Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ireland!

Hello all!

This past weekend in Ireland was wonderful and full of adventure! We left on a bus to the London Stansted airport at 4:30am on Saturday and got there at around 7:30 (our flight was really cheap because the airport was so far away! Haha). We flew with ryanair, which is known for good deals. However, they try to sell you things the whole flight, which is a little annoying! But the flight was only about an hour so it was fine.

 Amanda and I never even went to bed before leaving because we were working on our long essay draft proposals that were due Monday morning, and since we knew we wouldn't have access to computers, we had to submit them before we left. So obviously, when we arrived in Dublin around noon on Saturday, we got to our hostel and slept for five hours haha! After that, we went out to a pub in the city centre and spent a few hours there. We had dinner (I had a sandwich with a fried egg on it! Weird but good!) and of course I had to try a guinness! It wasn't the best, but I'm sure it's an acquired taste :)


We got to hear some live traditional Irish music after dinner at the pub! It was so fun! The pub was packed and all of the people were so nice!

On Sunday, we slept in and went to go on our free walking tour! We had gone on a free three hour walking tour in Scotland and the same company does free walking tours across Europe! So we found out where it left from in Dublin and went on it! It's of course awesome that it's free, but also a great way to get the history of a place and understand the significance of different things around the city.

The city didn't have as much "amazing" architecture as Edinburgh, but the history of Ireland kind of explains that. Still pretty!



This is the Dublin Castle. Most of it was burned down, but the part that is left is pretty! :) 

I was shocked to hear the history of Ireland with Britain. I knew it was bad and a little hostile still to this day, but I didn't know why and I learned so much on the tour! Britain invaded Ireland centuries ago! FINALLY in the 1920's after a rising up of the Irish, the British called for a truce (although later on there was a civil war). Today, Northern Ireland is its own country and is a part of the United Kingdom, while Ireland (The Republic of Ireland) is not connected to the UK in any way, and is a member of the European Union, using euros for their money (whereas Northern Ireland is not a member of the EU and uses the pound for their money.) I guess there is still a lot of tension, as the catholics in Northern Ireland want to separate from the UK, but the protestants want to remain a part of the UK. So interesting!! And of course we were told more about the potato famine of the 1800's that killed millions of people. Ireland has seen so much suffering and it just made me have an even deeper appreciation for them and their culture! Another thing that I thought was so cool was how they're trying to implement the Gaelic language. The Gaelic language is the original language spoken by the Irish but it had declined so much in use and what not so the people are making a great effort to use it! It was on ALL the signs everywhere above English, and I believe they're teaching it in schools so that the future generations will be able to speak it as well! I love it! I'm thinking I need to learn some British history because after having been to both Scotland and Ireland and hearing about how horrible England was to them, I'm a little biased haha!



Pretty Dublin Gardens


                                     The Temple Bar is a whole area of pubs/things to do! U2 started
                                      in the area actually! And Bono owns quite a few places here!


The River Liffey! So pretty!

On Sunday night, we went on a pub crawl tour, which probably was the most fun ever haha! It consisted of an Irish guy leading a group of us to five different pubs that Irish people go to and lastly a club. It was through the same company who had done the free walking tour earlier that day. There were people from Canada, Australia, Spain, and AMERICA on our pub crawl! I tried a few different drinks, which is fun because I've never been into the "bar" scene at home, but pubs are so fun! I tried a strawberry beer at one of the pubs, and it was amazing!! It was so fun to interact with different people (and we of course met some Irish friends along the way, as well as some French people!) We were laughing hysterically with the Americans! They were two guys from North Carolina and they have the traditional American humor that we'd been missing (think "Hangover" or "Anchorman" humor, two of my favorite movies haha!) Many people in our program at Oxford have a very subtle/nerdy kind of humor, which makes sense and is fine, but these American guys reminded us of what normal/non-academic people laugh at haha! We were loving it! The Canadian girls weren't the nicest haha one of them kept complaining about how annoying it is that people always think they're from America and said ew. If you know my American pride, you know I don't handle people trashing America very well because it gets SO old and annoying! They also were pretty promiscuous (one of the girls went home with a French guy she had just met that night...) and they were shocked when they found out we were virgins haha! You would've thought I told her I didn't know who Brad Pitt was haha! She was so shocked! And even more shocked to hear that I was engaged. She asked me how I knew I could marry someone if I hadn't slept with them...wow. Honestly. Society is disgusting lol! Sex is not a prerequisite silly Canadian girl! Waiting will make it blessed and that much better! So that was weird haha but a cool testimony experience because she asked why we were, and I explained it was because we were Christians! Who knows, maybe she'll wonder about the weird freaky virgin Americans sometime in the near future and open a Bible sometime soon :) Haha I also got to speak spanish with the spaniards, which was awesome! I'm not the best spanish speaker because they never really put enough emphasis on practicing speaking in spanish classes, but I tried and they appreciated it...and were laughing haha! It was also funny to hear the spanish "lisp". I forgot that spanish in Spain uses the lisp so it took me a second to understand some of what they were saying haha! Overall, it was such a fun night and I'm so glad we went!!


Monday, we went on another free tour (one we got through our hostel) that was all day and went into the mountains and the countryside. It was so beautiful and I'm so glad we got to see Ireland outside of Dublin :)



The Upper Lake at Glendalough with Sarah!


It was so beautiful! It actually made me feel like I was in Montana! The United States is probably the coolest place to travel because you can see so many different landscapes and beautiful things! I had to remind myself here that I wasn't in the States haha!


Neat Celtic crosses in a graveyard


Wicklow Mountains I believe haha in the distance you can see Wales! My posture looks horrible because I was so cold haha!


Our funny little tour bus!


Our final stop on the bus tour was in a little town called Kilkenny! Here is the Kilkenny Castle!



Sarah & Amanda!


It was so beautiful! We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant because it sounded so good and we hadn't had any in months haha! I was really thankful for the free tour to see the beautiful countryside and hear neat stories from our tour guide! We left Dublin at around 8pm and got back to London at around 11:30, and then had to wait for the bus and got back to Oxford at 4am! Haha late night! But such a successful trip :) I had so much fun and hope to go back someday! The Irish people are AMAZING! The nicest and most friendly I've come across (veryyy different from the Brits haha) and the best accents!

We leave for Paris in 3 days...we are crazy haha but I love it! In the meantime, I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my nephew! He's due any day now and I can't wait to get the news that he's here! :) Also, we're done with tutorials next week, which is crazy! Then it's midterm break in Rome! How is it March on Friday already?! Ahhh! Life is so amazing! I am so incredibly blessed and thankful! Miss and love you! Have a great week!

Love,

Kaylee



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