A Travellerspoint blog

Outside the Bubble

One of the reasons I love traveling so much is that I meet different kinds of people while abroad. Obviously the people I meet in other countries are different than those from home but even my fellow travelers are a special kind of person. I genuinely believe that people that are interested in seeing other parts of the world tend to be more down to earth than those only interested in their own backyard. There's nothing wrong with never leaving home, but since I've been on my trip I've really connected with my fellow students. They are unlike many of the people I've run into back at school and I think it's because they're less self-involved and want to see what else is out there. There is more to life than the bubble.

Posted by Lindsey308 03:17 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Hoochie Mama

First rule of clubbing in Ireland: no one knows how to dance. Even though the girls are dressed to the nines with their hair and makeup looking professionally done, none of them get down like the girls in clubs in America. It is the strangest sight to see a hoochie mama swaying innocently back and forth all night and never actually dancing with any of the guys. But the guys (ALL dressed in their Hollister apparel) are the same way. Everyone just stands in a circle and dances with each other like we used to do in middle school. It's definitely still fun and less stressful but it is the strangest thing. I just have fun dancing with my girls and showing people how Americans get down.

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But the other night our school (DBS) set up an international night for everyone who is an international student at DBS. It allowed us to meet each other and see what other nationalities will be at the school. I met people from France, Germany, China, Belgium, Holland, and the US. The other students seemed awesome and we all had the best time at this club they rented out for us. Only in Ireland would an international night be at a club. And only in Ireland would my teacher give me a free drink voucher...

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Posted by Lindsey308 04:02 Archived in Ireland Tagged fashion dancing clubs Comments (0)

Howth

sunny

Today we travelled to the beautiful island of Howth; with most of these day trips we're never real sure what they're going to be but we just follow blindly along and they end up being enjoyable. This trip was no exception. I'd heard the name Howth but I had no idea what it really was or what the island would be like. After a 15-minute walk, 10-minute bus ride and 20-minute train ride, we finally arrived in Howth. Right away I could tell that it was a small Irish boating town with gorgeous cliffs and hills.

Our first stop was at a famous food market that takes place every Sunday on the island. Irish natives and tourists alike travel to the island to sample the fresh fruits, vegetables, breads and pastries, fudge, crepes, kabobs, and pasta. The market is fairly small but there is a large variety of food for people to chose from. Most of us came home with bags filled with fresh, organic fruits and vegetables that will be a nice change from the quicker (and probably less healthy) meals we've been eating while getting a sense of our surroundings in Dublin.

After about an hour at the market, we began walking along the cliffs of the island; the views were breathtaking. It was a combination of ocean, blue skies (for most of the day!), rolling hills, cliffs, and lighthouses in the distance. While the walk itself around the island took about 3 hours, the scenery never got old because it was different around every turn of the island. A few of us got lost from getting too distracted in the scenery (oops), but we all ended up back in Dublin in the end (even if 2 people had to take the next train because they missed the first one with the rest of the group...).

Because we've been in the city for the past week (one week officially today!) it was very refreshing to be able to visit some of the quieter and more beautiful countrysides of Dublin. This trip made me excited for some of our other upcoming trips outside of the city as well.

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Posted by Lindsey308 12:47 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Guinness Factory and Storehouse

Yesterday my group had an entire free day to do whatever we wanted in Dublin. It was nice to not have an obligation to get to so we were all free to explore the city and do some of the "touristy" things around the city. A few of the girls and I decided to go to the Guinness Factory and Storehouse. It was a little confusing to get there; surprisingly it is not located in one of the more central locations in Dublin.

I hadn't given much thought to what I thought the storehouse would be - mostly I assumed it would be a guided tour of the actual factory and you got to see the beer being made. But actually it was nothing like that. The "storehouse" was really a museum with 5 stories and each floor had a different theme. The first floor showed videos of the actual process of making beer and there were several of the original brewing machines on display. The other floors consisted of creating the beer barrels, advertising through the years, the history of Arthur Guinness and the actual company, and learning how to pour the perfect cup of Guinness. None of it was at all like I expected but it was very interesting just the same. The original machines and advertisements from the 1800s were fascinating to see and you realize that there is a serious process that goes into brewing beer; even the quality of water used can make a huge difference.

The best part of the factory by far, though, was the infamous Gravity Bar that was on the 5th floor of the museum. This bar was a circular room with almost a 360 degree glass view of the city. The windows were from floor to ceiling and it was breathtaking to be able to see so much of the city from that height. The Gravity Bar was also where each visitor over the age of 18 received a free pint of Guinness. While the factory was very interesting, I did love finally sitting down with a refreshing glass of Guinness and take in the sights of Dublin. (Although, I have to admit that I did not drink the entire Guinness because I didn't want to get sick from the hops and barley - but it was still delicious!)

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Posted by Lindsey308 12:15 Archived in Ireland Tagged factory dublin museum guinness pint storehouse Comments (0)

Nightlife and the "New Guy"

So far the nightlife here has been great - there are always places to go and things to do. The live music scene is incredible and half the bars/pubs here seem to always be hosting some sort of live band. But unlike the states, these are no acoustic guitar duets. "Live Music" means an awesome band is playing for the night and it ranges from rock to folk to indie. There are also hundreds of nightclubs mixed in around the more laid back pubs and they offer DJ's and the more stereotypical nightclub scene. Maybe it's just because I've never lived in a city so I don't know what a city night scene is like, but there seems to be more here in Dublin than most cities in the US. It's probably because Dublin itself is a pretty small city so they have to cram everything together in a closed space; within a 5 minute walk you could literally hit 8 bars/pubs, 4 nightclubs, and a few restaurants. This makes going out "the craic" because we all have so many options! If one place is too crowded or too expensive, we can easily move on to the next place without losing much time.

The only thing I've found interesting is that a few times we've had trouble getting into some of the nightclubs because people didn't have ID's or weren't 21. If the drinking age is 18, why would the club age be 21? And for a country centered on beer and alcohol, they're really strict about not letting anyone in that's too drunk and kicking people out once they've had too much to drink. Last night the group I was with wasn't let into two nightclubs because some of us weren't 21 and they claimed one girl was too drunk even though she had only had 3 beers. Even though most of the people here go out of their way to be helpful and friendly (I've encountered multiple experiences where people were more than willing to help me find my way throughout the city), I sometimes feel there is a slight prejudice against us as Americans. The young adults of Ireland are fascinated with the fact that we come from the states and want to know everything about us and our life. But many of the older generation and especially people who are in business working with the public (bouncers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, small pub owners) seem to resent the fact that we are here. As a white woman living in America my whole life, it is very new and unnerving to feel unwelcome in a place that I will be living. I'm sure people will ease up on us once we all get into our routine and we are no longer novel tourists, but it is definitely an interesting feeling.

But why do people seem to always be hardest on the "new guy" and foreigners? Freshman, "newbies," interns, foreigners - people seem to have an automatic negative feeling toward them even though it is impossible to go through one's life not being new or visiting at some point. Everyone's been there, so why are people still so weird about it? I'm victim of it - as a high school and college student of course I've resented the incoming freshman just like everyone else. I've never had negative feelings towards foreigners but especially after being a long-term foreigner in this country, I will have new respect for the "new guy."

Posted by Lindsey308 05:49 Archived in Ireland Tagged locals pubs bars nightlife foreigners Comments (0)

What's the craic?

strange phrases I've learned so far in Ireland

It's pretty startling at first to hear "What's the craic?" (pronounced 'crack') when out and about. But apparently "the craic" means "the fun" - or "What's going on?"

Since I've been here, the other students and I have started to learn what some of their slang words and phrases are. At first they seem to make no sense until you start to think about some of our slang back at home: wicked, cracking up, hooked up, hella cool, sick, etc. Here is what I've been able to pick up so far:

cheers - thank you
grand - fine/all set
shift - to make out
craic - fun
work away - go for it
eejit or gobshite - idiot
bullox - bullshit
jacks - toilets (but really only guys say this)
session - a long night of drinking
jammers - a place that is very crowded
J1 - a year after college when most Irish students travel to the US or Australia to work and travel for a year
erasmus - study abroad
module - semester course/class
course - major/degree (these make school very difficult to figure out at first)

I wonder how much of the slang I'll be picking up for when I get back to the states? Hopefully people will still be able to understand me when I'm back!

Posted by Lindsey308 05:33 Archived in Ireland Tagged slang Comments (0)

Day 2 - it keeps getting better

sunny

Today was day 2 in Dublin. We all met at DBS at 10am today and went over culture norms, class structure, and the extra activities FIE has to offer. There's white water rafting, rugby matches, tours all over Ireland, trivia matches, gliding lessons, cliff jumping, and museum visits. Every single activity sounds amazing; I know it's going to be very hard to organize all my free time and weekends and decide between these excursions they have already set up for us and trips I want to take throughout Europe.

But on the good new - it was sunny almost all day! I finally got to see the city in the sunlight and warmth which was a nice surprise.

We met at the Brassiere Le Pont for dinner; it took a group of 7 of us about 35 minutes to get there only because we got so lost. But luckily the Irish are some of the nicest people around and by asking for directions we were actually the first group there. Our leaders told us that the Irish would be very friendly and helpful. In our journey to the restaurant alone, we asked 4 people for help; one called his friend for additional help, one gave us specific directions, one looked up the restaurant on their GPS to help us, and another person walked with us when we had finally made it to our last stretch before finding the restaurant. It was definitely a bit of a journey but we got to see some of the best parts of the city and we got a chance to see just how generous the people of Dublin are.

The Brassiere Le Pont is one of the fanciest restaurants I have ever been to and it was delicious! I ate food I cannot even pronounce and I absolutely loved it.

When our group got back to our dorms, the girls got dressed to go out and we bounced from room to room meeting foreign roommates and taking turns to get ready for the pubs of Dublin. I absolutely LOVE my roommates; they are from a communication school in France and they are just so fashionable and nice. Eventually almost the entire group met up along the halls of our school and then we left to walk to a local pub/club that one of our trip members had found. Of course when I got there, I had forgotten a from of ID so I couldn't' get into the club. I was disappointed but 3 other foreign students had forgotten their ID's as well so we took a cab back to Griffith and hung out till some other students came home. It would have been nice to go to the club with the rest of my group but I had fun going back with the other students that couldn't' get into the club.

Now it is quite time for me to go to bed; I have to be at school at 10am. Cheers!

Posted by Lindsey308 18:15 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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