Hello from a long hiatus.
I thought I would get back into blogging by telling you all about my favorite country of the ten I’ve visited since I began this study abroad adventure back in August. Ireland!
I’ve been dreaming of going to Ireland since I first watched Leap Year a few summers ago. (I watch a lot of ROM COMs and I’m not afraid to admit it). Though the movie’s storyline isn’t my favorite, I was amazed by the shots of the Irish landscape in the film. I couldn’t believe such a beautiful place existed. When I knew for certain that I’d be spending a year of my life in Europe, I made sure Ireland was at the top of my list of places to see.
My friends and I finally visited the wonderful city of Dublin back in late February for Karla’s 21st birthday. I thought it would be nice to share with you all some of the moments from our trip that didn’t make it on Instagram.
Our first full day in Dublin was spent walking around the city and exploring Trinity College. Being the book nerd that I am, I always search for the most beautiful libraries wherever I go. The Old Library at Trinity College might just be my favorite one.
The entire library smells like opening the pages of a very old book. The long room is lined with marble busts of men like Jonathan Swift and William Shakespeare. Though I was more mesmerized by the never-ending rows of books.
After our tour of The Old Library, we walked around campus on our own trying to blend in with the other college students (and listen to the Irish accents). Trinity College’s campus is so vast and green! It reminds me of the Ivys back in the states.
I was surprised to see how close Trinity is to everything. It really is in the heart of the city. It was a close walk from Trinity to Stephen’s Green.
Here’s a snapshot of my dinner that night: Fun fact: of all the Mexican food I’ve had in Europe, Dublin’s was the best (and spiciest). Who would have thought?
Our second day of the trip was dedicated to visiting the Cliffs of Moher. There are a lot of companies that do day tours from Dublin to other parts of Ireland. It was about a 2.5 hour ride from Dublin to the Cliffs, but it didn’t feel that long at all. We had an excellent tour guide driving the bus, a beautiful view of the Irish country side from the window, and Sabrina and I finished P.S. I Love You on the way to the cliffs. (Did you expect me to forget about another great ROM COM set in Ireland? Of course not).
I loved watching all the sheep and cows, grazing along the green grass as we drove along.
Of all the places that my eyes have seen, the Irish countryside is my favorite. I had seen so many photos of the cliffs before my trip but nothing prepared me for what it would feel like to actually be there and feel the crisp breeze from the ocean and hear the sound of the crashing waves below. There’s something magical about standing at the edge of the Earth.
It was so cold, even for late February, that it was hard to keep my eyes open without them getting all watery. I also couldn’t feel my hands, and had a runny nose that would not stop. But that didn’t stop me from taking an unnecessary amount of photos. I wanted to capture that moment and savor it forever.
On our third day in Dublin, we decided to visit the famous Guinness Storehouse. The tour is more than just an opportunity to drink a cold beer with the best view of Dublin. The tour teaches about the history of Guinness, which is essentially the history of Dublin as well. You also learn a lot about how beer is made, how to pour a pint, and how to best enjoy a pint of the dark-roast beer.
In the photo above, you can see Colm judging my pint-pouring skills. After this photo was taken, I received a certificate from Guinness stating that I had crafted the perfect pint of Guinness. We then went up to the gravity bar to enjoy our freshly brewed pint of beer.
Our last day in Dublin was spent doing a walking tour of the city, where we visited the Dublin Castle. We learned about the Viking history in Dublin, and where Dublin got its name. We also learned why it’s called the land of eternal winter. IT WAS SO COLD.
We left the walking tour early to catch our tour at the Kilminghaim Gaol Museum. The jail, now museum, held leaders of the revolution during the Irish Civil War (1922-1923). Stepping into the building is like stepping into the past. The jail still looks relatively the same as it did during the early 20th century. It’s also an inexpensive way to learn more about Ireland’s history, so I would definitely recommend it.
There were also places we visited that I didn’t include in this post, like the merchant’s arch, the famous temple bar, the rolling donut.
This trip back to Paris was the saddest one yet. After a few days of traveling, my friends and I are usually ready to head back to Paris, the place that has begun to feel like home. This time, however, none of us wanted to leave. Ireland’s breathtaking countryside and incredibly charming and hospitable people made us want to stay longer. I have never encountered nicer people anywhere else in the world!
I can’t wait until I can come back and sing along to Mumford & Sons in an Irish pub again.