Austen in Ireland: St. Patrick’s Day and a Mid-semester Review

So once I returned back from France, I met up with my friends who were visiting Dublin for the weekend from Edinburgh. The airport was absolute mayhem for all the visitors coming into Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. I finally met up with them late afternoon and we went through the Temple Bar area, which was packed, and ate dinner. My friends had three hours of sleep the night before because of their early flight (they got to Dublin early and went sightseeing for the majority of the day before meeting up with me) so we went back to UCD early at night. The next day, we decided to take a day trip with a tour company to Glendalough and Kilkenny. Glendalough is a valley of two lakes, with essentially lakes in a valley right in between two mountains. The one lake in particular is breathtaking because of its beauty. For the afternoon, we went to the city of Kilkenny. It was a really neat city and was packed because of St. Patrick’s Day weekend. It had a castle that we explored that had some pretty regal rooms. All in all, it seemed like a quintessential large Irish town. I even got some shepherd’s pie in a pub while watching a rugby match.

Glendalough

Glenadalough

Once we got back to Dublin, we planned to go to some pubs but ran into a random carnival so we had to ride some ride there. We decided to go on this ride called the “Superbowl” (I have no idea why the name) that spun the cars that you are in really fast in a circle as well as going up and down at the same time. It was a pretty nauseating ride (and really long, close to 10 minutes) so I was glad to get off it when we did. We then went to a pub and had a couple pints of Guinness before heading back. Sunday, I showed my friends around the campus of UCD and they were amazed by its size but also its beauty. Then, my one friend and I went to the Guinness storehouse (my second time but I was a trooper because my friend really wanted to go) where we learned more about Guinness and the brewing process before pouring our own pints and drinking them. After this, we went to the National Museum of Ireland-Archaeology, and looked at artifacts from many different eras. We ran into another carnival and decided to go on the Ferris wheel at this one. There were great views of the city and it was great because I had never seen Dublin from up above before. Before my friends left, we had calzones for dinner at a calzone place. They left for their voyage back to Edinburgh and I went back to prepare for St. Patrick’s Day the next day.

St Patick's Day Temple Bar

St. Patrick’s Day crowds in Temple Bar

 

St. Patrick’s Day was insane to say the least. It turns out all the Europeans travel to Dublin so the streets are about four times as crowded as they usually are. I woke up at 8:00 in the morning to catch the 9:00 bus (the earliest one into the city) with my friends so we would be able to get to the parade early. We got to the city at around 10:00 and got a prime spot on O’Connell Street in the second row. There were a lot of weird floats and such but it was an overall good parade. There were many high school and college marching bands. There was even Clover Hill High School in it! (Richmond, Virginia shout out) University of Illinois and LSU also made an appearance in it. Once the parade ended, it took us about thirty minutes to finally move but we eventually found the pub we were looking for (after getting through Temple Bar unscathed somehow). I made a decision earlier in the day that I was only going to have Irish beer (as it is St. Patrick’s Day) and I succeeded. Over the course of the day, I had Smithwick’s, Guinness, and a “Galway Hooker”- the name of an Irish Pale Ale. We went to Tolteca (the Irish version of Chipotle, it literally looks just like it) because there’s just nothing like a burrito on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. We then continued our pub hopping and I met up with another friend who then came with us to another pub (our fifth pub of the day). At this point I began to get worn out so part of our group decided to get dinner (chicken shawarma, such Irish food on St. Patrick’s Day) and then head back to UCD. I was so tired that I feel asleep at around 11 p.m. but it was a fun day.

St. Patrick's Day Parade

My view of the St. Patrick’s Day parade

 

Green Building

Dublin ‘greens’ a lot of their buildings for the festivities

So it’s really hitting me that I’m halfway done with my semester abroad. I have less than two months abroad and I’m working on planning my last trips. It’s also hitting me because I’ve been doing housing for Richmond and scheduling is coming up soon too. I have been doing some assignments worth a large percentage of my grade (I had two essays due recently, one worth 50% of my final grade and the other 30%!) However, other than this I haven’t had any assignments due as my final couple of weeks are looking to be stressful with finals coming soon after that. I haven’t been spending as much time on my work as at Richmond, but I’m sure it will pick up in a week or so. I’m just sad to be leaving soon so I’m trying to cross off all off the sights I want to see before I leave! The semester has literally flown by and I’m sure the second half will fly by as fast as the first half did and I still have so much that I still want to do.

 

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