Archive | November, 2014

Going Back to the West

28 Nov

In the past 3 months I’ve had countless opportunities to get to know this amazing island I’m living on. I’ve made my way for the north, west, south, and east, seeing and experiencing different things in each direction. I know I won’t forget the murals in the Bogside,the amazing foliage around Blarney Castle, or my beautiful hike through Howth, but what I know I’ll remember most vividly is my weekend trip to Sligo.

On Halloween night, a group of friends and classmates and I took a bumpy bus ride down a dark road in the middle of nowhere. Upon arrival I ran to put my bags down and claim my spot in the top loft of the ecolodge which could only fit five people.  The little room had 360 degree windows, but everything was black when we got there and when we went to sleep, but it was very much the opposite when we woke up in the morning. The sun woke me up, as it was shining into the window right next to me and when I looked out, it felt like being on top of the world (the ecolodge was on top of a hill). The hills all around us were colored in crisp fall colors of green, orange, and brown under the clear blue sky.  After a relaxing start to the day with yoga and home cooked breakfast, we hiked up to see a carin. The way up was a nice hike, but once we got to the cairn the weather got upset. We had from the wind but as we walked over to see the Atlantic Ocean it began raining. A lot. It was so cold. The wind was actually blowing the rain sideways. My right arm was soaking wet but my left arm was dry. The steep journey down wasn’t so easy once the rain kicked in to make everything so slippery – I almost had to run just to keep my balance. Once we passed the steep part we we had to wait for a herd of running, mooing cows to pass. The cows didn’t seem too happy to be outside in that weather and I don’t blame them.

Once we were all finally back on the bus trying to warm up came the realization that we were about to go surfing. Surfing in Ireland on the first of November turned out to be beautiful, and amazing fun. And it wasn’t even that cold once we put wetsuits on! I’ll admit I definitely did not want to surf when the instructor told the group that the lesson before us had to be cancelled because of bad weather and danger wind conditions, but in the end it was better than okay and I’m so glad I can say I learned how to surf in Sligo, Ireland.

On Sunday, it was anything but easy to leave. I did not want to leave the beautiful countryside to come back to the city. We made it back to Dublin around dinner time, and by the time I went to bed I was already dreaming about the next time I’ll be in Sligo.


Soccer Game

28 Nov

Go U.S.A! students were lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to the Ireland versus United States exhibition football match. As Northeastern students prepared their red white and blue garments and makeup, we knew we’d face some opposition. This was my first time watching a soccer match live so I had high expectations of what would happen and I was pleasantly surprised. On our way to the game, students wearing American flag pants were gawked at and some made snide remarks, but most were friendly and laughed along. In our seats with the whole group, the passion and excitement was palpable and made watching that much more fun.

During the game it was fun to see the cheers and excitement for the game that came from the Irishmen. There were people of all ages at the game and there was a huge turnout even though it was only an exhibition match on a cold weeknight. We quickly learned that if we cheered for America or got too excited at any point, we were quickly quieted by the “boo’s” coming from the Irish supporters. We were also made fun of due to the sheer quantity of us and how hopeful we were for a win. Although we lost the game really badly and seemed to have no chance of winning, it was a lot of fun seeing the US give it a try.

The students also quickly learned that flaunting our passion for the USA and our team could get us into some trouble. Children, no older than 11, were cursing and screaming at us, prepared to fight our students! All in all, it was a great experience being able to see my first soccer game in Ireland, supporting the USA while also quietly cheering for the Republic of Ireland.


Cork and Cobh

28 Nov

This past weekend I went on a trip to Cork and Cobh. Driving past the rolling hills and green fields covered with sheep, I realized this was my last time seeing the Irish countryside. We explored the Blarney Castle and kissed the Blarney stone, which was probably swarming in germs. It comes from the story of the goddess Clíodhna telling the builder of the Blarney Castle to kiss the first stone he sees, and in return he won his lawsuit with great eloquence. Exploring the abundant gardens and beautiful scenery, I realized I couldn’t have been more blessed living in Ireland for the past four months. Blarney Castle had everything from a cave called the Druid’s lair to an area called the poison gardens. There was a beautiful mix of fall colors everywhere as we ran through the gardens and explored. The next day, we traveled to Cobh and explored the port and museum. Seeing replicas and stories of people’s struggles while trying to leave Ireland, brought everything about Irish history to life. The amount of people who have gone through this port is unimaginable. It was the departure point for 2.5 million out of the 6 million Irish people that emigrated between 1848 and 1950. It was also the sight where the 200 bodies and 700 survivors from the RMS Lusitana were brought after the Germans sank the ship. Seeing everything this port went through was a bit daunting. Before coming to Ireland, there was an entire country with a history that I knew nothing of. Now, four months later, I feel like a local, I am able to talk Irish politics with people at the pubs and speak very basic Irish. It was all a little bittersweet s we were driving home from Cobh. we passed the Irish countryside, with it’s green fields and abundant livestock, for the last time and I for one, am certainly going to miss it.

– Clara Cutbill

The Book of Kells

27 Nov

On Wednesday November 26, the NUin Community Council In-House Programming group organized a trip for a small group of students to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. The Book of Kells is a manuscript of the four gospels of the New Testament of the bible, divided up into four books. It was really interesting to go see this museum because it is one of the most recommended things to go see when in Dublin, and it was cool learning a lot about the history of this period. The book itself contains different scripts and illustrations, and isn’t held together as one book, instead it is bound into four different volumes. Each day, a different page is shown to show the different parts of the book. It is believed that the Book of Kells was created on an island called Iona off of the coast of Scotland and then brought to Kells, Ireland, however there are other theories suggesting that it was created in Kells or even in England. The Book of Kells utilizes insular illumination, which is a form of art originating near the British isles and Ireland. It was brought over to be displayed at Trinity College in 1661 when it was transferred from Kells. Along with seeing the Book of Kells, the museum also had a room called the Long Room, which houses a lot of different busts of ancient philosophers and writers, such as Aristotle and Homer. The Long Room has a right to claim a free copy of every book ever published in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was been in the 1700’s, but was expanded in 1860 when the shelves had become completely full and they recognized they needed more room. In the center of the Long Room were glass cases of other various works of literature, some old and others contemporary that encompass the ideas of older works such as the Hunger Games.

Bringing the dead back to life – A trip to Glasnevin Cemetery.

27 Nov

On Friday the 21st of November I went on a trip to Glasnevin Cemetery. The cemetery is home to over 1.5 million people who have helped shape Ireland today. Its wall hold rich antiquity and our very interactive tour allowed for a unique opportunity to learn more about Ireland’s fascinating history. The cemetery gave off an eerie feeling with its curvilinear paths and burial areas of greensward and tress. It contained an impressive variety of tombstone styles and funerary architecture. Every plot has a story; in fact some plots have more than one story. The cemetery contains a plethora of people; there are more Dubliners in the ground than on the ground. There is a large variety of monuments and memorials in Glasnevin. The Round Tower, commemorating Daniel O’Connell dominates the entrance gates with its Celtic cross and overall stunning architecture. Even though the graveyard is resting place for many influential people, according to the Irish Times, nearly 800,000 people have been buried in unmarked mass graves due to the enormous death toll from the Great Famine of the 1840s and the later cholera epidemic. Although visiting a cemetery seems a bit invasive and morbid, Glasnevin is a very special place. I learn more though experience which is why trips like these are effective in expanding my knowledge of Irish life and culture. Being able to physically see and even touch some of the graves made everything more authentic and vivid. The cemetery has an important place in the evolution of Ireland as a country but it is still an ongoing task with major expansions and refurbishment work being carried out in present time. Seeing where the past and present meet and overlap made the experience all the more interesting and stimulating.

-Dayna Fields

Sligo Adventures

26 Nov

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to visit and stay in County Sligo in an eco-lodge. Part of our stay in Sligo included hiking up the Knocknarea and Carrowkeel mountains to see neolithic passage tombs. The first mountain, Knocknarea, houses one large neolithic tomb made out of large stones piled on top of one another. After the steep hike up the mountain, we finally reached the top where a looming tomb, 60 meters wide and 10 meters tall, stood. Our tour guide gave us some history on the tomb, in which Iron Age Queen Maeve of Connacht is buried. It is said that Queen Maeve is buried upright, dressed for battle in her armor and facing her enemies in Ulster, yet it cannot be known for certain as the tomb has never been excavated. It was nice to hear that part of Ireland’s history has gone untouched, and can only be admired from a distance. However, people who choose to venture up the mountain are allowed to take part in ancient Irish tradition of adding a stone to the tomb, which I did when we began making our way back down the mountain.

The next day, we hiked up Carrowkeel Mountain, which contains multiple neolithic tombs. Because so many of the tombs have been excavated, I was able to crawl in one and appreciate the architecture of the tomb from the inside. Although it appeared tiny from the outside, once I had crawled through the opening, there was enough space for me to stand and sit comfortably. While sitting inside, our tour guide came in and played Irish bagpipes. Sitting in a neolithic tomb more than 5,000 years old while listening to an Irish instrument was a captivating experience. Overall, my trip to Sligo proved to be very informative and eye opening, as I learned about Irish history first hand.

By: Isabel Baird

A Very Dublin Christmas

26 Nov

Dublin at Christmas time is in a word, magical. The city is decorated with festive lights and people sporting Christmas jumpers. Grafton Street is filled to its capacity with people going to and from the Saint Stephen’s Green Christmas Market — my favorite part of the whole Christmas affair. The Christmas Market is a strip of food stands selling delicious burgers, chips, sausages, crêpes and hot drinks, as well as stands selling artisan goods. Everything about the market makes things more special than they normally would be — like a gift from Santa Claus. I venture there almost everyday, just to be a part the atmosphere and smell the aroma of constant cooking, but I usually end up buying the food. The other night, whilst eating a burger, I people watched and observed the many couples that walked by, as well as teenagers, like myself, that had just come from school. That’s the thing I love about Christmas, it brings all sorts of people together to celebrate. The other thing about the Christmas market is, you would never find any of those products anywhere else. The things being sold are always so weird, things such as, seaweed wraps and heated back pads. But that’s what makes the whole thing so interesting, you never know what you’ll find there. My favorite stand though (besides the food ones of course) would be one of the jewelry stands. All of the jewelry is handmade with intricate detail that features some sort of Celtic symbol, such as the triskelion. All the stands together, with the strands of lights that connect each one, is a beautiful sight, and I can promise you that you’ll find me there tomorrow.

Grafton Street

–Teresa Chappell