January 21, 2017
Well friends: I took on Dublin this week and, surprise, surprise…Ireland has successfully stolen another piece of my heart.
Keeping the promise I made to myself (from my pre-departure pep talk) to take adventures as they come and remain open minded and spontaneous, I decided to go on a whim. A service-learning class that I am taking here at NUI-Galway, which is specifically designed for international students from the U.S and pairs 3 hours of class time with an hour of volunteering at the local primary school’s afterschool homework club, gave me this opportunity (a class that I would highly recommend by the way). Despite the fact that there are about 25 of us in the class all together, of course the first person I interact with is a girl who also happens to go to school at Madison…what are the odds? Although I had never met Emma before our first service learning class, we instantly connected and I could tell right away that we were going to be good friends (I guess it takes traveling across the world to meet and form relationships with people who literally live 5 minutes away from you). We got to talking and Emma mentioned that her and her roommates were taking a trip to Dublin this weekend and I was welcome to tag along. Despite the fact that I had met her only 10 minutes earlier, I had to jump at the chance. Not only was Dublin obviously on my list of places to visit while in Ireland but, as I talked about in my last post, this was also a great chance to make some more of those ever-important connections. And boy oh boy, am I glad I did.
I can sum the jam-packed 2 days we spent in Dublin up into one phrase: Good fun, good food and good company. To be honest, I was expecting Dublin to be a tad overrated based on what a lot of people had told me. But it is FAR from it. While it isn’t necessarily the cultural capitol of Europe like Galway, Dublin is a whole new ballgame: the perfect mix of big city excitement and Old Irish Charm. I could have spent a whole lot more than 2 days just roaming around and taking it all in, but instead we packed just about every activity we could into a short 48 hours. I’m glad we did, because that just means that I’ll have to return in order to continue my unfinished exploring 🙂
After missing the (very early) 6:45 am bus from Galway to Dublin that the rest of our group was on, Emma and I ended up taking the next bus about a half hour later by ourselves. This actually ended up working great, considering we literally talked the entire 2.5 hours and found out we have a weird amount in common…it was bonding time at its finest. We were still in Dublin by around 10:30, which was plenty early, and met up with everyone at the hostel where I was finally introduced to the rest of the girls. After introductions and devising a rough plan of attack, we were off to take on Dublin.
Day one included the Guinness Storehouse (our first stop, obviously) and the beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral, with a bit of wandering and some great food at the oldest pub in Ireland thrown in there. Once we had explored to our hearts content, we decided to grab an early dinner (while listening to some awesome live music) in the infamous Temple Bar district before heading back to our hostel to recoup before taking on the Dublin nightlife. Despite the fact that we were out pretty late (it’s really hard to tear yourself away from the live music and laid back, friendly atmosphere), that didn’t stop us from getting up bright and early the next morning. We were at our next stop, Trinity College, by 9:45 am (I must say, I was quite proud of us). Trinity College was followed by more great food and more wandering, before my last destination: Dublin Castle. And before I could blink I was on the 4:15 bus ride back to Galway, reflecting on the whirlwind past 2 days. I would love to go into detail about each place we visited, because they all deserve a fabulous review…but I will spare you all the long list of things I loved about each and if you so desire you can ask me personally. All in all, the trip was beyond successful. Not only did I love the city and everything it had to offer, but I also spent 2 days with complete strangers and still had a blast, a few of them I will surly remain good friends with and more than likely adventure with again soon. I’m tellin ya people, this dream that I am living just keeps getting better.
Where in the world is Morgan off to next? Belgium! My next adventure takes place this weekend, as I spend Thursday-Sunday in the beautiful Belgium! So, STAY TUNED FOLKS.