Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ireland-Post 5

I cannot believe my time in Ireland is almost over. It feels like I just got here, but it also feels like I've been here forever. I'm excited to go home, but I'm really going to miss living in Cork, especially after visiting Dublin last week. Dublin is just crawling with tourists, and it's a really busy city. Cork is the second largest city in the country, but it feels smaller and quieter than Dublin did. Dublin was great for museums though. There's so much to do there. On Wednesday, after arriving and checking in to Trinity College, we went to see Christ's Church and St. Patrick's Cathedral. After that, we split off into groups to go out and see some of the other sites of the city. We were given a list of things that we 'had' to see for class, and anything else we had time for. We used our afternoon on Wednesday to go to the Guinness Storehouse. It was a cool place, but there were way too many tourists to really enjoy the experience. Also, Guinness is NOT good. I almost choked on the tiny amount they gave us to sample. I am not a fan at all. On Thursday we got in line early to see the Book of Kells, which was so cool. After that, we went to the Kilmainham Gaol (pronounced jail), which was a sobering experience since we had just talked about what went on at the jail in class the previous week. After the jail, we went to an unfortunate museum of natural history and then on to Dublin Castle, which was beautiful. We found a bar that had relatively cheap cocktails and Irish dancing, so we ended our day there. Friday, I wandered around Dublin until it was time to go to the airport. I spent my weekend in the Netherlands, visiting friends in Amsterdam and family in Friesland (northern province). That was an amazing experience, and I'm so glad I got to go and do that. Yesterday was our last day of lectures and today was our last day trip. We went out to the Dingle Peninsula, which is the westernmost point in Europe. It was absolutely beautiful. It was also gray and rainy, which is what an Irish summer usually looks like. Tomorrow and Friday we have presentations and then our program is over! I'm going back to the states on Sunday. It's crazy.
(and here comes an obscene amount of pictures. I'm sorry)
Christ's Church

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Guinness Storehouse

Trinity College

The Long Room (library at Trinity where the Book of Kells is held)

Kilmainham Gaol

Museum of Natural History (awkward photo)

ballroom at Dublin Castle


Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam)

Museumplein (if you look closely, you can see me in front of the 'r')

On the Blauwbrug over the Amstel River(Amsterdam)

Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ireland-Post 4

And just like that, another week is over. We're at the halfway point already! This week was a little less chaotic than last week, and I think I've finally adjusted to the time change. The weather is still unusually warm. No rain yet, but it's been pretty humid. Yesterday, we were told that the average temperature for the month of July is 64. It's been consistently in the 70's for two weeks now. We're all hoping it cools down. I know that this weather is cool compared to the desert back home, but I had been hoping to wear jeans and sweat shirts every day. But really, I can't complain. We visited Killarney National Park this last week and saw some amazingly beautiful scenery. Last night, some friends and I found a good spot for fish and chips, which were amazing, but SO GREASY! I think I've filled my quota for the month. This weekend is going to be pretty quiet, I think, to prepare for the crazy schedule we have next week. We have another day trip on Monday, and then on Wednesday we're leaving for Dublin. From Dublin, I'll be going to Amsterdam for a little visit, which I am super excited about. After that, there's only one week left and then I'll be going home. Time is really flying by, but in the best way possible.
The Torc Waterfall, Killarney National Park

The Muckross House, Killarney National Park

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ireland-Post 3

My first week in Ireland is almost over, and it has been one of the busiest weeks of my life so far. (That is probably a huge exaggeration, but it's okay.) I am still adjusting to the eight hour time difference, and I feel like I'm always tired, but somehow I power through. Ireland is BEAUTIFUL. I really am loving it here. We've been in class every morning this week, and then gone out to see the city or the surrounding country-side for the afternoon. My FaceBook friends probably hate me right now, since I've posted close to two hundred photos this week alone. There's just so much to see! I won't share that many here, but I will share a few at the end of this post. Class lectures have been interesting, even more so since we can go out and see the history that we had just been discussing. Cork, our 'home base' city is so incredible. My friend and I have found our pub for the month. We went on Monday night and made friends with the barman, the musician for the pub and one of the regular customers. They really do love having Americans here, and the musician was telling us about Cork, the history of Ireland and, of course, all about how terrible Dublin is. Corkonians (as the residents of Cork like to call themselves) believe that the 'rebel city' of Cork is the true capital of Ireland, since Dublin is an 'English' city. Our musician friend was VERY bitter towards the English.

Tonight, a bunch of us are going out to celebrate the Fourth of July American-style, which probably means going to McDonald's and finding some Budweiser. As of yet, I have no plans for the weekend, but that will most likely change, given that there's a ton of stuff to do around here. We are going on a mini pub crawl tomorrow to see some live music, including the band of our musician friend. It's going to be pretty awesome, I can imagine. Thankfully, I can't afford to drink too much, so there's no danger of getting out of control. Stay tuned for more adventures! Follow me on Instagram for more frequent updates if you'd like.
Barryscourt Castle, a reconstructed ruin

Blarney Castle, home of the famed Blarney Stone, which I kissed

the Poison Garden at Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Cobh Harbor-last point of call for the Titanic


St. Fin Barre's Cathedral here in Cork

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ireland-Post 2

I am here! I made it to Cork safely, my flights went smoothly, the bus was easy to find at the airport, I was able to find a cab to get to my apartment in Cork and I am all settled in. I am staying at University Hall, and my room is pretty nice. I even get my own bathroom, which is fabulous. The weather so far has been beautiful, very warm and very sunny. I know that it won't be like this for the whole month, but I'm definitely enjoying it now. I went on a bike tour of the city this afternoon, and I'm going to city centre tonight with another girl from my program to walk around and do some shopping. I am still adjusting to the time change though. I was super exhausted this morning, but I slept okay last night, so hopefully another good night of sleep will make things better.