Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Week three (June 18th-24th):
Today’s objective:  Ireland v. Belgium in the Euro Cup.  The amount of green was spectacular.  No wonder they call this place the Emerald Isle.  The boys in green playing in France had full homeland support and then some (we were the “and then some”).  Although Ireland did not win, the atmosphere in the center of the city was still something to witness. To put it in perspective, the game ended at 4 in the afternoon but the party went to about 4 in the morning.  So. Many. Drinking songs.  So. Much. Excitement.
Irish parties only last so long for study abroad students unfortunately.  The next morning started off in a small travel van as we embarked on a journey 6,000 years in the making.  Today was different than every other though in Ireland as we were accompanied by stereotypical Irish weather: rain.  I must say Columbia has one amazing rain jacket and shout out to my mom for letting me take it with me to Ireland since it is her jacket.  I have my own rain jacket but it is bright green and my mom’s black one goes with more outfits so woohoo thanks mom! We went to the tomb of Fourknocks and saw the battle field. We then headed to the Hill of Tara where a comical amount of us took a slip and slide ride down the hill. We then traveled to Trim where we saw the castle that they shot Braveheart in.  While there we were able to climb into different parts of the castle and explore where the movie was shot. Yes, I have walked in the same place as Mel Gibson.  Be jealous. We then grabbed lunch and headed over to the Hill of Slane. Climbing through the fortress that was there was so slippery but were able to see out into the valleys. We did miss a lot of different views of from these places due to the weather and fog. The last stop before heading back to Dublin was in Monasterboice high crosses.
On a completely unrelated to Ireland note, Cleveland won the NBA championship.  For those of you unfamiliar with Cleveland sports, this is a VERY BIG DEAL.  Cleveland hasn’t won a championship anything in 52 years and up until this moment hope was lost for Cleveland sports. Being in Ireland, I was unable to watch the game.  I tried so hard but if I have one more message pop up saying “this is not available in your country” so help me.  But being as resourceful as I am, I sought the help of my sister and Skype to view the game.  My sister put her laptop on a pile of boxes in front of the TV so that I could watch the game via Skype. Since there was no way for me to watch it in Ireland, I skyped with my family and watched it that way.
Ok, back to Ireland.  Our professor thought that we would be able to learn history better if we went out and explored Dublin rather than sitting in a classroom.  An idea I can fully get behind because why sit in a classroom to learn history when the history is literally right outside. So class ended early and we all ventured off to the city. We went to Christ Church Cathedral. Then we went to go see the National museums in Dublin but forgot that they are closed here on Mondays.  Major bummer but we turned the day around and walked to St. Stephen’s Green and enjoyed the beautiful and good weather before going back to the dorms.
Today we headed to Dublin Castle which once sat the United Kingdom government’s administration in Ireland but is now a major Irish government building in Dublin. There we took a tour of the castle and the Chester Beatty Library and saw where royalty both dined and slept. The castle was amazing and we learned about Charles IV, a French Duke who defended Ireland from English invasion.  After the castle I headed to the National Museum of Dublin- Archaeology.  They had exhibits featuring old jewelry, where people were buried based on class, and the Vikings of Ireland plus much more. On display they also had bog bodies, which are fully preserved bodies that are in some form of moss that keeps them together.
The next morning I took undisputed advantage of the fact that I did not have class in the morning and slept in so I would be able to go out and experience the Ireland v. Italy game. We headed to a pub in Temple Bar. Unlike the last game, Ireland was victorious and the pub went ballistic.  It was great.  The next day was spent in similar fashion minus the soccer.  A chill morning that turned into a personal exploration day.  I wandered the streets of Dublin while the other students in the program were in class. After walking around for a couple hours I came back and a group of us headed to Phoenix Park, which is like a metro park. We ran into a playground that was meant for 12 and younger but we still went and played because there is no way to prove we are all older than 12 unless you looked at our IDs.  We then met up with our roommates and went to an Asian cuisine restaurant. The food was amazing but the best part was probably the fact that after dinner they gave you free ice cream. Ice cream that is free, there is nothing better.

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