Wow. I can't believe it's been a week since I arrived in Ireland. So much has happened since I wrote last and yet it's almost like nothing has happened at all.... it just feels like a lot because all of this is new to me. I'm still getting acclimated to life in this beautiful place, but every day gets a bit easier and I keep catching myself saying things like "lovely" or "splendid" or my new personal favorite "I'll chance me arm". The Irish have a way with words and it's fun listening to them talk, which they like to do as much as me so it's been grand. Ahhhh I just used grand! The indoctrination is almost complete ;) I landed in Dublin last Wednesday morning, and after a horrible time at immigration (seriously, horrible... and all my fault for telling the stupidest lie you could possibly ever tell to immigration) I was let into the country and able to leave the airport. I met up with my friend Krista, who is an American photographer who lives in Dublin now, and she was good enough to show me around the city a bit, until I was able to check into my hotel. I'm not ashamed to say that once I checked in, I slept for about 20 straight hours. I was so exhausted from the flight and the ordeal at immigration, not to mention the crazy hectic days leading up to my departure. Once I rested up and overcame the jet lag, I started to explore Dublin. My first day out on my own I went to the Dublin Photographic Archive, the Dublin Photography Gallery, the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery. It was a lot of museums and some were better than others, but it was great because my hotel was so central that it was easy for me to walk everywhere and not even have to worry about the bus. I also got to eat lunch at a place where my dad and stepmom went on their honeymoon, Gallagher's Boxty House in the temple bar area, which must have been the most awkward experience of my entire life. I mean, when it came to eating alone, it was like a Band-Aid... I knew I had to rip it right off. So when I walked by and saw it, I thought what the heck, here we go. When I walked in, I was in a small dining area and there were different groups of people, and I thought, hey, this wont be so bad. Until she walked me int the bigger dining area, where there was only ONE couple in the whole place, and she sits me right next to them. Talk about awkward. Needless to say, I ate my fish and chips quickly and went on my merry way :)
A few days into my Dublin trip, my friends Jack and Amy came over from Liverpool and joined me for St. Patrick's Day. It was such a relief to have them there. Dublin was great, but I'm a country girl and always have been.... I found Dublin as intimidating as I find New York or Boston. Everyone was bustling around, getting on with their days, and it wasn't the Irish welcome that I had been hoping for. Not to mention that the sight of a purse snatch on my first day terrified me to bring my camera out of the hotel room :). Once I did, though, I felt better, and more like myself... it's like having an old friend there with you. How cheesy did that sound??
Lol, anyways, for Paddy's Day weekend, I did have old friends with me (or at least one old friend and her boyfriend, right Amy? ;) ) so it was great. We hit the Guinness storehouse, which is brilliant, and even if you don't like Guinness this is a must-do if you're ever in Dublin. The 360 degree views from the Gravity Bar on the top are worth the tour alone. The Gravity Bar is obviously the tallest bar in Dublin, and we also hit the oldest bar in Dublin, The Brazen Head (where I sampled some traditional bangers and mash... yummmmmm) and the smallest bar in Dublin... Which I think is pretty much just called The Smallest Bar in Dublin lol. It was legit a fire hazard and I had some concerns, but I also met a very nice Irish gentleman there. Now before my girlfriends read that and all go nuts picking out their bridesmaids dresses, let me interject that it was just a casual conversation with a nice Irish person, that restored my faith that Irish people, even in Dublin, can be that extreme level of nice that you were expecting, if you let them.
A couple other Dublin observations and recommendations:
Finish your food. Sounds random but I literally was scolded more than once by waitresses when I couldn't finish what I had ordered. The Irish hate waste, which I think already makes them better than us. Now if only they would stop serving such damn large portions...
Bring your own bags when shopping. Along the lines of cutting down on waste, you have to pay if you want bags at the grocery or convenience stores. Something I wish somebody had warned me about before I had to walk through St. Paddy's day crowds carting soy milk and corn flakes.
Wear whatever you want. Seriously, WHATEVER YOU WANT. Because honestly, if girls can walk around in the dead of winter wearing tights as pants, you can certainly get away with mixing brown with black. And girls do do that, btw. Except they call them hot pants here, as if that makes it better. Olivia Newton-John must be so proud.
Eat Leo Burdock's fish and chips as much as you can. Eat it when you're drunk, and eat it when you're sober. Just eat it, and make sure every bite is covered in their special vinegar. Heaven.
Anyways, I wanted to share a couple quick pictures from my time in Dublin. Jack took the ones of me and I dare say I may have gotten him hooked on the picture taking... it's hard blogging from this iPad because I have to use a different collating program and I can't watermark... Or I guess I can but it takes too much time lol... But here are some pictures to sum up my week in Dublin!