When I was at UNH last semester, one of the things that surprised me about my friends studying abroad was how they always seemed to be traveling to a different country every weekend. Was it really that easy to get from Spain to Italy, or Scotland to Copenhagen? I am here to tell you that it is truly that easy! This weekend, my friends and I took a trip to Dublin, Ireland. For less money than it takes to fly from Boston to Washington D.C., we entered a whole new country right in our own backyard. This was my first trip since arriving in London, and what a great way to start off my career as a world traveler! (Okay, maybe not “world” traveler, but you get the idea).
We arrived in Dublin just in time to go and explore the nightlife! Our hostel was situated right near the city, so a quick walk led us right to Dublin’s famous Temple Bar area. Shops, clubs, pubs, you name it! We danced the night away to such classics as “Don’t Stop Believing.” Needless to say, we were the most enthusiastic Americans Dublin has ever seen.
Saturday we decided to hit all the touristy attractions, getting on one of those “hop-on-hop-off” busses. I highly recommend it as an easy way to see the major parts of the city when you have a limited amount of time. We saw Trinity College (gorgeous!), Christ Church Cathedral (also gorgeous!), the town center with the “Spire” sculpture, and much more. The highlight of the day, though, was getting to tour the Guinness Storehouse. One of the most popular destinations in Dublin (and possibly Ireland), it was the ‘Disneyworld’ of beer. They teach you everything from how it’s made, to how to drink it correctly, and the right way to pour it. The pièce de résistance is Guinness’ Gravity Bar, located on the very top of the building. You get 360-degree views of Dublin, all while enjoying your very own pint of Guinness. It is worth it for the picture taking opportunities alone.
On Sunday, we decided to venture outside of Dublin and see a little more countryside. After being in London for so long, I kind of forget what grass looks like. I am constantly bragging to my friends (and strangers alike) about how beautiful UNH is in the Fall, so I needed my fix of greenery. We took a bus tour up to the Cliffs of Moher, passing by hills and mountains that were so green it almost looked fake. There were plenty of cows and sheep greeting us as we passed by. The cliffs themselves were beautiful, situated right on the ocean. Fun fact: the film Leap Year was filmed right on this location! If you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest you watch it to get a feel for the scenery. My pictures don’t do it justice, especially since it was raining! Next we hopped back on the bus and went into the city of Galloway. A seaside town, it has been referred to as the cultural center of Ireland. If you’ve read my other blogs, you know I’m all about the food. So naturally I couldn’t resist picking up a “souvenir” of Irish soda bread from the cutest little bakery. I brought it all the way back to London, it was that good.
What struck me the most about being in Ireland was how friendly people were. From cab drivers to the front desk at our hostel, everyone was genuinely interested in us and always willing to offer advice. Being a UNH girl at heart, it was reminiscent of being back on campus where everyone is always so helpful and kind. While I love London, it was a nice break from the hustle-and-bustle of city life, especially in a place that felt so close to home.