Hello again. I know there has been a while where I haven’t updated but that was because we were so busy here. Luckily, I have some free time today so I was able to update. My first day with the whole group went well. We went to several locations throughout the city of Dublin, like St. Patrick’s cathedral. Sadly, while I did take pictures I don’t have them. My memory card for my camera decided to have an error today so I had to reformat it erasing all the pictures. So instead I will simply be copying some pictures from Google and claiming them as mine. There are a couple other places this happened as well sadly.
Anyway. St. Patrick’s was amazing. It is the second oldest church in Ireland and we spent quite a bit of time there. I seem to have a theme of going to cathedrals in religious countries. But the highlight of the tour was our tour guide Sean and the bus driver Jerry. They spent the entire time arguing with each other and teasing each other. Several times Sean would blame Jerry for something silly which always made us laugh.
Following the tour, we went to our housing for the first time. We are staying in Marino college which is just outside of Dublin. To get there, we need to take a bus into the city center which is always a joy. Anyways, I am staying with Lauren who seems to be a pretty nice person. We’ve only known each other for two days, so that opinion may change. The dorm itself it pretty small. We’ve only got two beds and desk so we will be getting to know each other very well. The shower is all the way down the hall. It’s not so much as a dorm room, as more of a hostel really. Lucky for us, we have an amazing view of trees and there are bright gardens throughout the place.
My literature class only has eight people (the professor included) so it is a nice group to travel with. Not to big, but some choices on who to talk to. Our first day we went to visit Farmleigh House, which is in the middle of no where. Seriously. We had to take the bus into the countryside and walk across Phoenix Park. That’s just a fancy name for a really, really big field. While a gorgeous walk, it still took forever. A good half hour later we left the fields of Ireland and finally reached the house.
Now, I don’t have pictures of the inside of the house but that is not because of my camera. It is due to the fact that it is prohibited to photograph the inside because it is still an offical building used by the Irish government. Several of the rooms were closed off to us because of some government meeting, so we got to see the billiard room which is not typically shown. It was an impressive building. Everything was fancy. This was Downtown Abbey on steroids, with imported Venitian lamps and massive marble statues everywhere. Oil paintings decorated each wall, and 12th century tapstries were in the dining room. Outside were some amazing gardens, and what blew my mind was this was a country vacation home. The townhouse was even fancier in Dublin.
I’m attacking a link to my blog for my Literature class here. In the blog I talk mostly about how this style of house was shown in the books we read for the house, so if you are intrested in looking at my homework here it is: https://jenstravelsacrosstheworld.wordpress.com/. Don’t worry, after the class is over I plan on using it to keep everyone updated on my travels across Europe so it won’t go to waste. Also, if you have any comments or anything to add I would love it. It will help my homework.
After we left Farmleigh House, my school group split and we traveled down one of the shopping streets. It was rather fun, and we got to eat at a cool African resturant which served chicken wings. After that we got back to the bus and headed back to Marino where we all fell asleep and stayed down for a while.
Today was rather busy though. Its started out nice and early at Kilmainham Gaol. Sadly, even though I took pictures there ones were destroyed by whatever my camera decided to have a temper tantrum about so there are none for us to enjoy. Instead I will describe it to the best of my ability.
It looks like a stereotypical hail built during the early 1800’s. Long narrow hallways with tiny little cells. Those cells were supposed to hold only one person, but sometimes held up to five or more. The common areas (the halls) were where the women and children stayed when they were in prison. From 1845-50 the population of the jail skyrocketed as the Great Famine broke out. People would break into the jail because it meant they could get fed. Sicknesses were very common and eventually a second jail had to be built in Dublin to handle the numbers.
This jail was primarily used for political prisoners during the various Irish rebellions. The leaders of the Easter Rebellion in 1916 were housed here before they were executed. We visited the execution site and heard the story that one of the men was so badly injured in the rebellion that the British had to tie him to a chair to shoot him. Don’t see how that would backfire England. The news got out, and this turned Irisih opinions against the British. This was what led to the War for Irish Independence, so it is said that spot changed Irish history forever.
Stories like these are very common throughout Dublin. I can understand why they wanted to leave the Empire very well now.
After Kilmainham Gaol, we were taken somewhere much happier. The Guiness factory. Again, the photos I took were gone but a couple survived because I took them on my phone or they were email to us by the factory which was nice. Now, this was a self guided tour of how Guiness is brewed. There are seven floors, and we only had half an hour. So I took like, three photos so I’m not too sad. Not going to lie, I have no idea what was there because we ran to one part: the Guiness Academy. There you learn to pour the perfect pint of Guiness and have to pass the test. The drink can not spill, and had to have the perfect consistency. Several of us took part in this because at the end you recieve a certificate with your name saying you passed the test. And yes, I still have it.
…Plus another thing. You see, Guiness is poured into a special cup. We really liked the cups and felt that it was a shame that to leave them behind. You can take them if they’re empty but Guiness is disgusting so I didn’t want to drink motor oil for a cool cup. The other option is buying one, and seeing how I already had one I refused. So I went to the bathroom and poured it down the sink. Some Italian girl was watching me do this but I didn’t care. I wanted the magical cup for myself. Anyway, I left the brewery with the cup in hand and was quite pleased.
Following this the literature class headed to the National Library. There is currently an exhibit on William Butler Yeates. It was a nice exhibit, but I didn’t spend much time there because we were starving (it was 2 and we hadn’t eaten yet). So we ran through the exhibit and went to go get dinner/lunch.
This all happened right next to Trinity College, where I spent the first day so I knew a few places. We ate at a nice pub before doing some shopping. As we walked around, we found a sign for Riverdance which was showing tonight. So, for 20 euro, we bought tickets and hung around and shopped until it was time for the show.
My only other experience with River Dance is from elementary school when we watched a video. I found it…interesting and wondered what it was like in person. Well, it’s loud. Bagpipes and drums are the insturments of choice and you could feel the floor shake from them. The dancers shoes are very loud as well, which I know is the point but still gave me a headache. The whole show was very flamboyant (they love sparkles) and over the top which may have had something to do with their 20th aniversary being this year. Not to mention, it was two hours long.
We had to leave after the first hour to take the bus back to the school but that was more than enough Riverdance for me. Tomorrow we’re traveling more and hopefully my camera will work then.