It is strange to think I have been in Ireland for less than 2 weeks. I have done so very much. The only way I can think to remember to include it all is to go through every picture on my phone…
I know my way around Trinity around the Temple Bar area. Of course I’ve been to the Brazen Head, the Guinness Storehouse, the Jameson Distillery, the Long Room at Trinity to see the Book of Kells. It was awesome. I have spent time in Phoenix Park, St Stephen’s Green, and the innumerable other little gardens and greens around Dublin. I have probably been to enough pubs to last me the rest of my time here, though I am well beyond certain there will be more to come. I sat down over the weekend to really begin planning everywhere else I want to travel while I am here, and I suddenly stopped and started laughing at myself. How foolish I must be to think that after 2 weeks, I am a native Dubliner who should immediately begin looking elsewhere. That said, the next trip is booked. I’ll spend this upcoming weekend in Galway, at the Cliffs of Moher, and in Lahinch, hopefully doing some sightseeing, and maybe even a little surfing. I’ve thought about it more and more, and while I know without doubt I have not seen remotely close to everything that this city has to offer, I should not necessarily feel bad about visiting other places as well. I do not expect to leave here a native at all. By virtue of not growing up here, I do not think that is realistic expectation. I think in the seemingly ever-so-distant future when I leave, it will have been the long walks home from school everyday, noticing a new colored door, a different little garden, a new pint in a new pub with a new Irish friend, and those other subtle little glances into the everyday lives of those who really call this place home that will mean the most to me anyway. Not Christ Church Cathedral, the Guinness factory, or the other staples of Dublin.
Thus far, there are 3 places that have been very special to me. Oddly enough, only one of them lies within the City. Phoenix Park is allegedly 2 and a half times the size of Central Park in New York City. On a map, it appears the same size as the City Centre itself. As one would likely guess, it is very, very green. Grass here is not the grass at home. It seems such a mundane thing, but I cannot help but take notice. It is soft to the touch, always thick, and always a tad bit wild. I imagine that I will spend a fair amount of my homework time there. (Speaking of homework, I turned in my first official Trinity assignment today, and felt rather accomplished. The paper was brief, but it means I can officially walk through those great oaken doors every morning with a somewhat more substantial sense of belonging… not just another tourist.) The next place is the seaside walk around the 40 Foot. Truthfully, I do not know what the proper name of the place is, but it is a rugged rock quarry just within the Southern portion of County Dublin on the edge of the coast in the Dublin Bay. I went there today with a friend, and we jumped from the top rock into the salty, frigid water. It all felt very Irish. The handrails driven into the rockside were rusty and worn, all the kids around us had accents so strong I struggled to understand some of them, and the water itself felt as though it could not have been above 50 degrees. First I jumped feet first. Then I flipped. And after seeing a kid no older than 10 dive in, I had to do so myself. While my salty walk back to the train station sucked, it was a great afternoon, indeed. The third destination, and likely my ultimate favorite thus far, was a trip all the Visiting Trinity students took inland to the Irish Countryside: the Hill of Tara. It was a vast plain of greenery atop a humongous, upon which you can see 20% of the country of Ireland. It was where the ancient kings of Ireland were crowned. It was very windy, very cold, and you guessed it, very green. I captured my favorite picture I have taken thus far while at the Hill. Its of a large tree, from the ground with the beautiful blades of long grass, against the elusive blue sky.
All things considered, I am adjusting well. I’d like to say that I have been surprised by how much I love the little escapes from the urban city each park and garden and seaside afternoon trip provide, but I suppose truth be told, they probably remind me of home. Certainly more so than the beautiful Gothic architecture of Trinity College and the Victorian buildings of the City Centre do… Therefore, I am content with my preference. I am in the city most of the time of course, and it has gradually felt more like home, too. My visits to the countryside will be infrequent, and thus, likely all the more enjoyable.
I've had enough Guiness that I am actually beginning to enjoy it… I have spent way more money than I should. In my apartment, I eat a superfluous amount of yogurt, frozen pizza, and a great cereal brand called “Crunch.” My specific favorite is the honey peanut. (All of these things obviously requiring the minimal amount of preparation.) I am enjoying the lectures the professors have given. Today I learned that according to a jubilant little white-haired professor named Ciaran Brady, the politics of Ireland and England during the 16th and 17th centuries were ran not unlike that of Don Corleone’s organization in The Godfather. It was a fantastic class… who knew?
I miss my friends. I miss my dog. I miss my Mom, Dad, and Brother more than I can possibly articulate. Shootout to Drew, his team killed it this weekend at their Cross Country meet. To whoever took the time to peruse, I thank you kindly.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>I am a reader, writer, and (theoretical) learner at Wofford College in the Upstate of South Carolina. I am a happy, short, Southerner in search of foreign things revealing familiar truths. I like surfing waves, and youtube. I am a future officer in the United States Army, hoping to see as much of the world as I can before I have to take life quite seriously. I think the best way to experience new cultures and people is to eat their food, drink their booze, and read their literature. My brother's name is Drew, and my parents are Lee and Danielle. They are everything.</p>