February 24th, 2009:
Mardi Gras! Or as its called here in Ireland, Shrove Tuesday and also Pancake Tuesday (but we call it that at home too). We had a pretty relaxed evening celebrating with friends.
March 2nd, 2009:
It’s March already and the last week of classes within Hilary Term. I can’t believe we are finished with our second term already! Nothing too exciting this week as a bunch of us are finishing papers for classes and also getting ready and excited for St. Patrick’s Day!
Really looking forward to having my best friend from home, Jess, come and visit me for a few days!
March 9th, 2009:
Jess arrives! She’s only here for 3 days, so I am packing the best of Dublin in. Lucky for us, today was a bright and sunshine filled day so we toured around the South Side of Dublin where I gave a tour of Trinity, Grafton St., and we had a nice chat and stroll in St. Stephen’s Green. After that, I showed my best friend from the States my favorite Irish paintings by Lavery and O’Conor. A nice tea time break and we strolled through St. George’s Aracde and walked through Wicklow Street. We also visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christchurch Cathedral and took pictures at Dublin Castle and City Hall. It was then time for dinner and a pint with some friends in The Ginger Man pub.
March 10th, 2009:
Another sunny day! Perfect for our tour of Wicklow countryside and Glendalough! We started our morning at 9.30 am at the Tourist Office, which is an old cathedral, and we drove just 25 minutes outside city centre and were welcomed by a beautiful view of Dublin. We could even see Customs House. Our guide gave us a quick history lesson reminding us of the Celts and St. Patrick. We then drove through the mountains and saw the purple heather and even spotted some Irish red deer. We took a break by Bray lake- the scene was breathtaking. Continuing on our tour we drove through the part of the mountains where the famous movie, P.S. I Love You, was filmed. Naturally, all of us girls enjoyed that. We took another stop with a view of Guinness Lake and saw the family estate right near it- quite impressive and the lake almost looks like the color of Guinness!
Our next stop was a nice pub for lunch- Lynam’s of Laragh- where we warmed up with some Guinness stew. Following lunch we visited St. Kevin’s Monastery and learned about the tower that the monks built which still stands; the door was built a few stories up, not at ground level, so the monks used a ladder to get into the tower, but it still stands today because it has a strong base- there’s no doorway at the bottom, so there’s an even distribution of the weight of the tower. We saw the cross at the entrance of the monastery where if one placed his hands on it and claimed sanctuary, he would have 40 days of safety with the monks, and after he could choose to live as the monks did or return to his fate in the outside. After viewing St. Kevin’s cross, the priests’ house, the cathedral, and the rest of the grounds, we ventured into Glendalough Park. Glendalough actually means “valley between two lakes” in Irish and we followed a beautiful trail where we saw the first and smaller lake and then took pictures of the sunny scene at the second bigger lake. We really lucked out with such nice weather! Our last stop before heading home was to take some more scenic pictures of a waterfall just outside of the park, where we also saw a sign for a small village called- Hollywood. That was pretty funny to see, but our tour guide informed us that in addition to the movie P.S. I Love You, a lot of other films, one including Braveheart, have been filmed in this Irish countryside and can see why- its marvelous (hope you enjoy the pictures!)!
Again, met up with friends and took Jess around the famous Temple Bar, where we stopped for a pint of Guinness in Temple Bar and listened to some traditional Irish tunes.
March 11th, 2009:
I took Jess to see inside the Museum Building at Trinity- a hidden beauty- and then took her to see the Book of Kells and the Old Library, always a fun place to show off. Again, it was nice sunny day, so we took the DART south and visited Bray. We walked along the beach and climbed a hill and had another beautiful view of the Irish Sea and Bray. After a tea break, we went home and explored the North Side and Henry Street, finishing our day off with some chips (meaning fries) from Leo Burdock’s- the famous chipper here in Dublin. We spent the night with friends at O’Neils and had a goodbye pint. It was a quick three days, but we packed in Dublin and the countryside of Ireland. Another great thing about living and studying here is that I can be in the city, go to class, take a stroll to a café, and then whenever I want I can go relax and be in the quiet, beautiful countryside.
March 12th, 2009 –March 16th, 2009:
After saying goodbye to Jess, it was time for a rest for a few days and to finish some papers for classes. It was also an exciting time in Dublin because from today until Paddy’s day there would be events taking place all around Dublin: a special screening of Darby O’Gill and the Little People, at the Irish Film Institute, specials concerts at the Concert Hall, and even a treasure hunt for kids, to name a few things. St. Patrick’s Day would indeed by an experience and we were all looking forward to viewing the Parade and Matches at Croke Park. Little did I know I would have a great surprise that day as well.
Can’t wait to share that experience!