My first week in Ireland has certainly kept me on my toes as I continue to get the feel for this lively country! From exploring the streets of Dublin, to finding special excursions, to to finding the best local pubs, I have had some quite interesting experiences already.
After sitting on a plane for six and a half hours from Newark to Dublin, which was not as bad as I thought it would be, I finally arrived at my destination. The plane was not crowded in the slightest and I had plenty of room to stretch out, especially considering that the seat beside me was not taken (I was very thankful for more room to spread out after about the fourth hour of the trip). We touched down about 7:00 am, and from there I was able to hop on the Aircoach bus which took me to the lovely University College Dublin. I was able to pre-book my ticket for about 9 Euros which took a lot of stress out of trying to figure out initial transportation.
My first experience with the bus proved to be easy enough, so I assumed that the rest of the bus system would be a piece of cake. However, I quickly learned that my Aircoach experience had given me some false confidence becuase I found the regular Dublin buses to be a bit more difficult to figure out! Not to mention it is already quite an adjustment trying to figure out Dublin transportation since they drive on the opposite side of the road from the United States.
The campus at UCD is beautiful too – there is green everywhere, and the weather has been sunny and around 50 degrees for the past week. It almost reminds me of springtime back home.
Aside from being on UCD’s campus, I have also had the chance to venture into the Dublin City Centre. The streets are beautifully illuminated at night and walking down the cobblestone streets with the towering buildings overhead makes you feel as if you are in a movie. In the middle of a bustling city, you can escape the noise if you make your way into St. Stephens Green, a park commemorated to the historical Irish event called the Easter Rising. Keep walking north and you will run into St. Patricks Cathedral. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to hear the chiming church bells from farther away. From there, turn east and you will soon find the Dublin Castle which has a rich history dating all the way back to the days of the vikings. Next up on my list of things to do: visit the Guiness Brewery!
This past weekend, I also had the opportunity to take a day trip to Dunguaire Castle, the “Baby Cliffs of Moher,” the Cliffs of Moher, a Celtic Ringfort, and an ancient burial site. Stay tuned for my next post for stories about that trip! As for today, I officially begin my classes at UCD. Wish me luck!