After our flight to Dublin from Amsterdam, Bern, Katie, Lauren and I met Morgan at the airport. We got a bus to our hostel, dropped our things, then went off to explore! I honestly think all of us expected Dublin to be a small city, with green rolling hills and lakes all in the city limits. Well, we were very wrong. Dublin is actually a BIG city, with high rise buildings and lots of big roads. The River Liffey runs through the middle and cuts the city into North and South. We walked around, went in a few shops, then stopped to eat at a real pub and get our first Irish beer! That night we went out for a little bit- since Monday was a bank holiday and it was Halloween weekend a lot of people were out and about. And the Irish LOVE Halloween- we really didn't expect them to celebrate it that much but they were ALL dressed up, it was so funny!
Monday morning (after a few disturbances during the night which can only be described in person- too hard to write about haha) we did a walking tour of Dublin that our hostel organized. We got to see a lot of cool places- Dublin castle, Trinity College, Temple Bar area, Christ Church, and the bar that U2 first played at. Funny story- after playing at this bar, Bono and the rest of the band tried to get into a hotel bar across the street- they were denied entry because they didn't look good enough. After becoming superstars, Bono bought that hotel and is now the owner. HA! Otherwise, I learned a lot about the history of Ireland, especially in relation to England. It's all so interesting because most of it is still so recent! And all the conflicts between Protestants and Catholics, north and south, etc. - you can tell that it's still a sensitive subject for the Irish. It was also cool because the new president was elected just a few days before we got there- he serves just as a figurehead, kind of like the queen of England, which I didn't realize! We got lunch afterwards with new friends from the tour and all made plans to do the pub crawl together that night! We walked around the rest of the afternoon, did some shopping, then went back out later for the pub crawl! It was a ton of fun- we went to 5 different bars- some had live Irish music and some had American music and one was where P.S. I Love You was filmed. One bar even had a game of beer pong going on! Haha! A bunch of girls on the pub crawl were American students studying abroad so that was fun to hang out with them!
The next morning we got up early to go on a tour of Wickelow and Glendough which are the beautiful, hilly areas outside of the Dublin city limits. It was honestly one of the best days of my entire semester. We dorve up through the hills with a few stops along the way- a cemetary for Germans from WW2 (that world leaders still visit every year), a peacemaking retreat center, and we'd pull over at certain areas for the best views I've ever seen. It was absolutely amazing! We had a cute old man tour guide named Dennis who told us so many interesting things! First of all, as you can see in my pictures, all the lakes look like their water is black. And it pretty much is- looking up close it's dark brown. He told us this is from all the iron in the ground- Irish people can even still cut out pieces called turf from these hills and burn it to use for energy! We also stopped at the bridge used in another scene from P.S. I Love You! Then we stopped at an authentic Irish restaurant for lunch- I got beef stew! Yum! Our next stop was a very old monastery with really old run-down buildings and more beautiful lakes. From there we drove back into Dublin, but took the roads up the coast. The homes there are super expensive because the view is unbelievable- we even drove past Bono's and Enya's (another singer) homes! A very long day but so worth it! Morgan and I sat up front with the tour guide in the little van the whole day which was so funny but also weird with driving on the other side of the road! Once we got dropped off, we had dinner and went back to the hostel to sleep since we had early flights the next morning! Bern, Morgan and I set off for Berlin, and Katie and Lauren headed to Rome. The three of us were so mad at the airport because our backpacks were too big and we had to pay a fee :/ We tried to wear lots of layers (look at the pic of Bern! Haha!) but it didn't work out for us. Morgan even tried to fit things inside her jacket but the airline attendant told her "Please open your jacket. You're bulging." HAHA!