We kicked off February with a wonderful weekend in Dublin (Jan. 31-Feb. 3)! I skipped class (for the first time since being here) on Thursday so we could leave on the 2:00 bus instead of the 4:00. It was €20 roundtrip, which wasn’t a bad deal at all! It’s about a 3.5-4 hour trip, so we arrived just in time for dinner.
We checked into our hostel. First hostel experience for most of us! It was in a great location, they handed us bed sheets and a duvet cover when we checked in…I assumed that meant they were clean, and the only thing that made the place a little sketch was some of the guests. The five of us who arrived on Thursday were in an 8 person room, so we had 3 people who we didn’t know. But we met them! One was from Wisconsin (and actually knew people at St. Norbert!), one was from Mexico, and the third was from Brazil. Two of our friends from UCC joined us the following day and by chance they were in the room directly across from us. So that was convenient. Breakfast was included, lockers were €3/day…so we shared one, and the wifi worked just well enough for me to inform my mother that I had not been kidnapped.
For dinner someone recommended a Chinese restaurant across the river from our hostel, so we headed over to Jimmy Chungs’ Chinese Buffet. Expensive for a study abroad budget, but delicious. We once again had to deal with the fact that they do not split up the bill, but we managed to figure it out after an extensive amount of time. It’s a constant game of “I owe you this…”, “I’ll get it this time…”, and on the rare occasion, “I think we’re even…”
And since Taylor doesn’t like Chinese, we also had the opportunity to stop at Burger King. So that was fun. Burger King crowns everywhere. Free for the taking, wearing, and of course picture taking.
We went out that night. One of our hostel-mates knew of some places to go, so we followed him around. Found some live music. It was a successful night. I’m pretty sure we got less than 6 hours of sleep, but there’s not time for sleeping when you have a whole new city to explore!
Friday’s itinerary included #1: figuring out the itinerary. We went into the weekend with a list of places to see, but had no real plans. We started out the day going to the place we were most excited to see, Kilmainham Gaol, which is a former prison located in Kilmainham in Dublin. It surpassed our expectations. The student rate for the tour was only €2! And luckily we arrived at the prison with enough time to explore the museum before touring the complex. It was a very thought-out, informative, and intriguing museum.
Next we headed over to the Irish Museum of Modern Art, not because we had planned on it, but rather because we saw it across the street and my little travel book said it was FREE. It was a nice walk and we ran into a beautiful garden (even in the winter!) along the way. We got into the building through some roundabout way and started exploring. It didn’t take us long to realize that the building was definitely not set up as a museum anymore, or at least the portion we were in. The rooms were relatively empty, besides a huge room that was set up for a dining celebration of some sort. We wandered about, feeling as though we didn’t belong (basically because we really didn’t), we didn’t see another human being anywhere, but we heard whistling. We took that as our cue to sneak our way back out of the building. Then we came upon the maintenance man/whistler. He told us the museum was no longer open at this time of year, but said since we were here we might as well see the cathedral that was inside. A hidden church! How fun is that?! So that ended surprisingly well.
Our last big event of the day was the wax museum. My first wax museum ever. It was pretty neat! A lot of creepy wax figures, a surprise children’s area (including a crawling tunnel that we absolutely crawled through), and a green screen band performance room. We were awesome. Then we headed back to our hostel, met up with our friends who had just arrived, and went out for dinner. I ordered the soup of the day and a sandwich. There has never been a time when we’ve asked “What kind of soup do you have today?” and the waitress has answered with anything other than “vegetable”. But surprise, surprise, she said it was vegetable, but when it arrived it was chicken noodle.
That night we checked out some more Dublin nightlife. Made our way around to a few places-most of which had live music-so that was fun! And the next day we headed to Guinness. The Guinness Storehouse is absolutely huge. I had the opportunity to craft the perfect pint, and lucky for the guys I don’t like beer, so they got an extra one to drink. The storehouse also has a Gravity Bar at the very top that offered a fantastic view of Dublin…especially on a clear sunny day! For dinner we went to Ireland’s oldest pub, The Brazen Head. Taylor tried some hot whiskey. I’m pretty positive she hated it. And that night we made our way around town and hit up the famous Temple Bar. We had a great time!