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.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

ver long update..

Time for a major update. I’m really sorry it’s been so long but I’ve just been really busy enjoying Ireland. Starting from where I left off, I can’t really remember what I did the week before Dan got here. Except for going to class and being really excited for him to visit! So Fridays ago Dan flew in :) Of course, the night his flight was supposed to leave I get an email from him saying that his flight was cancelled. Luckily by the time I got the email he had already arranged for another flight that would get him to Dublin at 10:30 Friday morning. Sometimes I’m incredibly thankful for how difficult he can be because if it weren’t for that he wouldn’t have gotten on another plane! Anyways, I met him at the airport Friday morning (taking a taxi by myself for the first time!) and I can’t even explain how happy I was to see him. On our taxi ride back home, he told me all about the ‘Joe’ he sat next to on the plane. Leave it to Dan to make friends anywhere he goes! So I brought him back to campus and showed him around a little, then introduced him to my roommates. Then we went into City Center. We walked around Trinity, O’Connell St, St Stephen’s Green, and Temple Bar before meeting up with Pat to go on the Guinness Factory Tour. The factory has 6 floors dedicated to the brewing process, history, and advertisement of the company including the story of Sir Arthur Guinness and his 9000 year loan on the building! The top floor is a bar where everyone receives a free pint of Guinness to enjoy along with the 360 view of Dublin. It was absolutely breathtaking. Oh and the most shocking part of the factory was running in to Nada! To those who are not Barrys and don’t know what this means, Nada is my uncle’s son’s fiancĂ©e from Czech Republic who I met at Christmas (follow that?). My aunt had mentioned she would be in Dublin for the weekend but I never expected to see her there. What a small world right? After the tour we made our way back to the Temple Bar area for dinner with Fal and AnnCatherine at the Porterhouse (the Irish stew was sooo good, as was the milkshake with chocolate and whiskey). Then we went to the Temple Bar- in case anyone is confused like Dan was, Temple Bar is an area of Dublin but within Temple Bar there is an individual pub called The Temple Bar. It’s basically the most famous pub in Dublin and very touristy but the type of place you need to go while you’re here. It was really fun but very crowded so we didn’t stay too long and then made our way back to DCU (not until after we went to the 4D theater and Mr Quirkeys Good Time Emporium) to hit up Matt Weldon’s (a local pub pretty much on campus) before going back to sleep.
The next day we all got up to go to the food festival in Temple Bar. We’re really becoming regulars but it’s good food at a cheap price so why not? We decided to try horse. At first I thought it was very strange to be selling horse meat skewers but when else would I be able to try horse? It was actually really tasty, much much better than I expected and definitely something I would get again. Then Dan and I went to Howth. The first time I went I knew immediately that Dan would love it there- and I was right. We walked along the water and up the cliffs a little. Then on our way to find the entrance to these beautiful church ruins and cemetery, Dan found a bar he NEEDED to go into: The Cock Tavern. Very maturely Dan insisted I take his picture in front of the sign and that we go in. It was a nice little place, very local. There was a rugby game on so we sat in for a drink and to no one’s surprise Dan made another friend. I don’t know what it is about that boy but he will literally make friends everywhere he goes without fail. After that we explored the ruins and went back towards the water to get some fish and chips. We decided to go to Beshoff’s which I had heard had the best fish and chips. And they were. Dan was so jealous of my fish because it was actually the best piece of fish I’d ever had (and cheap too!) While we ate outside on a bench overlooking the harbor this adorable dog came and sat with us, laying down in front of us completely looking like our dog. It was so funny. Once we got back we got ready and went to City Center to meet up with Emily and her friends visiting from home. We met them at Fitzsimons in Temple Bar which is always an interesting time. It was so good to see Em and we got to dance and hang out, buu Fitzsimons always has its share of creepers.
Sunday was a pretty laidback day. We went to a local restaurant for a proper Irish meal and then came back to DCU to hang out until Dan cooked us dinner. Like everything that Dan cooks, the steak with Guinness sauce was AMAZING. Monday Dan and I got up wicked early to go on our 13ish hour tour of Ireland. The tour took us down to Limerick in the southwest then up the coast to the Cliffs of Moher, the burren, and Galway before bringing us back to Dublin. Although we were extremely tired, the trip was well worth it. I definitely would like to go back to Limerick, it looks like a very interesting place. Then there were the Cliffs. Words cannot describe them and pictures don’t do them justice. It was undoubtedly the most beautiful place I have ever seen. And we were lucky to have rare Irish weather: sunshine and no clouds. The sky was so clear that we could see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay from the Cliffs. We spent a lot of time driving along the western coast and seeing exactly what you picture when you think of Ireland. When we finally got back to Dublin and were ready to nap we ended up going to the movies with Fal and some Irish friends.
Tuesday we spent the day in Dublin and after lunch at my favorite place (O’Neills) we went on a tour of Kilmainham Gaol- a former prison that played a very important part in Irish history. It is where many of the leaders of Irish rebellions were held and executed. Also a bunch of movies have been filmed there in recent times like the original Italian Job, In the Name of the Father, and Michael Collins. Also the U2 music video A Celebration was filmed there in 1982 (apparently there are really great acoustics). Then I think we went to Matt Weldon’s again and just hung out since I was leaving early in the morning for my field trip to western Ireland. It really sucked saying goodbye to him before leaving on Wednesday. I was so happy that I got to see him but I didn’t want him to leave, or to have to cut my time with him short for this trip. It’s really late and I’m tired so I won’t get into the details of the Westport trip until later but it was so much fun and I actually found some great people on the trip that are nice and a blast to hang out with. On Saturday we came back to DCU and as I walk into my room I’m surprised by none other than Dan who was supposed to have flown home Friday morning! It was the best surprise I could have ever imagined :) So after that we went to the food festival and Matt Weldon’s again for one last time and spent the rest of the night back in the dorm. It was still sad to see him go but it was a lot easier having already been really upset about it.
I’ll write more about my amazing trip to Westport and the week since Dan left but now I have to go to bed. And I'll post pictures too! The week with Dan was definitely one of the best weeks of my life. We had so much fun and he got to see so much of Ireland. And of course everyone here loved him! I’m just really happy he had such a good time and got a little break from working so hard at home :) tomorrow we’re going to the food festival before going to see Alice in Wonderland! I’m so excited!