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Done with Dublin
Our last full day in Dublin was spent walking, walking, and then walking some more. Oh, and there was some sightseeing in there too. We went to the older part of town to start and got to see a lot of the old architecture, mostly in the form of churches. We visited the Christ Church of
, and went on a tour of St Audeon Church. The main part of this church (which is still in use today) was constructed in 1190. That makes it 818 years old folks, that's about what twice the age of our country?
We tooled around that area a bit longer and then walked to the
Park. The park is one of the if not the largest parks within a city proper in Europe. We found this awesome old tree that we played around on for awhile, I gave it a hug and a kiss because it was just that cool. I really wanted to kick my boots off and go for a climb but i didn't figure that would go over to well the the locals.There were some baby ducks in the pond below the tree bitching for mommy, it made me laugh to see her swim back from the other side when they started calling her. We spent some time laying on one of the lawns then went in search of the Military magazine that's also located in the park. On the way to it we were treated with some spectacular views of Irish flora. The magazine was pretty awesome, classical location on top of a hill with a 360 degree view. I made James run up it shouting AARRRRG just for the hell of it, I giggled...a lot. While we were there some clouds started rolling in, crazy dark clouds and then next to them clear sunny blue patches...weather in
is almost as fickle as Austins aparently.
(edit) - James on to CORK!!!
on June 24, 2008
from the travel blog:
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To the Poles!
This was my first night in Dublin and only one night as I am waiting at the Dublin airport the morning after awaiting my flight to Cork, in the southwest of Ireland. It was also my first couchsurfing experience. My host was an adorable twenty yearold Polish girl from Warsaw named Marta, a transplant just wishing to travel and live some place new, and I figure just sort her life out as we are all wont to do at that age before jumping into a career.
I knocked on her door at 11AM and being her day off she was still sleeping. I let her go back to bed and took a nap myself (a long week in NYC and six hours of jetlag - not even sleeping pills can cure that...). An hour and a half lter she knocks on my door (I lucked out: she had an extra room!) and invites me to take a short train ride out of Dublin to Howth, a small outcropping of land to the northeast of Dublin, with her and her friends for a little hiking on the coast. We walk to her friends', a group of Polish boys all around our age, where Voyt, the most outgoing towards me of the group, tells me of how at some god-awful hour in the morning they were trying to sober up/kick the impending hangover. They decided to paint the common area of their flat. That was their solution. Just imagine a group of shitfaced 20something Polish guys painting their communal common room with the sun coming up outside!... 'How do you think it looks?' he asks me. I must say, they did a pretty good job. It was about one or two in the afternoon and these fellows were already breaking out the Scotch. At this point I knew these kids were obviously a wild bunch, but what I didn't quite expect was that these were to be some of the most loving, affectionate and all around wonderful people I've met. They come from an area in the South of Poland that is very industrial, working class with a lot of mining. There was a whole grip of them, Voytek and Mytek being the ones I talked to most as their english was best and they were the more outgoing ones. So, we make to Howth at around 3 or 4 and it's a beautiful hike with some cliffs and a lighthouse on the coast... yeah yeah, very stereotypically Irish, but beautiful nonetheless.
And as is also very Irish, the rains come down in torrents rather unexpectedly. We're pretty deep into the hike, so we huddle under a nearby copse of trees and finish the whiskey and drink a bottle of wine to try to wait it out. I was reminded of Bothell, huddling in the woods in the rain and drinking... these are my kind of people. After about 40 minutes the booze is gone and the rain is still very present. At this point the drink is normalizing my sort of spacey delirium of jetlag and exhaustion. After a while we realize the rain won't let up and we walk a little ways and catch a bus back to the city center. On the bus we drink another bottle of wine procured at a local shop, obscuring the bottle with a hat for the sake of the camera staring at us from the front of the bus. We get back to the boys' flat and I realize that there's even more Polish in this building, practically a little community of them. We all change clothes and they generously offer me pants, a shirt, shoes... everything really, but I was the most prepared and only needed a pair of socks which were generously offered up in haste.
The plan for the night was to go to a dinner party at Voytek's older brother's girlfiend's flat in Dublin 4 (we've been in Dublin 2 this whole time). I always heard that the Polish had a reputation for being hard workers and hard drinkers and they didn't dissapoint. These kids can drink, and it's a different kind of drinking than I'm used to with friends. There's always a round of shots ready and waiting to slip down the collective throat and they never had to wait very long. I'm pround to say I could keep up, but kept an eye on myself being all too fully aware of my physical state and the forethought of catching a plane the next morning.
The dinner was a spagetthi with meatchunks and was almost as phenominal as the conversation. I didn't want the night to end, talking with people all around the world; Gael the Norman Frenchman, Inez, his beautiful Spanish girlfriend, the Brazilian girl was a darling, though I unfortunately forget her name, and of course the 8 or 9 Polish who were so affectionate for each other and welcoming to me that it really tugged at my heartstrings a little.
I feel like I could write a whole short sroty just about this one night, all the conversations, bridges gapped, spliffs rolled by the Frenchman, the rounds of shots... It was all rather overstimulating for my already boggled senses. I can only hope to stay in touch with at least a few of them (I have my two first foreign facebook friends) and hopefully see them all again when I'm in Dublin in September before I catch my flight from there to Barcelona.
It was an extraordinary introduction to couchsurfing for sure, though I thought it rather amusing that my first night in Ireland I hung out with so many people from all over the world, but not a single Irish person, and also drank not a single pint of Guinness.
A postscript of sorts: I noticed the name on the nose of the plane I boarded to cross the Atlantic to Dublin was named St. Colmcille, the patron saint of Glen Colm Cille in County Donegal, where I stayed with the Ireland Program in 2003. A good omen, I thought.
I'd like to request everyone, the next time they have a drink with their friends, they have a cheer to the Poles!
on August 13, 2008
from the travel blog:
A cowboy boot to Europe's ass...
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First things first...I AM IN IRELAND!!! EEEE!!!! :) haha, ok...got that over with..so moving on!
So I know that some of you have been anxiously awaiting to hear from me, but I was waiting till arrived in Limerick to sit down and load my patheticly small amount of photos and post a blog entry. That being said, I am technically in Limerick now...though the post may say it's in Dublin (shh, don't tell anyone I'm cheating), but this post will be filled with all the wonderful details (and a few pictures) of how I spent 3 days in Dublin for the beginning of my orientation here in Ireland.
Day 1 in Dublin- Sunday, 18th of January
My trip over was uneventful. All my planes departed/arrived on time or early. Despite this...my journey did hit an unexpected bump. When I arrived at the Abbey Court Hostel, where we (the students in Arcadia's University of Limerick and Ulster University programs) were staying in Dublin (it's near O'Connell street, which is the main street in Dublin), I discovered that one of my checked bags had been pilfered....yeah...someone had stolen my toiletries (including my jewelry) and some clothes. Needless to say, it wasn't the best way to start my trip, but everything can be replaced and I am (with the massive help of Arcadia) getting all the reports and insurance claims filed. After that morning, the afternoon was pretty relaxed, we had free time after lunch and we just walked around and explored the city a bit. I got a Vodafone (an international mobile phone). For dinner we all (the 10 Limerick students and 4 Ulster students) went to a small Irish restaurant. After dinner I called it a night and headed back to the hostel.
Day 2 in Dublin- Monday, 19th of January
The morning was filled with Arcadia orientation sessions about being in Ireland, our accomedations, our homestays etc. In the afternoon we went on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Dublin.
Dublin Bus Tour Map
We first stopped at Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle Gateway
Dublin Castle (do you see the castle-y bits?)
You can get tours of the inside...but we were trying to conserve our money, we'd only been here a day and I felt that I'd already spent too much! So we walked down to the next sight, the Christ Church Cathedral.
Church of Christ Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral Ruin Sign
Church of Christ Cathedral Ruins
Church of Christ Cathedral Door
We got back on the bus and headed toward the Guinness Storehouse.
The place itself was really neat. The first floor was dedicated to the main ingredients of Guinness...Barley, Hops, Yeast, and Water.
Hops...an important ingrediant
Then they had a little section about Arthur Guinness...the inventor of Guinness.
....um...Some Important Book of Arthur Guinness
There was a tasting room, where you could taste some freshly brewed Guinness (it was ok...a bit bitter for me), museum-y sections with memorabilia and such...
Guiness Ship Model
And the Guinness Harp [Stephanie this is totally for you]
The Guinness Harp
The Guinness Harp close-up
On the 6th Floor, you can pull your own Guinness and on the 7th Floor there is the Gravity Bar, which is completely encased in glass and has a perfect view of the city...it's taller then any of the buildings near it...so you can see clear to the mountains on the outside of the city, it was beautiful. In the bar you can also receive your complimentary drink (either a pint of Guinness or a soft drink)
View 4 From Gravity Bar
View From Gravity Bar
View 2 From Gravity Bar
View From Gravity Bar
Limerick Girls haning out in the Gravity Bar
After the Storehouse, we hopped back on the bus to stop 21, which was right in front of our hostel conveniently enough!
The Hostel is at stop 21
We got a cheap quick dinner and I called it a night.
Day 3 Dublin- Tuesday, 20th of January
The morning was spent discussing the Irish school system and what to expect from our classes. We had lunch, then a Q&A session...which was quite informative. We talked about the nuances of the Irish language...differences in Irish and American vocab, and were highly encouraged to look into joining a club or society on campus...according to the Arcadia staff it is the BEST way to meet people and reach a deeper understanding of the culture. So...I think I might join the Drama Socitey...haha...yeah I can't stay away...and maybe a sport? Gaelic football seems interesting...it's a mix of soccer, football, and basketball...yeah it's kinda odd, but apparently it's one of the oldest games in the world, so...there ya go! After watching the Presidental Inaguration in the hostel lounge, I got a quick dinner, then Arcadia treated us to a night at the theatre! We went to the Abbey Theatre and saw a wonderful production of The Playboy of the Western World, a new version of a classic play. I thorughly enjoyed it...some of the other people in the group fell asleep...but I was rivited! ;) It was a wonderful comedy and the pub set was incredible. Anyway, before I ramble on more...after the play we headed to The Porter House, a pub near the hostel. We sat and talked for a while before leaving. I got back to the hostel and backed up a bit, preparing to leave the next day for Limerick!
on January 21, 2009
from the travel blog:
A Semester Abroad
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