Tuesday, October 26, 2010

50 day mark! 4 counties down, 21 more to go!

My how time fly's when your in Ireland! :)

So last weekend's trip was to county Kerry and county Cork. And it was a three day weekend due to a bank holiday, so that was great! Of course they were both beautiful places, full of friendly locals and beautiful scenery. I don't think I could ever get tired of
the scenery here...now the weather, that's a different story! It has started to get way colder, you can see your breath not only in the morning, but all day! I don't think I will like this winter.... (My relatives in Wisconsin, I don't know how you survive it!) But, since the weather has become increasingly worse, it gave me a good excuse to buy some cute new red rain boots! Yay! In Cork this weekend, there was a huge jazz festival going on. This made it impossible to book a room in Cork, so me and Alexia and Jean decided to stay in the neighboring county of Kerry (we stayed in a town called Killarney) and just do one day in Cork. The festival was crazy, the streets were packed with people (too many people for me!) and there were different bands playing on every street corner and in every pub and restaurant too. My favorite that we saw was an Irish Johnny Cash cover band! You could tell they really payed attention to detail, they all wore black, and the fake Johnny had a fake drawl and his talking voice actually sounded like Johnny's!

So this weekend is Halloween, and I'm going to be the American flag and the golden snitch from Harry Potter! For my flag outfit, I have a red and white stripped shirt and a blue skirt that I am somehow going to put stars on. And for the snitch I have a gold dress and I'm somehow going to make wings out of white fabric....if I can find any.... Also, Alexia's family is coming this weekend
to stay in Dublin with her, and I'm excited to meet them, because I will be staying with them for Christmas. Then the first weekend of November Alexia and I are going to county Monaghan to stay with our friend Ethine. And she said her parents are going to take us to Northern Ireland to see Belfast and the Giant's Causeway, and hopefully do some horseback riding! Then for the third week in November I will be in Rome for five days, staying with my old friend Francesca, and after that is Thanksgiving! Can't wait! :)

And today I got a package from home that contained two small paintings I did this summer, as well as very pretty scrapbooking paper and stickers, and a beautiful paper quilt my mom made! So this evening I just got done re-decorating my room and I love it!

It's really starting to feel like 'home' here. My room is cute and cozy, with a zil
lion pictures of my friends and family around me. I know how to take to bus like a pro, I don't forget my bags when I go grocery shopping anymore, I know a good sushi place with Monday night specials,and I know that O'Connell St, and Henry St. are the best places for shopping. :) Overall, life is good.

My new and improved room!

Friday, October 15, 2010

How to talk like an Irish person!

  • American = sidewalk, Irish = footpath
  • American = pants, Irish = trousers
  • American = great/awesome, Irish = grand/brillant
  • American = hey, Irish = hiya
  • American = a good time, Irish = craic
  • American = what's up?, Irish = what's the craic?
  • American = that was so much fun!, Irish = that was deadly craic!
  • American = freeway, Irish = motorway
  • American = thanks, Irish = cheers
  • American = a lot, Irish = loads
  • American = garbage can, Irish = the bin
There are loads more funny Irish sayings, but I can't think of them now, so I'll post more later :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

County Meath

This weekend's day trip was to Trim castle and Tara in County Meath. (Four counties down!)
Trim Castle is the biggest Anglo-Roman castle in all of Europe. It's construction started in 1176 and took a total of thirty years to complete! It originally started off as just one story, and then as more and more defense of the castle keep became necessary, more stories and walls and moats got added on. Everything in the castle was designed for defense, like all the narrow spiral staircases twist towards the right because that gives the right handed sword fighter the advantage if he so happened to be sword fighting on them. And the people back then all lived, slept and ate in one big common room, they didnt wash themselves or their clothes either so it must have smelled horrible and been freezing too.

And Tara was so fun to be able to go to due to the ties it has with my favorite book, Gone with the Wind :) Although its just a whole lot a grass on a hill, Tara has a lot of meaning to the Irish people. Up until the 12th century it was the place of spirirual and political power for the ancient Celts. Its where the crowned their kings with the help of the stone of destiny, which when touched by the future king was supposed to scream so loud all of Ireland could hear it! Tara is where all the Kings met to perform rituals with the Celtic gods and goddesses as well.

And back in Celtic times they had this one day out of year, July 1st, when no one was allowed to light a fire on or near Tara, plunging the area in complete darkness because Tara is 300 acres. Then when St. Patrick came to Ireland (I forget the year) he came on July 1st and lit the first fire on Tara symbolizing the arrival of Christianity. And from then on he proceeds to teach the Celts about Christianity, using the shamrock to teach them about the holy trinity, and banishing all the snakes :)

This is what Tara looks like from above....
In the middle of the bigger circle is the stone of destiny....

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


So this Saturday two of my flat mates and I took a day trip to Glendalough (pronounced glen-da-lock). It's an hour south of Dublin in county Wicklow, so that makes a grand total of three counties I've been to! :)
So far the weather here has been surprisingly great, not cold or rainy at all. How very un-Irish! But of course it poured on Saturday. Which wasn't too bad, it made everything greener. Glendalough is an old Irish monastary town. Founded by St. Kevin in the 5th century, and later on in the 10th century it became a whole town for monks. They grew crops there, raised livestock, and copied manuscripts and did other monk-ish things. In the town the main church there is the only church that old that still has its roof intact. It has a super tall round tower next to the main church which used to serve as a lookout tower/landmark for those trying to find the place. And by super tall I mean 300 ft! We got a tour of the old town and got to walk around and look at all the cool old celtic cross tombstones. Which I learned about in my Pagan Celts class. The old celtic crosses, you know the cross with the ring....

The ring behind the cross symbolizes the Pagan Celts belief in the 'sun God', they joined it to the cross when they were assimilated into Christianity.

Glendalough means 'glen of two lakes' in Gaelic, and sure enough there are two lakes! My roommates and I hiked to the upped one and the hike was breathtakingly beautiful! So many plants, moss, and overall foliage. It was all bright green in the rain and it was very very pretty. It was so neat to visit this place because I have never seen anything so old before! America is a baby compared to other countries, and I guess I never really experienced that before.
If you look closely you can see the church in front of the tower!

This is a tiny model of what the place looked like way back in the day.