Friday, September 13, 2013

What I Learned In Ireland

What I Learned in Ireland

1. 'Feck' is the polite term for 'fuck'...excellent and useful.

2. 'Craic'-Term used for an amazing time.
Example: 'Last night was good craic.'
Can't wait to use that and sound like a drug addict...

3. Ireland has quite the depressing history...very bloody.

4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 
was filmed at the Cliffs of Moher--bloody brilliant

THE Journal :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Day 4--Galway to Dublin, Ireland

April 2nd, 2012

Last day of Shamrocker today :( 

First stop was the Cliffs of Moher...holy hell, it was amazing! Windy, waves crashing, and oh yeah, this actually IS where they filmed HP6 with the cave Horcrux...unbelievable. Breathtaking, really. Again, the work of God seen my mortals. I'm sure I'm gonna be saying this a lot but I feel so blessed. 

Cliffs of Moher
After Cliffs, we stopped at the Burrn, this glacier something that eroded to uncover these intricate rock planes. So cool! Had to watch your footing though, one wrong move and your ass is stuck with a broken ankle and a cracked skull. We had to do a small rock climb (hop-very small) because the entrance was so narrow. Damn, it made me want to go rock climbing!

Anyways, then we went to Galway for lunch! LOVED this city! Had lunch at a posh little restaurant we rando found. I love this. Just eating as small little hole-in-the-wall cafes. Ador. 

After that it was back to Dublin! I wish we could have stayed in Galway longer but it was a quick stop :( and then we had to get back moving. Sad. Nothing too exciting back in Dublin. Walked around, ate some Tiramisu ice cream (yum!) adn went back to Temple bar for some legit Irish music. 2 bands, both good! Well, quite amazing actually. Such a nice change from the previous night! First was this traditional fiddle player. He was un.real. He moved so fast my mind couldn't compute what I was seeing vs. what I was hearing. That shit was cray.

Next band was two young guys who played a lot of covers, but still so good! Jason Mraz and Mumford & Sons covers-holla! At break we left and the accordian player told us (we were front and feckin' center by the way) it was 'quite cheeky' for us to be leaving. Then proceeded to tell us he knew we were American because we sang along to all the American songs, LOL! So ador. And he was insanely cute. We wanted to propsition him to sing up to sleep but he had another set to play---le sigh. 

BTW--our 2 person room is so feckin' small, it was comical to say the least trying to maneuver around. Honestly, we couldn't close the bathroom door. Lame! But it's a hostel, what are ya gonna do?

Called home tonight, too! It was Rachel and Nicks' confirmation today, so sad I missed it but so relieve to hear she didn't burst into flames when the oil was placed on her forehead. She told me she was equally surprised -lol. Everyone sounds good, though! I wish they were here to share this experience :( Alyssa would love it here and have a coronary episode with all the picture opportunities and amazing music. Can't wait to take her here!

LONDON TOMORROW!!!!....!!!!!! Excited IS the understatement of the century! I am going to see and be in the home of my favorite literary greats--Shakespeare, Austen, Bronte, JK Rowling...*squeel*
Galway, Ireland

Not to mention my favorite fictional characters!!!!! Harry, Ron, Hermione, Elizabeth Bennett, Mr. Darcy, Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester, all Kate Morton books...WILL HERONDALE!!!!!! *DROOL*SIGH*DROOL* My heart is soaring! I love books. My heart and soul may belong in Italy, but my brain belongs to London...and back in time with Anne Boleyn and Jane Grey and Edward IV and Jaquetta and Lord Rivers and Elizabeth Woodville...okay, I'm done....kinda...for now...*sigh*....

Day 3--Ennis, Ireland

April 21st, 2012

So after staying out until 2 am last night, this morning was a wee bit rough. Waking up was fine...the bus rides were not. Ugh, death to this godforsaken bus ride. Bright side though, today was all about breathtaking scenery. We took some pictures overlooking Killarney--so pretty! Then we went to Inch and took some pictures of the coast which I thought was the most beautiful thing yet..oh, I was to be proven wrong, stay tuned. Dingle was next but we came back there for lunch so more on that later. 

We went to Coumeennole This is Ireland. At least what I imagined. Huge green hills, massive rock walls complete with the Atlantic ocean breaking waves onto the sand. Again, understatement to say that this sight was breathtaking...this was awe-inspiring. This place had God's work cared right before our eyes. Wow. I just stood there in amazement of what I was looking at. I mean, honestly, words cannot describe it. I feel blessed to have been witness to this beauty of this country. I hope I have these same moments in all the other places we're going, just incredible.
Coumeenole Beach

We stopped at another lookout point that had a rectangular doorway cared into the side of the rock. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, anyone? Totally could have been filmed here and looked like the place Voldemort hid his locket Horcrux. Speaking of, Teresa dipped her feet in the ocean at the beach. They say if you do, you leave a part of your soul in Ireland to come back and claim one day. How amazing is that?! I sat this one out soul belongs in Italy :)

Back to Dingle again, completed our tour of the Dingle Peninsula  I cannot say, write, or hear the word 'Dingle' without stifling a mental giggle. How mature of me, right?

The afternoon was filled with driving, stopped to look at a beehive house and in the town of Adare, where I bought a Murphy's Law for Alyssa--so perfect. Other than that it was trying not to pass our from lack of sleep and trying to look attentive and polite while the tour guide would talk. I love learning but I am betting annoyed with their anecdotes. Blah.
Coumeennole Beach

We're staying at Rowen Tree Hostel. Nicest rooms so far, big bathroom. There's 6 of us tnoight. T, Claire, Lucy, me-self and 2 other girls whose names I don't recall...I should find out...maybe...meh. Tour ends tomorrow and I'll never see these people again. We're in the town of Ennis. Knows for it's traditional Irish music, whoo!

Walking around this town is my favorite so far. It's got narrow little cobble streets, adorable shops, it reminds me of what I believe Italy to look like...we shall see! :) We ate dinner at Knox Bistro. Super cute and trendy! We went with Clare (yes, I've been spelling it wrong this whole time, doy!) and Lucy. We sat at the restaurant for a good 30 minutes just talking which was great, it really showed me how relaxed-paced other cultures are. America is so go, go, go! And it was nice not to feel rushed...but also felt kinda awkward, too...oh, well. 

Brogan's was supposed to have the real Irish music...uh yeah, no. It was super mellow and they played Pink Floyd and Walking in Memphis..what the feck? I want my upbeat, crazy fiddle Irish music dammit! What a disappointment! We tried to find another live music bar which you think wouldn't be that difficult, oh but it was. We ended up just going back to the hostel where I called Mom and she told me Rouge got asked to prom! Yay!! So happy for her...why does all the exciting stuff happen when I leave? Everyone is doing well, though :)

OH! Totally forgot to mention during the "traditional Irish music," a rando guy brought us a plate of food with fries, little weiners, a lemon chicken kabob, spring roll and...white and black pudding. And with MUCH coercion and the YOLO mindset, I tried it...not so bad. Tasted like a potato pancake, white was like breakfast sausage patty. They must have fried that black pudding really well that it didn't taste like congealed blood...sick. I can't believe I actually tried that. I mean, I love a good, dark, sexy vampire but eating blood?! Blech. Different culture's each their own, I guess. I would like to know who thought that was a good idea initially. Yeah, let's eat dried, coagulated blood. Yeah, that sounds tasty! I guess we all have our weirdness though, the Australians told us they think PB and J is weird...say what?! It's not clotted blood! Whatevs.

Alright, must sleep. Last day of Shamrocker tomorrow! Sad! I'm gonna miss our Aussie mates...See what I did there? :)

Streets of Ennis, Ireland
Quote of the day: "You cheeky little bastard."--Courtesy of Clare

PS--Nope, lied there's more. So when we got to Brogans's we sat at an open table, were there for like an hour before the bartender came over and told us this huge slab that was sitting on the table (written in another language, mind you) said 'Reserved for Band'...oops, awkward kangaroo. Found another table right around the corner...stupid Americans...

Walking back to the hostel, the nightlife seemed amazing. Trendy lounges, girls in cute clothes, if I had to live anywhere in Ireland, Ennis would be it...hands down, amaze. 

Day 2--Killarney, Ireland

April 20th, 2012

Irish Countryside

First day of the Shamrocker Tour! Woot woo! 13 girls and 1 guy, so the girls are runnin' the world on this one, thanks Beyonce. Thank goodness T and I condensed the weekend's luggage to a backpack adn duffel, my Mama is gonna be so proud of my conservative packing...if she ever believes it...

So our first stop was Abbey Leix. We had a 30 minute stop where we got a coffee and sat in the cafe. So adorable. Savour's was the name and I did exactly that with my caramel latte. So. Good. And we already made friends with two lovely ladies from Australia ("AUSTRALIA!!!!"--ANTM) named Lucy and Claire. If not aren't the two most adorable names, I don't know what are. So friendly and nice. I love Australians. In fact, most of our group is Australian, the accents are amazing, openly obsessed.
Cashel Castle

Anyways, after that little town we headed to Cashel castle where Queen Elizabeth visited recently. I guess it was the first time since 1901 that a ruling monarch visited Ireland. Fun fact of the day. Castle was beautiful. Rested on a hill overlooking the town. Love. I want a castle. *sigh*

Then we went to Blarney Castle!! The grounds were beautiful. They have a poison garden where right before we walked through I said to Teresa, 'Is this where they grow the Mandrakes?' which was a joke...oh, but wait a second, not 15 feet away under a metal cage is the sign explaining the Mandrake plant. How awesome am I? And the sign mentioned Harry Potter...double awesome! Next to that was Rue! What up, Hunger Games and Harry Potter!? Oh but hold on, there's more! Down a little farther was, I didn't think that was real. Turns out it is. Holla!

The castle itself is epic. The stone entrances, the extremely narrow, spiral stone staircases were more than difficult, not to mention slightly scary, to walk up. They have a rope attached to the center to help you up and a metal railing to help you down. What the hell did these people do when the castle was actually inhabited?! There had to be mass casualties due to falling down stairs. I bet a lot of murder plots, too. Push your enemy down the stairs, oops they tripped! JK, I bet that only happened in Tudor England a la Robert Dudley's wife...poor Amy...
Blarney Castle

Anyways, when we got to the top, of course it was raining...eff. Oh well, our trip to the Blarney Stone was even better then. We had true Irish rain mixed with a little danger. But I did it! I kissed the Blarney Stone! *MUAH* and let me tell you, you really have to lean down and back, it is quite a ways to lean and suck face. Exhilarating, for sure! Quick lunch of fish and chips, go figure, and we were off to Killarney where we'll spend the night.

Oh yeah, forgot the other random fun fact. Blarney castle is in the town of Cork where actor Cillian Murphy is from! Random fun fact! Brilliant actor from this small little town? So cool.

So yeah, Killarney. Hostel is Neptunes. Super cute rooms. Got the top bunk, holla!...not... Reminds me of my Oshkosh days...can't say I miss it. Boo hiss to lofts and top bunks. So we settle in and then go for a walk to the National Park. Beautiful. Pictures cannot do this place it's justice. The scenery and landscape is gorgeous. This is what I pictured Ireland to be. Lush green hills and the countryside most definitely is just that. The sights we drove by were amazing! Walked around to town after that. Very cute, but every store closed at 6. Don't know what's up with that. There's a store called Blackthorn house I'll need to get a picture of in honor of the future Dark Artifaces Shadowhunter series...And I forgot...Eff.

So after a  quick rest, we went to see Pa for good ole' fashioned Irish story telling...yeah, I could have done without that. He yelled randomly for no reason, I didn't understand what he was talking about half the time. Incoherent babbling. Not amused.

However, the bar afterwards, The Grand, made up for it ten-fold. Half was life music, the other half was a legit club. Bright strobe lights, pounding bass music and writhing bodies on the dance floor. Hell. Period. Yeah. Period. I felt like J-Woww comin' home to Karma. This was what I pictured when I said I wanted to party in every country we go to. After a few shots of baby Guinness' (thank you for telling us about that amazingness, tour guides) T, Lucy, Claire and myself lit up that dance floor. First song played...Call Me Maybe. To say T and I were excited is an understatement. Overall, they played good music. Niggas in Paris was also a fabulous highlight. Hell yes. We danced all night, so much fun! I felt bad for everyone in our group who wasn't there. Seriously. And standard, creepers gonna creep. We were stalked by the French Borat and some aggressive Irishmen, but besides that the night was a success with meeting a cute native who gave us each a kiss on the cheek. Parrying in Ireland-Check! Kiss from a local Irish boy-Check!

Death-defying Staircases
Poison Garden at Blarney Castle

'Mandrake cries are fatal to those who hear it."
Killarney....Bookshop...go figure

Day 1--Dublin, Ireland

April 19th, 2012

'We are here! We are here! We are here!' Only too appropriate to start off with a quote...and Dr. Seuss at that. But there really is no other way to express the excitement of actually getting to Europe! Ireland to be exact! :) But honestly, I've wanted to travel to Europe for longer that I've been alive it feels, and to finally be here feels like a blessing beyond comprehension. Even though it has been planned for roughly 6 months, it's something that never felt real until we were actually at the airport. *SIGH* So blessed, so excited!!!!!

The flight was...uncomfortable to say the least. T and I were the only two seats on the side but that was the only bonus. I dozed and napped but woke with such pain in my quads and ankles I was scared I was going to get a DVT. BTW, hip feels good :) The Lord has blessed me without a lot of pain and I am grateful. Anyways, we finally landed and the view when we landed was breathtaking! The coast looked picturesque with lush green scenery and it looked just how I imagined Ireland would look but better...obvi.

*SIDENOTE: Every time I write 'Ireland' I'm saying it in my head with a thick Irish's quite myself...oh well...

St. Patrick's Cathedral--Dublin, Ireland
After a short bus ride and walk we arrived at our hostel, Barnacles. My sisters will hear this name and immediately think of Spongebob; guaranteed. We very luckily (get it? Luck? Irish?) got our room, showered, and napped. I have never welcomed sleep so much. I would have stabbed somebody in the leg on that airplane in exchange for a place to sprawl out.

After a much needed respite it was out to explore Dublin!! We did the Dublin hop-on, hop-off tour which was really cool. Double-decker bus and all! So cliche, but I loved it! Dublin is beautiful; full of old, completely structurally amazing building of old. Ya know what I think the coolest thing is? The small walls that run along the sidewalks. They look ancient and historical like they've stood the test of time (and most likely have) and lived to tell the tale. I don't know what it is but it looks so historically pure.

So we only got off at two stops. The first was St. Patrick's Cathedral. Very pretty. We walked along the gardens and the flowers are beautiful.

Next stop, much to Teresa's joy...the Guinness Storehouse! The tour was so sleek and modern looking it was surprising. We trained at the Academy and are now certified to pour the perfect Guinness. Whoo hoo! AND believe it or not, I drank about 1/3 of the beer...I know, I am such a daredevil. I'm trying to go out of my comfort zone and this was a big step for me so everyone else can calm it down.

Guinness Storehouse
After finishing the bus tour it was off to get food because we were famished. We walked into a random restaurant off the street into a room that was so silent we could hear people's silverware clinking...*awk turtle--slowly backed away and out the door*...Whatever. So we went across teh street and sat at the bar of a nice pub and had some fish and chips. Legit Irish fish and chips, tastes no different than American fish and chips but now I can say I've had it in Ireland. Can you?! Talked to some lovely young chaps and it turns out he has been to Milwaukee because his cousin studied at Marquette. What are the odds?! About the same as finding 10 people from the Milwaukee area in the same Guinness Academy the same Dublin feckin' Ireland. Yeah, that happened, too. Only Teresa and I. Oh, and only Teresa and I would get hit on by 50 something year old Norweigan men pretending to be But hey, I got a totally free, totally unwanted, and totally invading of my precious personal space back rub. WTF?!?! Why do men seem to think it's okay to touch strangers? Especially young women?! Creepers, apparently, are in countries everywhere.

Temple Bar--Dublin, Ireland
Lastly, we went to get a drink at Temple Bar and listened to live Irish music. Now let me start of by reiterating how much I detest live music at bars...but his changed my outlook. It was so fun and upbeat; crowded as all hell but that must be some kind of prerequisite for an Irish bar. *cough Trinity cough* But seriously, so much fun! I could listen to that every night.

Okay, enough babbling, off to bed to try and fix my majorly screwed up internal clock. Until tomorrow!

PS--Best line of the day:

Guy at bar: 'Oh, are you Italian?'

Me: 'Yes.'

Guy: 'You're from the States?'

Me: 'Yes.'

Guy: 'You from New Jersey!?'

Me: 'NO!'