On Friday, after an exhausting 7 & 1/2 hr emergency room wait, my bleeding cranium and I finally were attended to. Where are most college students at 9am on a Friday? One of three places: eating breakfast, dozing in class, or sleeping instead of class. At 9am Friday morning, I was standing outside the regional hospital with Amanda waiting for our taxi. We’d have given anything to be doing one of three norms above. Instead, my first class was starting, and I had not slept for more than 40 minutes all night. The plan for the past week had been to take a Friday afternoon bus to Dublin with friends, and stay in the local hostel I’d reserved online for two nights. Making a bold, drowsy decision, I took a nap from 10-11am and continued the weekend trip as planned. Luckily, Amanda and I and our friends had a long bus ride to take a boost nap to make it through the night. Upon arriving in Dublin around 7:30pm, Amanda, Jeremy, Ethan, Scott and I stopped off at Brewley’s restaurant for dinner. I got the dinner special of vegetable soup, salad, and a piece of Toffee Tumbly Bumbly (or something like that) = delicious! We settled in our room at the hostel, walked around the area, stopped by a club with a band provided by hostelworld.com, (no they’re not paying me to promote them) and called it a fairly early night (thankfully, because Amanda and I were walking zombies).
Saturday kicked off with continental breakfast provided by our hostel. We definitely booked a great deal with accommodations this weekend: shout out The Times at Camden Place! We then joined a group of tourists on a free (AKA tip-based) tour, also provided by our hostel. Our guide, also named Amanda, was energetic and knowledgable. Though she rambled a little, she told us interesting facts as we walked by cool buildings and dashed across crosswalks. We traveled through the Temple Bar area, Christ’s Church, a ‘haunted’ alley, Trinity College, St. Stephen’s Green, city hall, Dublin Castle, the tallest building in Dublin (which isn’t very tall at all), and many other sites. It was pretty neat to get an insider’s perspective on the area, seeing as she’s lived there a few years and knows the city. After the tour, we got a late lunch at the Boxty house where I devoured the lunch special of baked potato and salad, yum! The UL traveling pack then headed back to the hostel. I’ll take a minute to explain here that European hostels, or the ones I’ve seen, are nothing like the sketchy ones in the U.S. or the terrifying one featured in the movie Hostel. Basically, a person can rent a bed in a room of bunks when booking a reservation. There can be anywhere from two to twenty people in a room, gauging the price also. Depending on how motivated the searcher is, one can figure out which hostels are the best deal using online ratings of cleanliness, location, facilities, etc. Upon arriving back at our hostel, we cleaned up, rested, and began playing games in the dining area. Slowly people started to trickle in and join our card games. We found a trivia board game called SmartAss, and since there were no directions, Amanda and Jeremy invented our rules! It worked pretty well, and we made friends from Seattle, New Jersey, Canada, Israel, Austria, Germany, and a handful of other places! It’s amazing how the hostels work not only as a pillow to lay our heads on, but a means of gathering youth who often have similar traveling interests.
We ended up going out and exploring the city night life with a group of people from our hostel, and it was fun getting to know all different people from wherever! Mostly kids we met were in small pairs or groups like we were, but there we a few people traveling solo, which I think is awesome, but crazy! Saturday we made it our goal to hit a bunch of different pubs and meet some people! We started off at a pub and microbrewery that Jeremy’s dad had recommended: Porterhouse. It had a cool atmosphere, and the boys loved their unique beer. We even ran into some friends from the UL slow-pitch softball club that Amanda, Jeremy and I have been playing in on campus. Some of the other places we stopped at included Fitzsimon’s, a beer garden, The Village, and Temple Bar. It was an adventurous night that ended with a fun, tired game of our version of SmartAss.Sunday morning we woke up early in order to get the pancakes downstairs before they were all gone = college kid priorities! Because I’m not supposed to get water or soap in my stitches, Amanda put a chair outside the shower and she made a great hairdresser! After saying goodbye to our new friends, we traveled back to Trinity College. Half our group napped outside on the green and the other half paid admission to go inside. I got to look at the Book of Kells and the huge Hogwarts-like library! The videos and displays on the Book of Kells brought me back to last fall semester when my HEL (History of the English Language) class at SC was making our own manuscripts written on old paper with quills Prof Lartigue made us. The beautiful font on the old books on display looked just like my class’s display that was put up in the library for a month ;) I’m proud to say I remembered most of the information on how the books were made and how long it took scribes to create the perfect letters and intricate pictures in the margins. I even mustered the courage to illegally sneak a pic of the library! Though we were graced with warm temperatures Friday night, and sun our entire Saturday and Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon turned to characteristic Irish rain sure enough. We spent the rest of the day popping into tourist stores and walking around (I’ll brag here and say I was happy I packed an umbrella, while my friends were very soggy). Although we wanted to play in the slow pitch softball tournament that was simultaneously going on in Dublin this past Saturday, we hadn’t registered in time. However, because there was a bunch of UL people also in Dublin, it gave us a free, quick ride back to Limerick!
While I think we saw a handful of the main attractions of Dublin, with the Book of Kells and Trinity Library as big points, I definitely want to venture back to Dublin again this semester and see the Wax Museum, Writer’s Museum, James Joyce Museum and other more nerdy sites that I’m sure I’d enjoy! Aside from having royal blue dental floss in my forehead, I made the best of my situation and had a great weekend :)