An Irish 21st Birthday!
I left my semester in Paris on May 26. My host mom and brother helped me lug my bags up the street to Gare du Nord and I took ~several~ trains all the way to Scotland. That was a blog post all within itself-
I nearly missed my train in London and the conductor practically threw me into the first car we passed, along with all my heavy bags. I believe it was the luggage compartment of a first-class carriage, but I couldn't possibly get my giant bags all the way back to the K carriage myself so I propped myself up on top of them by a window and pulled out a book.
I met a young man carrying a big cardboard box of plants who told me they were squash plants and he was bringing them out to his small garden in the countryside to finally plant in them. When he's not taking care of his personal farm, he plays tuba for the Queen's guard! Very cool. There was also a rowdy bunch of sporty "lads" who hopped on, asked me if the conductor had been by recently, and hopped back off at the next stop.
My sister and our friend James picked me up from the tiny train station at Leuchars and shoved my bags and me into the backseat of a small Scottish car. I barely fit beside them.
We barely had time to drop my bags off at the flat before buzzing into town to join their friends watching a [soccer] game at the Student Union with pints in hand.
-(Charlotte says it was the union bar, but the small one to in the side room, Sandy's Bar).
Following that gripping match, we wandered into town and ducked into Forgan's with some friends for a ceilidh dance. It was just the kind of whirlwind fun I needed after a long day of travel!
May 27 brought us to mass at 11am and we spent most of the day in the residency of the Catholic Society (or CathSoc) prepping for a potluck! Good food and even better company :)
The morning of May 28, John and Charlotte cooked me breakfast in John's kitchen. Charlotte introduced me to Gilmore Girls on John's couch, and we giggled over that until we decided it was time to go return her bike to the rental shop.
We then stopped for tea at a friend's flat to catch up before heading out to our golf tee-time on the famous St. Andrew's Old Course...
I should be more honest. It was mini golf.
I couldn't tell you who won, but it was fun!
Very early morning May 29 (2:30am), Charlotte and I woke up to find that her housemates had left us a birthday treat to take with us on our trip. They even decorated!
We made it to Dublin in one piece and found a bus that took us, bags and all, straight to our first destination. A hotel? Maybe some lunch? Nope! The Kilmainham Goal!
They offered an amazing tour of the museum and former prison.
If you weren't careful, I imagine it would've been fairly easy to get lost in the maze of corridors.
After leaving the goal, we checked into our AirBnb and took a nap.
Dinner was the main event! We dressed up and headed out to our reservations at The Church, which is literally an old church converted into a restaurant, cafe and bar! They sat us at a little table on the second floor with a view down over the bar below and the occasional Irish dancer on stage.
After dinner we took to exploring the streets! As tourists, we picked the busiest ones with the most recognizable landmarks (peep the Temple Bar!).
We bought some breakfast pastries and ate them in the nearby park. Unfortunately I don't think I still have photos of that park, but I can assure you it was lovely and damp, and very green.
Here are some of the flowers we passed on our way there.
The highlight of the day was our horseback riding expedition!
Here is Charlotte and her horse. He stopped frequently to nibble on things during our ride.
My horse's name was Lucky.
We had an awesome guide who took us on a trip up the mountains.
We saw breathtaking forests that iphone photos couldn't quite capture in all their glory. I probably discovered about 50+ new shades of green that day.
The rest of our crew, (Charlotte way in back).
We eventually made our way back down the mountains into Dublin where we spent the rest of the morning wandering through the streets and shops. Charlotte found a fabulous vintage shop tucked away where we spent a while poking through all the racks of fabulous and quality clothes.
May 31, an early morning. We hopped on a bus headed west and spent several hours listening to the wonderful guide point out passing fairy trees and hardy cottages. The bus stopped several times so we could get out and poke around the landscape. We stopped at the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and finally Galway.
We left the bus back in Dublin a little sunburnt and found some sushi for dinner. :)
June 1, happy anniversary Mom and Dad! Today our plans didn't go quite as smoothly as we had anticipated, so we improvised. It was a little grey and rainy, but we took ourselves to the Christ Church Cathedral and discovered costumes from the Tudors tv show on display in the basement!
*We also saw the St. Patricks Cathedral on a different day, but these photos were taken so long ago that I can't remember which ones are from which day. So for the sake of my sanity, here they all are in one place:
From there it was a trip over to Trinity College (cant stay away from school, even on break!)
Where we stood in line, in the rain, and bought tickets to go inside and see the Book of Kells, and the Star Wars library (jk, its the Trinity library).
Dinner was the MOST fun at the Hairy Lemon Pub. They gave us great food and drinks at a little window seat, and let us keep a postcard to remember them by.
Final day in Dublin! We grabbed a quick breakfast before making our way to the Leprechaun Museum. I know it sounds silly, and it definitely was, but I would 10/10 recommend it to anyone else looking for a fun activity. Ignore (or embrace) the sillies and it's truly a magical experience, and you learn a lot too!
Us being tiny, leprechaun sized (as if we aren't short enough already).
Got silly in front of the Dublin Castle (love a good pano).
And then finished the day/ night off with dinner (at Bóbó's Burgers) and a peek into the famous Temple Bar and surrounding area!
That night we packed back up and on June 3 we headed back to Scotland!
Nothing like a familiar home-away-from-home :)
Thank you Ireland!