Ireland

In under 3 days, we were able to see two of Ireland’s most beautiful and contrasting cities, Galway and Dublin, the same weekend that St. Patrick’s Day weekend celebrations were underway.

Galway

The beautiful, pristine, untouched countryside of Ireland.  For 30 euro, we were able to get a day long tour, stunning views, and a piping hot lunch.

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I’ve never seen green quite like this. Rolling hills and old hand-made cobblestone walls
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A very old burial tomb, built 3500 years ago
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Lunch at a quaint pub sitting facing the Atlantic Ocean. I had the best chowder here- hot enough to warm us up on a cold day and super creamy.
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The Cliffs of Moher- what we were most looking forward to. But unfortunately, the fog was so thick, we couldn’t see anything while we were there.
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So close!
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bumming bout the cliffs
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Regardless of the danger signs, we hopped the stone wall to get some dangerously good pictures and a better view. A cute guard who looked like Santa blew his whistle at us and told us that last year, there was a mudslide where we were standing and a few silly tourists slid into the ocean. Whoops.

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Scary, but worth the shot. I’ve never seen cliffs like these and when I say this area in Ireland is untouched, I really mean it. It’s not littered, covered with buildings or even overrun by tourists. It looks like exactly like it has for hundreds of years.
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Galway Bay Right behind these houses is the Claddagh village, where the tradition of giving Claddagh rings as wedding rings originated from.
The Claddagh Ring- the crown symbolizing loyalty, the hands symbolizing friendship, and the heart symbolizing love.
The Claddagh Ring- the crown symbolizing loyalty, the hands symbolizing friendship, and the heart symbolizing love.

Celebration

After Galway, we headed to Dublin for some real St. Patrick’s Day celebration.  We learned Irish dancing in the street during a music and dance festival and replenished our energy with some traditional Irish food.

Dancing in the Street!
Dancing in the Street!
Bangers and Mash- a traditional Irish dish with sausage and mashed potatoes with a creamy gravy in a pastry-like bowl. YUM.
Bangers and Mash- a traditional Irish dish with sausage and mashed potatoes with a creamy gravy in a pastry-like bowl. YUM.

Guinness

When in Ireland…  We had so much Guinness, almost every tim we went out.  We also got to take a trip to see the Guinness Factory and Museum to learn how the drink is made, how the factory brought jobs and economic prosperity to Dublin, and how its creative marketing has led to the worldwide acclaim of this dark beer.

Guinness with a secret ingredient made it heavenly for me- a splash of black currant!  Try it next time you're out, maybe in the fall or winter, for a refreshing twist on this classic drink.
Guinness with a secret ingredient made it heavenly for me- a splash of black currant! Try it next time you’re out, maybe in the fall or winter, for a refreshing twist on this classic drink.

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Enjoying a free drink after the tour

Rugby

Rugby is now officially my favorite sport.  It’s like football and soccer, but there’s more interesting action going on than soccer and it’s a lot faster without the stopping of play like in football.

We went to a completely packed pub, filled with Irish fans with their hands glued to their beers and eyes glued to the television screen.  Every move was followed by cheers or groans.  And it was a nail-biter of a match, with the final seconds being crucial.  Ireland wins!  I wish I could put my perfect video up of the win, but am struggling to get it on YouTube or up here.  Grr technology.  Take my word for it when I say it was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life and I was so elated to be there to see Ireland win.

And there you have it!  Ireland was a blast and I was happy to have made it there for that special weekend.  Although, I did miss Madrid and my host family terribly.  I really like Dublin but I’ve grown seriously attached to Madrid; I don’t know how I’m going to leave at the end of the semester…  Enjoying my precious time in Madrid this week and then I go to Barcelona this weekend!

 

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