A month later!

I know I’ve been slacking with this blog lately but I promise I’ll be more on top of it! I’ve been here for a month now, and absolutely love it! We have made friends with the boys that live with my friend Michelle and they remind so much of my friends back home. They have a whole group of friends from back home that go to UL so we hang out with all of them. The boys are hysterical and so much fun to be around. I’m so happy that they have accepted us into their group of friends. We got really lucky finding such good friends here.
In addition, we have gone a few weekend trips already. We have only been to different places throughout Ireland, but it has still been amazing to see so many new places.
The first place we went was Galway. It was about two hours by bus but it was well worth it. Galway was beautiful. It was near the coast so we got to walk along a pier. Although, it was beautiful it was also very windy so when we were walking along the water we kept getting misted by the water. The waves were huge and kept crashing against the rocks which also got us a little wet. The city of Galway itself had great shopping. I was able to get a few gifts for some family members while I was there, and some gifts for myself. Also, I had my first traditional Irish meal while I was there. It was delicious, and for me to say that is a big deal, seeing as I am the world’s pickiest eater. Overall our first trip was very successful!
The weekend after we went to Galway we went to Doolin, Inis Oírr, and the Cliffs of Moher. That trip was an overnight trip, which meant we had to stay in a hostel. I was terrified to stay in hostel, after seeing one too many horrors movies, but it was actually really nice. The man who ran the hostel was extremely helpful and gave us a map and directions. So my fear of getting killed or robbed in the hostel was a tad irrational. On Saturday morning we took a boat tour from Doolin to the island of Inis Oírr. The island was small but had so much to explore. Once we got off the boat, we took a tour of the island in a horse drawn carriage. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and he was happy to answer any of our questions. The first place we visited on the island was a ship wreck. It was probably my favorite part of the day. It was simply cool to see a ship that had been there for over 50 years. The entire ship was rusted and some parts had fallen off but I don’t know I just found it so fascinating. After we saw the ship we toured all over the island in the carriage. Throughout the island there were 2-3 foot walls made entirely of stone that had been there for as long as 100 years. The tour guide said that families made them to mark their land and each generation just continued to build them. The walls were amazing, they lined the whole island and the roads were built around them. When you looked down from the highest point of the island the walls looked amazing. It really added to the overall beauty of the island. In addition, we saw a castle while on the island. It was the O’Brien castle from the 15th century. We got to go inside and even lock ourselves in what was once the dungeon. After the island we got back on the boat and explored Doolin for a while. And when I say explored Doolin, I mean we spent two and half hours walking on a path through hills that eventually led us into a bull’s pen then to a road that took us to the Cliffs of Moher. We were walking right on the edge of these hills above the Atlantic Ocean. At times we had to jump over rocks or cross streams and I was terrified that I would miss step then fall right off the edge into the water. Luckily, I didn’t fall, so that’s a plus. The walk was very tiring and took a lot out of us. Once we finally reached the Cliffs of Moher we were so relieved. The Cliffs of Moher were breathtakingly beautiful. We just stood on top the cliffs taking it all in. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. That’s when it really hit me that I was in Ireland.
Lastly, this past weekend we travelled to the Blarney Castle and Gardens. The Blarney Castle was probably the coolest thing I have ever seen. It was huge! And for so much of it to still standing is unreal. We went through all the rooms and each room was labeled as to what it was used for when the different lords lived in it. Imagining living in such exceptionally beautiful building was mindboggling. It must have been incredible to live in such a place. Once we reached the top of the castle we did what everyone has to do when they go to Ireland, kiss the Blarney Stone! We had to lie on the ground and arch backwards while someone held onto us to reach the stone. I think the castle is my favorite place that we have visited so far. There was just so much history and it told a story, it really just made you think. We also visited the Gardens that surrounded the castle. Unfortunately the gardens were not as great for me because I dropped my phone in a pond and completely ruined it. Don’t get me wrong the gardens were pretty and everyone else really enjoyed them but my time there was ruined by my misfortune.
Ireland has been nothing but amazing and I can’t believe we are entering week 5 for class already. Time is flying and it makes me so sad to think we have to leave in only 9 weeks. It sounds like a long time, but I don’t think it’s long enough!

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