So time again has slipped away from me and I have forgotten to write. I have now been living in Ireland for nearly 11 weeks. This seems a crazy thought, as it now feel like home. I walk outside and feel this familiarity and contentment being here. Not that I didn’t before, but now, it just fills me with warmness. I think I will have to come back.
Winter is now on my doorstep. It’s either a wet morning or a frosty one. The temperature has been dropping below zero on the odd day, sometimes I feel like a fat snowman man because I have so many layers on. You go out and then when you get inside you strip off again. It becomes a fine tuned performance.
Classes have been interesting. I found that studying social work in Ireland has opened me up to understanding a lot about their troubles, now and in the past. One thing I can say is, Ireland has a big, hard history.
Yesterday I went to explore the Killmainham, the old gaol in Dublin with Franzi. I am so glad that I live in the 21st century. My romantic ideals of the past have gone. In the 1800s children as young as 5 were put in prison with all the other men and women for crimes such as ringing door bells, and picking flowers from public parks. The conditions of the gaol were very basic, and would have been extremely cold. Who knows, my distant relatives probably were even in there as many of the prisoners were shipped to Australia as convicts. Some of the photos below are images of the cells, and the gaol from the inside. I really enjoyed walking through, to touch the walls that people from the past once did. It was interesting and taught me a lot about the uprising for Irish independence.
Afterward Franzi and I went to the food markets, mmmmm. So much yummy food! I think we wondered around the small market for over an hour tasting olives and hommos, cakes and other sweet food. The morning of us two, soon grew to 6 then 8. The weather changed and rain came, so as always it was teatime. We went to the very popular, cosy café ‘Queen of tarts’ – Look at all the scrumptious looking cakes in the picture. I had such a fun, relaxed Saturday. Franzi and I went to find the bus but ended up in the shop AVOCA. You will all be glad to know that I was very self-restrained. That is only because I am not here in Ireland longer. This shop has beautiful blankets, coats, toys, books, hot water bottles, teapots… everything. Corrine, I think you would have loved it. And lastly, to make my night even more full of happiness was Grafton Street! Christmas is in the air. The lights were lit up, the air crispy. I felt like I had stepped into a picture book from childhood.
The weather has been just gorgeous again today. Blue skies, crispy, fresh, and the smell of smoke coming from the chimneys. I went to church today for the first time, however, it was interesting, it was in Gaelic and lasted for only 15 min. The shortest service I think I have been to. However it was nice in a different way. Since I hadn’t been to the seaside of the Irish Sea, I wondered done the roads until I reached it. It was muddy, smelly, but lovely! The sun glinted off the water and made it sparkle.
Dad you would be proud, I even went for a run today even though it was 2 degree’s.
In the past couple of weeks that I have been absent from writing I have explored some more of Ireland. I made a trip to Galway and the Aran Islands. This was such a magic weekend. The music was great in Galway, we didn’t plan on staying out late but ended up coming home at about 2.30am and had to be up a couple of hours later to catch the early morning ferry across to the Islands. Galway has character. The market place, the small boutique shops, and their huge selection of vegetarian eating places what else can I say.
The Aran Islands were incredible. The ferry ride over woke me up as I stood out the back in the wind with the salty spray. Some Scottish lads played bagpipes on the deck below, and I watched about fifty dolphins dive next to the boat. It was a bit of a dream. On the island we hired bikes and road over the nearly every inch of it. It had a unique charm, green, rocky and massive cliffs. It was a special place to be. You could stand on the cliffs edge or lie with your back on the earth and feel at one with the universe. ~Ommmmm~
Another beautiful spot I have been to was Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains. Lizz, Florence and I had a weekend of walking around the two lakes and spotting deer’s. It was nice to get out and do some full days of walking out of the city. Green, green and more green. Oh and did you know that a lot of the film Braveheart was filmed here and not in Scotland.
Last weekend I went over to the west of Ireland again to the gorgeous Connemara with the UCD’s mountaineering society. The hostel we stayed at, ‘the old monastery’ was unique. It was an old school for boy’s that was run by priests back in the day that apparently was haunted. Inside the lighting were mainly candles it was old and cosy. The bathrooms however were nothing like I have ever seen. They were lit up with blue fairy lights, and the showers were just blue! There was a fireplace in the bathroom, along with a couch. Definitely different and quirky, but I really liked it. The first walk we did was fun because we got true Irish weather. Rain, howling wind, hail, rain, more rain, more wind, and hail. We jumped in bogs walked through swamps and saw a beautiful rainbow. The next day we did a walk that had spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. The group was great craic. Least to say little sleep happened.