Week two (June 11th-17):
This week started early in the morning. I think it was before dawn but I cannot be too sure. Regardless, we awoke bright-eyed and not-so-bushy tailed and headed out for breakfast. Our goal: crepes. They were probably, no, definitely the best crepes I think I have ever had before meeting up at Trinity College Dublin to catch the dart to Bray. When we got to Bray we tried to climb to the top of the mountains to see the cross. We made the hike from Bray to Greystones. There were such amazing views and so many different flowers and greenery. I honestly thought it could not get any more beautiful. Being so enchanted by the view, we found out that we had passed the path to head to the top of the mountain. However, due to the excessive mist it was too dangerous to head up to the top so it really was not a bad thing. After all, I did promise my parents that I would be careful. In Greystones we jumped into the freezing ocean, which, by the way, is probably one hundred times colder than Howth. One day I want to go back to Bray to climb to the top of the mountain.
The week continued with another early morning, 6 a.m. to be exact, wake up call. But hey, when in Ireland. We hopped on a shuttle and caught a bus to head to Galway. When we arrived, we went on a tour and walked through the entire city in 1 hour, because that is exactly what I want to do after waking up with the roosters two days in a row. There are way more Gaelic influences there than in Dublin and the city is so small that you can walk across the whole town in about 12 minutes. We then loaded back onto the bus and drove through the Burren, which is just mountains of rocks, on our way to the Cliffs of Moher. On the drive we saw the 3 islands off the coast. I thought that I have seen the most breathtaking sights already but clearly I was very incorrect. When we got to the Cliffs of Moher we were told to hike up all the way. That seemed rather ambitious and the fact that there was a sign that told us not to pass did not seem to help. But, the tour guide told us to break that rule and, may I say, it was totally worth it. The Cliffs of Moher were gorgeous. The strong winds from the Atlantic were very strong and we were advised to walk slowly because the probability of being blown away was more present than the color green in the landscape. We army crawled and sat on the edge of the cliffs in order to capture some amazing photos. Out by the cliffs are some of the best places to learn how to surf since the waves are not that large. You can also find dolphins to swim with while there because the dolphins are not people shy and will come right up to you and play. Beat that Sea World. I definitely want to find my way back there to go swimming and enjoy the scenery. We headed to the little town of Doolin for lunch. There they had homemade, pure chocolate, live music from people living there, and many farm animals.
We also took a dive into the world of Gaelic sports this week. After class one day, we headed to Croke Park, a sports stadium, where the two main sports played are hurling and Irish football. We got a VIP tour of the stadium complete with an inside look at the team locker rooms, suites, and dinner room. Following the tour, we made our way over to the museum where you could actually play these sports. I probably would have been good at Irish football, however not so good at hurling. After this tour we headed back to Griffith College and I went to one of the pubs called The Bleeding Horse to catch the last 30 minutes of the Euro Cup game. Now hear this. I am from a soccer or die family but nothing is as intense as watching soccer in a bar in the country of the team that is playing. That might have been one of my favorite experiences so far being here.
Following two chill days, I was ready to do something worth writing home about. Instead of hardcore chilling in my dorm, I decided to spend the day venturing out onto the streets of Dublin and just see where my music and feet would take me since no one wants to hear that I spent my days on the couch. I went out to O’Connell Street and just walked around enjoying the beautiful weather. Whoever said it is cloudy or rains all the time in Ireland has probably never been to Ireland. I made my way to the Dublin Gallery and the Remembrance Garden.
The next day played out to a different tune than yesterday. The top hit of the day was a 6 am departure time on a tour bus heading to Northern Ireland. Destinations of the day: Belfast, the Giants Causeway, and Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge. Belfast is home to the Titanic museum. Side note, my sister gets nervous on large boats/ships because of the Titanic and still insists on one day going on a cruise. Weird, but I digress. While at the museum, I learned about all the engineering that went on while building the Titanic and this is the same place that they had actually built the ship. As an engineer, I found this part interesting. Right behind the museum there was a building where they actually shoot the Game of Thrones, a show I do not watch but my dad and sister are mildly obsessed with. Then we headed out to the Giants Causeway. My classmates, Paidin and Olwyn, and I climbed the most difficult path of the causeway and stumbled upon some of the prettiest views I have seen since being here. I know I say that about literally every place I have gone so far but I kid you not every place just gets better and better. We were actually standing on the end of the world at one point. Also from the Causeway you were able to see Scotland. The three of us climbed further than the rest of the group and it was totally worth it. On the way down Paidin and I sung karaoke the whole way and even got some requests from people passing us. After the Causeway we headed to Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge. The bluest waters surrounded this little bridge which swayed with the wind so you better of held on. I do not think a rickety rope bridge falls under the “I promise to be careful” oath I made to my parents.