We finally went to Ireland! (Of course, we made a pit stop (not really) at Chatsworth House a weekend before, beautiful building, gorgeous grounds--perfect for kicking around a football (soccer ball)). It’s interesting that almost every British student I told I was going to Dublin for the weekend said that they’d never even been to Ireland before (some had zero interest, as well), which baffled me. They live so close! It’s like living in Oregon and not having been to California. Regardless, it was exciting to get to travel somewhere presumably a little more ‘exotic’ than York.
I, however, was surprised to find that Dublin is rather touristy, full of international people more than Irish people (though I suppose I should have expected that from such a large city). It was a struggle to navigate streets full of international swarms of people, everyone dancing awkwardly across cobblestone and past restaurants whose prices caused some serious grimaces. Nonetheless, every Irish person we met was very nice and welcoming, and after having a conversation with a man in my hostel, it’s been suggested we try going to Galway (or anywhere outside of Dublin) to get a better experience. It’s safe to say I will try my best to go back to Ireland before I leave Europe.
The hostel experience was pretty easy, especially nice as a first hostel experience. I stayed in a ten-bed mixed dorm with Mandy Dorman, my dependable travel buddy (one might even say companion), which didn’t cause many problems (except sharing a bathroom with nine other people, the group of French people who noisily trudged into the room at one am one night, and the man who snored very loudly two of the nights). It was a nice hostel because after two nights of spending more than we wanted to on meals, we decided to buy ingredients to cook dinner in the hostel’s kitchen. This being the first ‘home’-cooked meal since I got here, it was delicious.
We explored Dublin a lot, debating whether we could take a bus to Galway or the Cliffs of Moher and deciding to stay in the city. We toured the Guinness Storehouse, walked through some parks, visited Trinity College, met Oscar Wilde (his statue, admittedly), and enjoyed some of the most delicious looking gelato known to man (Gino’s, an Irish chain, is the creation of dreams). Like our trip to York, it was a weekend of getting to know the city. Although we wish we could have used that time to explore the countryside, or maybe visit a continental country, I don’t regret being able to say, “I’m familiar with Dublin” (if only a little).
Now it’s back to reality. After a full day of recuperation, I’m spending this week with the intention of catching up and getting ahead on my studies. No more television-watching and biscuit-eating for this committed student. No sir.