I’m one day late but oh well. Second month in Ireland was epic. I am continually amazed by Irish culture. Life is so good.
First weekend of the month I spent in Cork which is south of Galway and a pretty busy and bustling town. While there, a buddy and I went to the Blarney Castle and had a very cool day exploring the grounds as well as kissing the famed Blarney stone, which you have to duck under the outer wall at the top of the castle to get to. That was a splendid weekend.
After that, I went to Scotland for 5 days with some of the best of lads which was very fun. Basically all our plans went out the window from the moment we touched down and we were left to hitch hike, take the bus, train or whatever else we could find to get to Loch Lomond. Once in Loch Lomond we hiked up into the mountains till we got tired and pitched a tent overlooking the whole lake. It was gorgeous. Scottish highcountry is incredible. Also, one of my buddies was planning on us having a rental car so he brought a roller suitcase, which we proceeded to hike up the mountain regardless, which was just plain hilarious. There weren’t any trails or anything so we accidentally ended up cutting through some public farm land and getting pretty close to lots of bulls and sheep. We spent two nights there then spent the last night back in Glasgow which is a very neat city. I ate haggis, which is the stomach lining of a sheep and black pudding, which is the pork leftovers ground up into a sausage soaked and dried in pigs blood. Both of which kind of rocked and would recommend eating if ever you are in Scotland. There’s a lot more packed into that 5 days but those are the highlights.
On weekends when I am not out of the country, I have rugby matches on Sunday afternoons and those have been very exciting. It works out pretty well and I usually just take a Thursday – Saturday to go somewhere. I am loving the sport and am the official second string backup for the NUIG B squad. I am now playing about a full half each game, and getting in the mix on plays more and more. It’s basically just a huge rush of adrenaline and you don’t feel anything until the next morning when your shoulders are all bruised up. It’s awesome.
After Scotland I caught up on my school work and my parents came and visited. They spent the first week here touring by themselves while I was in class. I met up with them the second week and went up north to go to Connemara which is a gorgeous national park about an hour north of Galway. I went pub hopping with them a few nights which was very fun, they enjoy the live Irish music just as much as I do. The last night they were here was halloween and the downtown strip was an absolute zoo. It was very fun, very loud, very energetic, very rowdy and very safe. It was a great time.
I also spent a weekend at a surf retreat with this student group called Agape. It is basically the European version of Cru in America. It was a blast, there was some great discussion, great people, big waves and lots of beer. That’s one thing I’ve really thought about here is just the amount of stigma around alcohol in America. It’s really not a big thing here, people go out and enjoy each other’s company and listen to music and good stories. Nobody is going out and compromising themselves and being belligerent. It’s a socially accepted and encouraged thing. It feels really refreshing to be treated like an adult and not have it be a big thing that you have to be baby sat over. Just don’t be stupid and know your limit. To be frank, I’ve found that there’s generally a lot less drama after a beer or two. Surfing was very cool, it was really cold. 32 degrees above with 15 mph winds but once you got a wet suit on and got in the water it was fine.
The last two months have been jam packed full of activities and I have no doubt that the next two will be the same. I have friends coming over from Alaska for two separate weeks at the beginning and end of the month. Then I have finals and Christmas festivities the first two weeks of December. Then I am ending the semester spending 12 days in Germany with some friends that live there for Christmas.
Ireland continues to amaze me. Everyday. The culture here is so fun, so relaxed, so approachable and so enjoyable. It is the only country I’ve been to that I really could see myself living here at some point. I am truly enjoying every day of this experience and am just thankful for the opportunity to be here. I am very fortunate to be at a place in my life where I can pick up and leave for four months. I can’t quite put it into words but it’s just very very very cool. I could go on and on about it but no matter how much I explain you won’t fully grasp it so I’ll just say you should go.
Study abroad. Stop trying to control everything and just live in the present for a little bit. It’s a wild ride.
Last modified: November 4, 2019