Ireland: Where the Grass Is Greener

They don’t kid when they say Ireland is green.

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this is my friend, Kevin, loving life

I’m here in Dublin!! My red eye flight on Aer Lingus was pleasant and a lot quicker than I imagined it would be. Sitting for 6+ hours still made my legs want to shrivel up and fall off, but at least I got to sleep and eat the good airplane food (← never thought I’d say that!).

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fresh veggies AND fresh fruit!? AND KERRYGOLD BUTTER?

I listened to the inflight music selection, which included Adele, Ben Howard, and “Irish Pulse”. I did not actually listen to Irish Pulse, but I wish I did in retrospect. Like, electro-Celtic perhaps?

‘Twas especially sunny in Dublin when we arrived on Tuesday morning, which helped us to feel more alive after traveling overnight.

We also got a mini sweat session just by hauling our 50+lb. luggages around the airport, on and off the bus, and up a couple flights of stairs.
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Our campus is gorgeous!

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We had our information and orientation sessions, with a much-needed lunch in between at their dining hall.

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smoked colley (?), mashed carrots and parsnips, peas, potatoes, veggies, and an apple cobbler thing drowned in custard sauce

There really are lots of potatoes here. The dining halls serve them both mashed and roasted/fried. I can deal with that.

But since we have a nice kitchen in our dorm, we’ll all be cooking throughout the semester (yay!). We went to the grocery store in the afternoon, and I got two huge bags of groceries. Most people only bought one bag, and one girl told me, “You went HAM in there.”

Listen, I am good to go with what I have, and I only spent 60 euros for a lot of food + staples that will last a while. I’ll take “HAM” as a compliment.

I have yet to drink any booze here yet. My friends at home are probably screaming at me right now, but I just haven’t yet! I’m definitely planning on going out for some drinks and having some Irish whiskey, don’t worry. I just…napped through the first night when people went out to a pub for dinner. Whoops.

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Post nap: “I don’t know where the heck everyone is but I got dressed up anyway.”

I conked out at 5pm and slept through my 5:35 alarm until 7:40. I wasn’t mad about it, but dinner was a little weird, since I was lazy and not too hungry.

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spinach and (fantastic!) tomatoes with hummus

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a roll and kerrygold butter that I got off the plane haha

Our wifi doesn’t work in the dorms yet, so I went outside in front of another building to FaceTime Madre and do some other internet things before heading to bed at around midnight.

I wanted to move and groove yesterday morning, so I put on my gear and went outside to find a potential spot to work out, but there were too many people walking outside, and I didn’t want to be weird, so I just did an indoor HIIT workout.

{side note: I’m typing this in a sketchy dark corner outside to get wifi, and there’s a friendly man who keeps walking by, and I don’t know if he wants me to leave or not, but I’ll just stay until he kicks me off this bench}

Pre-workout breakfast (since I was a little hungry when I woke up) was a banana and more toast with another knob of kerrygold butter from the airplane packet.

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I am a big fan of this.

Post-workout breakfast was Greek-style Irish yogurt, which was a little thinner than what I’m used to, but still very good! I had it with raspberry preserves and peanut butter that my new friend lent me, since Madre is actually visiting this weekend and bringing me all my peanut butter then 😀 #spoiled.

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We had more touring and orientation things until 1 pm, when I was READY for lunch.

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We ate at a dining hall again since we weren’t anywhere close to our dorms. This whole plate was only 5.50 euros, and it was everything I needed. Simple, tasty, and filling.

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Then we had a scavenger hunt around the city centre (what they call downtown) of Dublin. Rachel told me that the Dublin transit system is horrendous, and she was right. I’m already terrible with public transit on the subways back in Boston and NY, but the Dublin Bus system makes me want to weep inside just a little bit.

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Maybe by the end of October I’ll be able to understand it. They’re double decker buses though, which is cool.

My scavenger hunt group found a guy on the sidewalk selling these beautiful-looking strawberries for 3 euros, so we bought them to share. Our reactions: “HOLY **** THESE ARE THE BEST STRAWBERRIES I’VE EVER EATEN.”

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So tender, sweet, flavorful, and fresh. I even ate the leaves because a) they were so small that I could barely hold onto the leaves, b) I didn’t feel like holding juicy leaves in my fingers, c) they can’t hurt, right?

Of course, we also chatted with handsome Irish musicians on the street. And they actually have angelic voices.

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Also, many people drop the f-bomb here very frequently.

At the end of the scavenger hunt, a few of us ventured to get some new SIM cards for our time here in Ireland (data usage, huzzah!). And then I was again starving for dinner, which I made back at the dorm.

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I snacked on a KIND bar while cooking up some chicken breasts, which I had on top of toast with white cheddar. Plus a salad and an unpictured peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that I brought from NY  (thanks, Aunt Tina!).

Confession: A lot of people are out at a club right now because our tour guide could get us all in for free this one night, but I didn’t want to pay for transportation for the fourth time in one day and I know I will have plenty of time to go out when I truly want to (not just because it’s free to get in. still need those dollas for booze ya know). PLUS, it was good to stay in with a couple of friends and help one of them out with room lockout issues.

I really want to do a wine and cheese night. Mostly for the cheese, but wine is good too.

Thank you to those who made suggestions for places to visit! I am very grateful for this experience. Dublin is seriously stunning and charming, and the people are so kind. I’m also meeting lots of new friends! I’m excited for what’s ahead.

So tell me:

When do you say “no” to going out?

Where are the best hidden gems in Europe? I’m trying to make travel plans and would love some input!

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16 thoughts on “Ireland: Where the Grass Is Greener

  1. Hi Allison! I’ve been meaning to comment on one of your posts/email you for the longest time but never got around to doing so. I love every single post of yours, mostly because you literally type what I feel. This may be really weird because we’ve never met, but we are almost the same person – I have a crooked pinky, Greek yogurt bowls are life and Kath’s “Lately” posts are definitely my favorite (and this is just the beginning… I read your posts all the time and wonder why we haven’t met yet and how it’s even possible that I am this similar to someone…).

    Also, I say “no” to going out all the time (too much maybe?) but I just listen to my heart. Some days I’d much rather have a quiet night in with a friend (or not) chatting and eating my weight in ice cream.

    I’m based in London, so if you’re ever here it would be absolutely wonderful to meet. Hope you’re having a blast in Dublin!

  2. So I was kind of lame, but I didn’t ever have any alcohol in Ireland until we left; I tested some Irish whiskey at the airport. I’ve just never really been a person who likes alcoholic drinks/the taste. 🙂

    So in Ireland, you should DEFINITELY travel up to County Donegal if you can? It’s one of the mot wild/rural counties, and there is so much rugged beauty up there that you don’t see in other places in Ireland. There’s not as much touristing up there either.

    Don’t feel bad about not going out… Just do it when it seems right. 🙂

    You will find and meet so many super super friendly Irish people; they were literally the friendliest people I have ever met in my entire life. 🙂

    • Ooo I will see if I can get there! I really want to visit a bunch of smaller towns and beautiful, rural cities in Europe this time around. Thanks for the suggestion!!
      I do like whiskey apparently, so maybe I’ll go out and get some good ol’ Jameson one of these days 🙂 And yes, Irish people are so friendly!!

  3. I’m glad you’re enjoying Dublin so far!! While you’re in Ireland, the cliffs of moher are a MUST see, and you should go to Galway too! Also I highly recommend a walking tour with a political prisoner in Belfast. Also glendalough! And Howth and greystones and bray! Ahh so much 🙂 have a wonderful time!!

  4. Ooooh looks like you’re settling in! Well…as much as you can in that whirlwind arrival/jet lag/sensory overload period! If Irish strawberries are like ours in the UK, they are the best in the world. I swear. Get as many as you can before they go in Autumn and all you can get is apples and oranges. :-/

    Come to Oxford! The university has beautiful, beautiful buildings and plenty of Harry Potter things to easily fill a day trip. (And if you’re visiting London, it’s an hour on the train!) Further afield, York is a beautiful Roman town up in the North of the UK. In Europe, Italy! Just everything you imagine and so much more. (Florence, Venice – anywhere!)

  5. aw yay so happy to be reading these updates! the grass is so much greener.. lol. Ireland looks beautiful though and I’m so happy you’re happy!! I would love to visit there someday!

  6. Actually NOW I have to say no to going out because I look like a chipmunk that got stung by bees from inside its jaw and is also holding a watermelon in its face. Wisdom teeth surgery recovery is the WORST. I’m hoping to be able to go out by Saturday!

  7. What an awesome experience! The campus looks gorgeous, and yay for being able to cook! That’s always nice 🙂
    I was actually born in Ireland, Waterford to be specific, but my parents moved back to the states when I was about two. I don’t remember anything about it, but I would LOVE to go back and visit some time.

  8. I’m a little behind on reading but Hi Alison, hope you’re still loving Ireland!! When I studied in Italy this summer i started out just the same way, choosing sleep over going out, and some people went out every.single.night. it was just too much! i mean it was fun, but you gotta enjoy nights in too 🙂

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