Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Trip to the Homeland

Ireland was on the tip-top of my list of places to visit while studying abroad so, naturally, I brought it up whenever traveling was mentioned and immediately jumped on board when others showed interest in a trip to Dublin as well.

We packed our bags and headed for Dublin on the first weekend of our two-week spring break. Okay, we made the decision to start our spring break a couple days early and left on a Thursday. Our teachers didn't mind, traveling is expected!

At the extremely reasonable hour of 5:30AM, we made our way to the über fancy Beauvais Airport to board our private jet chartered by the high class airline, RyanAir. Was that sentence dripping with too much sarcasm? Oh, well. I honestly think I slept for 45 minutes, an hour max, since I had to finish writing a paper and pack the night before. The life of a procrastinator. Anyways, onto Beauvais; I kid you not, this airport is composed of two rooms. It's absolutely hysterical, especially when you are deliriously tired. After much confusion, we were able to board our plane. I'm not going to lie, although it's a cheap airline, I felt quite fancy boarding the airplane straight from the tarmac, I've always associated that with private jets and important people.

Stealing Shannon's caption: "Feeling like Kate Middleton."
When we first arrived in Dublin, it was so awesome to see English on the signs, along with Gaelic! Although I tried to read the Gaelic, my efforts were fruitless since it sounds nothing like they why it's written. We went through customs, boarded a city bus, and made our way to the heart of the city. We accidentally went to wrong hostel first (there are two locations for the one we stayed at) so we had to walk to the other one, luckily Dublin is a very walkable city.  Our room wasn't ready yet when we arrived so we walked around St. Stephen's Green and Grafton Street, a beautiful park and popular shopping street, both right near our hostel.

The flowers in Dublin were so beautiful!
We were able to book a lot of different activities through our hostel, which was really convenient and awesome. Our first night we signed up for a pub crawl as a way to see the great pubs of the city and meet other travelers. We met up with the rest of the pub crawl in Temple Bar, the popular nightlife area of Dublin. While it's mostly filled with tourists at this point, it's still a fun place to go. There were about twelve of us on the pub crawl, including our guide. We went to four different pubs before our night was over. There were people from Germany, New Zealand, Austria, and America in our group, it was fun to meet people from all over the world. We called it a pretty early night because we had to wake up bright and early for our trip to the Cliffs of Moher the next day.

We wanted to pack a lot into our trip to Dublin so as to experience as much as possible.  Since we had about four and a half days there, we were luckily able to do so while also taking our time and enjoying the city at our own, relaxed pace. On Friday, we went to the Cliffs of Moher, which was the most amazing experience and deserves it's very own post.  On Saturday, we went to the Guinness factory, which was also awesome and also has it's own post. After we went to the Guinness factory, we walked around the city and made our way to Phoenix Park, a sprawling park in Dublin that is beautiful at sunset. On Sunday, we took a walking tour through Dublin to learn more about its history. That was followed by shopping and more pub visits.

Phoenix Park. We walked through after our Guinness Factory tour.
In between our major activities, we spent our time walking around the city, going to pubs, and eating. So. much. eating. We would stop into any bakery/tea shop or pub that looked like it had good food and a fun atmosphere.  We treated ourselves to a good, hearty Full Irish Breakfast each morning, would stop for tea and scones in the afternoon, and warm up with even heartier dinners in the evening.  I seriously felt like I was in heaven with the amount and type of food we were eating. My Irish stomach and heart were so ecstatically happy the entire trip. Just look at these pictures below and try to tell me your mouth isn't watering.

We had to stop into this adorable cafe, called Hippety's, that had lampshades hanging from the ceiling and adorable decor for coffee and a scone.

My friend Megan, who's studying in Dublin, brought us to this amazing pastry shop! I ordered tea and a strawberry-rhubarb crisp. Absolute heaven!

I was so excited to order Steak and Guinness Pie! It was different than what I ordered in London, but still amazing!

A final Guinness before our departure for Paris. Sláinte!

My time in Ireland was everything I'd imagined it to be and more. I saw and experienced so much but I know there is still more I have yet to see.  I can't wait to return in the future!

Until Next Time.

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