My friend Ben came up with it.
When I left for Ireland last month, he told me he expected my adventures to be titled “booze and grooves” and to disregard liver health. I’m only listening to his first suggestion.
This weekend we had a class trip to Northern Ireland! The history of division between the British/Protestants vs. Irish/Catholics is jarring yet fascinating. One of the first things our tour guide in Belfast said was, “This is the most dangerous part of Belfast… If a taxi honks at you, sprint back to the bus as fast you can. That’s the most important.”
Illegal murals are a big part of the culture. They are all political statements rooted in the violent divisions that manifested only two decades ago.
I was that student who asked, “Are you being serious?” He answered with a straight face, “Does it look like I’m kidding?”
But later he told us that he was kidding, and we all laughed (*nervous relief laughs for me*). We still couldn’t really open our mouths about religion or politics though.
I must admit that I felt uncomfortable in Belfast for the first half of the day, but after visiting the peace wall, going downtown, and learning about the government at the Parliament building reassured me that peace is being pursued.
They even served us afternoon coffee, tea, and biscuits during our break, which was the cutest. I am officially a fan of digestive biscuits dipped in tea.
Witnessing and experiencing the city made for one excellent history lesson!
For dinner that night, a bunch of us went to Robinson’s and ate inside a “snug”, which we learned was the ladies’ corner back in the day, where we might have been served alcohol if the men of institution were feelin’ nice enough. Coincidentally, we were a bunch of ladies gathered in a snug on Thursday night. But we bought our own drinks 🙂
I ordered the shepherd’s pie, which was more like sloppy joe with a lot of mashed potatoes on top, but I was fine with that.
Pretty much demolished the whole thing. Then it was time to get wild and cuh-razy at the Crown Liquor Saloon, ooo la la.
Megan and I had not bought an alcoholic drink in Ireland until that night, so we both bought Jameson Gingers and celebrated! Everyone else was probably more excited for us than we were for ourselves, but I appreciated the energy.
Jameson Ginger is probably one of my favorite drinks that I’ve tasted in my short and limited experience with alcohol consumption, but it still doesn’t compare to the taste of ice cream.
So Megan and I enjoyed our drinks, but we’re more willing to put our money towards a happier cause— dessert. It was still super fun to actually go out with people (I’m such a square usually).
We still went to bed before 1 am, only after watching an Irish dating show on TV.
On Friday morning, Megan and I grabbed breakfast at cafe approximately 20 paces from our hotel lobby. I ordered porridge with banana, honey, and peanut butter, and it ROCKED. The oats were cooked to a texture that was doughy and satisfying, and the addition of whole milk was life-changing.
At first, I wasn’t sure if there was peanut butter in there because it was hidden by the banana slices, but after asking, the waiter said, “It’s in there! A surprise underneath. There’s enough for two in there.”
“Enough for two people.” I laughed when I finished the bowl, because that’s how much peanut butter I always put in my oats.
Megan and I went on a brisk walk around the city (brisk because we almost got lost) before our class headed to Giant’s Causeway!
It was just as beautiful as the Cliffs of Moher!
The unique part of Giant’s Causeway is the rocks. There are tens of thousands of rocks shaped like hexagons due to how the volcanic lava solidified and cracked over the period of hundreds of thousands of years.
But you could also choose to believe that giants did it. 😉
photo from my friend Cassandra!
Yet another beautiful experience in Ireland.
Not a beautiful experience? Rushing to buy Irish stew with brown bread for lunch and having the butter packets melt from the heat of the stew all over your paper bag on the bus.
Megan: “Butter disaster 2016.”
The stew was delicious though!!
One pit stop on the way to Derry for the Games of Thrones fans:
I don’t watch the show, but if you do, does this look familiar?? (p.s. my friends spotted the whole cast inside a bar on Thursday night!)
Next stop was Derry/Londonderry (depending on whether you’re a Nationalist or a Unionist). We toured some more murals and the big wall in the middle of the city. It was so nice to move the legs and witness some stunning views of the whole city.
Our hotel was a 15 minute drive out of the city, so we settled into our rooms before taking a taxi back in for dinner. HOWEVER, everything on a Friday night was closed! Megan, Cristen and I wanted to go to a restaurant called Blackbird for a wagyu beef burger (per my mom’s recommendation), but they told us that they stop serving food at 5pm.
Disappointed, we walked around to find another restaurant, but everything except the bars and some random fast food places had their gates down. So strange. We decided to go a chain chicken restaurant called Nando’s, which was still a good dinner!
medium spice chicken on a super grain salad bowl
I was satisfied, and I had missed green vegetables. AND AVOCADO.
Then we wanted ice cream, so the waitress at Nando’s suggested Joe Jackson’s inside a mall down the street. I got the honeycomb and strawberry cheesecake flavors, which hit the spot!
The night wasn’t what we were expecting, but it was still a delicious and fun adventure. We also successfully hailed a taxi back to our hotel, which was a win.
Also, we had to put key card into this slot by the door of our hotel room in order for the electricity to work. Different!
Saturday morning, I ate a whole grain roll with peanut butter that we bought the night before for breakfast.
There was a big gym in the hotel, so I took full advantage during our free morning. I was STOKED to be using gym equipment for the first time in a month!
I warmed up and did three sets each of:
- 10 Bulgarian split squats each leg + 20 jump lunges
- squats (varying weights) + 20 squat jumps
- 12 deadlifts (105#) + 30 side jump lunges
Then I did EMOM 10:
- 5 squat cleans (65#)
- 8 burpees over the bar
That EMOM absolutely crushed my entire being. I don’t often think “I’m dying” after a workout, but this one made me feel that way.
I stretched my legs and did some lat pull downs, military presses, and tricep pull downs to finish.
Naturally, two days later, I still can’t move anything in my body.
A bunch of us ordered lunch at the hotel restaurant before hitting the road back to Dublin. It was a bizarre experience in that the service took so long and no one really knew what was going on, but we learned that the restaurant isn’t usually open and prepared to serve 15 hungry kids at that time, so everyone was just discombobulated.
The servers were very kind though, and the food was great! These fries…
I ordered a toasted beef, brie, and tomato sandwich, which I ate on the bus.
The rest of the day back on campus involved unpacking, roasting brussels sprouts, and jamming out to Disney music with my friends.
Sunday morning was some play, but mostly work. We have essays due this week!! First, Megan and I went to Mass in city centre, which was a lovely 2.5-mile walk. Then we met up with Cristen at Brother Hubbard for lunch. This is one of my favorite restaurants that I’ve been to Ireland so far!
I ordered the Turkish eggs menemem, which included herbs and roasted peppers on toasted sourdough. Best scrambled eggs ever.
Megan shared some of her pulled pork with me too, which was so tasty.
We walked back to campus, where worked hard for the rest of the day. There was a break for grocery shopping and dinner in there somewhere. And dessert! Megan and I picked up desserts from Bread and Butter on our way back from lunch earlier, so we used them as incentives to get work done.
I’m always down for carrot cake.
I also got to FaceTime Rachel at night!
“Work hard, play hard” is a fun motto to live by, but then it reverses to “play hard, work hard,” and I’m really feeling that vibe right now. Time to go finish this essay! And hopefully some yoga to streeeeetch.
overnight oats in a jar that I just ate 🙂
Hope you all have a kick-butt week!!
(p.s. apparently there have been some issues with the commenting system on my blog, so I apologize!! I’ll try to get the problem fixed ASAP!)
So tell me:
Have you ever been to Northern Ireland?
What is the coolest geologic phenomenon you’ve ever seen?
What is your favorite alcoholic beverage? I need ideas for next time!
Two things you did this weekend!