A Travellerspoint blog

Glasnevin Cemetery

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This entry is a little delayed from my actual trip to the cemetery, but I loved it so much that I wanted to blog on it anyway. My trip to Glasnevin Cemetery was a mandatory field trip by my Irish Culture class so it's definitely a place I never would have visited on my own. It's about a 15 minute bus ride from Dublin and well worth the trip!

When we arrived early Friday morning, we were lucky to be blessed with sunshine. Although it was chilly, the sun warmed us as we went on our tour through the cemetery. Glasnevin is the largest non-denominational cemetery in Ireland and its estimated that there are 1.5 million people buried there. This means that there are currently more dead bodies in that cemetery than living people walking around in Dublin! It was established in 1832 because at the time, there was no place for Irish Catholics to bury their dead and instead, devout Catholics were being forced to conduct funerals in Protestant cemeteries. Daniel O'Connell (one of the most influential people in Irish history) was outraged by this and started a campaign to start a non-denominational cemetery in which anyone could be buried. Although the cemetery began with a simple 9 acres, it has now expanded to cover 124 acres of land and our tour guide told us that if we wanted to walk from one side of the cemetery to the other, it would take us about 2 hours! This came as a significant surprise because when you arrive at the cemetery, it is very unclear just how far out it goes. It is centered around a tall tower that is Daniel O'Connell's grave and at first glance, this appears to be the extent of it.

Daniel O'Connell's tower

Daniel O'Connell's tower


looking up from the bottom of the tower

looking up from the bottom of the tower


graves surrounding the tower

graves surrounding the tower


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During our tour, we visited the graves of some of the most influential people in Irish history and learned of their background and exactly what they did for Ireland. It was fascinating to hear about the revolution for independence from British rule and the issues between those of Protestant faith and those of Catholic faith over the past two centuries; but on top of it, we got to see where the leaders of these revolutions were buried.

grave of Michael Collins

grave of Michael Collins


tomb of Daniel O'Connell

tomb of Daniel O'Connell


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The cemetery itself is very beautiful and while on our walk we saw graves from 1880 all the way through 2011. To this day, there are still burials being conducted and anyone who asks (even me) could be buried there. Overall, there are over 20 different faiths represented in the cemetery with people from dozens of different countries from around the world.

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cremated graves

cremated graves


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Posted by Lindsey308 09:21 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Galway Girl - Day Three

Kylemore Abbey

Sunday morning - time to leave the city of Galway and visit the surrounding area. I definitely want to go back to Galway so that I can explore the city during the day and really see what it has to offer. The time I spent there was a BLAST but I just didn't get enough! Maybe in a few weeks...

All of us got on the bus completely exhausted from the weekend. Most people were hungover (not me), everyone was tired from a lack of sleep (definitely me), and we were just tired in general from a lot of riding on the bus. That day we were visiting Kylemore Abbey and I took the time getting there to get in some much needed nap time. When we finally got to the abbey I was surprised to see a beautiful stone castle! Apparently the building started out as a castle in the 1800s and was turned into an abbey and then a boarding school for girls. It was a very secluded castle set right on a lake and surrounded by only water and woods. We went for a look inside the castle (unfortunately only some of the rooms were open for viewing) and learned that the original owner of the castle (Mitchell Henry) had also built a small neo-gothic cathedral and mausoleum in honor of his wife who had died at a very young age. What an unimpressive gesture of his love...ONLY a cathedral and mausoleum?

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It was a gorgeous fall day (in general we've been really lucky with the weather here) and we all took the opportunity to walk around the grounds and take it all in. The weather and greenery reminded me a lot of New England and it made me a bit homesick. But then I casually walked past a castle and was reminded that I definitely was not in the states.

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Somehow on the drive back to Dublin, the ride turned into some sort of karaoke/dance contest. First our teacher taught us a traditional Irish song and we got to sing over and over again (lucky us). Then someone plugged in their iPod and played "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Wagon Wheel" for a little taste of home followed by some classic Nelly for a dance contest in the aisles of the bus. I have no idea what it is about busses and long rides but people always seem to band together as a bus community and there's no telling what will happen. You combine that with being over-tired and it was a little bit of madness. But I enjoyed every minute of it until I finally passed out.

Posted by Lindsey308 14:44 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Galway Girl - Day Two

Aran Islands, The Crane, and The Roisin Dubh

After a nice 2-hour power nap from my previous night's adventures, I was up and ready to go for day two around Galway. We took a bus to a ferry and took the ferry to get to Inishmore, the largest of the three Aran Islands. Largest is a relative term: the island only has 800 inhabitants and is 12 square miles! But the island is absolutely stunning. The ferry ride over gave us a glimpse of the island from afar but up close it was one of the most picturesque things I've ever seen; it made the quaint countrysides of Ireland look like a city. The island looked like a time capsule from a couple hundred years ago; there were two schools, one doctor's office, one library, two pubs, no roads, and no houses younger than 150 years old. The island had only gotten running water in 1950 and electricity in 1975! All along the island were stone walls that used to line ancient farming territory; they are still standing strong today without the use of any cement.

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After walking around the oceanside of the island, we walked to the top of the island to the fort DĂșn Aonghasa, which means Fort of Aonghas. It's estimated that fort was built in 200 BC. Can you believe that? There is a structure over 2000 years old that is still standing and I got to see it and even touch it. The fort itself is built right above a karst (geological formation shaped by dissolution of layers of rocks) and the view is BREATHTAKING. This was what I was expecting at the Cliffs of Moher. We could get right up to the edge and look straight down to the ocean 100 meters below while looking out and seeing miles and miles of ocean on one side, and rolling hills on the other. It was also incredibly sunny and warm that day and I can't even describe the feeling of seeing that beauty and feeling the sun on my face and breathing clean air all at the same time. It was a wonderful sensation. How lucky am I that I got to see something that incredibly beautiful?

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Coming back to the "town" of the island we got homemade ice cream (delicious) and several people bought sweaters handmade from Irish wool. Ideally I would have liked to have gotten a really nice sweater, but to be honest they were really itchy and they were so thick they made me look like a walking marshmallow. Not exactly how I'm going to meet my Irish husband. And nothing really screams "tourist" than a group of 35 Americans, half of which are wearing matching wool sweaters. I'm an individual - plus they didn't have any pink sweaters.

On the drive back to our hotel we saw A FULL DOUBLE RAINBOW! Literally what are the chances? I've never seen a full rainbow before, but this one was a double rainbow. It was absolutely unreal and I half expected a leprechaun riding a unicorn to come galloping past the bus.

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That night after dinner we were all pumped to go out for night two of Galway. We wanted to try something a little different so at first we checked out The Crane which is a very small, traditional Irish pub known for its local music. I wasn't sure what to expect but I absolutely LOVED it. When we walked in, there was a long table of about 15 musicians playing traditional Irish folklore. They had fiddles, banjos, violins, flutes, harmonicas, and the musicians ranged from late 20's to late 70's, but most of them were older Irish men. The crowd seemed to have a lot of locals and people sat on worn wooden stools around the room and clapped and stomped with the music. Most of the songs were purely instrumental but one older man sang a few songs as well which was very enjoyable. That pub was a place that I would have loved to have spent the night at if I had the time and a couple people to enjoy it with; overall it was a very different experience and it really showed me what some of the more traditional Irish culture and music scene is like.

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While The Crane was awesome, people weren't exactly interested in staying there all night so we moved on to another club that had been recommended to us, The Roisin Dubh (pronounced the row-jing dove). It was a fun spot - there were three floors and dancing and music on each floor, but the music was mostly Irish alternative rock which I liked, but not a lot of other people could appreciate it in the same way. It also wasn't as crowded as we were expecting (which is sometimes nice), but we also wanted to talk with the locals! After an hour or so at the Dubh, we split up to find what else was going on for the night. By this time it was almost 2 and many of the places closed at 2 or 3 so we didn't have a lot of options. Because of our success the night before, we decided to head back to The King's Head to finish out our night. This night was much more casual but there was another live band and I loved just sitting and talking and listening to the band with some of the other people that were at the pub. Again, a responsible person would have been in bed at a reasonable hour in order to get up early and after a long night the night before...again, YOU'RE ONLY IN GALWAY ONCE! It was another 5am night for me but it was completely worth it!

Posted by Lindsey308 14:09 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Galway Girl - Day One

Cliffs of Moher and The King's Head

Last weekend was our first weekend trip as a group and we went to Galway. After lugging duffle bags through the city to city center at 9 in the morning, we took a 2 hour bus ride and first arrived at the Cliffs of Moher. I'd always heard about the cliffs and I knew what they were and maybe I had seen pictures, but I really had no idea what to expect. But even though I had no ideas, it still wasn't quite what I expected. When we arrived we were lucky enough to be there when it was fairly sunny (although it began to rain as soon as we left - welcome to Ireland). It was crazy windy as we walked along the cliffs and even windier when we got to the top where there was a small castle tower. The cliffs are absolutely gorgeous and the view from the highest point was amazing since we were able to see the cliffs all around us. A stone wall was set up around the cliffs to prevent people from falling off which was a great idea but unfortunately it prevented us from getting too close to the actual cliffs and it was hard to get a sense of just how vast and amazing they really are. I wanted to get up close and personal with these cliffs but I had to remain pretty far away. This was a bit of a disappointment, but the cliffs were breathtaking nonetheless.

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After the Cliffs of Moher we continued our ride along to the hotel we were staying at. I am absolutely in LOVE with the Irish countryside. It is completely picturesque and exactly how I pictured the small towns of Ireland. There are rolling hills and farms, sheep and cows and horses laying about, cozy cottages, and winding dirt roads. It was a refreshing change of scenery from the Dirty Dub and it just made me want to wear a wool sweater and milk a cow and have a big bowl of stew and a pint of beer. Along the way we stopped along the ocean for a photo op. At first we couldn't understand why we were pulling over along a giant bunch of rocks - it was cold and windy and we were tired from traveling all day. But once we got out and actually saw where we were, we were actually pleasantly surprised at the view. From the road it didn't look like we were up very high; but once we walked to the edge of the rocks, we could see that we were on a small cliff right on the ocean. Although it was no Cliffs of Moher, I still got to go to the edge of my mini-cliff.

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Getting to the hotel (finally) was such a relaxing relief after a long day of being on the bus. The girls (all 35 of us) hurried to our rooms to get ready for dinner and a night of exploring Galway. Because there were so many of us, we literally took up an entire hallway in the hotel. Can you imagine 35 college girls staying in one hotel and trying to get ready to go out? It was glorious madness. We were all bouncing around from room to room borrowing shoes, straighteners, tops, and getting advice on our outfits. Because we weren't sure what to expect on our trip to Galway, not many people brought a lot of going out attire so we had quite a bit of mixing and matching and borrowing. There are also 2 guys on our trip. Two. Poor guys. They just went straight to their room, locked the door, and began drinking during the whole ordeal which I think was probably a good idea. But even worse than 35 girls getting ready together is trying to get 35 girls to actually leave. We had all decided that we wanted to go out together to the same bar (the entire group) and explore the city as a whole. FINALLY we all got into a taxi and ended up in the center of Galway.

The center of Galway is AWESOME. It has all the aspects of Temple Bar in Dublin without the sketchy people or annoying tourists. It's basically a bunch of cobblestone streets lined with pubs, bars, small clubs, restaurants, and stores. It sounds touristy but a lot of the places are known for their traditional Irish food or music and are a famous spot in Ireland.

We finally all ended up at a place called The King's Head because we heard they had good music. The pub itself was like none I've ever been in. It had three floors, a stage, and a private room for parties. It sounds like a night club but it had the casual atmosphere and sitting room of a pub. At first it was kind of awkward being there because there were so many of us and we were clearly American and the band hadn't arrived yet. Because I'd been diagnosed with tonsillitis a few days before (that was fun) and was on antibiotics, unlike everyone else I was not drinking. I don't mind not drinking at all but it is hard to be sitting at a table when everyone around you is casually drinking beer or wine. (But on a side note: everyone else spent about 40 euro that night and I didn't spend a penny!) That night at the bar was also Captain Morgan night so there were pirates running around the bar passing out free pirate hats and bracelets and shots. Finally the band started to set up and we overheard someone say that this was one of the best bands around Galway and they have a serious following. HOLY SHIT WAS THAT AN UNDERSTATEMENT. I kid you not, from the moment the band got on stage at 10 to when they closed at 2, I was on my feet and jumping up and down and dancing (on tables and chairs...) and absolutely LOVING LIFE. Not only did they cover classic rock like AC/DC and Kiss, but they also covered Blink-182, Sum 41, Third Eye Blind, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Pink, and basically every classic song that everyone loves and knows all the words to. And every song had its own rock twist to it; can you imagine Lady Gaga sung as a rock song? But the best part was that the lead singer was the coolest chick ever! The band (Lunar Playground) had a female lead singer and a male guitarist, bassist, and drummer. I was in a band in high school and we had the exact same setup. Seeing them up there covering some of my favorite songs of all time and having the best time made me miss my band but it also made me see what we could have done! And what I still have time to do - she was such an inspiration. I have to say the King's Head was my favorite night so far in Dublin and I was completely sober for the whole thing so I got to enjoy it to its fullest. (And after the show I got to meet the band!)

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After the bar closed we walked around downtown Galway and got food and talked to some of the younger locals. Everyone kept saying how Galway is so much better than Dublin (starting to believe it...). We had to be up for a day of sight-seeing and traveling at 8am the next day. A responsible person would have been back at the hotel by midnight to get a good night's sleep - especially when a responsible person had tonsillitis. But you're only in Galway once! I got home at 5am...and it was totally worth it.

Posted by Lindsey308 13:30 Archived in Ireland Tagged galway Comments (0)

Malahide

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For a little change of scenery, a group of us decided to take a train ride to Malahide for the day. (Malahide is a small ocean town near southern Ireland.) We walked around the few shops they had, went to an art market that was taking place, went to the beach (even though it was cold), and had a glass of wine at a wine bar. It was a nice, quiet day and the town was BEAUTIFUL. Even though it was a similar size and location to Howth, this town was more catered to visitors and had more shops to check out. It was definitely a good change of scenery from the city streets of Dublin.

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Posted by Lindsey308 10:10 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Arthur's Day!

What do you give a drunken Irishman? Another pint of Guinness! Arthur Guinness, the infamous founder of Guinness beer is a sacred name here in Dublin. No where else in the world will you find a smoother, better-tasting pint of Guinness than right here in Dublin. Because of his contributions, Arthur Guinness's birthday is celebrated every year as an annual excuse to get wasted (not that every day in Ireland doesn't have the same excuses). September 27 - or Arthur's Day - is basically the autumn version of St. Patrick's Day except instead of painting the town green, you're encouraged to "paint the town black." Hundreds of famous singers and bands come to play at various pubs all over Dublin and Ireland. The kick is that no one knows which bands will be where until the night of Arthur's Day. Tickets for entrance to pubs go on sale weeks in advance and everyone hopes their favorite bands will be making a surprise appearance at their favorite pubs. Unfortunately, no one told us about Arthur's Day before we came to Ireland so by the time we got here, all tickets had been sold out. But no fear - we could still get into the pubs we just couldn't get into the main stage area where the bands would be playing.

My first Arthur's Day was definitely one to behold. People started heading to the pubs around 4:30PM and everywhere in the heart of Dublin was PACKED. People were dressed up in black, white, and gold to honor the colors of Guinness. My friends went to our favorite pub here, Whelan's, because we had heard a rumor that Mumford and Sons would be playing there! While we knew we wouldn't be able to actually get in to see the band, we could still listen and it was cool that they were at the same place as us. (Spoiler alert: Mumford and Sons WAS at Whelan's!!!)

Needless to say, with a day devoted to drinking, everyone had a lot of fun...

Liz, Ellis, and me

Liz, Ellis, and me

Liz and me

Liz and me

Dubliners

Dubliners

view from top of Whelan's

view from top of Whelan's

Posted by Lindsey308 09:39 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

First Day of Classes

storm 55 °F

Yesterday I had my first official day of classes at Dublin Business School. Back home, my friends have been in class for the past month; while I've loved all this down-time, I've been itching to get back into a regular routine and see what Irish classes are like. OF COURSE yesterday also had to be the first real rainstorm we've had since we got here. We've had plenty of light sprinkles and showers but we've been lucky to avoid the downpour - until yesterday. Since it was pouring and freezing cold (and I forgot my raincoat as I ran out the door - dumb) the busses were packed. Ellis and Liz and I were heading to Abnormal Psych together and we were pretty damp as we barely made it to class on time.

After Abnormal, I had War and Peace in the 20th Century but it was in a building I'd never been to before. Liz and I got SO LOST. We were wandering around in the pouring rain for over 20 minutes just desperately trying to find this building that apparently not a single person in the city had ever heard of on a street that nobody knew. How does that even happen? By the time we finally found the building, my shoes were soaked. Luckily class was interesting; actually both my classes seemed very interesting and I'm actually looking forward to continuing them. They both have about 15 other students in them and I've always been a fan of smaller class sizes. Once class was done, I was ready to go home and actually get warm - it doesn't help that I was wet all over and the classrooms aren't heated yet. But since I'd never been to this building before, I had no idea where the closest bus stop was. Again, I was stuck wandering around until I found some sort of landmark that I recognized in order to find the closest bus stop.

But even though this was quite possibly one of the longest and wettest days I've had in a while, I was never in a bad mood. Annoyed and cold and wet for sure, but never angry or upset. And once I got into dry jammies with a nice cup of tea back in my room, I was grand.

first day!

first day!

Posted by Lindsey308 03:22 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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