Monday, September 1, 2008

Dublin So Far

I have been living in Dublin now for four full days and I am absolutely in love with it! When Josh and I first arrived we were greeted at the airport by the Director of Champlain, Dublin. After a brief chat with him he sent us off with a taxi driver so that we could start getting settled into our apartments.

It was about 7:30 in the morning here, and we're five hours ahead of the East Coast so you can imagine how tired we were - especially after not catching much sleep on the airplane. Nonetheless we decided to go out and explore the city of Dublin. What a treat! We stopped by a bagel shop quickly to have some breakfast, wandered up through St. Stephen's Green (which is gorgeous and just MIGHT entice me to start running again... pfft), and made our way over to Grafton Street which is the major shopping street here. Once we made it home I was ready for a nap... and proceeded to take one for four hours! I only stopped sleeping when Josh came in and woke me up for dinner. Since some others in our group had arrived we all went out for a big group dinner and found a restaurant that serves three Euro pints for students Mon-Fri! Go us!

The next day we began orientation; so more wandering, less aimlessly. We were treated out to dinner at Oliver St. John Gogarty's Pub and Restaurant.

I had fish & chips and my very first Guinness! Well, it's not really my favorite, but I HAD to try it. After dinner we went downstairs and met up with a couple of musicians and followed them around on a pub crawl. It was such a blast! They explained to us that a lock-in is when you're in a pub and there are some musicians playing traditional Irish music and the crowd is enjoying it so much that when it's time to close up the musicians kind of set aside their instruments, the barkeeper pulls down the blinds and locks up (hence "lock-in) and re-opens the bar and everyone stays and has a great time for the rest of the night! Of course, now a bunch of us are really hoping to get locked in one night, just for the experience!

On Saturday afternoon we walked to the Dublin Tourism center and went on a two-hour walking tour of Dublin. Our guide was one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever encountered in my life - I wish I knew half as much about anything as he knows about this city.

We learned how rich in history it is here and I can't wait to go explore some of the national museums on my own.

Yesterday was more relaxing. We took the DART out of the city to a northern outskirt called Howth. Howth is a little fishing village with some of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. We hiked up to a point where we could look down on Howth and out across the bay to some remote islands called "skerries". It was such a gorgeous day yesterday:
blue skies


rolling green hills

fishing marina

just gorgeous.

We ended up parting with our Director who walked back down to town, and the rest of us ventured around the rest of the hiking path. About halfway around we got a clear view of Dublin! It looks so much different from where we were standing than it feels when you're here in the city. Once we made our way back into town we bustled off to the train station so we could catch the 4:45, otherwise we would have had to wait until 7:00! Clearly... we were in no shape to wait that long.