Exploration of Ireland

17 Apr

Every weekend there is something going on, whether its DBS planned or we just want to venture out and explore. This past weekend was the exploration of Wicklow Town. There were five of us girls who had planned to meet up at the train station around one on Friday to head south along the coast. When we got on the train that afternoon, we had booked a hostile and that’s all the plans we had. There were probably a few things we should’ve looked into before going, but honestly, it was thrilling to go somewhere with no plans! That’s just what you’ve gotta do when you live in a place called Ireland. We got off the train and just started walking. We were looking for our hostile, but didn’t know where it was. Good thing the sun was shining! As we ventured through the town, I  found a sweet old broken down castle thing. Not sure precisely what it was. ImageThe gate was wide open, so we went in. While the other girls were busy looking for the hostile, I was admiring what was in front of me. Old ruins of a mysterious area. Shortly after I got all the pictures I wanted, I saw a sign on a tree that said do not enter. Oops! Of course the first thing I decided to do was breaking the rules.

Anyway, I continued to walk through the town looking into the shops and admiring the houses on the hillside. ImageI spotted a beautiful church on the hill—we were going to have to make our way up to that eventually to get a better look. Finally, we had found the hostile.

For dinner, we headed to a pub across the road. Of course, the first thing I ordered was a cup of coffee. The best food item at our table was the crab claws (or something like that). I didn’t try them, but the plate sure looked aesthetically pleasing. The five of us enjoyed the warmth and quality time to sit and talk. We had heard from the owner of the hostile, that there would be a traditional Irish band playing at a local pub at half past ten. We had been craving this type of music, so of course we were going to check that out. As we entered the pub, it looked as if we were the youngest people in the room, not only that, we were definitely the only girls. We picked a table. I couldn’t tell if I was just paranoid, but to me, everyone was watching us. We were just sitting there, talking away, when an older gentlemen approached us and asked us if we were American. He and his friends were so thrilled that they wanted a picture with us. That was odd, but the story continues. All the other tables filled with older men asked to get pictures with us, unfortunately, I got thrown in to a picture by myself with the Mayor of Wicklow Town. I can neither prove nor deny the validity of that title. However, that’s the story he told me and I am sticking to it. All that to say, the American Girls were famous in that little pub, which explains why we were being “watched.”

We switched back to the other place we had had dinner because we heard they were also having an Irish band come in. We found a big booth toward the back and took a seat. Honestly though, we couldn’t figure out where everyone our age was. We felt like the youngest ones in the entire town. We enjoyed the band that played. I enjoyed my delicious coffee—third cup of the day! Overall, the night was going well.  When all of a sudden, a lady came over to our table and sat down. She asked us if we were American. Seriously, are we wearing a sign above our heads? She waved her friend over and he came and sat down. He apparently had been waiting all night to talk to us. We found out that they had seen us at the previous location and they thought we were following them around. They seemed pretty flattered at that idea! They also asked us if a lot of people had been coming up to us. Well, yeah, all night. I asked if they don’t get a lot of Americans around and the lady said she doesn’t recall seeing any. That explains it! Per our conversation, Wicklow Town is not a normal tourist attraction. This is what we get for not making any plans!

The next day, we again did not have a plan. It was warmer and the sun was shining. In fact, the sun was shining bright all day. Not a lick of rain, which is so unusually for Ireland, but I am not complaining.  We got a full Irish breakfast (coffee was definitely involved) and began our walk around the town. We went up to the church on the hill and took pictures. We were looking for the supposed castle ruins, but no one in the town seemed to know where it was and if they did, we never got the correct directions. We wandered around for a long time just observing. We couldn’t really do anything else because the train only came at certain times of the day, which we double and triple checked the time of the next train to make sure we had the right time. It gets confusing when the times are written in military time.

One of the girls had a great idea to go on the nature walk we had seen by the train station. It wasn’t super nature-y, but it was nice. We got to walk around and admire the landscape, houses, trees, water, swans, dogs, the SUN. It was a beautiful long walk.Image

Eventually, we made it back to the train station with twenty minutes or so to spare—or so we thought. This place looked abandoned. It was definitely the station we had gotten of at, but not a soul was nearby. We tried to find an entrance, but there was nothing. We found a timetable and realized we had just barely missed the train, the next one not for a few hours. Now what are we going to do? One girl is feeling sick and the rest of us are just ready to get back home. We stood there, almost in disbelief, when a car pulled up. There was a man and I’m assuming his wife in the car. They asked if we were looking for something. We explained the situation; they pointed us in the direction of a bus we could get back to the city. It left every hour on the hour.

As we walked back to the bus stop, I sat down. Extremely exhausted from a late night and an earlier morning. Lots of walking had happened and our adventures were grand. This weekend had been a success. The girls and I had discussed how our lives here are so surreal. We are in classes for three to four days, than the weekends consists of exploration of the Island. My time here is almost up and I still can’t get over how amazing my time here has been. It definitely has not been perfect or “happy” all the time, but it’s been—like I’ve said many times—an unexpected adventure that I am so glad happened.

For a weekend, we got to live like American celebrities with nothing on the schedule except to take in Ireland and all it has to offer. I know once I go home that I won’t have rolling green hills or ancient sites to stumble across, but that doesn’t mean how I have spent my free time here has to be all that different. When I get home, I plan on freeing up my usually busy life to just enjoy the nature all around me. I’m going to explore and appreciate what my homeland has to offer.

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