Sunday, February 15, 2009


What a week! I can hardly believe that on Wednesday I was sitting in the Gold Room scrambling to write down all I could on our first British Studies exam.  I worked very hard on Monday and Tuesday to get ready for the exam and a paper in Shakespeare.  This short week felt like it was a few hours, not three days, but there was "treasure" to be found after all that hard work.  After the exam I grabbed my backpack, ate dinner in the refectory, and boarded the coach.  Time for Ireland!  I was so excited to see it all.  Four days in a great country!  Before we could embrace the riches of Ireland's magic and splendor we had to get there.  Normally, I don't love to give such specific times as this, but to fully understand the trip you must understand the transportation times as well.  Here was the time table...Wednesday 
6:30 pm-Leave manor
2:00 am-Board Ferry
2:45 am-Ferry departs
6:00 am-Ferry lands
7:00 am-Breakfast at a hotel
12 noon-Arrive at Blarney Castle
After many hours on the coach and ferry we were finally in Ireland.  What do you think of first when you hear Ireland?  Kissing the Blarney Stone right?  That is what we did first off!  This is a picture of me leaning over to kiss the stone.  The man that is holding my legs just sits up there all day and holds onto people who want to kiss the stone. 
To get to the stone you must make your way up the stone steps that wind endlessly up the castle.  This could be a difficult place for some people to get up to! The castle was actually very beautiful and I enjoyed the lovely grounds.  We even had a picnic lunch (with sack lunches from the refectory of course!) After a little bit of souvenir shopping, we were back on the coach, driving to Killarney, our destination for the night.  We stayed in Killarney two nights.  It was a fun town that was easy to get around and provided lots of good night life.  We stayed above a pub at a family run hotel.  The rooms were nice and it was fun being close to all the restaurants and pubs, but the room was super humid!  Ireland is very wet.  That so
unds funny, but it is true.  Everywhere we went was pretty humid, but nothing wa
s as bad as our hotel room.  Even the walls were moist!  The breakfast was good and I really liked the location, so perhaps that made up for the incredibly moist surroundings.

I was so excited about Friday!  After the trip briefing all I wanted to do was to go on the Ring of Kerry.  This is a path around the western side of Ireland that has many of the best views Ireland has to offer.  The journey last all day.  I was not disappointed.  We saw the greenest grass ever and lots of beautiful water.  I had a really good Irish Coffee (it was delicious!) in the morning.  It was so nice
to just visit all these sites.  This is Laurel and I ate Dingle Bay. At one point we looked out at some water and Matt, our dean of students who was our trip courier, told us that the next body of land was North America!  I couldn't see it, but I was the closest to America that I have been since I left.  My pictures don't do the views
 any justice.  I have lots pictures of me with mountains, green grass, and water, but there was something more to the day than those things.  The open and clean nature of the countryside was unmatchable.  This was one of my favorite days of travel so far.

Saturday brought another few hours on the coach.  We drove to Dublin and had from about 2:45 pm until the early the next morning in Dublin.  About 1/3 of the population of Ireland lives in Dublin, so you can imagine that it is a busy place.  The first thing I did was visit the Guinness Storehouse.  This may sound like a strange choice because I didn't have that much time, but I cannot emphasize enough what a big deal Guinness beer is in Ireland.  Everywhere you turn there is some sign of Guinness.  We had bought our tickets for the storehouse ahead of
 time and were able to get right in.  The storehouse is a really big (7 stories) place that tells how Guinness is made, how it is advertised, and the history.  It was actually really interesting and I really enjoyed walking around.  The top of the place is a really cool bar that has glass all the way around.  You can take in 360 degree views Dublin while drinking up a cold Guin
ness (each person gets a free pint).  On the way out we asked the lady at the coat check said it had been a very busy day.  She said that 4,500 people had been though the storehouse that day!  WOW! Honestly didn't get to see that much more of the city.  We briefly went by Christ Church Cathedral as that was directly across from our hotel.  I also saw the General Post Office.  That was the major site for the Easter Rising in Ireland (ask Laurel for more information about this historical event.  She is in a History of Ireland class).  I had a really good dinner at this place called Gruel.  The menu was just on a chalk board and it changed everyday.  It was a fun place to have a local meal.  We walked around the Temple Bar area which is where there are lots and lots of restaurant, shops, and pubs.  It was really fun to see it in action.  We had some great gelato. We went back to the hotel fairly early because the coach pulled out at 6:45 am the next morning. 

Sunday was our travel day back to the manor.  We got on the 8 am ferry and this time I was actually awake.  I went out on the observation deck and waived good bye to Ireland.  
I may never see that beautiful place again (maybe I will get back another time though...who knows!)  After the three hour ferry ride we rode in the coach to have lunch in Wales.  We stopped at a village in Wales with the longest name in Europe- Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch!  That is the nam
e of the village.  There isn't much of anything there, but it was one of the those places you go to say you went.  We got back on the coach and watched "Far and Away," a movie that is about Irish immigrants.  It was a good ride back to the manor.  I loved the weekend!  It was so much fun to see the beautiful scenery and the people of Ireland are so friendly and courteous.  I also got to know some more people from Harlaxton even better.  There was lots of coach time on this trip, but I enjoyed it and I read about 200 pages of Shakespeare (I read all of Richard III and half of Macbeth.  I would really recommend Richard III.  It was so intriguing.) 
I don't have a big trip planed this weekend.  I think Laurel and I are going to Nottingham on Saturday.  This will be my first weekend without a trip.  Part of me is looking forward to the down time and another part of me wishes I was running of to another wonderful place.  Someday I do have to work on all that school work, so maybe a quite weekend is a good idea.

No comments:

Post a Comment