This semester is flying by — it’s already been three weeks since I posted my last blog. I doubt anyone wants to hear about what an expert I’ve become at navigating Dublin’s nightlife scene in the past month, so instead I’ll talk about everything else this country has to offer. Lately I’ve had the pleasure of getting out of the city and seeing the Ireland I had always pictured: rolling, green landscapes; foggy coastlines; quaint towns and inviting pubs.
One day trip included hiking in Glendalough, which just goes to show that a view of “Upper Lake” doesn’t mean you have to hike “up” anything. This realized when you find yourself halfway to the top of a mountain.
Then there was a quick stop in the Wicklow Mountains; which almost doesn’t warrant mentioning because we were pelted with sideways rain and regretted leaving the bus.
But a trip to the town of Kilkenny later that day was bright and sunny — oh, Irish weather.
A short train ride to the southern port of Dún Laoghaire, with its sea of sailboats, was a gorgeous change of scenery from bustling Dublin.
My favorite day trip thus far was Howth, a suburb on a peninsula just north of Dublin, which feels like another country yet entirely Irish at the same time. On a sunny day, walking around its cliffs that hug the coast, you almost feel like you’re in Spain. Seafood cafes line the coast where you can see fishermen bringing in their catch. And it is also home to one of the coolest museums I have ever visited: Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio. Housed in a small, historic tower overlooking Howth, it is an enclave of old radios, gramophones, Irish memorabilia and other vintage communication knick knacks.
On the opposite side of Ireland lies the western city of Galway, a tiny college town. With a single road housing all the nightlife, a pub-crawl was definitely in order. From live Irish music and crazy cover bands to potato challenges and zombies walking the street, it was definitely an experience.
Although the strangest part of the trip was stopping in the tiny town (pop. 300) of Moneygall, which now prides itself on being the home of Obama’s ancestors.
The stunning and ever-popular Cliffs of Moher (which are supposed to look like this) were unfortunately nowhere to be seen the day we went. At least we could hear the ocean through the abyss of fog.
Limerick was rather uneventful on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, but we found some unique spots.
Biking around the Aran Islands lead us to a shipwreck site, a lighthouse and a maze of stonewalls among other things. Although, the boat ride to get there was its own adventure.