I should be writing one of the three papers I have due within the next three weeks BUT I’ve had enough time to calm down from my hectic week and I want to reflect on Ireland before it’s too late. Ireland has always been on the top of my lists of countries to visit. I’m not Irish and I’m not exactly sure where the fascination came from, but none the less I am so pleased I made it to the land of clovers, rainbows and leprechauns this semester. Okay, okay, it’s not REALLY like that but I can refer to it that way if I damn well please.
Our trip started off with a little bit of a bump in the road. We got up for our Easy Bus (last time ever giving that company money thank goodness) and left from Baker Street at 4:45. About 10 minutes from Stanstead Airport we got stopped in traffic about 30 feet from a major car accident. Gridlock on the highway for about 2 1/2 hours. Needless to say we missed our flight. Finally making it to the airport about 15 minutes after our flight took off, we somehow managed to get the last 2 seats to Dublin, beating out 2 American boys that had been at the desk before us. HA! Hiding our faces from them, we ran away feeling like we had won the Amazing Race.
Making it to Dublin we headed over to the Guinness factory right away, our priorities clearly in line. We took our own tour through the museum, had traditional Irish food (Guiness beef stew, yum!) and learned a little bit about how Guinness is made. Lastly, we made it up to the Gravity Bar which is a circle shaped room with glass walls that has a great view of Dublin. We got our complimentary Guinness and toasted to finally making it to Ireland.
Later that night we went on a pub crawl to some local pubs in Dublin. Pub crawls are always an adventure simply because of the different types of people you meet from all over the world and this one was no exception. I think our favorite stop was a pub that was playing traditional Irish music. We clapped along to the music and attempted to dance like the locals and it was the first time Shelly and I felt really immersed in the culture. The last stop we went to was Whelans (not Whalens, sorry Shelly) where part of P.S. I Love You was filmed. It’s a famous bar that artists have visited and signed photos are hung all over the walls.
The next morning we woke early to start our long day trip to the West Coast of Ireland. Our first stop was the Cliffs of Moher and I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences I’ve had this semester. We were overtaken with the beauty of the cliffs that were formed hundreds of years ago from platectonic shifts in the earth (aren’t you so proud Mom and Dad?). We climbed over the small barrier and my fear of heights was tested when we peaked over the edge. We looked out at the Atlantic Ocean, and imagined looking over at the United States.
The next stop we took was to Galway, a sea coast town. Having done most of our shopping in Dublin, we walked around and took in the sights of the cute town that was decorated for christmas. We stopped at Butlers for a hot chocolate, a must if you’re visiting Ireland in my opinion. I’ve been dreaming of it all weekend. After a long day we headed back into the city for one last meal and beer before heading to bed. I’m so happy I made it to Ireland this semester but I definitely want to return and spend more time exploring the country side and staying in a little B&B. It’s a beautiful country! Arriving back into London, I left my passport on the flight. PALM TO THE FACE. So needless to say, it’s been a hectic week of phone calls, contacting the American Embassy and canceling credit and debit cards. Thankfully my parents stayed cool, calm and collected through the whole thing, reiterating the fact that I would be no where without them. Being abroad has made me appreciate my family for what they do for me even more than I already did. I also received a package from my Sig Kap sisters filled with candy, cards and a 4 pound jar of Skippy. How lucky am I? It was honestly the best timing.
I only have 3 more weeks here, which in retrospect of the entire semester, feels very short. These last days are going to be filled with homework, a visit from Kristen for Thanksgiving, and soaking the carefree life that London has given me these past few months. It’s crazy to think it’s coming to an end soon.
P.S. please pray for me that the American Embassy is forgiving of my stupidity so I can return safely to the U.S. on my scheduled date. PHEW.