Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dublin, Ireland!

(Tour of Dublin Castle)

Hello Everyone!!

I have been really busy lately!  I just finished my 7th class, and tomorrow I start my final sequence! How crazy!  I will be taking Strategic Brand Management.  Hopefully it will be a good class to finish with.  Starting on April 11th, we had our Easter Break here at KEDGE.  Early in the morning on Friday the 11th, I met my friends Mariana, Denisse, and Fiorella at the train station.  We took a train to the gorgeous town of Biarritz, France.  It is in the south of France, right on the Atlantic Ocean and very close to the border of Spain.  We then flew into Dublin, Ireland!

(Tour of the Guinness Brewery)

When we were in Dublin, it was a bit of a project getting to our hostel.  We had to take about an hour long bus ride to the city center, and then walk from there.  The first turn we were supposed to take was a right...naturally we took a left.  After a few circles and a lot of confusion, we finally found our hostel.  It ended up being really close to the bus stop, but apparently we thought it would be more fun to take a twenty minute scenic tour instead!  Our hostel was in an old convent school, which was kind of cool.  Old classrooms had been turned into sleeping rooms, and the main eating hall was the old church.  We were supposed to have a private room for the four of us, but our reservation got mixed up and we were put in an 8 person room.  They were nice and gave us a discount though.  After getting everything figured out, we left to walk around Dublin for a little bit and get a yummy supper! 

We were walking on the main street in Dublin, minding our own business, admiring all of the fun Irish pubs on that cold Friday night, when things got interesting.  Have you ever seen those ridiculous TV shows where messed up, drunk, trashy people stumble out of clubs randomly looking to pick a fight with the first person they see??  Well somehow we were the people who were picked to have a fight with.  Mariana and Denisse were walking together, and Fio and I were walking a few paces in front of them.  The street was really crowded and loud.  All of a sudden two girls came barreling down the side walk and Drunk #1 ran straight into Denisse and kept walking.  Drunk #2 was not happy about this and started screaming at Denisse to say say sorry to Drunk #1 that ran into her...and who was already 50 feet away...right.  Denisse refused and tried to keep walking.  Drunk #2 did not like this answer, and proceeded to start getting physical.  So Mariana put herself in the middle so Drunk #2 would stop pushing Denisse, then Drunk #1 came running back, so Fio and I went towards them to break it up and then Drunk #3 mysteriously appeared and started hitting.  Honestly, we still don't know where Drunk #3 even came from.  There was a lot of yelling, pushing, pulling, and hitting.  A crowd started to form around us and finally a security guard pulled the drunks off of Denisse and Mariana when one of them tried to hit Denisse in the head with a glass bottle of vodka.  Then Drunk #1,2,and 3 started to fight with the security guard and hit him and we just walked away.  I seriously don't think I have ever been more confused and embarrassed in my life! Whew, not a great first impression of Dublin!  For months before I left to come to Europe, everyone would jokingly say "Just don't go to jail, Krysta."  Right when the fight started, my very first thought was: "Oh my god, I am going to end up in jail tonight.  I am going to do the very thing everyone told me not to!"  Hahahaha, no worries, everything turned out fine!

(First professional Guinness Beer tasting)

The next day we got tickets for the Hop On - Hop Off Bus and toured the city.  We started by going to the Dublin Castle.  The foundation of a fortress was built from orders of King John of England in 1204.  A castle has been at this site ever since.  It was the seat of British rule in Ireland until the year 1922, when the Irish gained their independence.  After that we went to Saint Patrick's Cathedral and walked around the park that surrounded it.  Then we went to the Guinness Storehouse!

Guinness is a stout that originated from the brewery of Arthur Guinness in 1759.  Now, it is one of the most successful brands of beer in the world.  The Guinness Storehouse is seven stories of the beer's history.  We started by learning about the ingredients and brewery.  Then we learned about Arthur Guinness, the Guinness family, and the business for the last 250 years.  The center of the Storehouse is a 7 story atrium that is shaped like a glass.  We went to the top floor, which is the Gravity Bar.  It is a large round room made of only windows so you can drink some beer and look out over the city of Dublin.  Next we went down to the 4th floor to go to the Guinness Academy.  Here we learned how to craft the perfect pint of Guinness.  It takes just under two minutes to pour the perfect pint.  Every person gets a chance to pour from the taps.  Then you wait a little while and top it off.  After we all graduated, we got to drink our perfect pints in the bar and even got certificates!  That part was definitely a lot of fun!   Guinness was cool, but Heineken in Amsterdam is still a lot cooler! 

(East Wing of Kilmainham Jail)

Next we went to tour the Kilmainham Jail.  It was built in 1796, and was a prison until 1924.  Everything is original and left as it was a hundred years ago.  This building is a very important site in Irish history.  Many Irish rebellion leaders were imprisoned here and several were executed here as well.  We were able to see the cells of many famous Irish men, and we visited the East Wing.  In this wing, several movies including the original "The Italian Job" were filmed as well as a U2 music video and a BBC series.  This room is exactly what you picture when you think of an old jail.  After that we went out to the prison yard where executions used to take place, that was really eerie.  Visiting the jail was creepy, but definitely an interesting and (as twisted as it sounds) cool experience!

                                                               (Spire of Dublin)

Next we found the Dublin Disney Store and hung out in there for a while because, hey, who doesn't love Disney?!  We walked along O'Connell street (Dublin's main street and one of Europe's largest streets) and saw the Spire.  The Spire of Dublin is a pin like monument that stands 398 feet tall!  Also known as the Monument of Light, the Spire of Dublin stands where Nelson's Pillar once stood.  Nelson's Pillar was destroyed after being bombed in 1966 by former IRA members.  The Spire was built in 2001.  After all of our touring, we went out to eat and managed to not get into any fights!

The next day we went to Howth.  Howth is a fishing village on the Peninsula of Howth Head.  When we first arrived, we saw a seal in the harbor.  There are usually seals there and people feed them.  So we went and bought fish and came back to feed the seal.  It was so cute and excited to eat fish!

(Our little seal)

It was an incredibly windy day!  We went and walked around the market for a while, then we walked along the harbor.  The cliffs were really pretty!  We went out to a lighthouse and watched sailboat races.  There was a little restaurant that we went up to a window to order, then got our food in a basket and went to the park to eat.  We sat there for a few hours looking at the scenery, people watching, and talking with each other.  All of a sudden something was falling from the sky.  I looked at my sleeve, pants, and shoes.  I could not believe it.  A bird pooped on me again!!!! That is the second time in a month in two different countries...I think I should get some sort of prize for that! ;)

(Going to the lighthouse to look at the ocean and watch sailboats)

(The beds were really short and we kept hitting our heads!)

We got back to Dublin, went shopping, and then got something to eat.  When we went back to the hostel, we were able to move into a private room.  We hung out for the night and listened to music.  

The next day we flew back to Biarritz, France.  We had an extra hour before our train, so we went to the beach!  There were huge waves!  This place was gorgeous.  We sat watching the waves, surfers, and ate some ice cream.  Mariana wanted to go put her feet in the water.  She was walking around, letting the water only come up to her ankles.  She was out there for maybe two minutes when I decided I wanted to join her.  Just as I was about to take off my shoes, a huge wave came rolling in.  It was so sudden, Mariana didn't have time to run, she just braced herself.  The water came crashing in all the way up to her hips and completely soaked her!!  So I halted my process of taking my shoes off and we all tried really hard to not fall over from laughing as she made her way back to us!

Dublin was a great city, I am glad I was able to visit it, but it is not overly exciting.  I plan to go to Ireland again some day, but drive along the countryside and through small villages!  There are also some beautiful cliffs I want to see!

We got back to Bordeaux at night.  I had a few days to relax and work on homework and study for my final.  Then I left for Germany!! Stay tuned, that is my next blog!

Thank you all for reading!


"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."
-Helen Keller

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