16 December 2009

Doing the Dubler - Part 1

I have SSOOOO many fun thoughts about Ireland that I need to split the trip into two parts: Dublin first two days, and Galway and last day in Dublin! It was so amazing that I don't even know where to start so chronologically will have to do. My friend Jenny and I decided to go to Dublin over a long weekend, and I was so amped.

When we got off the plane I immediately realized I wasn't in "Kansas" (aka Madrid) anymore. I kept speaking Spanish to everyone. Saying "perdon" when I was trying to get past someone and "gracias" to shopkeepers. I even asked this guy in Spanish if there was anyone in the bathroom. What's even funnier is that I clearly do not resemble a Spanish person. I look vaguely Irish. So some short, auburn-haired, green-eyed, freckled girl walks up to you in Dublin and starts speaking badly accented Spanish! He looked at me like I was a crazy! Understandably. But I apologized and explained that I've been living in Madrid. Although he didn't really stop looking at me like I was really strange.

That first day, we just tried to get our bearings and battle the culture shock. I was so confused as to why people were eating at 6pm and in bars at 8pm. In Madrid we eat at 10pm and bars don't even open until midnight. To top it off the sun set at 4:30pm. I didn't realize how much I'd adjusted to Spanish life until this moment. I realized that the much more American customs were confusing the heck out of me! So after a long, strange day of traveling, we hit the hay fairly early.

The next morning we got up bright and early, ready to conquer the day! Our first stop was Dublin castle, but it was closed (and not that impressive). So we moved on the Trinity College. The university is surrounded by a wall and there's only one door to enter and exit. It was like the door to Narnia.

The campus is so magical and absolutely gorgeous! I hadn't seen so much green grass in months! We also got lucky with blue skies in Dublin!

In the library at Trinity College, there is an exhibit about the Book of Kells, which is a latin book of the four gospels dating back to the 800's. There was a sweet exhibit with large displays of the beautifully decorated pages and lots of interesting information. Plus in the back room, you could actually view the books. It was really cool to see some of the religious symbols I learned earlier in the semester in Art History in a real life setting.

Then after the exhibit there are stairs that you're led up to leave and a sign for the "Long Room." I honestly had no idea what that meant but I went with it. At the top of the stairs you turn right and laid out before you is the most beautiful library I've ever seen. I gasped and Jenny's jaw fell open. It was unbelievable. It's the library of my dreams (yes I'm that much of an English major that I dream of having a library of my own!). You aren't allowed to take pictures so I've found one so that you can get an idea, but man I've never seen anything like it. It as cool as the Book of Kells.

After the exhibit, we decided to put together a little picnic. My Irish friend Cian, sent me to Ireland with a couple of tasks. One of them involved purchasing the ingrediants for and eating his favorite sandwich. So we thought it was the perfect time to grab some groceries and head to St. Stephen's Green. Cian's sandwich constituted: Brennan's bread (yellow wrapper), Kilmeeden's cheese (mature red cheddar), Irish butter (dairygold preferably), and King crisps (cheese & onion are essential). It sounds a little strange, but we thought why not try it.

It was the best picnic ever! We had Cian's sandwiches (which are fantastic by the way), potato salad, muffins and diet coke. But it was so cold we had to eat with our gloves on!

After the picnic,we headed to Christ's Church Cathedral to hear an evensong service. It was such an amazing experience. A full choir came out and sang songs in both English and Latin. It was a really great way to see the cathedral!

After a little R&R in the hostel we headed out to look at the Christmas lights. Dublin is absolutely all about Christmas. Every shop plays Christmas music and every street is decorated. In Madrid they are just now starting to get into the Christmas spirit but in Dublin it was in full force a few weeks ago. Oh yeah and "Nollaig Shona Ouit" means Merry Christmas in Irish! It was everywhere!

After being filled with the joy of Christmas we headed back to the hostel so that we could catch the early bus to Galway.


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