Americans who were able to vote in it), and a few shorter papers. While its a lot of work, it means that I'm basically done everything after the end of April. So I'll have most of May to travel :)

This weekend we're going to Howth (sounds like ho-th), a small fishing villiage outside of Dublin. I'm really excited about it, the pictures I've seen are beautiful. And we'll be getting some real fish n' chips. Now I should be getting to bed but I'll update with pictures soon!

Oh but last and most importantly... DAN IS VISITING ME NEXT FRIDAY! He decided today that he would come for spring break :) I'm so excited to show him Dublin and introduce him to my roommates. I'm still kind of in shock that he spontaneously decided to fly to Ireland in a week!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Yesterday Pat and I went walking around more of Dublin. We went to St Patrick’s Cathedral, which is absolutely gorgeous. I probably could have just sat there all day. We also went to Dublin Castle and ended up finding the Polish area of the city (which also had a beautiful church). We even had our first real Irish meal, corned beef and cabbage with lots of potatoes. I love that I that there is no such thing as too many starches here and that you can have potatoes with your potatoes and can even have some on the side. I also tried my first Guinness… and I have to say it wasn’t my favorite. It wasn’t as bad as I expected but it was very heavy and thick. Not my style which I knew, but I had to try it anyways!
Last night I ended up going out with my roommate and all her friends from the business school here. Before we left the girls were all just hanging out in our apartment and asking questions about what things are like in the US. They asked me if I lived close to Fal (my roommate here who’s from VA) I said that it wasn’t too bad, probably just an 8-10hr drive and they all laughed- since it only takes about 3 hours to get from Dublin to Galway which are on opposite coasts. They also asked about college parties/ frat parties and if everyone really drinks out of the red plastic cups- which I thought was really funny because that’s one of those things from movies that actually VERY true. The place we ended up going to is between a pub and a club. It has a nice/smaller bar in the front which is pretty relaxed and then it has a larger section in the back with two bars, a dance floor, and a DJ. It still looked like a traditional pub though and has signed jerseys all over the place. They played a lot of contemporary music but they also played some songs I wasn’t expecting at all. For example- 9-5 by Dolly Parton… didn’t see that one coming, but it was so funny cause everyone knew the words and was singing along. Then they also played Cotton-Eyed Joe (but no one did the dance), Don’t Stop Believing (which wasn’t too much of a surprise, cause who doesn’t love that song?), Summer Nights from Grease. And at the end they played the Irish National Anthem which was kinda weird. I can’t imagine them playing the Star Spangled Banner at a bar in the US except maybe on the Fourth of July. But the best part was when they played Galway Girl- basically the most popular song in Ireland (also featured in PS I Love You in case anyone was wondering). Everyone was excited and singing and dancing. It was great.
Tomorrow I think my roommates and I are going into town to get a few things, maybe stop by this food festival in Temple Bar. Not sure what else I’ll be up to. I have a lot of reading to do already so I’ll be doing that today and tonight.
Oh but here are some interesting findings about Dublin so far!- Students go out on weekdays, clubs are pretty dead on the weekend and pubs are filled with an older crowd. Also things close early around here- the last bus into the city is 1130 and places close down around 2 at the latest. Which is great cause then students can go out on weekdays and still have plenty of time to sleep before their classes the next day haha. Taxi drivers are incredibly nice and not sketchy and the taxis are all clean! I am still not able to figure out which side I should walk to if I’m headed directly towards someone. I know in the US it’s safe to assume, go right and that’s generally accepted. Cannot figure that out here AT ALL, we’re thinking there might not be a general rule for that. I am however getting the hang of looking the other direction before crossing the street. The bathroom is either called the toilet or the jack, not the bathroom since there’s no bath there. Crack is not cocaine here, crack means fun. And the Irish speak really fast and quiet. I think that’s all for now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More pictures!

You might notice that some of the pictures look really nice and other don't... this is because I finaly realized its a waste of time to edit all the pictures. It's overcast a lot here, I've accepted it now. Hopefully I can get out to take more pictures when its sunny!

The spire in the middle is their time capsule for the Millenium and serves as our replacement Prudential Building to tell us how to get home...

Trinity College

Famous Temple Bar

Any LOTR fans? There was also a jewelry store called New Moon lol

This one is for my uncle :)

More to come!

Pictures of my room




Ok so time for an update. Let’s see…
On Thursday, we started out with individual meetings with our program directors to figure out our schedules. It’s a little complicated for us because unlike students in the US, the students here have a set schedule of classes given to them based on their year and program. They aren’t given much for options in terms of their classes. This makes things tough for us because we’re picking classes from all different levels and majors. I finally sorted out my classes today (I think!). I’m not fully registered for classes yet but as of now I’m taking the required Irish history course which includes 3 day trips to Mayo (in western Ireland) and Belfast (Northern Ireland). I’m also taking America & the Wider World, Russia & the Former Soviet States, Ireland & National Cinema, and the Making of Contemporary Europe. I have class Tuesdays 11-1 and 2-4, Wednesdays 9-10, 1-2 and 2-6, and Fridays 2-4. So I have Mondays and Thursdays off! Anyways, after the meetings I went into town to do some shopping and exploring. Then that night I went out with Pat and my roommates which was really fun. Friday was a lazy day, one where we were desperately searching for the rest of the information about our classes.
Saturday we were continuing the tour that had been rained out on Wednesday. Of course it was raining again when we began but it cleared up and turned out to be a beautiful day. We walked through the Georgian area of Dublin. We saw the National Gallery (which we had a brief chance to visit) and Merrion Sq which is this really nice park area. It has a memorial statue of Oscar Wilde and a memorial to Ireland’s National Defense Force. Then we saw a bunch of government buildings and other museums- I’ll put pictures up soon. Then we went to St Stephens Green. I wish we’d had more time to be there on Saturday since it was the perfect day to just sit there and read and enjoy how beautiful the area is. I’ll go into more detail when I have pictures. We even got to see Ireland’s Rugby Team getting on their bus on the way to the big game and some very enthusiastic Italy fans (Ireland won on Saturday ). Afterwards we just walked around, bought a few things and took in the busy atmosphere.
Monday was our first day of class but I’m lucky enough not to have class then. Then yesterday I had my first 2 classes, although I only went to one. The class I did go to was the one about Russia. It seems like its going to be a very interesting class. And I only have one assignment the whole semester… a 16 page research paper that’s 100% of my grade. No pressure or anything. My next class was America and the Wider World but I had to miss it to go to my GNIB card. This is the card that says I’m allowed to stay here (basically a visa). We first heard of these cards when we got off the plane and were told we’d need to get them and pay 150 euros for them. Needless to say we were pissed since they had told us NOTHING about needing to pay anything and it was also 5am. We later found out that the cost was included in our program fees so even though we had to pay it we get it back through our program directors in cash. Anyways, so we went yesterday for those. We were told that we were much better off skipping class that going on our own to get them. Don and Martin had set up an appointment for all of us and thank God they did. We were there for about 3 hours- I could’ve left after about 1 ½ but I had to wait for Pat to get his card. And we all thought 3 hours was terrible but the other people there had probably been there all day. Some people had been there for over 10 hours. Definitely worth missing a class I’m not even registered for yet! Today I had another class, Making of Contemporary Europe. It should be ok, it meets Wednesdays from 9-10 and then from 1-2 which seems kinda strange but we’ll see. Then after that I’ll go to the required Irish history course taught by Don.
My roommates and I started planning all these traditional Irish things to do. Like going to farms and all this other stuff. We’re even planning to camp on the beach?( should be interesting in Ireland). Their friends are really eager to show us Ireland outside of Dublin. And I may be going to Paris for Easter! I’ll have to check flights and everything but I already know I have a place to stay, a guide, and a 5 day weekend! I’m about to go back to class but I’ll add pictures soon! Also leave me addresses if you want a postcard! For anyone who wants it my address is:

Nicole Barry
WG03 D
College Park (House 12)
Campus Residence Limited
Dublin City University
Ballymun Rd.
Dublin 9


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ok so I'm really gonna try to update this today! I spent close to an hour yesterday writing this long post about what I've been doing the past few days (complete with pictures!) and then my internet decided it didn't want to work. I have my first class in about a half hour- Russia and the Former Soviet Space- and then I have America and the Wider World but I have to miss it to go to city center and get my GNIB card (so I don't get kicked out of Ireland). Then I have some reading for my core history class tomorrow but I'll make time to update!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I thought I was in Boston today. Of course the day of our walking tour it decides to pour. And it was freezing. Apparently its very rare to have weather like that in Dublin. The tour ended up getting cut short and postponed until this weekend but we still had the opportunity to walk around a little and stop at a pub for some food. The food was soooo good and Irish haha. and the people there were so friendly. I will never get tired of the accents.
On another note, I'm very thankful for my awesome roommates because I can't stand most of the people with my group. I just have a big issue with disrespectful people. The majority of the group will show up late to scheduled meetings, tours etc., they'll complain the whole time, and they talk constantly during our classes. This morning we were supposed to meet at 930 to go on our tour. At 945 there were still only 25 of 34 people. Some people came a half hour late! Like if you don't want to go, no one is forcing you. Just call and say you aren't coming instead of making everyone who was there on time wait around for you. And they should stop complaining about not being able to hear Don and Martin (the guys in change of our group), because if you aren't talking and yelling then you wouldn't have a problem hearing anything. They also show up incredibly hungover/still drunk to things which wouldn't bother me too much aside from the lateness but as an example of how things are this morning one girl was throwing up all over the bus before our tour. Real classy. And then when we went to a pub today to get some lunch, the two girls in front of me were so rude to the people making our sandwiches. It was completely unneccessary. Pat and I ate our food so quickly so we could get out of there and away from them.
Anyways, now I'm probably gonna take a nap. I got over my jetlag pretty quickly but I didn't get to bed until late last night so I think it'd be a good idea to catch up on some sleep!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

We had our orientation seminars today, which weren't too exciting, but they were useful. Then we went to Omni Center (the mall nearby) and experienced our first irish rain. It wasn't bad though cause it was about 50 degrees and just light rain. I also bought a phone today. Of course when I went to set it up something isnt working so I have to go back tomorrow. I got a sweet deal though because it you chose a pay as you go phone and 'topped it off' with 20 euro you could get free texting to any carrier. The phone was about 50 euro but I'm pretty sure I won't have to put any more money on it while I'm here. I do have to say that the Irish have much better hold music than the US. and the people on the phone are actually nice and helpful :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Right now its about 11pm here. We landed at 5 this morning and I haven't slept (except for 1hr on the flight over) since 7am Sunday morning- 40ish hours? I'm so ready for bed. The flight wasn't bad at all. It would've been nice to fly into Dublin when the sun was up, but even the lights of the city were beautiful. It took no time at all to pass through customs, they just waved us on by. And everyone is so friendly! Especially our group contact guy Martin (who knew all thirty something of us by name even though we'd never met him). It was an interesting ride to campus. Getting on the opposite side of the bus, driving on the worng side of the road, and the fact that it was 730 in the morning but looked like nighttime.

I think I really lucked out with the housing situation. The room is really nice, plain but nice. It doesnt have a big bed (:() but I'll survive :) Its surprisingly comfortable. And when I went to the mall I got a really nice duvet cover, pillowcase, and set of sheets for 9 euros altogether. Penneys is the most amazing store ever. I bought a scarf for .5 euros which equals 70cents US and a really really really cute pair of shoes to replace the teal ones I couldn't justify bringing with me for 3 euros! My mom would love this store, I wish she was here! Anyways, I also get my own bathroom which is very nice. Its got one of those showers thats really just a drain on the floor next to the toilet but its fine with me. Then there's a nice common room and kitchen area. I have 4 roommates. A girl from Chicago, one from Virginia, and then a guy from Dublin and a guy from Japan. They're all very nice andwere so welcoming. They got up early so they would be awke when i got there and then we hung out for a good part of the day. We went to the movies tonight and walked around city center a bit which was really nice.

Tomorrow morning we have a breakfast thing and then orientation stuff and walking tours all day. I'll try to post pictures soon!