Ireland Update #4: Where has the time gone?

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Hello, dear readers! I hope you are still out there. I realize I have been neglecting my responsibility of maintaining the blog, but it is also not much of a surprise to me. Let me explain.

First off, I had my excursion to the continent for my Spring Break. I stayed for five days in Amsterdam and then six days in Prague, both of which were fabulous. Amsterdam is a very advanced and aware city. Bike lanes are literally everywhere and cars, though abundant, are not used for most city travel. The dam for which the city receives its name allows for much of the city to be riverfront property. Down the street from our hostel was the Van Gogh Museum, holding much of his life’s work. We also went to the Amsterdam Zoo, which is much more liberal than American zoos. So much so that a monkey actually sat on my head for a bit inside the rainforest house! Prague was much more beautiful than I was expecting. A lot of older architecture has been saved, since the city was mainly untouched from World War II. Prague, though mostly agnostic, still maintains churches on almost every corner. These are primarily for tourists. Speaking of tourism, it is incredibly cheap to eat and drink in Prague if you stay away from the tourist traps. Seriously, a good beer (a half liter worth) was about one and a half euros, about two dollars.

 

Besides all that, I’ve been back in Tully Cross, studying my butt off. Paper deadlines are coming into view. I actually have to go study right now, but I will be trying to make more updates. They will be shorter, but more frequent. I hope that you keep reading! I have many more adventures to tell you all about, like climbing mountains, pub shenanigans, and what happens when your landlord evicts you without warning. Talk to you soon, readers. Cheers!

Ireland Update #3: Living and Learning

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Greetings, dear readers. Sorry it has been so long since the last post. Time in Ireland is such a different concept. Most days, I get lost in whatever I’m doing that, before I know it, it is time to hit the pub.

So, here is a quick catch up of what has been going on with me. Living in Tully Cross has been colder as of late, since there is something wrong with our fireplace. My good friend Donal, a local of the area, taught my cottage-mates and I to make blazing fires quickly and efficiently. However, our fires will get too hot, and the cottage will fill with smoke. The managers of the cottages don’t know if it is a problem with the chimney or the fire stove itself, but they are working on it. Until then, we have been sparingly using our furnace. Otherwise, it is hot tea during the day and whiskey for warmth at night.

There has been a huge emphasis on actual learning here, more than one might want. I actually have a midterm tomorrow that I should be studying for, but I’ll be just fine. Seriously, though, I have been learning about archaeology, anthropology, history, mythology, poetry, architecture, biology, and so much more. What makes it even more incredible is that it all focuses on Ireland specifically. Sometimes, we focus even a specific region of this already small country. It is incredible. I suppose that, in a sense, it is almost like graduate school. I am learning about a very specific subject in depth so that I can understand how its different aspects fit together.

That doesn’t mean I am not having fun. I have gotten exponentially better at pool since I have lived here. It took a few games to get used to the different rules that they have here, but it is fun just the same. My cottage-mates and I have take to playing different video games together when we would like a night it. For anyone interested, “Don’t Starve” is a sandbox survival game with a creepy Victorian-esque aesthetic. Also, a large group of us play Dungeons and Dragons together, which allows for some good bonding time. And, of course, there is the drink. None of the students are quite the extremists. Truth be told, I may be one of the worst, and good friends will tell you that I am often one of the few to stop drinking first. It is all about learning the limit between having fun with your friends and becoming a problem for your friends. Thankfully, none of the students are like that. That isn’t to say that there haven’t been nights so far that have resulted in a difficult morning. Guinness, though, usually doesn’t make for too much of a headache. It is the times when a friendly Irishman starts a round with you when you might have trouble.

As much fun as I am having, I do find myself missing some aspects of home. I miss quite a few of my friends and family, along, of course, with my loving girlfriend. If it weren’t for the new, great friendships I have been making here, I would’ve lost my mind. Long term and reliable internet access is a two-edged sword. I like not being so tied down, but it also makes what would usually be nothing more than a second thought a trip to either the pub or trying to get a signal in the studying cottage. Along that note, my laptop is dying, so I am going to have to cut this entry short.

Stay tuned, I want my next post to be a continuation of “He Kindly Stopped Me,” so please keep reading.

Until then, cheers!

Ireland Update #2: Northern Ireland

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Greetings, readers!

I have just returned to Tullycross after a week in Northern Ireland, and it was an intense time. For those of you who don’t really know much about the North, it is actually an entirely separate country and considered to be a part of the United Kingdom. When Ireland gained its independence, the majority of Ulster (the northern quarter of the island) voted to remain loyal. This has caused a large amount of controversy and struggles for the people, due mainly to ideological divides. Those loyal to the British crown, also referred to as Unionist or “Protestant”, were in constant conflict with Republicans, who are those in favor of a united Ireland and is nearly synonymous with the terms “Catholic” and Nationalist. Of course, these are blanket statements and everything is incredibly complicated. We had eight hours worth of lectures to just prepare for the trip. Do some research, because it is a part of history that is certainly worth learning about.

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Ireland Update #1

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Hello, dear readers!

I’ve been in Ireland now for a little over a week and, I have got to say, I am having a great time. After a long and sleepless flight across the Atlantic, we arrived at the Shannon Airport, a much less busy one than Dublin’s. A long bus ride awaited us to Tullycross, but we stopped for breakfast at a small shop called “Mother Hubbard’s.” After a delicious meal, the sun was up and we could all see the rolling Irish landscape as we made it to our new home.

Tullycross is a very small town with one road that forks into two. Inside the fork is Christ the King Catholic Church. The single road is the home of the line of thatched cottage we live in. Across the street is the Angler’s Rest, a pub more commonly referred to as “Sammon’s” for it’s kind owner Patrick Sammon. There is also Paddy Coyne’s Pub, owned by Jerry Coyne. Both of them are wonderful, especially after they each bought me a whiskey. Also, there is nothing like an authentic, Irish-poured Guinness. Continue reading

He Kindly Stopped Me: Part 5

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Hello, readers! I am safe and sound in Ireland. I’ve been to hiking and such and, more importantly, writing! You will get an update of adventures soon, but until then, here is part 5.

 

The dawn peered over the horizon and onto the wreckage. The twisted steel had torn and lifted pieces of concrete and tossed them about. Shattered glass was spread around. Overturned cars smoked with the occasional flame harmlessly flickering. The mass that was once the bus and the rig it crashed into transformed into a metal hill of anguish. Dozens of other cars were thrown around the main crash. The sun’s rays reached across the road, but were halted by the destruction.

There were bodies everywhere. Limbs were carelessly strewn about like trash caught in the wind. Blood mixed with gasoline, making a grotesque and reflective elixir. One puddle of this mixture had caught fire. It smelled unlike anything else on this earth. Cracked heads rolled to a standstill on the pavement. An empty child’s car seat rested in eerie peace in the median. The loss of life around the crash was substantial. Continue reading

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