Saturday, May 22, 2010

Home

Today was a long day of traveling, and sadly, this is my final post. I woke at 4 AM and traveled by coach for 3 hours from Limerick to Dublin. We stopped for breakfast and then headed to Dublin airport. The flight from Dublin to Philadelphia was around 7 hours long, but I had a window seat in the back by myself (so I had plenty of room to lay and relax). Then we took a plane from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, where I sat next to a nice guy who talked to me about my trip. I finally arrived to my family around 5 PM eastern time (which was 10 PM Ireland time). We ate out at Cracker Barrel, and now I am home. It is around 8 PM here, which is actually 1 AM in Ireland, so I need to adjust to the time. It was a very fun trip, and I am very thankful that I had the chance to go to Ireland! Thanks for reading my blog!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Last Day


Today has been very eventful, and sadly, was my last day in Ireland. I woke up at 6:30 and had breakfast at 7:15 with the whole group. I ordered an Irish breakfast (which I have tried before), so it was another cultural piece of my trip. We all loaded onto the coach bus again to travel around Ireland.

First, we stopped in Adare. It has a small village of cute cottages. There was also a small park to walk around. Once we walked around a little, we traveled to the Cliffs of Moher. It was so gorgeous and very picturesque. I walked around with Gabby and Angelica up the steps and hills to make it to the top of the cliffs on both sides. One side has a tower. They warn how dangerous it is, but I went close to the edge for some great photos. The weather was so warm and perfect for the last day's adventures. After walking around here, I had lunch and got back on the coach around 2.


We traveled and made it to Limerick to drop off our luggage and relax until dinner. We met up at 4:30 and drove to Bunratty Castle. It was really cool to see this. The medieval banquet started by going up the castle and getting mead. I did not like this because I hate the taste of alcohol. There was a violinist and harpist. Then they guided us to where we had to eat. It was a candlelit room with music and entertainment. There were four courses: soup (with no spoon), ribs, chicken, and a fruit dessert. Once this was over, there was a 30-minute period when they sang. It was really fun, and I actually knew a lot of the songs. Most were Irish and a few I played on the guitar before (such as "Star of the County Down"). At the end, there was a man playing the bagpipe, and our tour guide (Joe) danced around. It was funny.

After this, we had a fun ride back to the hotel. Joe sang on the microphone, and we all joined in and clapped. It was hilarious. Then we had our final group meeting, which was so nice and really summed up the trip. We went around in a circle and shared a favorite memory and said our final goodbyes. This trip has been so worthwhile and given me so many great experiences. Tomorrow I am waking at 4 AM, driving to Dublin, and flying back home.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another day in Killarney


Killarney is such a cute town with a beautiful park. This morning, I woke around 10 AM. It was so nice to sleep in.





I headed out to explore Killarney. It is a small area with shops everywhere and pastel-colored buildings. There are a few churches and many buggy rides. I even found a few stores with my name in it. I bought a few last minute gifts for people, wandered around the shops, and had lunch. I had a ham and cheese sandwich. I forgot to say before that the cheese in their sandwiches is shredded cheese, which is so good.

Then I walked around and found their park. It is so gorgeous with flowers, views of mountains, and fun walking trails. I walked around and took many photos here.

When I got back, I hung out with Gabby and Angelica around the hotel and the national park. Then I met at 4 with Jan and the photography majors because we had to talk about the Ireland site I am creating. Once this meeting was over, we met an editor from the Kerryman at 4:30. He had some interesting information and said that around 60% of the newspaper is news and 40% is advertising.

Once this was over, Gabby, Angelica, and I had a blast around town. We had dinner, where I had yummy lasagna and great times with them. Then we treated ourselves to ice-cream and shopped around the area. It was so much fun!


I cannot believe this trip is almost over. Tomorrow we are leaving Killarney, seeing some sights, and staying overnight in Limerick.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We made it to Killarney!


Today truly felt like Ireland. There was nature and animals everywhere all day. We left Cobh and headed to Killarney. I woke around 7 and had a relaxing breakfast at the hotel. Then we boarded the coach bus at 8:30. All day it was cold and rainy, but we still enjoyed the day nevertheless.

First we drove around the Ring of Kerry and stopped at the Kerry Bog Village Museum. It showed how people lived and worked many years ago. The homes were so tiny! We had awhile here, so I also went into the gift shop and looked around. Then we saw a sheepdog demonstration, which was so neat to see! He explained how the sheepdogs listen and herd the sheep. He uses a whistle and also says commands to the dogs. He showed us this, and it was just a very cultural experience.


We had lunch afterwards, and I had a ham and cheese sandwich and delicious hot chocolate. It helped me stay warm. Once we finished lunch, we took various stops for photo opportunities. We stopped at a beach and then different times around the mountains. It was very chilly but worthwhile to get the photos and see the sights.

Arrival to our new hotel was around 6, so we definitely were in the bus a lot today. The hotel room is one room with three beds and a bathroom. It is a decent place.

We had a group dinner tonight, so we met at 7:10. This dinner included Irish music and dancing. It lasted until a little after 11. It was such a fun time! I had an Irish dinner (potato soup, Irish lamb stew, and cheesecake). I sat with Gabby, Angelica, Aaron, Kristina, and Helen. Then the music came, which was really fun to listen to and participate in (they made us clap). I am starting to recognize a lot of Irish music now because I've heard it so much. Also, a little girl did an Irish dance, which was really cute. Eventually one of the musicians played the Titanic song and many people in our group were singing. Also, they did a shout out to Point Park University. It was such a fun time!


Tomorrow I have a free day in Killarney. I will sleep-in and explore. Then I am meeting at 4 to discuss the Ireland site and then meet an editor at 4:30.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blarney Castle and kissing the Blarney Stone!


The activities today were so much fun! I loved Blarney Castle. There was a breakfast buffet this morning at our hotel, so I woke at 7 and ate there. Our group met at 9 and hopped in the coach tour bus to the city of Cork. It looked similar to Dublin because of the river and shops, except it is much, much smaller.

We stopped at Red FM, a local radio station in Cork that has been around for almost 10 years. It had a very laid-back, fun atmosphere. Many people there talked to us, so I learned a lot about the station. It targets ages 15 to 35 and must advertise solely to this group. The average time of an ad is 30 seconds. They play a new pop artist and once that artist becomes popular, they move on to someone new because they believes this brings a unique edge to the station. It also has part of its airtime in the Irish language. Their site launched one year ago and is a work in progress. I think this is because the Internet is not as popular in Ireland as it is in America.


After this, we traveled to Blarney and had three hours at the Blarney Castle and Blarney Woolen Mills. Gabby, Angelica, and I headed to the castle first. It was really cool to see. Then it was time to climb the castle. There was a small line, so it moved fairly slow, but I understand why. The staircase spiraled up and was tight and very rocky. It was not fun for someone who is afraid of heights like me! Nevertheless, I was very excited when I made it to the top! The view was gorgeous of all of the greenland.

Here, there was a small line around the top of the castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. When it was finally my turn, I laid on the ground, grabbed the bars, and leaned in to kiss the stone. It was crazy being so high up and leaning over the castle like this! Now I can finally say I kissed the Blarney Stone. It was definitely a good experience to have.


After climbing down the castle's exit staircase, I saw my photo on the screen. I secretly took a picture with my camera instead of buying it. Gabby, Angelica, and I looked around at the shops after this and then had lunch at a cute cafe. Then we headed to Blarney Woolen Mills, which is a huge shop of Irish things, like handcrafted clothes, postcards, food, and more. I bought a few postcards and something for my family. After buying a few things, we headed over to a few other shops we saw. One was called Erin Giftstore, so I got a photo with me in it just for laughs!

We drove back, had a group meeting, and had time to relax. Gabby, Angelica, and I explored Cobh and had dinner together. At dinner, we bumped into a few others from our group. Then the three of us got some ice-cream. It was a fun night. Tomorrow, we are leaving Cobh and heading to Killarney!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cobh!


Cobh (pronounced cove) is breathtaking. It is an island in Ireland where I am staying tonight and tomorrow night. The suite is huge (we have 6 in here) and absolutely amazing with a great view (my bed is next to a window with the best view), comfortable place, huge screen television, and even wireless Internet! It is on a hill, and there is a cute town with pastel colored buildings. Also, this is where Titanic set off.

So, here is what all happened today. I woke a little before 7 and got ready to check out of the apartment and leave Dublin. It was sad to leave Dublin, but I had so many great experiences there and definitely did a lot. We met our new tour guide Joe (sadly, Rachel had to leave) and headed on the coach bus at 9. As we were driving, there were beautiful views of green. Also, there were adorable sheep everywhere!


We stopped at Wicklow Park and Glendalough Visitor’s Center. It was a pretty place with nature everywhere, sheep, a tower, ancient buildings, and even graves. Our tour guide told us many interesting facts about it, and then we had free time to roam. I even bought a few postcards. Then we ate lunch, which I had a breakfast panini.

We drove many hours (around 1 – 5) to Cobh. It was nice seeing the sheep, cows, and green while on the road. Once we arrived, we picked our beds and then met at 5:30 for a tour around the area. The tour guide’s name was Michael, and he really knew a lot about the area. He told us about the Titanic and how it boarded people here. His stories really made me feel like I was there. The walk around was just so fun and relaxing.

Once we got back around 7, we were able to relax for a little. I uploaded my photos. Then we met at 8 for dinner at our hotel. It was Chinese food and tasted very good.

Today was just great although there was a lot of traveling. I really enjoyed seeing the green parts of Ireland. In Cobh, I really feel a lot of Irish culture and love it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Free day in Dublin


I really know my way around Dublin now. This is our free day around the city, so I wanted to complete my last goals on the list. I wanted to get a photo of me by the river, go inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and take a tour of Guinness. I am pleased to say I accomplished my goals, and at that, very early in the day! I woke around 8:30 and finished at 11:30.

So first, I headed down to the river and got my photo taken. It was pretty easy and fast. Then I walked to the St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I received a student discount. It is beautiful inside and even has a gift shop. I bought a postcard and something for my Grammy. Then I headed to Guinness. Along the way, a group of people had me be their photographer. It was funny because they were drunk! After this, I arrived and also had a student discount here. Guinness has floors of information, like how it’s made, where it is in the world, and more. It also has samples for people (although I did not take any), a gift shop (where I bought a postcard), and a few places to eat.

Once my self-guided tour was over, I went to the store and bought Happy Hippos. They are adorable candies I found here shaped like hippos. I bought one for me and one for my family. They are surprisingly really good! They are not Irish, but I have heard of them and have never seen them in America before.

This is my last day in Dublin. Tomorrow we will be checking out. I will definitely miss it because I really can see myself living here. My roomies and I took a photo together.

Once I got back from my morning adventures, I relaxed for a little and packed everything up. In the afternoon, I headed back out to just walk around the city some more. It was really fun to just wander around. I actually stumbled upon a great experience. Henry Street is open to pedestrians and has many shops, restaurants, entertainers, and fruit stands. There were hundreds of people. It was crazy and exciting to see. I bought an ice cream along the way. He had soft serve, so I asked for twist. He did not know what that was, so I said it is chocolate and vanilla twisted together. Once again, he was confused and said he only had chocolate soft serve or vanilla soft serve. So apparently, they do not know what twist is. It may be an American thing. I learned something new about ice cream in Ireland!

At 6:30, I met with Gabrielle and Ryan for Irish food, dancing, and music. This was at the Arlington Hotel from 7:30 until 10:30. It was a very cultural experience! I had a carrot orange soup, which was actually really good. My meal was Irish Chicken. I also had a yummy chocolate mousse cake for dessert. Then there were two guitarists and one violinist. They played some great Irish songs, like "Molly Malone." Finally the Irish dancers came out. It definitely felt like I was in Ireland when I saw this. My favorite part was when they danced a cappella. It was very fun to watch! Although it was hard to take photos in the dark room, I got some good videos of this.


I am heading to bed now. Dublin has been a great experience! Tomorrow I'll be getting up at 8 and heading to Cobh, Ireland at 9.