at Trinity College
After staying up way too late to buy Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (the book, not play tickets – alas), I got a slow start to my Sunday.
So, when a fellow hostel resident suggested doing a Hop on, Hop off bus tour, I decided that was the perfect way to keep exploring Dublin… while also staying firmly planted in one place.
We used the Dublin Bus Tour, though the city had options from companies I’ve seen in other cites. The live commentary was informative and entertaining, and the views were spectacular. Dublin’s history is recent: after all, the 1916 Easter Rising was a mere 100 years ago.
In the evening I went on a literary pub crawl with a different friend from the hostel. It was good fun! The actors knew their history, and they performed the selected pieces incredibly well. I learned more from watching their 7 minute excerpt from Waiting for Godot than I did reading the text years ago.
After the crawl my friend and I were joined by another American for a late dinner of good Irish food. It was the perfect meal to share before heading straight to sleep.
The 30th flew by: I explored the Guinness Storehouse in the early afternoon, worked in the evening, and made my way to a Harry Potter book release party at night. By the time I made it home (around 2am, curse those long lines), I didn’t even have the energy to read my new book. Fourteen-year-old Sarah was incredibly disappointed in the twenty-four-year-old version.
Occasionally I just don’t want to spend money. This is kind of hard, since I’m in a foreign country, I have no permanent address, and my hostel cooking skills are close to nil.
But foreign or no, most cities have parks you can wander. St. Stephen’s Green wasn’t my intended destination, but I found it after grabbing a cheap lunch at the nearby mall (do they call them malls over here?).
It was actually a spot of good luck, as St. Stephen’s was the site of a significant battle during the 1916 Easter Rising. The park had helpful signposts throughout describing the battle. There was also a bust of James Joyce, so I got my literary fix as well!
I also made up the difference in not spending money by patronizing a pub with live Irish music and dance later in the evening, but I guess that’s just what happens when abroad.
Today I swam in the Irish Sea.
It’s a bit hard to explain how I felt; it was like everything was open and clean and I could breathe easily. It was also very cold.
I was surrounded by children and friends and older adults and other foreign travelers. Everyone laughed and shivered and stayed in as long as they could.
I think travel is a way of changing our environment so we can become more familiar with ourselves; I think Ireland is my way of remembering I have choices outside of the ones I see directly in front of me. Look a little left. Look a little right. The opportunities are neverending.
gin and black currant. yum.
Hostels make it incredibly easy to make new friends.
It helps that the kind of person who stays in a hostel is probably interested in socializing. Sure, you might just be there because you’re a cheapskate and not interested in shelling out the extra 10-20 euros an AirBnB might cost you. You might hate people and ignore everyone else in the lounge. But you’ll probably have a hard time getting the rest of the lounge to ignore you back.
I’ve stayed in a few hostels in the UK and Ireland at this point, and while each have distinct characteristics, all have made a point of fostering interactions between residents. Some are better than others, yes. One particular hostel that shines on creating friends is Sky Backpackers in Dublin.
The hostel has a huge lounge and kitchen area, which facilitates hanging out. It also has nightly specials, like nachos on Wednesday and ice cream come Monday.
I love it here. It was nice to get back after a half-day in airports and on airplanes. I miss Edinburgh – like, a lot – but I love Dublin, too.
After all, it only took me a few moments to find a friend to hunt down Murphy’s ice cream with me. And after that, it barely took a second before I had plans to go to the beach with an Australian-American family the next day.
Plus, this place has the best bunk beds.
18/05/12. One of the Blasket Islands – it’s known as the Sleeping Giant.Continue reading
17/05/12. My table at the final dinner. I was at the head of the table, as is appropriate. ;P
Since we’re so close to the end, looks like I’ll be doing another bonus picture blog post. Wooo! Except this post might also be one of the wordiest I’ve written so far as well.Continue reading
16/05/12. Me, Brother Sean, and Tyler.
Today was primarily a school-work based day.Continue reading
15/05/12. The front of the Dingle Aquarium.
We had a late class today, so we got up and went to the local aquarium.Continue reading
14/05/12. Tyler and I on our horses! Mine was named Larry. He had the most beautiful blue eyes.Continue reading