Oh What a Week….

Okay, picking up where I left off…

Saturday morning everyone in our group woke up bright and early for our trip to County Clare, the Burren, and the Cliffs of Moher. Finn and her husband Kevin brought along their three children (all under the age of four) to join us on our journey. The drive itself was beautiful as we traveled across the quaint countryside outside Galway city. The roads were very narrow and bumpy, and my stomach was not too happy with the bus or the driver after a while. My eyes, however, were glued to the windows as we passed little white farmhouses with tons of sheep, horses, and cattle all calmly grazing on the land.

Our first stop was at Kinvara to see the medieval castle of Dunguaire. We were able to get off the bus and walk around the grounds (although the castle itself was closed for the day), but the lake surrounding it as well as the little fishing town next to it were very picturesque. Next we came to the Portal Dolmen of Poulnabrone, a five thousand year old burial site in the middle of the Burren (pronounced like burn). The Burren itself is a group of large hills that throughout centuries of use and erosion gave way to the limestone underneath its soil, so nowadays all of these hills are covered simply in rocks and stone. It was really interesting to drive through such an area, because I’d never seen any place like it. The landscape looked kind of lunar in a way, with no ability to really sustain life there.

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Above: Castle Dunguaire, Below: Poulnabrone

After we passed through the Burren, we were on our way to the coastal town of Doolin. It used to be widely known for its fishing, but more recently it’s become quite the surfing hotspot. We grabbed lunch at a local pub, and I got my first meat-and-potatoes meal since I’ve been here! Let me tell y’all it was scrumptious. We also got complimentary soup through API which was delicious as well. So at that point I was thoroughly full and ready to hike around the Cliffs of Moher.

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Finally, we reached the mythic cliffs. We were blessed with great weather, and I snapped a ridiculous amount of pictures to try and capture the place’s beauty. Sadly, the pictures can’t even do it justice. Just being there, standing on the precipice of 700 ft. cliffs with the waves crashing below and salt in the air had such a majestic feel to it indescribable to simple photography. We thankfully had an hour to hike around, and my wellies came in handy since part of the walk was extremely muddy and covered with water. With each cliff edge I walked, the more beautiful the view got. And (parents, don’t listen to this) although there were barriers around to keep people from falling off the cliff face, they were easy to step over and my friends and I were able to get breathtakingly close to the edge. It was just amazing to feel so high up and so small in such a place of natural beauty and wonder; if you are ever in Ireland, you must go to this spot.

Image ImageImage That first step’s a doozy.

Finally, both exhausted physically and photographically, we all made it back to the bus for the trip home. Before we reached Galway, however, we stopped at the Aillwee caves and did a half hour tour around in them. The cave system was pretty cool, but for my camp girls out there, they were nothing like Cumberland Caverns. There were paved pathways throughout the whole tour, and no climbing, helmets, or flashlights were involved so I kind of laughed the whole way. But it was a pretty cool excursion.

We got back to Galway at around 6 pm, and I’m pretty sure I fell asleep around 10. The next day, I mostly did readings for school and bummed around. Monday I went to class, and the gym (!!), and then I went home and did more work until I went to go see Django Unchained with some of my housemate’s friends. For those of you who have yet to see it: GO. It’s so good and totally badass.

Tuesday and Wednesday I did pretty much the same thing, but Wednesday night I went out with some of my housemates for their friend’s birthday party. There were seriously so many people at the apartment; it was ridiculous. After a few hours of predrinking, we grabbed a cab and headed to the club Karma. As soon as we got there though, I lost all of the girls (seriously all twenty of them… how it happened I have no idea), and was pretty much stranded by myself. I then decided just to go to the Front Door and meet up with a couple of friends, so that was much more fun.

Thursday night Katie and I held a “gathering” at our apartment…. which turned into a rager. At one point I’m pretty sure there were at least thirty people in our living room, and a bunch of them were random Irish lads I’d never seen before in my life (I blame you, Ryan). After a few instances of broken glass and having to calm Katie down a bit, I decided to go upstairs and change into more comfortable shoes. As soon as I came back downstairs, everyone had deserted me to go to the clubs, and I was left alone with Corinne, another API student, who was so nicely cleaning up after the party. I helped her out and hung out with her a bit, decided to make some pasta, and realized that I really didn’t want to join the rest of the crew downtown by riding in a cab all by myself and trying to meet up with everyone, so I just went to sleep.

Today, Katie and I have just been bumming around, cleaning up some more after last night, and, as usual, talking about food and how hungry we are all the time. I’m crossing my fingers that tomorrow I’ll actually make it to the gym and finally get around to doing my laundry (GTL anyone? Too bad it’s Ireland and nobody tans here), but I’m not gonna push the envelope too far. It will be a Saturday after all.

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