Who goes to Ireland and hangs out in the burbs of Dublin for 5 days? This girl.
But honestly, why would I want to leave? I have been to the city twice, and am just as happy sitting in a sunspot in the kitchen with Shirley, Dermot and Mark.
Actually, right now I am going to do a bit of work on Mr. Rochester. Took all my notes with me and have a lot to go on even without the heavy books I left behind.
“I think I’ll have some toast”- Dermot
“Do it!” -Me
“Uh- some people say ‘go for it’”
He is so funny. I still don’t get him completely as he is so deadpan, but he cracks me up!
Shirley and Dermot took Mark and I to the Blue Light pub in the Dulbin mountains. Johnny Knox is supposed to be the “highest pub in Dublin,” but it is a tourist trap. The Blue Light is just as high in the mountains and has a better view of Dublin city, the sea, the mountains, the islands, etc. AND it is a REAL Irish pub. Best kept secret of Dublin and best traditional Irish pub. Had my usual three pints of Guinness with the family and then headed back (Dermot only drank one as he was driving).
Got home, Shirley planted a huge glass of her potent homemade wine in front of me, which Mark said will “knock you out.” It basically did. Followed Mark upstairs where he played Hey Soul Sister and tons of other good songs on the guitar and sang to me. (At least this is what I assumed in my drink addled narcissistic brain. :P) He was actually REALLY REALLY good!! Probably be singing professionally one day. His brother is already signed in a band, The Looks.
Had lasagna for dinner, which I ADORED and wanted seconds, like I always want every meal OF MY LIFE, but was too shy to ask, like i had been the whole time I was there. :P
After dinner we picked up Mark’s friend Junior, who was a 7 foot tall handsome Irishman, and went to have drinks at the scholar. Had a rum and coke and one more Guinness. :) Met Shirley there as well and she introduced me to a bunch of people and made a whole crowd guess where I was from in the states.
After, Mark and I walked home, stopping at Spar to get some snacks. Watched some documentaries, petted and got scratched up by the lovely cats, loved the dogs and then went to bed.
Have looked all over for a nice fooking irish pub with wifi and a nook and lots of people but not too many. Is that too much to ask?
Finally thought I found something, O’neils, which they had mentioned on the tour, but it is like a cafeteria style tourist hotspot. 10 euros a meal for cafeteria food— no thank you. But actually— I’m about to buy it, because I am so bloody hungry. I think I am losing weight on this trip already. It is so hard to feed yourself for cheap on the run! So you just stop feeding yourself. If I buy things in big quantities, they go to waste and end up staying at the hostel along with all my maps and rocks I’ve dutifully collected, but if I get the small portion things for on the go, they cost so much more. It is cheaper to buy bulk food and waste half of it. Isn’t that sad?
Anway. At the pub. Debating beer or food. I really wanted to try an Irish coffee while I was over here, but the only Irish coffees I have seen are in Temple bar, in cafés owned by Asian people, so it is obviously not traditional Irish drinks. But I guess it’s just a myth that the Irish put whiskey in their coffee— well, if they do, they don’t buy it like that!
Today I went frequented a bunch of book shops, and had a great time doing it. Sat and read Zelda Fitzgerald’s book for like a whole hour! Wanted it so bad, but refrained from buying it as I have to travel SO LIGHT and I have NO MONEY.
But I finally learned how to enjoy a bookshop without buying anything. Just getting to know all the books was really cool.
Didn’t go into town after bowling. Decided to save my four euros and just hang out in the burbs. Watched Scrubs with Mark and had some coffee and sat around a lot and then decided had to get out. “Don’t go right because that’s where the gypsies live.” Took a left and walking up mountain nearly getting hit by cars flying by on the narrow curving mountain road every 15 seconds.
Traveling is a bit sad when you realize people are the same everywhere (whooshing by and almost hitting you) the scenery is the same (Ireland just like Scotland) and there is trash all over (it was a really rainy gloomy day and I was hitting a low and having one of those, “I have no fucking idea what I am doing with my life” days).
Sun’s out now—
Went up the path to St. Orlagh’s monastery. Realized only AFTER I came back down that it said private. That would probably explain the ridiculously eerie feeling I had the whole time that someone was watching me. Actually I felt like MULTIPLE people were watching me. Went along a nice cobblestone wall though. But then came to a foresty part. There was a trail off to the side, tiny and tight that said “THE WAY” in creepily clear letters. Like this is the only way and the last way you will ever go in your life. Well, at least this is what my neurotic writer’s mind took from it immediately. I walked swiftly past “THE WAY.” Came onto an opening with St. Orlach’s, a big southern style plantation mansion, looming on top of the hill. (I always want to write COUNT Orlagh…) Took one look at it, and deemed it irrecoverably creepy. The most creepy thing I have ever seen in my entire life. Kept up in a sort of immortal way, it looked untouched, yet not rundown at all. Like everyone had up and left FOREVER right before I had got there. Felt myself being PULLED toward the creepy as fuck thing, but then felt a boundary. I literally COULDN’T go any further. My storytelling mind and my rational mind had soundly agreed on that finally. It wasn’t just in my mind anymore, it WAS friggin’ creepy. Turned around and basically FLED down the path, passing “THE WAY” one more time. I actually leaned my foot in that direction, was about to step onto the path to see where it led, when I was literally PUSHED away from it and I ran back down the trail to the main road.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the many reasons why I am an atheist. Religious places are ridiculously horrifying.
So happy I had survived that uncharacteristic solitary adventure that I was happy to get back to the home and just watch TV with the family the rest of the night. SO happy. Will not be doing anything like that again ANY time soon. Probably ever.
Oh! The prelude to my terrifying journey was probably what set the horribly creepy mood. Started walking up the base of the mountain, and saw a little monument. Walked through the trees toward it, getting closer, and then, peering out of it from behind the caged off area— a FACE! Fucking absolutely terrifying. After the initial shock I realized that it was, in fact, just a lifesize figurine of the person to whom the monument was for. But it was still horrifying. Maybe the eyes I kept feeling on my back the whole time were the eyes of that creepy ass statue I met at the very beginning! There were tributes all over, religious statues and perfume bottles and toys and god knows what else. Brr… quickly walked away from that one too.
OH! Then when walking up the mountain, all these graves by the side of the road with old religious statues falling apart and cracking. Unsettling. Big graveyard on the hill. Then tons of hobo/teenage rebel camps.
I’m exaggerating a bit, of course, I am a storyteller as well. But really, it was not the picturesque mountain walk I was expecting.
A flit behind the bushes.
Only sound—birds, which, in my opinion, sounded a little too cheery to be real. They were like from the movie Snow White.
Heavy mist. Wet rain.
“Fucking eerie as hell”
The non-creepy part of my hike:
So many old stumps
OUr tour guide was Australian. Both his parents were originally from Dublin, so he was returning to his roots. He had just proposed to his girlfriend the night before on the same bridge his Da had proposed to his Mum. :)
His name was Kiel and he took us all over Dublin castle to start off with (four different architectures from four different time periods. The modern “lego-land-ish” look was really cool, I thought. Never seen anything like it.
We went past the Dublin steps from the movie P.S. I Love You. Down this way saw the house that Jonathan Swift was born in!
We saw Trinity College with the book of Kells.
Went to Temple Bar and loads of other places.
Tons of free museums and libraries, which I am going to go do today.
Met 4 really cool people that day, the lady on the bus, two siblings from my tour group, and then the bus driver on the way home. Not to mention the 3 people I am staying with.
When we started the tour, this guy came up and started talking to me, his name was Ricardo and he was a lawyer in El Salvador visiting his sister, who was doing communications in Nice, France- they were going on a Eurotrip together. He introduced me to his sister, Lily, and she was really nice.
Whenever I meet new people and I like them, it is only natural for me to COMPLETELY AVOID THEM. Whenever I want people to like me, it is better if I don’t make contact with them AT ALL because I don’t want to ruin it. I am getting better about it, but I used to be SO BAD about it!! When I am alone, sometimes this still comes out. Anyway, I kept trying to ditch them, but they kept popping up. Halfway through we had a tea break, and I ran off to some cafe to use the bathroom and lose them. When I came out, who is sitting right there at a table? “We were just saying, ‘Where did Annie go?’”
Ha. So after that I finally broke and we were great friends. Ricardo bought me a cappuccino and everything! So nice.
Last night at the scholar; the pub.
Have to finish college and then do an apprenticeship for FIVE YEARS before can serve alcohol in an Irish pub. They take their pubs seriously. And it shows. They are all really nice. But the prices KILL. Supposedly a cheap place, it was 4 euros a pint. Ouch. But you only live once. And you have to spend your money somewhere! :P
Mark was telling me about how he spent 7 months in Australia with his relatives.
Warning, Ma and Pa: I might or might not be inviting a whole army of world travelers to stay in your basement periodically for the rest of our lives… :P
Ireland- have always brought kids to pubs. Just recently started doing that in England. English pubs so much more uptight
Irish, Welsh and Scottish get on great, because they have that mutual lack of interest in the English. Haha.
Dart- a train along the ocean
Kip- a pub with dirty glasses, etc.
throwing all the slang words at me last night. :P
burren- where old trees have gone back into the ground, now is great for making fires out of. In pubs usually. :) Pubs built around them.
Shirley telling me about all the international students they have had, while we were eating pizza after the pub. Apparently, the worst were the French (besides Eva :)) and the Koreans. :P
Also, Italian boys expect everything at the snap of their finger. I have heard this from MULTIPLE sources and am beginning to believe it..
Culture here centered around your local pub. It’s a community. No one uses banks here, they cash their checks at the pub, get cash back at the pub (I did that last night), they call your taxi home, know your children’s names and yours job, everyone meets around 5 pm weekdays after work to relax and it’s totally common to bring a book and just relax by yourself with a pint at the bar. If anything in your house is broken, if you need an electrician, you go to the pub to get your mate the electrician, who is also at the pub, to fix it. Or else if you don’t know anyone, your barman does. Also, there is a word for people who are not locals who pretend that they are, but I have forgotten it…
Today went to Mark and Shirley’s bowling tournament. Did you know that bowling alleys are one of the ONLY places in Ireland you can’t have a drink?? :P
Watching serious old men walking stone faced back to their mates to give the mandatory fist bump. Haha. Too serious.
Mark comes back after getting a strike; expressionless and solemnly high fives Shirley and the other players. Then he looks up at me and rolls his eyes. :P
Michael Flannery STRIKKE
Ronan gets a spare
Michael Mulcahly lets out a little smile after he bowls a nice turn.
There is a guy walking around getting money like at a baseball game.
“And how is Young Graham?” (Graham is 28.. :P)
Being an observer for a month. How can life get any better? :P
“Mark, your woman here had 3 pints last night. And she didn’t drink her Guinness like a foreigner, either.” :P
Apparently foreigners drink Guinness far too slow and so when they are only halfway done their foam has settled and the drink has become flat.
Angels with bowling balls on the ceiling.
Storytellers. Irish really are amazing storytellers. They turn every conversational blurb into an adventure story. Brilliant, really. But that’s why you also need to forget about your watch here. Ha.
Going to hopefully go to a indie pub up in the mountains tonight, were Bono plays. A bunch of musicians just show up and play off each other. Really good, exactly what I would love to see! :) Shirley says it is the “best kept secret of Dublin.” :) She says they only take the exchange students they like, so hopefully she takes me… haha.
This is totally worth it. Getting to live the life with an Irish family for 5 days and relax. I’m not going to take a 6 hour train to Cork just to see a town. I got to go bowling with an Irish family this morning! :P
Last night I had 3 pint of Guinness an a whole pizza. “Yeah… that’d be me…” :P
AH! The whole WORLD puts sweet corn on their pizza outside of America. It’s almost ALWAYS on pizza. It is the best thing ever, definitely need to bring that back to America. Pizza with sausage, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers (which I like now!) tomatoes, cheese and olives. YUM.
HA. Mark is playing saxophone right now and all three dogs are WHINNNNNNING and SCREAMMMMMMMING. It is unreal. SO FUNNY. They had warned me about this, and it is so true…
Skinny old man with tall white tufts of hair sticking up each side of his head LAUNCHES ball into air; sends it FLYING down the lane every time.
On a MISSION coming back from tossing that ball.
OH! Irn Brw in Scotland. Forgot to write about it. So popular. Basically sugar and colr #10 red and yellow. :P The sweetest drink YOU WILL EVER TASTE
Olly Murs, “I’ve tried everything”
“I don’t think Patty Gibbons is having a good night…” :P
Everyone with their phones. 95% of Irish people own mobiles. The highest population in the WORLD! They do like their communication though.
Going to go take a walk up the mountain after finish typing. :)