Thursday, 19 February 2015

Irreplaceable Ireland (Erin Bosman)



Ireland - the luck of the Irish. Well, I know that I am definitely lucky to be here. 

Wednesday night, we arrived at our hostel and immediately went out into Dublin to experience the Irish culture (and roughly 1/4 of my heritage). We made our way into Celts Pub, enticed by the live music and vibrant individuals- they danced, they sang, and they loved Americans. With both an Irish flag and American flag hanging in the window, we were given an incredibly warm welcome. The live band played Johnny Cash among the traditional Irish music, someone standing at the bar rambled on about the Minnesota Vikings (The Packers are so much more wonderful) after I mentioned being from the Minnesota/ Wisconsin area, and many more Irish people found great interest in talking with us. 

Thursday morning, a few of us ventured out, and got quite lost along the way, to Kilmainham Gaol which is an old prison that has been transformed into a museum. Irish revolutionaries were held at Kilmainham Gaol, and many were executed either by being hung or a firing squad, from the Easter Rising and The Civil War among other rebellions. There were also two escapes. It was highly interesting to visit, and creepy to see the inside of various cells. After that, Emily went on a Jameson Distillery tour with me, which was absolutely fantastic. We were given 3 1/2 shots to compare Scottish whiskey, American whiskey (Jack Daniels), and Jameson Irish whiskey and Jameson was by far the best. After learning about how it is made, we went to lunch and enjoyed a glass of Jameson, Ginger ale, and lime.

After leaving there, and getting lost again, we went on a tour at the Guinness Storehouse, which was fantastic as well. At the top of the Guinness Storehouse, there is a 360-degree view of Dublin and it is absolutely beautiful.

We ended our day with wandering the streets back towards our hostel and venturing into random stores along the way, as well as getting slightly lost once again. We discovered that however stressful getting lost could be, it allows for an adventure and for us to see so much more. The best way to travel may in fact be to get lost (as long as you have a map, phone, or taxi money of course)! 

Friday was our day tour of Northern Ireland and Giants Causeway! We had to be awake at 6 AM to get to the tour bus by 7 AM, which was slightly horrible to have to do but definitely worth it. Northern Ireland is absolutely gorgeous. We visited Carrick-a-Rede, Giants Causeway, Belfast, and a couple filming locations from Game of Thrones. Carrick-a-Rede was incredibly terrifying (at least for me) but absolutely worth the risk! Giants Causeway was a spectacular site and there is a great story to go with it! I suggest you look that up. The sites from Game of Thrones were of course a fantastic stop. We only spent an hour in Belfast where the group I was with wandered into a couple stores and got some excellent gifts and souvenirs! We pushed through our exhaustion and went back out to the pubs that night as well, only for a couple as we had to be up early again on Saturday!

Saturday (Valentines day!) we took another bus tour out to the Cliffs of Moher, which were absolutely incredible! Along the way there and back, we stopped at the "baby" cliffs, a couple castles, passed by Galway where parts of P.S. I Love You was filmed, and another cute little Irish town. That night, we went out again because it was our last night in Ireland and it was Valentines Day, so there was a lot going on and it was quite a long day.

Who knows when or if any of us will be back to Ireland, and we had classes to get back to Monday, so why wouldn't we take advantage of all the time we had there and take in as much of the culture and beautiful landscapes as we could? Having the opportunity to spend time with such a variety of different individuals and cultures just by going out and immersing yourself into a place, is absolutely spectacular.

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