I prefaced my last post by saying how I have failed to keep up on my blogging and here I am again, apologizing for the lack of posts in the last week or so. As I mentioned in the last post, my friend Maggie came over from Italy, followed by my mom coming in two days later and the three of us have been going nonstop. So, again, my apologies for my horrible blogging skills, and now on to the good stuff.
Monday of last week was an ordinary day. I was impatiently awaiting Maggie’s arrival all day when at about 9 o’clock I received a message from her letting me know that she would be spending the night on the airport floor thanks to a shotty public transportation system in Italy and one very rude airport employee. Obviously I was crushed and felt horrible that Maggie was stuck on the floor in Rome, but it actually worked out better that she didn’t get in until Tuesday afternoon. I was able to finish my final papers for class so that they were not looming overhead while I was entertaining guests.
Tuesday night consisted of a quick dropping off of bags, two euro Tuesday at Dicey’s Beer Garden, and a group of Norwegian boys who insisted on entertaining a group of American ladies at the pub, Maggie’s warm welcome to the land of the leprechaun. With Maggie only being in Dublin for a short time, we wasted no time getting right to our Irish adventures on Wednesday morning. Much to my dismay (not), I was “forced” to skip class to take Maggie out to Bray, a beach town on the coast of Ireland. There isn’t much to the town except for a rocky beach and Bray’s Head, a mountain, by Irish standards, that has a number of paths for walking and climbing. Being determined to reach the top of Bray’s Head, we wasted no time getting to the mountain and setting off on the nearest path we could find. After a significant amount of time spent walking and after realizing that we were not actually getting any higher up the mountain, we decided that perhaps looking at the map that we so confidently surpassed may have been a wise choice in hindsight. We found the right path and after many stops and quite a bit of huffing and puffing and realizing just how out of shape we were, we made it to the top and it was most definitely worth the climb! The view was absolutely amazing. We spent the rest of our time in Bray goofing off and riding ridiculous carnival rides, one of which held us upside down very high in the air for a solid 30 seconds. We were absolutely exhausted by the time we made it back, and I was sufficiently sunburnt (Yeah, I know, sunburnt in Ireland. Who would’ve known?), so we grabbed some dinner at Portobello, a pub/restaurant near my flat. There was a couple people ordering at the same time as us at the bar and they invited us to eat with them, so of course we sat right down. The dinner was highly entertaining, especially at the end of the meal when the gentleman sitting next to me asked if I was going to finish what was left on my plate… When I speak of Maggie’s time in Ireland, I say adventures for a reason.
Thursday I, unfortunately, had to go back to class, but was very happy to be meeting my mom shortly after at the great food market that takes place on the canal every week. I had been so looking forward to seeing her, I could hardly wait for class to be over! We got some great food, found Marge (Please note: I will refer to Maggie in several different ways. She has too many nicknames and I interchange them frequently in my everyday conversation), and I began my Dublin tour guide career. I took my mom and Maggie to Dublin Castle, which was really cool, especially since I have been learning a great deal of the history that revolved around the castle, Christ Church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and out for a drink in Temple Bar, because everyone has to have at least one pint of Guinness in Temple Bar. We finished off our mini Dublin tour with dinner at the Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest pub. At this point, I was feeling pretty confident in my tour guiding abilities. After dinner, mom headed back to the hotel to settle in and ward off her jet lag while Mags and I suited up for another night out on the town. It was great craic (craic: Irish for fun).
Friday was an early morning to catch a train to Cork for the weekend. I was more than excited for this portion of our trip, mostly because I had spent so much time planning it. Friday we went to a really neat wildlife preserve. The animals are not kept in cages and are, for the most part, able to roam freely throughout the park. Definitely way better than a normal zoo, and I came out of the experience with a picture of me within two feet of a baby kangaroo! Saturday was the busiest day of our time in Cork. Another early morning to hop on a bus to Blarney so we could all kiss the Blarney Stone. Kissing the stone was a total adrenaline rush. Most people don’t realize that it is at the tippy top of the castle and you have to bend backwards over a rather large gap to kiss it properly and redeem the supposed gift of eloquence and persuasion. I don’t know about anyone else, but I surely feel more eloquent after having kissed the stone, and it wasn’t too hard to persuade Maggie to spend an extra night in Ireland, but I’m getting ahead of myself with that adventure… Saturday afternoon, after stopping to make an inevitable shoe purchase (You do not let the Ross women loose in a city with great shoe stores), the three of us were off to Kinsale for a sailing trip in Kinsale harbor. The town of Kinsale is beautiful! Fortunately for us, the guy in charge of our sailing trip mixed up the date and they weren’t able to take us out on the large cruising boat as planned, a smaller one would have to do. Being lovers of the sport, we were not discouraged at all. The guy that took us out was more than pleased to have experienced sailers on board and more or less let us run the show. It made for a great afternoon. Shortly after sailing we headed back for a quiet night in Cork (and one of the best salads I have ever had). Sunday was spent traveling back to Dublin and relaxing after our adventurous weekend.
Our evening of rest was followed by some beer and appetizers at a nice pub called the Barge. After a couple drinks, my mom headed back to the hotel while the rest of my study abroad group met up for a night at Coppers, a night club that everyone says you have to experience once and only once (let the adventures of Lauren and Maggie continue). The club was definitely fun, and decidedly a little too much fun. Maggie was due to leave at four the next morning to catch her early flight back to Rome. Needless to say, being college students, we were strolling back home for the night around 3 AM..Maggie was not going to make it to the airport. It turned out to be alright though, because she didn’t want to leave anyway!
Today we met back up with my mom for Dublin’s hop on hop off bus tour, a great way to see a lot of the city in a small amount of time. We hopped off at Trinity College first and walked around the grounds. I could totally see myself going to school there, it is beautiful. We then had some amazing crepes for lunch and hopped back on the tour bus. A trip to the Guinness storehouse where we learned to pour our perfect pints and a tour through Kilmainham Jail later, we were exhausted. We ended the night at Jo Burger and it was time to say goodbye to my mom. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. I can’t believe I only have five days left in Dublin. I don’t want to leave. I get teary eyed every time I stop to think about it. I did get myself a really nice Irish wool blanket, though. My little piece of Ireland to comfort me for years to come.