UPDATE: New photos from Kilkenny Castle!
Hey lads. Sorry for the delay – I try not to delude myself into thinking that lots of people are sitting around waiting for another post, but I know my family at least likes to know I’m still alive. It’s become increasingly hard not to feel like I’m living for the weekend, in writing more than in reality – I enjoy the little moments of dinners with my flatmates and reading folktales and practicing Irish and meeting up with friends on campus, but they’re not great blog material. I promise I don’t just sit around and vegetate Monday through Friday!
That said, here’s last weekend! Went to County Kerry with the UCD Mountaineering Club, hiked in the Gap of Dunloe and met some great horses (and people). Cue EPIC PHOTO SEQUENCE…!!!!
We left Dublin at 7pm Friday, and our first stop was naturally at the Barack Obama Plaza in Moneygall.
It’s literally a service plaza with a Barack Obama museum in it.
You could even get a commemorative Irish Obama coin.
Apparently the story is that Barack’s great-great-grandfather or somebody was from Moneygall and the prez came to visit one time so it’s a big deal. Anyway, they had real nice bathrooms, so five stars, would recommend, would visit again (and indeed we did, on the way back).
Round about midnight (12:30?) we arrived at a little restaurant/pub/gift shop called Kate Kearney’s Cottage in the Gap of Dunloe, and were told that our coach bus couldn’t make it any farther up the road, although our hostel was still 9 km away. After our fearless leaders decided that walking 9 km in the dark and fog and cold was a bad idea, we all piled inside and sat next to this authentic peat fire
and also this candle
while two cars shuttled people to the hostel. I spent a couple hours making friends with some other international girls, and we finally got to the hostel at 2:30 after a truly exhilarating 9-km ride down a hilly, windy, bouldery one-lane road in the fog with a driver named James who assured us that even though it had only been 10 minutes since his last drink, it’s okay because it was just whiskey. Happy to be alive and in the same building as all the food I packed, I managed to stake a claim on a bed (a real feat in a 35-bed hostel booked for nearly 70 people), eat an ungodly amount of pasta, and stay awake until 4:30 playing silly games and going for nighttime strolls. Awakened at 9am by a bugle three feet from my head, I was initiated into the Breakfast Society of Weetabix (they’re so weird but so delicious) and then the hiking group set off for another day of things like this foggy morning:
And this decent view of Killarney:
And this old house:
And sitting on a squishy hill with new friends!
Here’s a map if you’re interested. We climbed Purple Mountain and the other one whose name I can’t read on this map, and I think we were in MacGillycuddy’s Reeks for a bit too, just for the name. Also I caught a frog but it jumped out of my hand right before we were going to photograph it. It was red and had gold eyes and was stickier than American frogs. We were buddies. It was a great three minutes of friendship. Really.
The next day we walked the 9 km up the road out of the valley, which looked like this:
And finally we reached Kate Kearney’s for soup (I’ll let you in on a secret – the soup of the day in Ireland is always “vegetable,” meaning “a creamy yellow puree of tasty goodness”) and Baileys hot chocolate. My new buddy Aoife and I were offered a lift from two guys on motorcycles, which we reflexively declined and then immediately regretted, because it would have been so cool to come roaring up to Kate Kearney’s on motorcycles. But there was some satisfaction in reaching the place under our own power and filling ourselves with hot liquids anyway.
Then, I actually did a thing or two this week! Besides going to the climbing gym three days in a row, failing my belay test, and looking at pollen through a microscope, I also had dinner with the other Cru Abroad girls at a staff member’s house, and saw this rather menacing chapel on the way:
And I ate this terrible candy
And one day the sky on campus looked like this
And on Friday I went to the Science Gallery at Trinity College with a friend. The most (or least) photogenic part of their exhibit called “SECRET” was this jacket that refracts camera flashes away from you:
So everything except the jacket is just black. Kind of creepy, but so cool – if I ever become famous I want one of these. There was a scarf that did the same thing too.
Which was full and then CLOSED FOR LUNCH so I couldn’t climb it. So bummed. But the cathedral was pretty nice inside too.
Google Photos made me this nice artsy thing.
We also saw the Black Abbey, a 12th century building:
And here’s a tiny model of Kilkenny in case you were curious.
We also went to Kilkenny Castle, which you’re not allowed to take photos inside of, but I let a new friend with a real camera do the outdoor pics.
That’s all for the moment. This blog thing is a lot of work, and I have an essay due next weekend (Assignment No. 2 of the whole semester – Yalies, you’ve got it rough!). Enjoyed a slow day today – church, lunch at Queen of Tarts in Temple Bar with a Cru Abroad sister, city centre sightseeing and grocery shopping. Ready to jump full-speed into another week of doing things, with a trip to London at the end!
If you made it this far, here’s a question: is it terrible and annoying for the photos to be so small? Bonus tiny food photos: