Wanderings & Ramblings

Monthly Archives: March 2015

St Paddy’s & Birthdays

So, here it is – the post many of you have probably been waiting for…

I spent St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland.

I was definitely super excited, but had no idea what to expect of this day – other than the fact that it would be some of the biggest crowds I would ever encounter, and that it would literally be madness. And on these two points, it did not disappoint.

The day started out pretty early, with everyone catching the bus at 8:30am. It was then a two hour bus ride of pictures, excitement, and face paint.

Brittany and I had bought cute hair clips and necklaces, with shamrocks, as we had nothing green and wanted to join in the fun. On the bus ride, a friend of mine nicely painted a green, sparkly shamrock on my cheek – and it was perfect!

 
My sparkly, green shamrock for St. Paddy's day in Dublin!
My sparkly, green shamrock for St. Paddy’s day in Dublin!

 
Waiting for the parade in Dublin the girls.
Waiting for the parade in Dublin the girls.

 
All the craziness of St. Paddy's :)
All the craziness of St. Paddy’s 🙂

 
 
Everywhere was a sea of green.
Everywhere was a sea of green.

Getting off the bus, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then followed the hordes of people heading to the parade area on O’Connell Street (I’m not sure why I remember that detail…).

We stood around for a while, waiting for the parade to start, and basking in the fact that we were in Dublin for St. Paddy’s. It was truly amazing.

Except for the fact that the parade was one of the weirdest things I’ve seen, and I couldn’t even see half of it. The street was not the best set up, with an uphill slant. So, when the father put his daughter on his shoulders in front of me, my view was completely obstructed. The little snippets I did see included floats of insects and mad scientists, and a giant rubber duck balloon falling over. It was fun just hanging out with friends and trying to figure out what was going on.

We started walking before the parade ended, and split into two groups: one went for food and the other to walk around the city. For once, I was not in the group looking for food!

With Brittany, Sarah, Evelyn, and Virginia (who found us in Dublin), I wandered the streets of Dublin and took in some of the most famous sights. From the outside of course, because the inside costs money and I’m a poor student. 😉 We walked to Trinity College, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Dublin Castle. They were all amazing, and there were so many people at all of them.

 
The city was so pretty. I can't wait to go back!
The city was so pretty. I can’t wait to go back!

 
The infamous Temple Bar of Dublin on St. Paddy's.
The infamous Temple Bar of Dublin on St. Paddy’s.

 
 
We found St. Patrick's Cathedral in our wanderings. Cool to visit the church on the "saint's day"
We found St. Patrick’s Cathedral in our wanderings. Cool to visit the church on the “saint’s day”
 
I drank a pint o' Guinness for the celebrations. When in Ireland... (sorry for the cheesy pose with booze...)
I drank a pint o’ Guinness for the celebrations. When in Ireland… (sorry for the cheesy pose with booze, and bad quality…)

We stopped for a cup of tea before meeting up with the others to head to a pub, The Market Bar. I ordered a Guinness, of course. Have to have a pint of Guinness for St. Paddy’s. Or green beer. (But that was Heineken and I’m not a huge fan…)

Trying to find some place to eat for dinner was crazy. We met Kitty, Bruna and Hubert, and waded through the masses to try to find a place we had heard of – only to be told it was full. Standing in the street, we saw a little Italian restaurant to the side, where the man offered us 10% off because he heard our friends speaking Brazilian. So, we went there! Had some good food, wine, and conversation (and 3 more of our friends met us there later).

We tried to find everyone else at a club, but when following the map, the place didn’t really exist. We ended up hula-hooping in the street (it’s a long story), before heading to The Porterhouse for about 1.5 hours before the bus left. It was a great atmosphere, and we had fun all hanging out.

The bus ride back at 1am included many sleeping people, and many others who were very drunk. But in my opinion, it was a pretty great day and a crazy experience. Definitely one to remember for a long time.

On Thursday, it was Brittany’s birthday. She wanted to keep it pretty low-key, so I helped her come up with some ideas. When the day came, I surprised her by decorating her door with birthday banners, and picking up a few small presents. We met up with some friends later, and went to Geoff’s for dinner and drinks. It was so much fun to just hang out and chat. It was a great relaxing evening!

We tried to decide if we wanted to stay out, and opted for coming back to the apartment instead. I had picked up a cake, so we ate cake and drank tea while chatting some more. These people are truly awesome. I think Brittany had a good birthday – she didn’t tell me otherwise…

 
I went for another walk in Kilbarry, and figured out the timer on my phone.
I went for another walk in Kilbarry, and figured out the timer on my phone.

 
 
The skies were amazing on my walk!
The skies were amazing on my walk!

Then on Saturday, there was another birthday of a friend – Evelyn! This was the 4th birthday in one week. Brittany, Bruna, Evelyn and I met to go to city center for lunch and some shopping, just a girl’s day out. It was a pretty fun day!

That evening, we ended up hanging out in our apartment first with just a few friends, drinks, and some music. Some of us agreed to go to city center where a band was playing at a bar. So, we headed to Shortt’s to listen to the Pearly Whites – and they were so good! They played new and old music with almost a swing-type feel. We danced and had a great time, staying until the bar basically closed. It was a great night!

Other than that, not much has happened the last two weeks. Mostly, I have just been preparing for my trip… as I leave in just over 2 days!!!! 2 DAYS!!!! Can you tell I’m excited?

I am going to go to 4 countries in two weeks, travelling through various cities and cultures. I am beyond ecstatic to be stepping on the continent of Europe for the first time, and I couldn’t have asked for better travel companions.

In case you are wondering, I will put my itinerary here again: start from Dublin, and travel to London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, Paris and Nice before coming back home in time for classes again. It is going to be amazing.

I will unfortunately not have a computer or very good internet for the next two weeks (although I don’t have good internet here, so there’s not much of a difference there). The inability to update my blog means that you will have to keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to receive updates and proof of me being alive and safe. Probably Twitter will be your best bet (which you can see here, on the right).

Thank you to everyone who has been supporting me back home! I love and miss you all, but am so excited for this adventure. I will try to keep you updated as best I can.

Signing off for the next two weeks…

May the road rise up to meet ya.

From

JH

“collect moments, not things”

Memories & Time

I went for a walk in Kilbarry Park, mostly because we had a gorgeous day of sunshine.
I went for a walk in Kilbarry Park, mostly because we had a gorgeous day of sunshine.

Sitting in class, time seems to drag on as the minute hand slowly inches its way to a new hour. With a new hour, another class begins and the cycle repeats.

But outside of class, it scares me how quickly time moves. A day goes by in the whirlwind of school and going out with friends. And if you blink too long, it’s suddenly the end of the week. You do a little trip and some homework on the weekend and start again.

Nonetheless, I am making the most of all my time here, even the slow moments in class.

I am reading so many interesting books and articles! I just finished Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. An interesting read – my interest was only sparked when I started reading articles and looking at the depth of the novel in class. Last week, I began reading Great Expectations of the infamous Charles Dickens. I haven’t read Dickens before and am excited for this literary experience.

This past week involved a few nights out, with a few lazy days as well. On Tuesday night, I went with some friends to the Jazz Jam Session again. There were more of us this time, and it was a great night! I really enjoy the spontaneity and the idea of ‘jamming’ to create cool music.

Love these girls! Had such a fun night at Kazbars, even if there was some weird guy awkwardly dancing at our table...
Love these girls! Had such a fun night at Kazbars, even if there was some weird guy awkwardly and drunkenly dancing at our table…!

On Wednesday, Brittany’s friend arrived to stay with us for a few days. Her name is Virginia and she is awesome. She is studying in Edinburgh, Scotland. I have really enjoyed chatting with her and getting to know her. It’s cool to get a perspective on study abroad from someone else who is participating, too, but in another country.

Thursday morning we wandered around city center before splitting off to go to class, do homework, or explore. That night, we wanted to take Virginia to a local bar in Waterford with live music. So, we headed to Kazbar’s after a short get together at a friend’s place. There was a big group of us, and it was a ton of fun to hang out with everyone! We all had a great time listening to the music and chatting.

After doing some homework on Friday morning, I ventured on the long walk to go climbing – as I really do miss being able to drive to the gym and climb whenever I want. That night was even more of an adventure, as Brittany and I tried to create a Spanish tortilla for Virginia. It was a little overcooked, but still great! We were quite proud of ourselves. Inviting a few of the girls over, we hunkered down for a movie night with popcorn and ice cream with Baileys. It was delicious.

The weekend was all about the day trips.

Now, most of our trips have been pretty mishap free, so I blame it on the Friday the 13th weekend. Saturday was our trip to Wexford. We planned to bus into town to catch a bus to a castle a little ways out. After some minor issues (including getting dropped off in the wrong place, and a friend hurting his ankle), we finally arrived at the castle and gardens of Johnstown Castle.

And man, was it worth it.

 
Johnstown Castle, Wexford.
Johnstown Castle, Wexford.

 
The back of Johnstown Castle was just as pretty.
The back of Johnstown Castle was just as pretty.

 
 
Posing like the statues in the statue garden. My bagel helped out.
Posing like the statues in the statue garden. My bagel helped out.
Walking around this garden at the castle, I imagined Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy taking a stroll.
Walking around this garden at the castle, I imagined Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy taking a stroll.

 

The gardens and grounds were beautiful. The grass was a luscious green in every direction, and the trees were a beautiful and tangled mess of branches. Honestly, the pictures don’t do it justice. I feel like in the spring, when everything is in bloom, it would be amazing.

We ate a mediocre dinner in Wexford before journeying back to Waterford, our temporary home.

This morning (Sunday), Brittany and I decided it would be fun to take Virginia to eat an Irish breakfast. We had a great brunch at Dooley’s Pub on the quay, where I finally tried Waterford Blaa (it is really just a bun/bap, but it was delicious)!!!! We then caught a bus to show Virginia the beaches and cliffs of Tramore.

I loved Tramore. And since it’s so close, I will probably visit it again before I leave beautiful Ireland. This time, it was less windy, sunny and cold; but it was a great day nonetheless! It was fun to walk along the beach and sit at the top of the cliffs and just talk with the girls. It was great craic!

 
Once again on the beaches of Tramore.
Once again on the beaches of Tramore.

 
Sitting on a wall, enjoying the view of the ocean. And the moment.
Sitting on a wall, enjoying the view of the ocean. And the moment.

 
Sitting on another wall, we had a great chat while enjoying the sights and sea breeze.
Sitting on another wall, we had a great chat while enjoying the sights and sea breeze.

 
 
These boots have taken me on adventures in Canada and now all over Ireland. Next: Europe.
These boots have taken me on adventures in Canada and now all over Ireland. Next: Europe. (My attempt at an ‘artsy’ shot)

Flash forward to a tired Julie, sitting in a cold room, writing this blog post.

And there is only more to come, as this coming week will be packed with amazing adventures (that I cannot wait for)! Spoiler alert: I’m in Dublin, Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day, so we all know that will be an experience all in itself.

I can’t believe I only have 2 months left here. I’m trying to grab hold of every opportunity and memory that I can. I don’t want to miss or forget anything from my time here. But I’m so excited for the adventures awaiting me down the road.

May the road rise up to meet ya

From

JH

die with memories, not dreams” [pinterest quote]

Waterford Wanderings & Excited Ramblings

So this post is a little late. A lot happened over the last week, so I will try to fill you in with a minimal amount of writing.

Last Saturday (February 28), a few friends and I decided that we would go to city center. Bruna, Carlos, Brittany and I set out to tour Waterford Crystal and Reginald’s Tower. Having been here for over 2 months, we decided it was time to do more of the tourist-y things in Waterford.

Waterford Crystal was really interesting! We learned about the processes used to make the crystal, we saw vases being made, and we viewed the amazing artistry of the sculptors. The pieces were beautiful. It was cool to see how it was all made, and why exactly it is so expensive (other than the fact that it’s crystal).

 
 
Entrance to Waterford Crystal.
Entrance to Waterford Crystal.
Carving the lines into the crystal with precision.
Carving the lines into the crystal with precision.

 

 
Amazing pieces by the sculptors of Waterford Crystal.
Amazing pieces by the sculptors of Waterford Crystal.
 
Wandering the streets and narrow-ways of Waterford city.
Wandering the streets and narrow-ways of Waterford city.

We wandered around city center and explored areas we didn’t know after we found out Reginald’s Tower was closed for the day. We stopped for hot chocolate before heading back. We decided to meet up later and have a potluck dinner and movie night. Some of the others were going to make food from their homes – we were really excited!

The dinner was fun – just a bunch of us hanging out, eating Spanish tortilla, pizza, salad, and a Polish dish (although he wasn’t sure if it was exactly Polish, it was really good). A bunch of our friends stopped by and ended up staying, so we all hung out instead of watching a movie. It was fun!

Early in the week, Brittany and I met up with our friends Carlos and Bert in the evenings to plan out our trip for the two-week Easter break. We had it all planned and booked in two night! It is going to be amazing. We will travel from Dublin to London, and on to Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, and finally Paris. We are all super excited! It was relatively easy to book, and we all get along great, so I am definitely looking forward to this trip.

On Wednesday, there was a party planned by the International student society for Brazilian Carnival. Brittany and I decided we would go after mulling it over a bit. It was going to be a costume party, and neither of us really enjoy completely dressing up. So we headed to city center and tried to find something simple, settling on an ‘80s punk vibe. We looked great! We went to the pre-party here and had a blast with our friends, before heading to The Reg bar in city center. Our night had some hiccups, but it was great to dance with our friends in a fun atmosphere!

 
Brit and I at The Reg in our 'costumes.'
Brit and I at The Reg in our ‘costumes.’

 

Not the best picture of all of us (and includes some random guy in a wig), but it's a great memory! (Photo cred: Bert)
Not the best picture of all of us (and includes some random guy in a wig), but it’s a great memory! (Photo cred: Bert)

 

Skip ahead to Friday – probably the day I am most excited to tell you about. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you might already know some of the details.

So, for the trip that we booked, there was one hitch: the other three were planning to leave Paris the Tuesday of the second week to come back to Ireland. All of their parents are coming here to visit them. While I’m super happy for them, I didn’t exactly want to come back to Waterford and sit around for a few days. Instead, I began to look up places I could go for a few days! I wanted to go to Spain, but it was proving too expensive, and I didn’t have many choices of reachable and affordable places. Oddly enough, the best place seemed to be Nice in the French Riviera. Friday morning, I booked everything – I will be spending a few days in Nice, and doing day trips to other cities. I am super excited!

The afternoon only got better. While searching Facebook one day, I saw a random advertisement about a climbing area that had just opened in a rec center. Curious, I clicked it to find out that it is in Waterford!!! I was super excited and immediately contacted the gym to find out when I could go. Friday afternoon, I set out on a long walk (40 minutes of uphill to be exact), and reached my destination. It’s a small area of two rooms: one for rope and one for boulder. But there are a few autobelays and the staff are super friendly! I did an induction and can now climb whenever I want! I probably won’t go often, because it’s so far, but it’s great to know it’s there. I can work on keeping up my strength and the roughness of my calluses for when I go home.

 
The top rope climbing section is on the left - including three autobelays- with bouldering in the back @ Activate Waterford.
The top rope climbing section is on the left – including three autobelays- with bouldering in the back @ Activate Waterford.

 

 
The bouldering section of the climbing area! All new holds was heaven...but hell for my hands.
The bouldering section of the climbing area! All new holds was heaven…but hell for my hands.

Friday night Brittany and I met up with a few of the girls to go to a football match (every time I write ‘football,’ think soccer. I’m trying hard to adopt their words here). It was Waterford United FC vs. Athlone United. I was super excited to get to watch a football match that I didn’t have to pay a lot for. It definitely wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped, but it was a fun outing and experience! I’m not even sure what the score was, although I believe it was a tie due to Waterford’s last minute goal.

This weekend has been pretty relaxed. Yesterday we went shopping and then had a cooking night with Kitty and Carlos. Brittany, Kitty, and I learned how to make a Spanish tortilla and fajitas. They were honestly delicious and I regret not taking a picture of any of it. And then we watched Shaun of the Dead, which I know some of my friends (and my brother) will be very happy about.

A walk in Kilbarry Park.
A walk in Kilbarry Park.

For this week – lots of school work and possibly some nights out.

It seems that my life has fallen into a routine here, and I love it. The routine is oddly never the same. Although it includes school, friends, nights out, and lazy days, there are always factors that are changing and keeping things interesting.

I’m still loving it here, and I’m glad that I’m not homesick (sorry mom and dad). Of course I miss people and things from home, but I am determined to enjoy every minute of my time here as it shortens. I can’t wait for the next adventures around the corner.

“Trust that an ending is followed by a beginning.” (Pinterest quote)

From

JH

Ireland Trip Pt. 2

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

Day 4 – Cliffs of Moher

Having breakfast in a common hostel kitchen is definitely an experience everyone should have. You get to meet some very interesting people, who are there for all different reasons. The morning before we caught the bus, we met a guy who had just moved to Galway from England, staying in a hostel until he could find a flat. Super interesting stories and thoughts.

Through our awesome hostel, we booked a bus tour to see the Cliffs. This way, we got to have numerous stops, and someone would tell us what everything was or meant. Otherwise, I would never have noticed the ‘tombs’ since they look like mounds of earth, nor the fairy trees or groves, where there are trees in a circle and the grounds are considered sacred by some. We got to see Dunguaire Castle, hear multiple interesting stories about fairies and crazy women of the past who married 9 times to keep a house… plus lots of adorable baby lambs!

 
 
Our first stop: Dunguaire Castle, Co. Claire.
Our first stop: Dunguaire Castle, Co. Claire.
Do you believe in fairies? This is a circle of trees where the ground is thought to be basically sacred, and fairies are there.
Do you believe in fairies? This is a circle of trees where the ground is thought to be basically sacred, and fairies are there.


 
 
If I remember correctly, this was a stone tomb. It was pretty cool - and the rocks throughout the Burren were fantastic! All over the ground, there were lines, like fissures, carved out from glaciers and water.
If I remember correctly, this was a stone tomb. It was pretty cool – and the rocks throughout the Burren were fantastic!

And then we reached the Cliffs of Moher.

Now, a lot of my friends were absolutely speechless. Being an English major, I was only speechless for a moment before a multitude of words came to mind – amazing, breathtaking, spectacular, brilliant, natural, beautiful! Of course, climbing also came to mind, but I tried to take in the wondrous sight instead, storing it in my memories.

We spent 1.5 hours wandering the trails along the cliffs (not going too close, mom, don’t worry), and taking great and silly pictures. It was a lot of walking and a magnificent afternoon. We could even see the Aran Islands in the distance, our next adventure.

 
We had a gorgeous day on the Cliffs.
We had a gorgeous day on the Cliffs.


 
 
"And now I'm closer to the edge..."
“And now I’m closer to the edge…”
Standing at the railing of the Cliffs of Moher.
Standing at the railing of the Cliffs of Moher.


 

That night was nothing exciting unfortunately. We were all pretty tired and knew that we had an early morning, so we hung out in our tiny hostel room.

Day 5 – Inis Mor (Inishmore)

We got up early to catch the bus to Ros a Mhil, where the ferry would depart, only to find the bus completely full. We were disappointed, but the bus driver let us stand for the ride so we could make the ferry. I got a seat part way through – the others, however, had to stand for the hour bus ride.

The ferry ride was a whole other story. I have been on multiple ferries, going to Vancouver Island with my family since I was quite young. I never really thought about the fact that the others may have only ridden a ferry once or twice in their lives… and this was not the best ferry to start on. A 40 minute ferry ride across the Atlantic Ocean, with rain and wind outside, meant the ride was pretty rough and choppy. The lads survived, though.

On the ferry, a very nice, older gentleman saw our group and struck up a conversation with me. He was a local of the island and ran a bus tour. He offered to give our group a discount, and he would take us around the island for the day. We all jumped at the idea, since it was still raining, and our only other option was to ride bikes. This way, we could get the full history of everything on the island, and have the chance to go to all the amazing sights and places.

Brittany and I saw a girl who we had met on our tour to the Cliffs the previous day. She was Canadian and travelling by herself. So, we talked to her the whole ferry ride, introduced ourselves (since we hadn’t exchanged names the day before – hers was Lisa), and we invited her to come along on the tour with us. She accepted, and we all had a great time.

I’m going to list some random facts we learned about the island(s) that I found interesting:

– There are 3 islands: Inismore, Iniseer, and Inisman, with Inismore being the largest.

– It has 3 churches, 3 schools, 6 pubs, 1 store, and 1 cash machine (which I used…)

– The main language is Irish, and the main industries are fishing and tourism.

– The bank on the island is open only 1 day a week, and they have a lunch break of about 2 hours.

– While other places have doctors that fly from one area to another, the islands had a priest that would fly to each island to give mass.

There you go. Random facts.

 
 
This began our walk to Dun Aengus fort on Inis Mor.
This began our walk to Dun Aengus fort on Inis Mor.
Inis Mor was beautiful! Amazing view on our walk to Dun Aengus - we even saw a rainbow.
Inis Mor was beautiful! Amazing view on our walk to Dun Aengus – we even saw a rainbow.


 
 
Dun Aengus looked really cool at the top of the hill, situated right on the cliffs.
Dun Aengus looked really cool at the top of the hill, situated right on the cliffs.

On our tour, we stopped at the infamous ruins of the Dun Aengus Fort. The walk up was gorgeous, and the views were spectacular. I think our group loved the views from the cliffs more than the ruins themselves. It was far more exposed than the Cliffs of Moher, as you could literally walk right up to the crumbling edges. We were, of course, quite careful. It was definitely worth two euros just for the views.

We went to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, saw ruins of the 7 churches and stopped in another graveyard, and bought souvenirs (I bought postcards and a ring). We wandered the main village of Kilronan before catching the ferry back. The ride back was much smoother for the latter half, and we got to ride on a double-decker bus to get back into Galway.

 
 
The cliffs and views along Dun Aengus were amazing! Unlike the Cliffs of Moher, you could walk right up to the edge.
The cliffs and views along Dun Aengus were amazing! Unlike the Cliffs of Moher, you could walk right up to the edge.
 
I don't want to ever forget this place. Standing on the cliffs at the ruins of Dun Aengus, Inis Mor Aran Islands.
I don’t want to ever forget this place. Standing on the cliffs at the ruins of Dun Aengus, Inis Mor, channeling my inner Judd Nelson.
 
From the cliffs, you could see almost the whole island around you.
From the cliffs, you could see almost the whole island around you.
We reached the farthest point of the west of the island, stopping at the Atlantic Ocean. Canada was only an ocean away!
We reached the farthest point of the west of the island, stopping at the Atlantic Ocean. Canada was only an ocean away!


 

We were pretty tired again – the ferry rides and another long day of bus had really worn us down. We parted ways with Lisa, and decided to hang out in our hostel. Brittany, Carlos, Bert and I went to Napoli’s to order pizza, and walked along the River Corrib. It was pretty at night, and the sky was clear so you could see the stars. We took the pizza back to the hostel, and after the guys picked up some beers, we all just hung out. It was a ton of fun, and the pizza tasted delicious!

Day 6 – Final Day – Travelling ‘Home’

We had to check out in the morning, but a few of us decided to sleep in until we had to get up. Then we just grabbed hot drinks and a snack at a local café.

We wanted to take a free walking tour of Galway city, as we hadn’t seen much of it yet. We waited for 30 minutes with no guide showing up… Finally, a girl came (her name was Laura) and explained that there had been a mix-up, the other person hadn’t shown up, and she would cover. I’m glad we stayed, because she was actually amazing and knew a lot about the city.

She told us a lot about Galway’s history, and showed us the various sites around the city. I wish we would’ve had more time to have gone back and explored them fully.

– The cathedral looked really old, but was actually built in the mid-1900s. And the ceiling was apparently made of Canadian cedar – it would have been cool to go there and ‘smell home.’

– We got to see Lynch Castle, and hear the story of how a baby saved a monkey from a fire.

– We saw the Spanish Arch, where the Irish used to trade with the Spanish, and the remnants of the old wall that used to enclose the city.

– Laura explained why the post boxes in Ireland are green – they are actually left over from the British and have the Royal crest on them. After the Rebellions, it was too expensive to replace the boxes, so they used cheap green paint and painted them green!

 
 
Eyre Square in Galway. Where we began our tour.
Eyre Square in Galway. Where we began our tour.
 
We walked along the River Corrib on our walking tour - it is one of the fastest, smallest rivers (I think in Europe...), and so pretty.
We walked along the River Corrib on our walking tour – it is one of the fastest, smallest rivers (I think in Europe…), and so pretty.

– We learned about Brehon laws – the idea of the ‘honeymoon’ comes from Ireland. If a man was strong and rich enough, he could have 2 wives. BUT – if the first wife wasn’t happy, she had 3 days to murder the second wife before it was considered illegal. So, the honeymoon was created for the husband to protect his second wife!

– Also, Halloween was an Irish tradition – it used to be thought that the veil between the worlds of the dead and living was weakened on this night, and evil spirits could come into the world and possess or kidnap you. So people would disguise themselves by wearing the skins and heads of animals. Creepy, right!?

Perhaps the coolest thing though: Laura taught me some words in Irish. I learned ‘slainte,’ which means ‘cheers,’ ‘failte’ means ‘welcome,’ and ‘creol’ means ‘music.’ (Plus: ‘craic‘ means ‘fun.’ Don’t ask me to try to say them though, as I’m told by the other international students that we have terrible pronunciation for basically every language except English).

After that, we took a bus to Limerick. Here, we wandered the city at night along the river. We realized we hadn’t really explored the cities at night, with there either being nothing to see or us being too tired. We couldn’t decide on where to eat for dinner, and somehow Brittany and I agreed to eat kebabs. They actually were pretty good – although not what I had expected at all. I probably won’t eat another one for a while – at least, not sober.

 
 
To get some people in this post, Carlos, Brit and I when we wandered Limerick at night.
To get some people in this post, Carlos, Brit and I when we wandered Limerick at night.
 
Limerick at night. King John's Castle just across the river. The city lights were amazing on the water at night!
Limerick at night. King John’s Castle just across the river. The city lights were amazing on the water at night!

The trip finished with a bus ride home to Waterford, with lots of jokes and laughs along the way. It’s weird to call this place home still, even though that’s what it is. It will be my home for the next 3 months even.

But it’s not just the place – these people I got to travel with and meet are a huge part of it. Thinking about the end of the semester, and not seeing all of them, makes me really sad. BUT – for now, we will plan more adventures and enjoy all the time we have left here!

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” – Pinterest

From

JH