Just returned from a lovely weekend trip in Dublin. It was a little weird at first, since the hostel and area we stayed in (City Centre) were very urban...it was almost like still being in London, or in New York City, for that matter. But the five of us arrived, wandered around a bit, napped, then went out for a little nightlife. First thing's first...nightlife, in terms of dinner, is awfully hard to come by in the UK. Lots of places stop serving around 7 or 8. That's complex for college students from the US. Anywho, the first day was very chill, since we were all so exhausted from our wakeup time at 2AM Friday morning.
Friday, we looked around a few shops, took lots of lovely pictures of cathedrals and nice buildings, and went to this cool museum called Dublinia. It's a great place that goes through Dublin's history of the Vikings, Medieval times, and the Archaeology behind the discoveries. I learned quite a lot, actually, which was refreshing, considering my general dislike for history classes. Christ Church Cathedral was right outside the door, so we took pictures of it as well--you had to pay to go inside, though, which deterred us.
Saturday, we discovered that the hostel breakfast didn't quite work the way we had anticipated, so we went out for a cheap bite to eat (namely Subway--American food companies are incredibly popular in the UK...I don't think I've seen as many McDonald's, Burger King, or KFC restaurants in my life), and then began our day. We started by checking out the Guinness Factory, because I mean, come on, we're in Ireland. It was actually really incredible to learn the process of beer-making and how they did it. I gained a much greater appreciation for tasting it, and with their "guidance", you could pick out individual flavors and notes. Very cool. Then, while the girls went shopping and to St. Patrick's Cathedral, the boys and I continued our journey to the Jameson Whiskey Factory. Again, I learned so much more than I ever thought I would care to know about how they make whiskey, and we even got to do a taste-comparison at the end. Fancy. After that, we all met up again and decided to try a Musical Pub Crawl. We went to two different pubs as part of a paying group, and two men played and discussed traditional Irish music with us. Ah, there it was. A real taste of what I had been looking for! And it was just brilliant. Absolutely so much fun.
Sunday, we traveled to this lovely peninsula town called Howth. Right on the water, lots of farmer's markets and small shops (Danny and I bought delicious pepper jelly but forgot we couldn't take it back to London at the size it was and got it taken away at the airport :( Alas), and mostly, it was phenomenally beautiful. THIS was the view of Ireland I wanted. Nothing seemed more breath-taking, or even calming, as this sight was. I loved every freezing-cold moment of it. When we returned, we shopped around a bit (and I got some nice gray boots, finally!), went out to The Boar's Head for a last hoorah, then hit another pub for some more Irish music. One man there even played a didgeridoo and did Tibetan throat singing (yeah, not Irish, but still incredible!)!
Bedtime, then up at 5AM to return today. And now I'm sitting in the London Center, still with no internet at the flat, and waiting for my first voice lesson. Can't wait to take a nap after Styles before seeing "Once Bitten" tonight.