Katrina, Noora, and I decided to take out first out of Dublin trip this past weekend which involved a cross-country bus ride to the very beautiful and majestic Cliffs of Moher. After very little sleep the night prior, we got up at 6am and trudged the 20 minutes to the city center to catch our bus. We had bought day trip tour tickets form a local touring company so our whole day was planned out from the time we set off at 7:30 until we arrived back in dublin 12 hours later. We headed west and our bus driver filled us in on random tidbits of information as we drove through the scenic countryside of Ireland. Our first pitstop was supposed to be in Limrick but due to ridiculous amounts of flooding that have occurred throughout the country recently, we were not able to stop there and instead stopped shortly after Limerick in the quaint area of Bunratty Castle.
Half an hour later we were back on the road headed towards the cliffs. We spent about two hours at the cliffs, roaming around the trails and just taking in the beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean in all of it’s salty glory. We were lucky enough to pick the one day in the past 10 which has not involved rain so we ended up getting in some spectacular views despite some of the fog off enveloping the nearby Aran Islands.
After the cliffs, we drove about half an hour farther and stopped at the Doolin Cliffs which are much smaller but just as majestic. We followed up this second set of cliffs with a lunch at Fitzpatrick’s Pub which served an amazing seafood chowder.
The next stop on our tour was the Corcomroe Abbey which is a 12th century not too far from the coast. Shortly following the abbey, we stopped in the village of Kinvara for some Irish coffee [read: coffee with baileys and whiskey]. It was so amusing to me to be in an Irish village since the villages that I am used to from Romania are much more rural than what the western world considers a village. Around 4:30 pm we headed back on our way to Dublin to complete the journey. Paying 40 Euro for an almost 12 hour tour that included a lot of interesting information, various stops along the way, and a very friendly and knowledgable guide was a great deal in my book. Hopefully this rain subsides in the near future so more random day trips can be planned.
Noora and her mom
Fitzpatrick’s Pub in Doolin
Katrina and the wind
Since the Irish do not celebrate Thanksgiving Day (obvi) Katrina and I decided to host one ourselves and have some of our friends over to join in on the festivities. The menu consisted of turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn bread, brussel sprouts, mac n cheese, a ridiculously sized cheese ball, hummus, pumpkin pie, berry crumble, vegan banana and chocolate cake, and copious amounts of libations.
Although adjusting to Ireland and school was difficult at first, these friends have definitely made it much easier and a lot more fun and that is what I am thankful for this year.
Katrina and her bird
Alex using his Navy strength to mash those potatoes!
Miriam, Mahmoud, and Noora being a creep
Jonas and Noora
Miriam, Jonas, and Noora looking quite normal
Most of the group
Yassine and Jonas
Me and Alex
Yassine and Mahmoud
Noora and Jonas
the very intimidating cheese ball
EAT MORE TURKEY!
Snapping the wishbone with my roommate, Katrina
Yes I am aware that Thanksgiving hasn’t even happened yet but I don’t care. I love the Christmas holidays and everything about them! Lights, snow, carols, hot chocolate, feasts, parties, Santa, elves, Rudolph, EVERYTHING. As you have probably already assumed, I am one of the people that get really excited when I see Christmas lights and I enjoy the fact that they get turned on mid November and that Christmas music has already started playing throughout department stores.
Dublin has finally turned on all of its Christmas lights throughout the city and what type of Christmas lover would I be if I did not document it? Here are some photos I’ve taken throughout the past few weeks of all of the pretty lights. Too bad it doesn’t snow here to make it a truly remarkable winter wonderland!
I have developed a system of hibernation and studying Sunday-Friday and having fun on Saturdays. So far, this has been going well for me and i’ve been able to hang out with friends, get to know my school friends better, and start building some great memories here in Dublin. I know I know…took me long enough, right?!
Tonight (I know it’s Thursday and not Saturday but it was a special occasion) I had a social night and it was noteworthy enough to blog about. After a torturous 2 hours class on dissertation design and then spending about 7 hours in the library writing an essay, I headed to the village of Stillorgan with Lisa, Tim, and Mahmoud to watch a band called The Klares play. What is so special about this band that would drag me away from precious paper writing time in the oh so comfort of the UCD James Joyce Library, you ask? Well, maybe the fact that this band is a group of 15 year old Catholic school kids and the drummer is the son of one of my friends from my human rights module.
The Klares played an hour long set with songs ranging from The Killers, The Arctic Monkeys and Jimi Hendrix, as well as their original works. I am absolutely amazed as to how talented these kids are and want everyone to check them out. If you are a fan of The Arctic Monkeys (read: if you are not, I might reconsider our friendship) then you will enjoy these “lads” as well. You can check them out by clicking the link below.
In other news, things are both kicking into gear and winding down in regards to school. I only have 2 weeks of classes left. At the same time, I have 5 essays to write that average 4,000 words which is about 15 pages double spaced. I just finished one today so that means I only have 16,000 more words to write! WOO HOO! Also, In exactly ONE MONTH I will be home.
I have been in country almost two months and within these two months I have had three different phones and two different phone numbers. I had multiple problems unlocking my iphone and then it relocking again and me having to pay to get it unlocked AGAIN. My newest phone adventure happened today. I woke up with a text from Emily suggesting lunch. Friday, I walked by a Mexican place in the city center that had also gotten really good reviews on YELP so I suggested that. After the half hour walk I arrived to the place to meet Emily and we realized that there was a cooking class going on in the restaurant so it was closed for the time being. We decided to pass the time walking around Temple Bar and through the various crafts and food markets while we waited for Azteca to open up so we can eat some oh so missed and craved mexican food. (I have learned that no matter where I go within Europe, the Mexican food is just a sad feeble attempt and is rarely up to my liking). Anyways.
We wander back to Azteca and find that it is still closed so we slowly start moving down the street and get our phones out to search for other places to eat. As I lift my phone out of my pocket, it slips out of my hand and drops. It didn’t just drop to the floor. Oh no. That would make my life WAY too simple. Instead, it falls between a grate into a 6foot deep shaft. GREAT! I gasp and then just starting laughing and thinking WTF am I supposed to do NOW?!?! I go into the coffee shop that we were in front of and tell the workers to see if they know of any way we can get access to the shaft below. The guy tells us that there is a door that leads to it but it is only accessible through the parking garage of the building next to us which is a private condo association. After about 10 minute stalking the door, someone finally comes out and he kindly enough leads us into the parking garage. I manage to get to the door only to see that there is a metal square-grated door with a padlock separating me and my cursed phone. We go back to the lobby and call the management emergency line and the very snotty woman, after only caring that I am in the building unaccompanied, tells me that there is nothing she can do until Monday when the caretaker is back on site and can get my phone out. I thank her and start praying that it doesn’t rain until Monday. Emily and I go back outside and are just staring at my phone below our feet with defeat when the worker at the cafe comes back out and says “I have a long stick, if you find some tape or something maybe we can stick it and then pull it up.” I respond with “great idea! We’ll go look for some tape!”
Emily and I head off down the street to look for a pharmacy, convenience story, grocery store, anything that could possibly sell duct tape or something of the sort. After going to several places and toying with the idea of possibly using denture adhesive cream, we come across a Tesco where we enter, split up, and start looking for tape. I find a salesperson and ask him where they keep their tape. He shows me but only scotch tape. I tell him my story and in the meantime i see his colleague giggling at my misfortune a few feet away. The Tesco employee ends up being really nice and goes in the back to see if he can find some duct tape for us and get the number for the Dublin City Council to see if we can get them to remove the grate somehow. He comes out with a roll of duct tape but can’t give it to us so he unravels a 6foot strip and gives it to me.
Emily and I head back through Temple Bar to the cafe as I am carrying this ridiculously long piece of duct tape and stretching it out trying to not let it fold in on itself/run into the hordes of tourists that are aimlessly wandering the streets. We make it back to the cafe is a near sweat and I walk in triumphantly holding up my tape when the girl looks at me, smiles and says “yeah so we used a stick to get it out shortly after you had left. Here is your phone.” I stood there in shock. I had no idea how they managed to get it out and was even more in shock that there was not a single scratch, dent, or break on it anywhere (it wasn’t in a case).
Since about 2 hours had passed at this point, we decided to try our luck with Azteca and, low and behold, it was open. The first 10 minutes of our meal was spent by me still being in shock as to how the phone didn’t crack or break, how the hell the cafe employees managed to get it out, and how amazingly friendly and helping Irish people are (except for the lady at the management office but I am willing to overlook that). I’m hoping that this is the end of the drama with my phone but for some reason, I have a feeling it’s not over. I wonder what my phone’s next adventure will be…
I had some errands to run this morning and since it is so nice outside today, I decided to randomly walk around the city. I headed towards the center and then past the center towards the water and back. These are the pictures I took.
This past weekend was filled with somewhat random outings and lots of fun.
A PC friend of mine’s cousin is moving to Dublin at the end of the month and was in town this past weekend to look at housing options and just get an overall feel for the city. Saturday, after walking aimlessly around town in the cold rain that initially started out as a school supplies search, I headed over to the Brooks Hotel to meet up with Emily. We then walked over to the Old Storehouse for some traditional Irish food, beer, and music which we then followed by making our way through the rain and cold to the Royal Dublin Society where we spent the rest of our night sampling some great drinks at the Dublin Craft Beer Festival.
Sunday, Emily and I met up around noon and took the DART train down to the sleepy town of Bray which is about a 25 minute ride south of Dublin. We stumbled upon the Harbour Bar which, coincidentally, was named one of the best bars in the world by Lonely Planet. Since we were there around 1pm on a Sunday, we didn’t get to experience much of the awesomeness. The bar, however, did have a very cool, rustic, atmosphere with lots of random rooms and sitting areas as well as a large lounge with a stage in the back where there is live music every Thursday-Sunday night.
After our short visit to Bray, following the advice of the very knowledgeable Rick Steves, we got back on the train and took it all the way in the opposite direction to the other end of the line in Howth. Howth is a very cute fishing town which we unfortunately did not get to see enough of during our visit there. We did stop into a random restaurant where we had some amazing seafood including steamed mussels, salmon, and fisherman’s pie while watching the local hurling championship.
Today marked the first day of classes and they honestly could not have gone better if I had dreamt them up. My first class that I had was from 11-1 and is about the Theory of Human Rights. The second class I had, from 4-6, is one of my core classes, Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict, which is taught by my program coordinator who is this fabulously passionate woman that seems extremely knowledgable within her area. After the syllabus breakdowns in both classes, I am more at peace with the workload even though I have a 150 page book that needs to be read by Monday.
On that note I can say that I’m finally okay with the fact that I am here and have faith that I’ll do well.
On the way to Bray
Sunset out my window
Harbour Bar Bathroom
Our Fav. Brewery