Thursday, June 23, 2011

Baa Baa Irish Sheep

What's that? Sheep on rolling green hills. Cool.
Who did I pet? That's right. I pet you, fluffy black faced sheep begging to have the gate unlocked.
Today was awesome, for a multitude of reasons beyond the sheep but you'll have to wait until later to hear about them. Because I'm tired, we've been out and about since 8am and it is now 11:53pm, and I'm not in the best of humours.
Oh wait, one more thing. We went to the Abbey Theatre to see Translations, which is why we were out so late, and here is a picture of the theatre as we were leaving. At 10pm.
That, to the left, is definitely a picture outside at 10pm. No flash needed. Just so you have a visual of why we're all thrown off when guessing what time it is.
Later you'll get a great detailed post about today, inclulding the trip to Newgrange, Slane, Tara Hill, and Translations. But I'm off for now. Laundry time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My blog won't let me edit posts

I don't know why, but I am not able to edit any posts. Which is a shame, because the way it posted the pictures is nothing like the way the preview showed them. It is not only a shame, it is immensely annoying.
So here's the actual key:
For the Joyce Tour pictures
Left is the the boarding house from "The Boarding House", Right is the Gresham hotel from "The Dead" and below that sort of centered is the theater from "A Painful Case."
For the Jail Pictures
Top left: Down a cell block, Top Right is the area I don't know the name of but was used for the Italian Job, and the centered one below these is the inside of a cell.
Bottom left: exercise yard, top right: the area James Connolly was executed bound and blindfolded to a chair (because he was too weak to support himself) by firing squad, and centered below these is the area where the rest of the 1916 Rebellion leaders were executed.

Let's Fight Our Way into the Jail

First off, a bit of a forewarning I suppose. This will be a long post, for three reasons. Mostly because I have three days to cover now, and I'm also going to ruminate about the (near) future a bit. I might also have a small section of complaining at the end, it depends on how I feel when I get there.
So it is now 10:30pm on Wednesday the 22, which is funny because I spent all yesterday thinking it was Wednesday so now I've had two Wednesdays in a row. I suppose I'll cover the days in order, but with a Tuesday and not two Wednesdays.
Monday: After class we picked one of four museums to go to for a presentation the next day. My group decided on the National Library of Ireland, and our presentation covered the Yeats exhibit that was being held there. However, before productivity could commence we, and another group, needed lunch. We stopped at a small shop, that I honestly can't remember the name of but believe it to actually be the name of the food--Cornish Pastys. In the name of Widening My Horizons I tried it. I was even assured, a day ago, that the experience would be utterly life-changing. Wasn't much of a fan of it really, but I'll consent that it is good street food and everyone else seemed to absolutely love them.The exhibit was interesting, though I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had been able to sit in the artfully-multi-screened-projection room and listened to more readings of his poetry. After we finished finding everything we needed for our presentation, we headed off to explore the rest of the library.
The National Library was, as you can see, a very beautiful place. It's filled with classic architecture, ornate decorations, the other rooms have stained glass windows depicting the greats of literature and philosophical thought, and winding marble staircases. What is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the building, though, is that it is legitimately a library. That may sound stupid, since it's name is "National Library" but when you walk into the building you wouldn't exactly expect people would really come in to study and work. But they do, and I honestly can't see how they can manage to be productive (since there are tourists walking through and taking photographs). As you would expect, there were rather a lot of books. Lots and lots of lovely books, books that make me want a large library in a house of my own one day. After finishing with the library the day was filled with wandering and shopping. I came across some promising ideas for souvenirs, but didn't bother to buy anything.
Tuesday: We had a James Joyce: Dubliners tour, in which we were lead about and shown streets and buildings that were in the novel Dubliners. It was overall an enjoyable tour, but I believe it would have been more interesting if we hadn't actually read the Dubliners
before the tour. Since we had, a lot of it felt like a dull reiteration of what we already knew.
The picture above left is of the boarding house from the Dubliners story "The Boarding House", in the center is the theater from "A Painful Case" and to the right is the Gresham hotel from the story "The Dead." I suppose I could give a synopsis or blurb about the importance of the above pictures, but I won't. Because you can just read the stories if the feeling strikes you. (Or ask I suppose.)
After that, I and three others went to the Houses of the Oireachtas, to tour the Seanad and the Dail (in other words, we toured the Irish Parliament). Our tour guide was Seanadoir Marcus O'Dalaigh, who was a wonderfully exuberant Irish Senator. The building is beautiful, and it's interesting because it was originally the home of the Leinster family (it was their small Dublin estate). We sat in on both the Dail and the Seanad while they were in session and while were were sitting in on the Dail session we were there for the highlight of the day, apparently. It was during the "Leaders Question" period, but unfortunatley I don't remember exactly what it was about. I do remember the subject was about what to do with all the bank bonds that the government insured now that the banks are basically bankrupt. I just don't remember the actual exchange. Our tour ended with Senator O'Dalaigh telling us to spend more money than we should, and to max out visas, to do our part and help out the economy.
Wednesday, today, was a very tour filled day. First, in class, we were told that due to issues with the Internation Center our tour of Kilmainham Jail was cancelled. But after some research and much discussion it was decided we'd just show up at 2pm and try to fight our way into the jail, for a tour of course. And it worked out well.
Kilmainham is famous for being the prison where the leades of the 1916 Rebellion were held and executed, and at the time of construction and operation was one of the best facilities...and the only reformation prison. I took a lot of pictures, here are some:
In my box where I am typing this entry, the six pictures are in two lines of three. However, the preview shows them being arranged...not quite right. So I'll try to tell what they are below, hopefully it makes sense.
Top row: Left=looking down a cell block, Center=The inside of a cell, Right=An area that I forget the name of, but was apparently used in the movie The Italian Job.
Below top row: Oddly centered on=the exercise yard, Bottom left=the area the leaders of the 1916 Rebellion were executed (by firing squad) in, and Bottom Right=the area James Connolly was executed (also by firing squad but due to his weakened state he was bound to a chair and blindfolded). There executions, especially Connolly's, was a rallying factor after the Rebellion and later post-Treaty. Heavy stuff, right? How can you follow that?
By taking a tour of the Guinness storehouse apparently. The tour was cool, though I think I still smell faintly of yeat-y fermenting barley. I also got a sample of Guinness on our tour, and I still don't like it. So at the top of the pint shaped section of the building (no joke) I did not take the free pint and instead had a Coca Cola.
The view from the top was also amazing; A scenic view of Dublin city from six stories up with the mountains, bay, and fields in the background. I have pictures, but they turned out a bit odd due to glaring and reflections on the glass.
Don't worry though, despite all this fun and touring I'm still getting my education in.
See? My education. My large education.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Breaking Some Records

First note of business: Happy Father's Day, Daddy!
It is now 6:44pm, I've had a full day, have one and half homework assignments complete and one and a half left to go. So I decided to take a break and update my blog. Honestly, I wasn't initially planning on posting today, but for a reason you'll read later I decided to do so.
Today started with the 1916 Rebellion Tour, which is a walking tour that details places of importance during the 1916 Rebellion. We walked through Dublin, stopping before statues of famous/influential people and sites important to the Rebellion. To the right you'll see a statue of O'Connell, which is high on a pedestal with other statues beneath him. If you look closely, you should be able to see bullet holes in his hand and cape. (Unless the picture ends up too small. In which case take my word for it, he has many bullet holes.)
Here you can see where Nelson's Pillar (a great, hulking monument to British power over/in Ireland) used to be. It was blown up in 1966 and replaced with the Spire of Dublin in 2003 (though apparently the actual name is Monument of Light). I want to share this with you, basically for the nicknames the statue has. Here we go:
The Binge Syringe
The Nail in the Pale
The Stiletto in the Ghetto
The Rod to God
The Erection in the Intersection
The Stiffy at the Liffey
Ha ha.
We then went to the Dublin Castle where the tour guide pointed out some very intersting things about the statue of justice. I forget the name of the man that made the statue, but he made it as a statement of the justice the Irish could expect from England. Instead of having a blindfold (like our statue of Justice) she does not, so any justice served would not be blind to race, religion, etc. She is also holding the scales away from her with just her thumb and pointer finger, like one would do with a dirty diaper or something equally as unpleasant. Her sword is also drawn and pointing up, rather than being sheathed or pointing down, which suggests that violent is not a last resort. Finally she has "her face to the castle and arse to the city" which effectively says that Ireland can expect no justice.
Went to Ryan's Pub for lunch, a Victorian pub from about 140 years ago, with Bethany and Dina. It was kind of out of the way so no one else went with us, but so very worth it. It's an absolutely beautiful pub with great food. We sat in the small side room, that has a small window that opens and closes at the bar, where women were previously confined to sitting.
Mmmm. Lamb stew.
After this we hopped the bus to go back into the city center, and took a walk through the scenic Merrion Square. It's a decent sized park in the city, with a playground for children. We went here to look for the Oscar Wilde statue, which we found but I won't post a picture of since this is already a picture heavy post. His statue has two nicknames that I know of: The Fag on the Crack and the Queer with a Sneer. Oh, the nicknames!
Now for something completely random, even more random than my unintentional trip to Dun Laoghaire......
Wait...what? What's that I'm doing? Why, I'm dressed up like Waldo from Where's Waldo! Only, here it's Wally. "But why?" you ask? Because Dublin is attempting to break the world record for the most Wallys in one area during a designated time frame. If the record does get broken, then I get to know that I helped Dublin with breaking a Guinness Book of World Records record! (And now I have a halloween costume for next year if I need it.) The Wallys were all around Merrion Square and the surrounding street on each side, and the streets were basically a mini-carnival. Games, prizes, huge slides, food, rides, music and much more.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Adventures in Publin

...or Adventures in Dublin as the case may be. It's just funny, someone accidentally said "Publin" and it's kind of stuck. More on that later though.
So today, Saturday the 18 of June, at 11:56pm is when I am sitting down to write this. Today has been a very good day. I woke up at 6am and the view from my window is spectacular.
To the left you can see part of what I see when I wake up, with hedges further on the left and more fields on the right.
Except, when I woke up these very large birds were all being very loud. So while in the kitchen getting yogurt I looked out the window and saw a red fox trotting through the field in my picture. (Unfortunately my camera was in my bedroom so I did not get a picture of the fox.) And the fox was at least two times as big as any red fox I've seen in Missouri, it honestly looked at large as a coyote. After that I sat by the window and read/wrote assignments.
Then it was time for class, and I was able to expound upon how duty seems to lead to a type of paralysis in each of the stories in Joyce's Dubliners. It felt nice to have a theory the teacher happily asks you to tell more about. Especially when you don't like the other book being read, so have nothing to say about it. After class we had free time, and Dina and I decided we'd head down to Trinity College in Dublin City before the other people. Has anyone else had a day where you go "Awesome! I've figured out the bus schedule. We just need to hop on the 46A and get off at this, this or this stop"? I had that day. But didn't realize that we had gotten on the 46A headed towards the other end of the route. You know, the end away from Dublin city. However, this mistake was a wonderful mistake to make. First, I got to ride on a double decker bus. The second reason? Is where we ended up.
I feel I must tell the story, and not just the name of the town we stopped off in. So we were on the bus, and I mentioned that I really wanted to got to a city on the bay to eat fish and chips along the pier. We both agreed it sounded fun, and stopped at a stop where we could see the bay, and where a lot of people got off at. There we landed in Dun Laoghaire.
Now, try to tell me that getting off here was a mistake. You can't, can you? I definitely couldn't. It was so beautiful and walking along the bay was just wonderful. I also got a cheap leather belt, and some black leather boots (flat, not with heels) because of the rain. There were many different bands on the street corners, including a Peruvian Flute Band, and so much to see. However, after two and half hours here we decided we should head back to the bus stop. Which is where the next 46A bus driver asked us why we were waiting at the very last stop on the route. We didn't have an answer, really. He did helpfully tell us which street to go to for the correct bus stop, and the side of the street to get on the bus on (which is what threw us off in the beginning). Then I got to take another fun double decker bus ride! We did make it into Dublin as well, getting off the bus at St. Stephens Green and making our way to Grafton Street.
Grafton Street is the street to the right, and since
we...adventured a bit before getting to Dublin, Dina and I walked along the street and the side streets for a bit to explore. Much of our time was spent trying to decide where to eat at, and there were a lot of choices. It was a very important decision, since it was then 6pm and we had not eaten since 9am. Finally we decided upon a place, where I ordered.....
Fish and chips! Unfortunately, I didn't like the fish. That one bite missing? Yeah, that's about all I ate from that...and I didn't actually ingest it.
After a hearty meal was time to meet up with the group on Duke Street. Why is the class meeting up at 7:30pm on a Saturday night you ask? Well, for the literary pub crawl of course! (We are Irish Literature classes after all.)
And there it is, where we started our pub crawl quiz! We went from here to three other pubs, stopping under the bell tower in Trinity College and outside the tourist information center (that used to be a church).
Along the way we learned some very interesting facts about Irish authors and Irish literature, only a few of which I could tell you right now. One is that Oscar Wilde, after leaving Trinity, boxed in college.
Here are some other things I did learn today:
1)Getting on the wrong bus, or the right bus going the wrong way, can be an amazing detour. Just go with it, it might just be worth it. (At least here. I wouldn't advise that everywhere.)
2) Bulmers Cider is basically the Irish equivalent of jungle juice (in face, they call it that).I did not know this at the start of the literary pub crawl.
3) A shot of Jameson whiskey will burn, no matter how smoothly someone guarantees you it will go down.
4) The Irish are incredibly nice people. Even when lost because you passed your bus stop. At 11:30pm.
5)Everyone says you should go to the oldest pub in Ireland, but no one can really agree on where that is.
6) During the summer months (as in, right now) the sun literally does not go down until 10:30ish pm. It's entirely disorientating. The sun rises at 4:56am though.
Now here's a question for whoever reads my blog, because I want comments. When is it said that the bell tower at Trinity College will ring? (Guess if you don't know. It's fun, I promise.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dublin, June 17

It is now 7:36am June 18, and I woke up at 6am...which is funny because I always initially wake up at 6am. I've also decided to basically update this whenever I sit down to write in my personal travel journal (as long as I get a conferter that actually allows me to plug this in to charge, if not then you're all out of luck). So expect posts to have at most three days between them. I'll probably post twice today, one for the 17 and one for the 18.
So we arrived in Dublin, completely exhausted and took a bus to University College Dublin. On the way there I remember being thrown off by the placement of the driver in cars as well as the side of the road we were on. Also that Dublin city basically ended up being an interesting and cute blur.
Walked through the lovely campus to get to the dorm we are staying at, where we all showered and relaxed for a bit. I also partook in an exploratory walk, despite the rain.
(A path through the campus we're staying at.)
Then we all trekked up a long and winding hill to get to The Goat, a sporting pubs, for dinner where we all celebrated our arrival. I wasn't much a fan...but it didn't go to waste. Dinner was fabulous though.
After sitting through dinner and engaging in conversation while partially zoned out, a group of us headed back to our rooms. Along the way we say the Irish Bay, from the crest of the hill.
Then it was time for another shower, and about 11 hours of sleep.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Post the First

With my upcoming trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland (and by upcoming I mean I leave today) I was encouraged to make a blog, and then to post updates, pictures, et cetera. No, let me correct that. I was informed that I will be creating a blog and that I will post informative, but interesting and fun, updates. By several people actually. And so we have this.
For the fist time since the requisite angsty, middle-school live-journal account I have a blog, so we'll just see how this goes. I'll post updates and pictures, though I don't know how often I'll do that. I will be working on classwork after all. However, feel free to comment or request pictures if you're feeling particularly interested. Like, for example, "I'd really like to see some Irish sheep on a green hillside!" and I'll do my best to oblige. (Mostly because I want to see sheep. And considering there are roughly 8 million sheep to the 4.5 million people I have high hopes.) Just don't expect many pictures of me to arise. After all, you all know me. You've seen me enough...but you haven't seen enough Irish sheep.
That's about it for now. I just wanted to put up an introductory post so that my blog wouldn't look so drearily empty.