Touring Dublin: Iveagh Gardens and The National Gallery of Art

Top of the mornin’ to ya! (okay no one actually says that here, don’t get crazy)

Well, yesterday was pretty fabulous. I suppose I will just start from the beginning of my little adventure.

First thing, I got to call the police already! Check that off the list. Don’t worry it wasn’t anything too exciting. A few blocks from my apartment, my friends and I witnessed a fender bender. I wish I could say it was a little more extraordinary than that…but I’ve decided to keep this blog reasonably truthful. So I’ll skip the story I formulated in my head about cars flipping over ravines and the conveniently placed American tourists who drag the bodies out of the explosion just in time. Regardless, I was pretty proud of myself for accurately giving the phone operator our intersection’s location. It’s the small wins for me y’all.

In case you were wondering, all the passengers were completely fine, and we carried on our way.

Destination: The Irish National Gallery

I am not a huge art person. Especially when it comes to actually being able to hold a conversation about artwork. My critiques usually range from “Oooooo awesome, pretty” to “Eh I’ll skip this room” to “Yeah, I don’t like this one”. Pretty intellectual right? All that being said I really enjoyed the National Gallery. For logistical reasons, it was free of charge and the perfect size for the average interested student. Speaking to the art, the gallery had a lot of very beautiful pieces.

I found Yeats’ artwork to be particularly inspirational. His unique style alone is pretty impressive. Again, not the art guru over here, so forgive the lack of technical terms. You have to stand back a have the entire paiting in focus to see the picture. Often, there are pieces of black canvas that never met the end of Yeats’ paintbrush. It amazes me how he could create such complex images with such indistinct lines. On top of his style, his pictures tell stories. Below are two works that may help you to understand the style I’m talking about. The first oil painting below is titled Grief. Up close, it’s just blotches of paint, but if you take a step back you can see a mob of people running from a foreboding figure on horseback. In the foreground you can see a mother holding her baby, protecting it. The photo here of course can’t do it justice, so you will have to take my word for it that it’s a beautiful piece of art.

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Here’s just another example of Yeats’ art.

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The colors are much more vivid in real life.

I’m just saying this is good stuff. Even for uncultured peasants such as I.

Side Stop: The Iveagh Gardens

You won’t find this one in any tourist books or travel magazines. That’s because it isn’t a particularly unique piece of green space in Ireland. Not being unique, doesn’t mean it isn’t breathtakingly beautiful though. I think one thing makes me admire these parks that can be spotted across the cities of Ireland, is the feel of old age and natural beauty that has survived the tests of time. In stark contrast to most parks in the States I have encountered, the plants are full and grown out. The trees haven’t been uprooted and implanted strategically. Things just grow. The stone work seems aged (how aged in reality I can’t say). There are dark gray fountains and walls rather than brick bathrooms and chain fences. I found the Iveagh Gardens to be extremely simple and peaceful. If you catch my drift, I liked the park haha. I think these kinds of gardens/parks are just one small example of the depth of history that this country has that perhaps the United States just can’t replicate. It’s difficult to build age and history into infrastructure.

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Extra Bits:

– introduced my lovely French roommate to the wonder world of scones. I think I changed her life forever.

– walking along Grafton street, popular place for live music on the streets, we came across covers of Coldplay and U2 and a break dancing group

– took lots of photos, hoping people back home don’t find that obnoxious

– left a spatula on the frying pan… now it’s half a spatula.

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Hope you enjoy my stories. You made it to the end of this one. For every blog you complete I will donate .10 euros toward your one way plane ticket to Dublin 😉

A Proper Night Out

Last night was my first real night out here in Dublin! The erasmus organization at my university arranged a huge pub crawl for all the exchange students.

First off, if you don’t already know, a pub crawl is sort of a tour of pubs. You are assigned a group and you travel with this group to, in our case, 5 pubs and 1 night club. You have a guide who will attempt to keep you together. It felt a little like we were being herded around like irish sheep between pubs, but it was all part of the experience.

So the first pub all 200 of us squeezed into was Bad Bobs. The deal was a free shot of Sambuca with any purchase of a full priced drink. Most everyone got a pint of Guinness or Heineken, but you know unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of beer. Some of the girls who don’t like beer were drinking Bulmer’s cider. Bulmer’s is a simple cider. Personally, I think it’s also pretty gross.

Under the pressure, I just ordered a shot of Bailey’s. I mean you can’t go wrong with that right?

So back to this free shot of Sambuca… never again will I undergo such torture. Apparently this seemingly harmless clear liquor is black licorice flavored. I’m pretty lucky I didn’t spit it right back out all over the bar. Okay you may be thinking I’m exaggerating right now, but you haven’t had a shot of this stuff. No wonder they were giving it out for free!

Bad Bobs definitely had that classic pub feel going on. There was a live band who knew many of the people in the bar were Americans (however, just to be clear there were also French, Belgian, Dutch, Italian, Asian, Canadian, English, Australian folk to name a few). Anyways so this band played all these old school American “classics”. We got American Pie, Wagon Wheel, and Sweet Caroline. They may have been stereotyping the hell out of us, but I wasn’t complaining. Those are some good choices alright. The sing along possibilities were endless and the group didn’t disappoint. You can imagine how angelic our chorus sounded.

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So then we proceeded to 4 more varying pubs: from a grudge blacked out place to a fancy Wing-Stop, our guides did a good job of giving us some variety.

I would definitely recommend a pub crawl to anyone new to Dublin, I met lots of really fun people. It’s really the perfect environment to make memories. I will probably do another pub specific post while I’m here but I have to say there is a place for everyone to go out here in Dublin. There is every sort of atmosphere you are looking for. Wether you are looking for a nice quiet evening beer, a drunken pub sing fest, some emo hard rock sketched out corner, or just a fun place to see live music with friends, it’s all readily available. Especially the live music part, every pub we went to had live music (except the night club at the end).

By the end of the night I had…

…been offered kisses from 3 different nationalities.

…tasted my first sip of Guinness.

…had a great conversation with the taxi driver who is from the north side of Dublin and plays Gaelic football.

…been picked up by a very drunk Ohioan for no apparent reason. I guess he was excited about something and I was there.

…introduced myself approximately 62 times.

…made quite a few new friends.

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Here’s to doing it all again!

Still Alive!

So I made it to Dublin! I arrived at 5:30AM yesterday morning and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.

I think I will begin this blog journey with this disclaimer: This blog is probably going to be quite boring, random, and most definitely unorganized. So I mean hey, if you decide to stick with me, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

First impressions thus far:

Dublin has tons of international students.

I mean seriously… Where can a girl meet a nice Irishman?

The doors y’all.

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They are the coolest thing. I know it sounds lame, but they are one of the first things I noticed. Most of them are bright unique colors and each one has a personality. I think it’s charming.

Walking is going to be a bitch.

Unfortunately, I have a 30 minute walk plus a 20 minute bus ride every day to get to my college campus. Not exactly ideal.

I haven’t started classes yet or met many people outside of my program (which is all Americans) so I definitely can’t say much about how things are going to long term yet, but I’m optimistic.

Side Note: My roommate is pretty great! Not to mention how cool it is that she is from Paris!

I’m definitely still getting settled and 24 hours in don’t have too many shenanigans to share just yet. More to come!

The Excitement is Building

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Hello!

Welcome to my first official blog (Tumblr doesn’t count as I see it)!

I thought it would be a rewarding project to try my hand at avid blogging this coming semester. I will be studying at University College Dublin in Ireland from January 13th to some time mid-May. Currently, I am a political science major with a minor in Poverty Studies and Social Justice. 

 

Anyways, I will be posting at least once a week about all the shenanigans I run into abroad. Stay tuned!