Monday, March 23, 2009
luck of the irish.
dublin, what can i say. you are a unique city and hard to describe. let me quote jim, an old, chubby, red-nosed, white-haired irish man we met at o'sheas while we were eating dinner last night... "dublin is the best of all the capitals in the world. the technology is more advanced than anywhere else in ireland, there are more people, more things to do, more business... but everyone knows everyone. you always feel like your at home no matter where you go."
starting back from the beginning... we arrived in dublin at 8 in the morning on saturday. we easily found a bus to o'connell street, which is basically the center, and went to breakfast. 1 egg, 1 piece of bacon, 1 piece of toast, a cup of coffee and 10 euro later (not joking) we started venturing off to find our hostel and make our weekend plan.
after storing our bags until check in time and talking to the woman at the front desk of the hostel, we decided to walk the city. it seemed small enough. we went to grafton street which has a bunch of shops and street performers. we went to the little park at the end of it. we went to st. patrick's cathedral, we found a parking lot with cool graffiti. we went to the guinness factory. and then we took a cab back, because it started to rain, and the city was, in fact, a little larger than we anticipated.
my favorite part of day 1, sightseeing: the guinness factory. it was really cool inside. definitely not what i was expecting, seeing as i have no interest in beer what so ever. but kristin, dana and i found ourselves pursing our lips and nodding our heads as we learned a lot about something we knew little about. at the end of the tour, you are on the 7th floor of this cool old factory, over looking the city, and they give you a pint of guinness. you watch it change from an orangey-caramel color to dark black-brown. and the put a little shamrock in the foam. it was nice, but not very enjoyable. i tried my hardest to quickly acquire the taste and drink my pint, but i got about 3/4's of the way down and just couldn't go on anymore.
back at the hostel, we met up with lindsey, my friend kristin from home and her friend sam from boston. we were hungry so we decided to go to a pub... little did we know what we were getting ourselves into. we sat down, ordered some burgers and jacket potatoes, and wondered why on earth all the tv's were so loud and all the people were standing on chairs. through further investigation, we realized that ireland was playing wales in the championship rugby game as we ate. two huge rivals. one big game. when ireland beat wales in the last second, winning the title for the first time in 61 years, we jumped out of our seats and joined in with the cheers, hoots and hugs. what a scene. typical irish, i'll tell yah.
after that we went to a bunch of pubs in temple bar. every one was completely different. one had a band singing old irish songs. (i'd never heard of them, but them seemed like old irish songs.) one pub played american 80s and 90s songs and was filled with trinity college students jumping up and down. one pub had these two old men singing rockabilly and you could hear them from outside. everyone in there was just sitting down, drinking, listening, laughing and swaying their upper bodies in perfect beat with the songs.
dublin is not the most pretty of cities. the architecture isn't very interesting, the landscape is quite average, the river is a little dirty. there doesn't seem to be much emphasis on art. but i think dublin holds its beauty in the people. never have i seen a culture so content with being merry. everyone was so laid back and full of a love for life... no doubt all of this was aided by beer. but nonetheless, it was fun to get caught up in the happiness of ireland on the night that their team just won the game... we couldn't have planned a more perfect irish evening.
sunday morning we boarded a little 14 person tour bus and took off on our trip to the country side. we went to wicklow and glendalough... and believe me when i say... we went the scenic route. it was utterly breathtaking, though. i tried to take photos, but they just didn't do justice... so i resorted to putting my camera in my bag and trying my hardest to just memorize everything. to fully appreciate the sights we saw, you would need to breath the fresh country air, hear the trickling streams and smell the grass and the ponds. we ate beef stew and mashed potatoes for lunch. we saw the ruined churches and towers at glendaough. we watched our tour guide do a jig and we saw a group of people in kilts playing bag pipes.
there is no other place like ireland in the world. its very hard for me to describe the feelings and emotions that i experienced there. while laying on a big grassy field, in the middle of the irish countryside, looking up to the sun... i wondered if anyone from home would look at the same sun in a few hours and be able to appreciate it as much as i was in that moment.
we went back into town and ate dinner at a pub across the street from the bus that took us to the airport. we met old jim. he told us about life in ireland. about his wife, his kids... he told us about the beauty of the 60s and about his hopes for our generation to point the world back in the right direction.
we arrived back in london at 11. i fell asleep in the same clothes i had travelled around ireland in.