The Rocky Road

This blog entry will mostly be about my trip to Dublin this past weekend! I’ll first catch up with the rest of my week. To start though, I’ll give you some background noise that correlates with my title:

Before I begin continuing my adventures I must take a second and wish a very important person a happy birthday! My mother, Diana Fitzgerald:

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This is probably my favorite picture of me and her. I’m not quite sure how old I was or where we were, but her love is perfectly seen in the wrapping of her arms around me. She has been such a great supporter of my dreams. I believe I got my restless spirit and need to travel and see the world from her. She has also been following my blog religiously so I thought I would give a quick shout out to her. So Happy Birthday Mom! I send you all my love from this emerald isle.

Other then my classes last Wednesday, I practiced Irish dancing with my friends and also grabbed some food for the week. I spent the night relaxing and cooking. I ended up going to bed early, for my time with Sky exhausted me (in the best way possible). I slept in on Thursday and went to my class, but as I was walking home, I saw my Irish friend, Cait drive by with Heather and a bunch of other people in the car. They stopped and jokingly said “Get in!” as if they we were in a car chase. However, the day before, Cait invited me to her house for her birthday celebration. I had declined because I was coming down with a cold. I had received plenty of sleep that night so all of a sudden, I desired to go. So last minute, I got CJ, and we took a bus to Ballincollig. We arrived and everyone was sitting around and watching a movie. I got to meet a bunch of Cait’s friends that I haven’t met before. We played a few games and went on a midnight adventure. All in all it was great craic, and I was glad I went.

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After dance class on Friday, I decided I would take a night in to myself. My cold came back and it smacked me in the face for deciding that I was fine enough to go adventuring. I did laundry and cooked a wonderful chicken curry. I did the usual things such as Skyping Paul and my sisters. I believe I also watch one of the Pirates movies with my friends. It was quite a simple but good day. As I laid my head down to go to sleep, I set my alarm for an ungodly time: 5:45am.

The API excursion to Dublin started quite early. We had to catch our train at 7am but had to meet at the train station at 6:45am. My friends got a taxi for fifteen minutes prior and that meant that if I wanted to look nice that day, I had to wake even earlier. The taxi driver ended up being a great fellow. He heard my coughing in the back seat and gave me the rest of his Halls and some tissues for my journey. Only because I am thinking of it, people in Ireland don’t tip. Not unless it was a rare and extremely great service. Even then, no tips are expected. At pubs and restaurants people aren’t being kind to you because they want a good tip. No, the kindness comes from their heart and desire to serve you correctly. People talk to you because they want to, not because they want a good tip from you. So this taxi driver is an example of this kindness. He’s not expecting anything extra, but rather just wanted to be a nice person.

After thanking for my tools of survival, we bid the taxi driver a goodbye and wandered in to the Kent train station. We found our API advisor and the rest of the group. I guess not many people didn’t want to wake up this early, for there ended up only being six of us. We boarded the train and I settled in for a good long nap. I barely caught the sunrise and the rest of the two and half hour trip views were the back of my eye lids.

I was in the middle of a dream when the over head speaker told us of our close arrival to Dublin. I woke just in time to gather my belongings and prepare to get off. The sun was out and it nearly blinded me as I stumbled out of the car. The train station was actually beautiful.

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The weather in Dublin was perfect minus the tempreture. It was a bit cold and I was thankful for my scarf and boots that I had put on half asleep this morning. We boarded a tram and headed into the city.

One of the shots I managed to get was of this old woman and a fluffy pigeon. The two of them looked like old friends and were both fluffed up to guard against the cold. She was handing out flyers and didn’t economically look too well off. I wasn’t quite sure of her situation, but I sent her my prayers regardless. I couldn’t help but capture a picture of her and her companion.

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We got off the tram at Abbey Street and headed towards Trinity college. The city was quite busy and t had a strange feel to it. The architecture was old but the entire essence of the city was modern. For some strange reason, people from Cork and Dublin have this awful rivalry. I heard from a lot of people that they didn’t like Dublin. But so far, from the few minutes I was in this city, I was enjoying it throughly. It was a huge city and it is the capital of Ireland. I’ve been to New York City and if compared, Dublin is similar but more spread out and more laid back. It almost reminded me of London,  just not as modern.

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Our first activity of the day was a walking tour given by a history professor in Trinity College. This man was truly passionate about the history of Dublin and gave us great insight to the city’s origins.

To start, we briefly got a tour of Trinity. We stood in the main square and we were told that the college had it’s roots back in the 1600’s. There were no Catholics allowed in until the 1900’s. And in 1904, women were finally allowed in as well. This old college only has buildings dating back to the 1800’s and is actually built on top of an old Monastery.

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After we headed into the city to learn more about the government that was run. We walked a bit and stopped out side what was known today as a Bank of Ireland. However, his used to be where the Parliament sat and made decisions while Ireland was still under British rule.

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We were shown two statues representing the government that once was and now is. It’s kind of humorous that they sit across from each other. But on top of the bank and old Parliament sits a statue of a women representing British rule:

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On the other side sits Erin, the symbol of the Irish government today, with the traditional words “Éirinn go Brách” residing under her.

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The two statues lay directly across from one another. And before moving on we were told that we were standing on the old hanging square that used to execute people outside the city. Very interesting spot we were in indeed!

We continued to walk around and I fell in love with the architecture.

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We stopped under a plaque that had a ship on it. We were told that once, the government issued a ship to go out and trade with the “New World” and gain profit. However after seven years, there was no sign of the ship returning. Investments got a couple bucks from an insurance company for the loss of their ship. However, I believe it was ten years later, the ship returns with treasure and stories of being sacked by pirates and defeating them by making off with their treasure.  There was a huge controversy as to who would get the certain parts of the treasure; the insurance investors, the original company, or survivors of the ship. I forgot the name of the court that they went to to settle this. But it is an informal court that deals with disputes over small claims that still exists today. However, research is being done and apparently there is no evidence that such a ship that had said treasures ever existed.

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This story was quite random but it was pretty funny to hear. We moved on to the next part of Dublin, where our tour guide described it as the artsy part of the city. First however he pointed out a few random normal looking buildings and claimed them to be the oldest surviving block of apartments in the city.

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We continued on and I fell in love with the cobble stone that we walked over.

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Our tour guide told us how this part of the city was trying to go green. So he showed us a few of the art that was built to represent this goal.

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the next part of the tour was unexpectedly one of my favorite parts. We made our way to next to the river and stood outside another judicial looking building with a strange statute sitting in the front.

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This statue represents the original settlers of the city: The Vikings! A lot of the prejudgement of the vikings consist of rape, pillage, and murder. However these settlers weren’t just that. They created a society and built a city, one that is now under the city of Dublin.

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This plaque in the side walk represents material and artifacts that were found when a new financial building was being put in. The vikings were known to reside here in 900A.D. So when the governor at the time dismissed the small housing the found when trying to lay the foundations of this new building, it lead to a huge uproar in the scholar’s realm.

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To try to make up for their mistake, later the government laid out a few bricks that shows the living area of the vikings to scale. It was neat to consider that people actually resided there so many hundred years ago.

We then visited the Christ Church that was right around the corner. It was truly beautiful and had some pretty amazing features when it comes to architecture. (I feel like I’m repeating myself now…) We were told that on New Years people gather here and when the bells go off at midnight everyone celebrates. I’ve added it to my bucket list.

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Next stop was the Dublin Castle, which had a very special role in the rebellion. There is always a beginning event that leads to a revolution, and when a bunch of rebels tried to claim the castle, they failed and even in their surrender, they were executed. This failure to respect the rules of war lead to even more rebellions that lead to Ireland’s independence.

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The hole you see in his cape is evidence of the exchanging of gun fire in one of the rebellions.

The hole you see in his cape is evidence of the exchanging of gun fire in one of the rebellions.

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After the Castle, we made our way to the restaurant where we would have lunch.

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We went to O´Neill´s for lunch and it was phenomenal! It was a bar but had a buffet in the back where you got in line and picked out what you desired for lunch. I got an Irish Guinness Stew with mashed potatoes. It was probably the best Guinness stew I’ve ever have. It filled my stomach but didn’t make me over stuffed.

Next we bid our tour guide goodbye and we went to see this book of Kells that is held in the Trinity library. We got in line and went into the display area. They had a lot of information for you before you actually go into the viewing room. I couldn’t tell you every bit of information my mind soaked up. But the fact that every intricate detail was hand made. They made the colors from minerals developed in rocks. There are two to three other books that has lead up to the great design and creation of the book of Kells, and all three of them were on display.

Now, my religious relationship is pretty private. I’ve mentioned before that I was raised Catholic, but my own interpretations of the belief varies. But seeing that book and the work that man has put into it brought me a little closer to my creator.

They didn’t allow any pictures taken in the Kells exihbition. But when we went up stairs to the long room, they allowed pictures to be taken without flash. I was quite lucky to be there while that exhibition was on display, for they had old music manuscripts on display. Now they change the books that are on display from the very shelves of that library. It’s pretty increible. There was once a law that required that every book published would be put into their library.

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After the Kells exhibition we were given a few hours to explore Dublin on our own. Four of us went a separate way to explore the more “artsy” part of the city. I took a few pictures of our random adventure.

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On our way back to the train I ended up seeing a bar I absolutely HAD to go visit.

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After I had my moment of being a total tourist, we ran an caught the tram to get to the train station on time.

So after our long day in Dublin, we got on the train, and yet again, I passed out until we got home. It was obviously a fun day, but my cold was catching up with me and I still had a long night ahead of me. Mags had wanted to go out with all of us that go to Blarney every week. And I had promised her that I would got out when I got back from Dublin. keeping my promise, I ended up having a great time with her and her brothers along with my friends.

Sunday and today were days I relaxed and caught up with myself. The past week had exhausted me and I needed to nurse my health back to it’s natural state.

So that’s my week so far! Next time I write, it’ll be over three months since I’ve been here. That will leave one more month… I really do have mixed feelings about the whole the thing. But that’s a discussion for another time.

Until the next adventure my friends!

Sláinte!

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