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 fiancée 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!