Tomorrow is my TEFL course orientation, so I feel like maybe I should post an update before my world speeds up quite a bit. Although, honestly, I’m already wiped from the past few weeks!
I could go into my trips to DC and Colorado, but I’ll spare you. Think: Lots of fun with good friends. Lots of stellar brews. Lots of pretty views. Five stars to both trips!
Now. Ireland was a longer outing. My mom and I raced through the country trying to soak up as much of the culture and sights as possible within seven days. It’d take forever to explain the trip day-by-day and I need to sleep somewhat soon, so I’ll keep this concise. One of my old managers who always chided me for being too fluffy and creative would be so proud!! Actually, probably not, but whatever. Middle fingers.
Yeah, obviously I’m going to list a big ole brewery first. If you’re reading this, I’d assume there’s a good chance you know me, and if you know me, you know I like the suds. But seriously. Guinness Storehouse was an experience beyond my wildest hoppy dreams! I spent 2.5 hours here taking selfies, reading all the text, checking out the cool old equipment, learning about beer on the [FUN!] self-guided tour, and topping it all off by having a pint at the source — in their Gravity Bar. Woo-hoo! I’m usually not the biggest Guinness fan (it was previously 3 stars via Untappd), but it’s so much smoother and balanced at their brewery. I still need to write my Yelp review for this place. I should get on that..
THE LONG ROOM
Again. If you know me, you probably know that I set a yearly goal to read 50 books. And if you didn’t, you know now! I’m at 43 for 2016 as of press time. I tried to stuff as many in as possible this summer knowing I’d be booking it to another country. [That was a pun, FYI.] As far as smells, it’s hard to top the smell of antique books, IMO. Give me a candle of that stuff, pls. The Long Room (The Book of Kells, Trinity College Dublin) is aweeeesome. If I didn’t need a toilet STAT, I could have spent hours in there sniffing the pretties.
Ugh. The beauty. It’s gross. It’s like Kylemore Abbey decided to hog all the views and prettiness. From the garden to the abbey itself, snagging the Viator tour out here from Galway was SO SO worth it!! Kylemore is chockfull of history too, of course, being that it’s Ireland and all. I don’t really have too much to say about the Abbey other than add it to your travel bucket list for sure.
Hauntingly beautiful. In a way, Connemara is depressing. Lots of people died from the Great Starvation in the area. You can see where potatoes used to grow. Now there’s a bunch of sheep grazing up the hills, a home every now and again, delightful rivers, and empty old houses that used to belong to starvation victims, untouched as memorials to them. It’s very sad, but in a moving way. I highly recommend a trip out here. Again, I used Viator for a full-day tour from Galway. It was surprisingly cheap (like $18 USD) for so much good stuff.
You’ll like Cork more if you’re young. I was with my mom and she was very “meh” on the city, but I loved it! I’d love to go back someday with a group of friends. It’s such a fun place to dress up and go out. They even have a couple active breweries! Score. Their food scene is a paradise for cuisine snobs (-points at self-), and the views are tremendous. You can absolutely up your Instagram game here.
THE BEER MARKET
I had just arrived in Dublin. My mother’s attempts at driving on the left side of the road for a few hours had exhausted me to the core. All I wanted was good beer. Somehow, The Beer Market was right across the street from the hotel I booked that morning. Talk about the luck of the Irish (I am 25% so that’s legitimate…)! They had sours on tap and a bunch of local stuff. I stayed for two glasses, but TBM is the type of place I could spend a full afternoon hanging out in. If I’m ever back in Dublin, this spot will be number one on my list.
ROCK OF CASHEL
I believe the local wool store clerk said it best: A “happy accident”! I had never heard of the Rock of Cashel, but at one point my mom randomly pulled over to a spot off the highway for a breather. She said she needed food ASAP, so I whipped my Yelp app out and realized the town of Cashel was right up the road and had some good options. As I looked again, I noticed a landmark named the Rock of Cashel, Googled, and realized we couldn’t pass the town without stopping there! What an awesome archaeological spot. Even the Queen has been there! So so so much history. Per the clerk, ROC used to be considered the Vatican of Northern Europe. How neat is that? I highly recommend any history nuts check it out if you’re road tripping around the country.
It’s probably weird that I’m ending this post with poison. I feel like the Poison Garden is a must-visit if you’re in the Cork area though. Notice I didn’t say Blarney Castle! Now, of course you should check out the castle, but I didn’t and wouldn’t recommend smooching the stone. What a cash trap. I’ll accept the risk to not gain the “gift of eloquence” and a bunch of unwanted germs from basically making out with half of Ireland’s tourists. But anyway, the Poison Garden is impressive and interesting. You should read all the little plaques and, more than anything, don’t get too close to the plants!
So, that’s all for now! At some point I’ll try to update you guys on the status of my program and my likely terrible attempts at teaching. We’ll see how this goes!