Thursday, December 24, 2009

89 Days!!!

We are leaving for our trip in just under 3 months and here is the general outline of our itinerary:

This is the hostel that we will be staying at in Cork. It is just across the street from my school.

The first few days over there aren't set in stone but there will be some combination of the next three things:

Blarney Castle

Cobh. This is the cathedral there. Absolutely beautiful.

This is Charles Fort in Kinsale. We will also be horseback riding that day.

Next we head off to Dublin. We will only be there for about a day, but we have some fun things planned. First we will go to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College.

Then we are off to the Guinness Brewery!

After Dublin we are heading up to Belfast. During our first afternoon we plan to take a Black Taxi Tour that takes you around to the various murals around Belfast and gives you a bit of history about the conflict.

The next day we are off to the Giant's Causeway! We will go to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (though probably not across it), the Giant's Causeway, and to the Bushmill's Distillery.

After Belfast we are heading down to Galway. While there we will be taking some tours out of the city. The first will be to the Aran Islands, specifically to Inis Mór where we will visit this fort, Dun Aengus.

The next day we will take a tour of the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher where we will see this dolmen.

After Galway we are headed to Killarney. This is the hostel that we will be staying in while we are there!!!!

Our first full day there will be Easter Sunday. We may try to go into town for an Easter service, but most of the day will be spent exploring the area around our hostel. We are going to try to go horseback riding and bicycle riding. This is the Killarney National Park which borders our hostel and with any luck part of our exploring will take us into the park.

The next day we are going to take a tour of the Ring of Kerry. I am super excited about this tour because it is the one thing that I really regret not doing while I was living there.

Finally we will make it back to Cork and as a treat we are going to stay for a night at Jury's Hotel. This hotel is super nice and I cant wait to stay there!!! I walked past it nearly every day on my way to school and told myself that someday I would stay there and now seems to be the perfect opportunity. This pool is just a taste of how beautiful it is...

This is just a bit of a teaser of what we will be doing on our trip. We cant wait!!!!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


On March 23, 2010...


And this time with Mommy in tow!

121 days baby!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"Nothing is real 'til it's gone..."

Well, it's official. Ireland is over. And it's crazy late here but I cant sleep, so here is one last post.

Last Wednesday night we went out for one last dinner at Amicus. Left to right: Alex, Laura, Diana, Kelly, Jenna.

After dinner we went to Eddie Rocket's (just like Johny Rocket's in the States) for milkshakes.

Thursday night: Alex's last night.

Also Travis's last night.

Friday: Laura's last night.

Also Liz and Allie's last night. (Liz is between me and Jenna and Allie is the one in the back middle).

Also Patrick's last night.

And Jake's.

Yup, and Nathalie's too.

On Saturday my friend Andrew came into town! First person I have seen from home in 9 months...crazy!

Monday: Mrijan's last night.

Tuesday: Toni's last night.

Not Marina's last night, but the last time that I saw her.

Also, the last night that I saw Caroline. (on the left)

This was about...2 hours ago...maybe 3. It's my last pint of Beamish at the Thirsty Scholar.

About an hour and a half ago. My last drink in Ireland, a Baby Guinness at the Old Oak. The Old Oak was the first bar I ever went to in Ireland so I thought that it would be appropriate to end my time here at the same bar.

My luggage! In about 3 hours and 15 minutes I will be leaving my apartment with my whole life for the past 9 months packed into these three bags. CRAZY.

So that's the end. I'll probably do a quick update once I get home, but I'm making no promises.

I guess this is goodbye...

"...a life you don't live is still lost, so stand on the edge with me, hold back your fear and see, nothing is real 'til it's gone..."

Last Trip of the Year...Belfast!

My final trip over here was up to Belfast. I went with my friend Caroline. We spent a few days up there seeing the sights and having an amazing time!

This is the main Catholic church in the city centre.

Dinner the first night. I got Mediterranean fish soup. Soooo good. Spicy even!

Petit Fours for desert!

This is the place we had dinner at.

Not actually sure where this was. On our first full day we went on a bus tour that took us to the Giant's Causeway, but it stopped at a bunch of other places on the way and this was one of them.

Me on the famous rope bridge! (I would be able to tell you the name of it, except that I packed all of the stuff about it)

On the little island that the rope bridge takes you to. It used to be for the fishermen's use.

Some beautiful Northern Irish coastline!

Next we stopped at the Bushmills Distillery. It is the oldest licensed distillery in the world.

Had to get a taste of it while we were there! It isn't as good to sip as Jameson, but it's smooth and mixes great with a little bit of coke.

The Northern Irish proof of global warming. That is the church steeple of a town that is now completely submerged.

At the Giant's Causeway we were able to order some food at the hotel. I got steak and Guinness was INCREDIBLE!!! Caroline kept stealing bits of it when she thought I wasn't looking.

The Giant's Causeway is a huge special rock formation that was created when lava from a volcano hit the ocean water. Now it consists of these hexagonal shafts of stone. Very interesting and extremely fun to run around and climb on!

I'm at the top of the world!

Me and Caroline. It took the poor person 4 tries to get this picture because of how sad my camera is.

Back in Belfast city we were walking down the main shopping street and noticed that this building is purely a facade. One of our theories is that most of the building was destroyed by a bomb during the troubles and that just this part remains and they left it because of the older style of architecture. Purely a theory, but possible.

The largest celtic cross on the island of Ireland.

On our second day in Belfast we took a Black Cab Tour. In the tour they take you around to the famous murals all over Belfast in the different districts. This is probably one of the most famous murals. It's in a Protestant neighborhood and the guy at the top with the gun and mask is a UFF (Ulster Freedom Fighters) member. It is painted so that no matter where you are standing the gun is always pointed at you.

Another one of the murals in the Protestant district.

This is the "Freedom Wall" or the "Berlin Wall of Belfast." This wall separates the Protestant and Catholic districts in this part of the city. It is still fully functioning as a divider. There are gates at intervals on the wall that are open from 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday, but at all other times the wall completely separates the districts. This particular section is on the Protestant side and the reliefs are scenes from stories while the silver lines contain quotes from famous people. All are about hope and peace.

Another section of the wall.

This is on the Catholic side of the wall on Bombay Street. This street has been targeted so many times that to this day every window on the street is plastic and there are cages on the backs of the houses that are against the wall to prevent explosives actually hitting the house.

Part of a long mural containing many different scenes about all parts of the world in the Catholic district.

After the tour we were dropped off at the town hall where there was a Spring Fair going on. At this point it was time for lunch and we found something...different. I ate a kangaroo burger!

It was actually quite delicious.

She just had to top me...her burger is penguin! It was good, but we both liked the kangaroo better.

Later I got a roasted hog sandwich.

And then it started to pour, so we spent the rest of the day inside of malls window shopping.

So, there it is, my last trip. I would write more, but I must run. We're hosting one last Spanish/American dinner party here tonight, then going out to grab a couple of pints for my farewell night. I'll have one more update when I get home tonight, then the next time you'll hear from me I'll be in California.

Just 11 hours until my flight leaves from Cork...crazy!