February 13, 2014

Study Abroad - Week 6: Gaelic Football, Travel Plans, & Exploring Dublin

Happy Thursday!

It's been a busy couple of weeks since I've blogged last! I've had a bunch of work, but mainly I've been doing a bunch of fun stuff!

Some pictures of Dublin 

I've had some homework & I have a few papers & presentations coming up. I've also been working on a business competition at Saint Mike's with my friend Tim & I've been trying to figure out my summer plans (I've just finished by SMC summer research application).

Like I said, I've mostly been having fun!

In January my study abroad program, API, brought us to Glasnevin Cemetery. It's the biggest cemetery in Ireland & has more people buried there than are currently living in the city of Dublin. Many important people in Irish history are buried there, one of the most notable being Daniel O'Connell. Upon entering the cemetery, Daniel O'Connell's catacomb & memorial is obvious. It's huge & beautiful. The entire cemetery tour was so much fun, despite the freezing temperatures & rain we experienced that day. It was so interesting hearing the history of some of the people buried there & it's nice to know that they're not being forgotten.

The huge tower is part of Daniel O'Connell's memorial

After the game, everyone from API went to a Gaelic Football game. A while ago a few people had expressed an interest in going & our Resident Director was nice enough to find some tickets for us for only €10. Plus we had awesome seats! First we all stopped at a pub to eat then walked to the game. It was a little chilly, but it was a lot of fun! The game is kind of a mixture of soccer & American football & basketball. It's pretty interesting. Best of all, the Dublin team won!

Such close seats!

During the first week of February everyone in my program had to go to the GNIB to get our Irish IDs. We did not need to get student visas to study in Ireland, but instead, since we're here for more than three or four months, we needed to get this ID. Basically, if we didn't we would've gotten in trouble if ever stopped by the police. Also, if we traveled out of Ireland, we wouldn't be able to enter the country again if the stamp on our passport had expired & we didn't have this ID. It wasn't too much of a hassle, but the GNIB was similar to the DMV. Lots of people & lots of waiting. Also, the worst part was that the ID cost us each €400. Kind of a bummer.

More pictures of Dublin

Speaking of spending money, I spent a whole bunch of it two weeks ago when I BOOKED TRIPS ALL AROUND EUROPE! I am beyond excited to travel, as one of the reasons I decided to study in Europe was so that I could spend a lot of time visiting other countries. I've booked trips with my friends & fellow bloggers Merrill & Lauren Mazz & our first trip is a week from Friday! We'll be going to Copenhagen, Denmark for the weekend & hopefully we'll be seeing some of our friends who are studying there this semester. Mazz & I are also taking weekend trips in March to Paris, France & to Madrid, Spain.

For the month of April, we all have time off from school, so we have a big trip planned. I have the entire month off, so I'll be travelling for 20 days, from April 7 through April 27. So exciting! I'll start travelling with Merrill & we'll go to Krakow, Poland & Milan, Italy. Then Merrill will fly back to Ireland & I'll have five days by myself & I'll be staying in Cinque Terre, Italy. Cinque Terre is five small towns connected by footpaths. I'll basically spend the week relaxing, reading, eating, sunbathing, walking, & maybe swimming, it's warm enough. After my five days in Cinque Terre, I'll meet up with Mazz in Milan & we'll head to Rome, where we're hoping to see Easter Sunday Mass. Last, we'll head to Amsterdam, Netherlands & London, England before heading back to Ireland for finals. I cannot wait, I'm beyond excited!

The Rugby pitch at Trinity College 

This past weekend I got to see the President's House in Ireland & I got to see Merrill. First, on Saturday, I went to see the Irish President's house with people from my program. It was pretty cool, kind of like a mini-White House. We got to see a bunch of stuff, including the President's office & his guest book. The last people to sign were the Obamas. It was also a gorgeous day & the gardens were beautiful.

Saturday night I met up with Merrill. She was in Dublin with her program so we hung out Saturday night with people in my program. We went to a couple pubs to listen to some live music & we had a blast. Then, on Sunday I saw Merrill & her friends Sarah. We got together to see the Book of Kells at Trinity, then got lunch at one of my favorite cafes.

Today it was a gorgeous & sunny day. That doesn't happen too often here, so I decided to skip a few of my classes to walk around. Classes here are much different than in America. Lectures aren't incredibly important, as tutorials are where most of the learning happens. SO, I don't think it will matter that I skipped today. I am very happy with my decision though, because it was just such a nice day. Since I was at Trinity for class this afternoon, I started by walking around on some streets by the college. Then I went to St. Stephen's Green, a huge park in the middle of Dublin. Eventually I made my way back to Griffith then stopped at a little cafe for tea & to do some journal-ing. A very, very fun afternoon. It felt nice to be out & see the sun shining. I'm not the biggest fan of rain, since it makes me want to curl up & watch a movie in bed. That's not a bad thing if it only rains once in a while, but if it rains nearly every day, as it does here, you eventually need to force yourself out of the house despite the rain.

 Cute tea shop

Finally, this weekend I'm going to Belfast with my program! We're leaving Saturday morning & we'll be back Sunday night. We're going to the Titanic Museum &, what I'm most excited for, we're going to tour West Belfast & hear from ex-IRA members. I think that will be very cool, & I'll be sure to update on that soon.

So, to end this insanely long blog post, please feel free to reach out with any questions via email!

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