Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag 2 Months later
18 april 2011
2 Months later
So I haven't been posting blogs for over two months now. That definitely doesn't mean that I haven't been doing anything, haha, quite the opposite! Lots of things have happened, from which I will probably have forgotten quite a lot unfortunately... Oh well, I'll try to recollect as much as I can!
Galway, the Aran Islands & Galway
It's been a while ago, but me & a lot of internationals went to Galway for a weekend, having booked a hostel. The first day, we'd just stick to the city of Galway, which was pretty good. At first we entered a music store we walked passed; as me and my french roommates all play instruments, it was a place which we simply had to go to. After that we decided on going to the shore. Here, there were loads of swans, which are truly as common as pidgeons or ducks back at home. Having one eating out of the palm of my hand was pretty awesome however. Walking up and around the shoreline was certainly a blessing and very soothing, but the city center had a lot to offer as well. Having eaten at a mexican place, we went back to our hostel or a moment and started our search for a pub. This was definitely quite the search however. We gave approximately five pubs a chance, but they were all too filled. Jonathan asked around about a more empty pub and was then given directions to it. The place was called "hole in the wall" and it was a fabulous place to go to for students. Drinks were approximately €1,- cheaper than other places, there were enough seats and there was a dancefloor too! As time progressed, more people entered and there was a great atmosphere, ensuring the time at the place to be a great one. We left too early for my taste, but probably better as we were to get up early (8.00) in order to get to the Aran Islands. The next day, I was definitely glad to have decided on going along whereas others decided it not to be worth the price. We had an amazing weather on the day which without a doubt resembled a warm spring day. After a journey by bus and boat, we arrived on the largest of the Aran Islands. A nice fact is that the population, whilst being highly competent at English, spoke Irish as their native tongue. We rented bikes here for the day and explored the Island. Having a lot of hills and old ruins, the island was a sight like no other. Climbing some of those ruins was definitely adding to the fun as well and ensured an ever better view of the entire island and the other islands in the distance. Cycling along the shoreline, we came across a beach where we decided to rest and admire the beautiful weather. After having cycled through most of the island, we decided on getting the bikes back and have a drink near where the boat was to pick us up. This would then mark the end of this great day. A week later, three of us (Erin, Melissa and myself) returned to Galway to do some shopping and with it also getting our outfit for St Patricks Day together.
Storming the Castle of Bunratty
With a smaller group, we decided on going to Bunratty Castle, which is not too far away from Limerick. Apart from a Castle, there's also a folk park, containing medieval buildings which give you a better feel of how people used to live back in those days. Once arrived, we decided to first do the Castle part and check out the folk park afterwards. The castle didn't look too impressive when gazing upon it from the highway, but nearing it, I noticed it was actually larger than I had imagined. Still, I was yet to be impressed, as the castles I'm used to look quite a bit more impressive on the exterior. Before entering, we decided to have some fun with the cannons which were placed in front of the castle. Especially the "baby cannon", thus nicknamed for its tiny size, enjoyed a lot of attention, whereas I thought the big one was most impressive. Once inside, I was able to see more of what I had hoped for. It had the feel of the old medieval times, whereas some castles fail to reach that goal. Seeing old weaponry, thrones, armour, decorations and furniture, I did get the views which I wished to see here. Also, walking through the castle, it yet again felt bigger than the outside would state. In comparison to most Irish castles, which would be best described as fallen ruins, this one was actually kept close to its former glory. After the castle, It was time to have a look around the folk park. My opinion here heavily varied. Some of the old buildings were left as good as empty, which was quite disappointing, whereas other buildings were richly furnished and looked gorgeous. The buildings which I enjoyed most were the old school and the 1700-styled cottage. What did annoy me was that the bedrooms in nearly every case were quite similar. Another highlight at this place would be the Guinness Cake. Yes people, you heard that right, Guinness Cake! Though not as good that you'd think you're in heaven, a slice of it is definitely tasty. After having been to the farmers' part of the folk park and after having petted one of the pigs which greeted us warmly, it was time to return to Limerick City.
This was, without a doubt, the best day I had in all the time that I had spent in Ireland. When going there, I had hardly any idea of what I could expect of it. I heard that it was situated at the coast and that it would have a form of cliffs. The weather was definitely on our side that day. After all of us got out of the bus we instantly headed towards the beach. There, we hung around for a bit and discussed where to go. It was decided that we were to head towards the cliffs. So we did. It was the best decision we could have taken. At first we had loads of fun with climbing around at a rocky area, which was not really a big cliff yet. Let's say that if you were to fall down there that you would probably survive. Also, we discovered a small cave there which was only accessible through climbing around. After that, we cooled of, sitting in a patch of grass, enjoying the gorgeous view and lovely weather. We continued our walk on the shoreline later on, but unfortunately did lose a large part of the group. The good news was that I did end up with a group who wished to do exactly the same things as I did. We walked towards a small peninsula, which we found out was actually a small island. Through skillful climbing and finding shallow spots we managed to reach it nonetheless. The water was beautifully clear and we were able to see lots of underwater plants, shells and the like. The waves crashing onto the peninsula where we were at was also an amazing sight. After that it was time to visit some real cliffs, which I thought to be unquestionably more beautiful than the ones at the Cliffs of Moher. Not only were there no restrictions, the cliffs' shapes were prettier, the depth seemingly more drastic and loads of safe places to sit on the edge of it. Sitting at the edge of the cliffs, with such wonderful weather, watching the waves way down below you roar and crash onto the cliffs far below was such an amazing feel of peace and tranquility that words cannot do it justice. It was accompanied by awe and fear at the great height of the fall if you were to tumble down. Another incredible thing about the cliffs was that you were actually able to ascend and descend them at your leisure. This was naturally very entertaining just as it ensures you to get the view which you prefer. For a person like me, it felt like heaven on earth. Those who are going to visit Ireland at some point in their life, I'd like to tell them to definitely go to Kilkee; it is probably one of the most beautiful places I've seen.
Cork: and the kissing of a stone
What? Kissing stones? What did you smoke Roy? Allow me to explain =) A few of us decided on going to Cork for a trip. It was quite weird for me to visit it, as it was the first place I gazed upon in Ireland. I remembered parts of Cork as the bus drove through it. The idea of landing there a couple of months earlier made me feel quite eerie. We agreed that we first wished to go to the Blarney Castle, which is accompanied by a humongous park. We wished to go to the castle first, but on the way towards it we found a small cave. My instincts could not help entering it, as I just had to know what was there. After reaching the dead end, it was time to take a closer look at the castle. The castle itself was quite fallen, but it was still safe to walk around in it thankfully. It was for example missing a floor and there were absolutely no furniture or whatever inside. What WAS very interesting was the "Blarney Stone" It's a big block of bluestone in the wall of the castle. Tradition has it that if you are to kiss the stone, you would get more skilled at flattering people. Naturally, I could not resist the temptation. In order to kiss it, you would have to grab a railing and lower yourself into a hole in an almost upside down position. Letting go of the railing was definitely a no go, because you would fall with your head onto iron bars. Not a pleasant thought. In the old days you would actually just fall to your death if you let go of the railing. Now that I would supposedly be blessed with the skill of flattery *ahem*, it was time to see a bit more of the park. The poison garden certainly gave us a laugh or two. It was named so because all there plants there were deadly if consumed; some even if you want to sniff for its fragrant. The park had several other sections too, from which the Rock garden and the Fern forest would probably be the most gorgeous ones. The rock garden was basically a place filled with plants and trees which were on elevated grounds. Instead of staring at soil when facing your left or right, there'd be stone fencing. Also, there quite a lot of boulders there to climb. The Fern forest was unfortunately not at its blooming state yet; after springtime there'd be enormous ferns which are the size of small trees. Still, the forest landscape was definitely a welcome change from the city scenery which we're linving in. The final place worth mentioning in the park would be a small playground where the guys and I played like little children on a swing and enjoyed our lunch on benches made by carving they out of tree logs. After Blarney Castle, we still went into Cork to do some shopping. It was another unforgettable day in Ireland.
Northern Ireland; to walk upon a causeway of giants
At a certain point when I was casually sitting in my room enjoying a film, I was suddenly asked by one of my roommates if I'd enjoy to go to Northern Ireland. I instantly said yes. We'd go to Belfast, stay at a hostel for two nights and on the Saturday do a tour which would take us to the Giant Causeway. I was highly enthousiastic about it, as the Giant Causeway was one of the two remaining sights on my wishlist for my Ireland experience. When at the trainstation in Limerick, we were shocked to find out that a single trainticket to Dublin (this was on the way to Belfast) alone would cost €50,-! We then decided to take the bus, as a return ticket to Belfast was already less than €40,-. It did entail that we had to spend about 7 hours in a bus, but it was absolutely worth it. Once arrived in Belfast we started our search for the hostel. We were pleasantly surprised to find out it was a mere 10 minute walk from the bus stop. On our arrival, we first chilled out in our room for a bit before going into the city. At first we went to get our barings a bit and explore which later on turned into a small shopping spree. Our stops at the HMV and the Primark were definitely worth the trouble. We continued with getting dinner at the Burger King, as Simon and I were quite into getting ourself some fast food. After that we returned to our place and relaxed a bit more. It was quite unfortunate that my phone did not really like Northern Ireland or something, as I was to meet up with some of my Dutch classmates, but we were not able to contact each other. It meant missing out on a nice pub experience. On the other hand it did give me some time for studying Irish in our room, as I had an exam coming up. Of course, this went hand in hand with messing around, including stuff like mimicing the seagulls from Finding Nemo in four different languages to Charlie the Unicorn. The next day we got up at 7.30. We got breakfast, but most importantly coffee, and readied ourselves for the tour which would take us not only to the Giant Causeway, but also to the Rope Bridge and the city of Derry. The tour bus conviniently started off right in front of our hostel. After cruising through the Northern Irish landscape for about 40 minutes, we arrived at our first stop, the Rope bridge. It is a bridge between two cliffs, reaching to a small island which was used in the old days by fishermen. It gave some nice views from the cliffs, a feel of tranquility and a view of a species of seabirds which aren't native to my own country, namely Razorbills. The walk on the rope bridge was quite fun. I chose to do so without using my hands, as the bridge itself was quite safe to begin with. It did give me some "omg-what-the-hell-are-you-doing?!" looks, but it felt a lot nicer at the same time. A funny fact is that from the place where we stopped, you could actually see a small piece of Scotland at the other end of the ocean. After a busride of about 20 minutes, we arrived at was to be the highlight of the Belfast trip; we were at the Giant Causeway. Well, not really, we still had to walk for about 10-15minutes, but then we did finally arrive. I was slightly let down however, as it looked a lot more impressive on pictures than in reality. Nonetheless, it was still a sight to behold. I still cannot believe that such pillars could be formed by a process of nature. For those who do not know what I'm talking about, look up some pictures of it and you'll understand what I mean. It also ensured some nice pictures. Climbing around it was fun too, though too easy; the cliffs of Kilkee were more challenging. The walking up and down the Giant Causeway, accompanied by the previous experience at the rope bridge, did leave me a bit exhausted and low energy, but there was still one more stop; the city of Derry. It was here that "Bloody Sunday" took place. The signs of it are still visible here and there, with great murals describing certain aspects of its history. In Derry, we walked around on the city walls, as it still has its old city walls which have been built in the medieval times. The wall had signs, going more in-depth on its colourful history. When finished with the walk on the wall, we went into a small patch of green and gave our legs some well-earned rest. After that it was time to go back to Belfast. For dinner, we yet again visited the Burger King where I had one of the most delicious ice creams I've ever had. It was like a McFlurry, but rather than smarties, it was with strawberry and cheesecake, absolutely delicious! That evening, I took a long and luxurious bath at our hostel, did a bit more studying before going to bed quite early as we had to get up at 6 to grab an early bus back. The weekend was a success =)
Cashel's Rock, Swiss Cottage and Ger's hospitality
Yesterday, a couple of us were invited to visit a few places with Ger Cahillane, our International Office coördinator. This would therefore be my first tour in Ireland by car. We would first go to the Rock of Cashel. The name would incline it to be some kind of ritual ornament, but it's actually the name given to the Castle in the town of Cashel. The Castle included a Cathedral which has had its best days. It's not completely in ruins; a lot still remains, but holes in the roof for example exist. It gave a dark, but somehow peaceful feel to the place. There was also a small graveyard next to it. The Irish crosses used for graves are mystic and beautiful. It was a shame that a mausoleum with a huge Irish cross on it was struck by lightening; it caused the top to be struck down. After the Castle, we went for a walk to another ruin. It had quite the same feel to it as the Castle had, except that it was in a slight more state of deterioration. It did allow us to climb around a bit ,however, giving us a nicer view and different perspective of the entire ruins. We grabbed ourself lunch in Cashel and went on after that to a place which name I cannot remember. At least there was a park there which we had a walk through. Beautiful piece of nature, especially since the trees are starting to regain their green colour. In this park there was a charming cottage called the "Swiss Cottage", named so because the style would be somewhat Swiss. It's a gorgeous house which is actually kept in the style of the 1500s. It was wonderful, especially on the outside as it blended it with its environment perfectly. We had a small tour here. When I asked for a Dutch leaflet instead of an English one (as I already saw they had Dutch ones), the lady at the counter gave me a "what-would-you-need-that-for?" look. She had not noticed at all that I was not from a country which doesn't have English as a first language and swore that I was American. Lovely moment that. After that, it was time to return to Limerick... or so I initially thought, but Ger invited us over to enjoy dinner at her place. Her hospitality surely knew no limits. We there met her boyfriend (I could've sworn she was married) and her son, whom did the cooking. His skills at that were truly amazing, as dinner was deilicious. We first enjoyed a beer though and during dinner we were given a few glasses of wine. After having satisfied our stomachs, we played a card game, accompanied by a glass of wine and later on even by champagne! On the background, there were classic songs, though we started off with, surprisingly enough, Lord - Hardrock Hallelujah! I could not help but adore this song so much. We had an absolutely wonderful time, all due to the generosity of Ger; we owe you one!
Indeed, there have been a few more parties, including two themed ones. Both of them were held to celebrate two birthdays at the same time. The first one of the two has actually been quite a while ago. The theme was "chique & shock", which basically meant that you were required to dress up in a fancy way and at the same time wear something which completely does not fit in; in other words, shock people. For the occasion, I decided to dress up in a suit, but I pulled a pink superman underwear with the awesomely wrong line "I could be your hero" written on it(thank you Penny's!) over my trousers. The best thing about it was that it was not visible unless I pulled up my jacket. This gave me the oppertunity to "flash" people, which definitely added to the great time I had there. (especially on the way back when I flashed a few random Irish people) I was slightly embarrased though, as my shock seemed a lot more shocking than others, haha. The other party was the "knackers & haunties" party. Just so you know, using these words for people who dress up as them might provide you with a few slaps and punches, they're not terms which you would generally be using. A knacker is a guy who would dress in track pants, wears nikeys and wear hoodies. The socks are sometimes even pulled over their track pants. We'd probably think of them as "wannabe gangsta's". Haunties are women who dress in extremely short dresses (which us internationals often refer to as "belts"). Aside of these two parties, there have been a couple of others too, all of them being a great time =)
St. Patricks Day
Naturally, this party deserved a section of its own. I was slightly bummed out about not being able to celebrate "carnaval" back in the Netherlands. However, St. Patricks Day provided me with an oppertunity to have a dress up nonetheless and definitely had an air of the Dutch party day too. When shopping at Galway for what I called "St Patty's gear", I bought a shirt which I sprayed green for most of it. On my back I left my name white. I used an Irish flag as cape, had an awesome St Patricks hat with a beard attached to it and I used hairspray to spray my HANDS green. It felt extraordinary weird and very cold when spraying it, but after that it was definitely worth all the trouble. Making sandwiches with my green hands was a really freaky, but funny experience. When we left, there were a large amount of people with bagpipes in front of the city campus gates, giving us a positive start to what was going to be a great day. So it was. At first we went to the parade. At first there were merely military parades. After having seen quite a few of them, they got slightly boring. After that, there were a lot of different cars coming by of which the most noticable ones were a mobile band and an inflatable pirate ship which had to be deflated quite a bit in order to fit under the powerlines. After that, it was time to honour St. Patrick in a traditional Irish way; Drinking alcoholic beverages! We've been to a few pubs (mainly Dolan's, my favourite pub here in Limerick), had dinner at McDonalds and continued our pursuit of getting tipsy. I was quite fortunate, Dolan's had a few backrooms which would require €10 entrance, but I managed to get in nonetheless without paying. I merely said that I had entered before and forgot to get a stamp. The people whom I was with backed my story up, as did a few random people whom I'm really thankful. All and all, it was an absolutely amazing evening which I will not forget in a long time. Definitely one of my best days in Ireland!
Pot Luck, Burrito Night & Crèpes Day
Back at home, some of us had a cooking club called "de happende hansters". Here we'd cook for one another. At first, we had no equivellant of it here in Ireland, till Don decided to organise a Pot Luck where everyone would make a dish and you could try a bit of everyone's cooking. The first time, I had no time to make anything decent anymore and decided on buying some wine for everyone to enoy. The next time I did however make pasta, Dutch style (apparently, people aren't used to pasta with pesto, meat and vegetables). What most definitely was extremely enjoyable was the first burrito night. I was talking to Jonathan the other day about burritos and he proposed the idea. Everyone made a filling for the burrito or brought something else which would complement a nice tortilla. Aside of the food being VERY enjoyable, the jamming session afterwards was highly enjoyable, as it was a combination of learning new riffs, some nice sessions with others and also loads of fun and messing around with instruments and vocals alike. The second time was also enjoyable, though less than the time before it. The next time has already been planned too which will take place coming friday. Two days ago, we had a Crèpes party. A lot of us came together at my appartment to enjoy some lovely crepes, some of them filled with ham and cheese, which was godlike, others were made to have nutella or jam on it, also a most tasteful experience. All these food meetings definitely reminded me of the old times in Nijmegen and they pulled a smile on my face =)
I do actually go to school a bit too!
On another note, I've got some grades back. The grading system here is REALLY weird to me. In order to get a ass, one would only need to have 40% of the questions correct. The grading system also works differently. A C3 would be the lowest sufficient mark and an A1 the highest. C's would be merely sufficient, B's good and A's outstanding. Thus far I had three multiple choice quizzes for Social psychology, where I received two C1's and a B2. For my Philosophy class (ethics) I had an essay for which I scored a B2. I also just finished my introduction to gaelic exames, but I have yet to receive my grades for it. I'm not worried about receiving a pass for them though, as the exams went pretty well. Slán leat Gaeilge! All that remains is a second essay for Ethics, an MCQ for Social Psychology and a test for Abnormal Psychology. These will all be done between the 9th and the 13th of May, giving me plenty of time to prepare for them. Classes have already finished though... such a weird feeling, it is actually all going toward its conclusion...
Oh yeah, and what something I'm doing at every place I visit. I figured it would be nice to have a souvenir of every place I visit, though it might of course be hard on for example beautiful pieces of nature. What I decided to do is to take a rock with me and paint the name of the place of it afterwards with white-out. As of yet, I have collected 15 rocks and the collection will definitely expand over the next few days as I have two weeks off at the moment.
Music to my ears.
As I said earlier, my french roommates are both highly skilled at playing music. In comparison, I feel like a kid with its rattle. We did have a couple of jam-sessions however and I learnt a few songs of them too. The best part to me was them playing in O'Dwyers, a pub not too far from our place, a couple of times. One of the Americans here has also performed at a pub, where another American had a lead part in a musical. It's lovely to see how our group of internationals is highly musical and having been to all of those performances was a true honour.
Well, that was most definitely the longest blog I've ever written! Only natural of course after having been inactive for a couple of months =)It's weird to think that my time here is already reaching to its conclusion... Now, let's finish off with some random facts of my trip ;)
- I loved the contradiction of seeing a catholic school girl, dressed in a dress which reached up to her ankles, smoking greens.
- I had an abcess while being here, which I had pierced myself. Let's not talk about what came out of it =)
- Going to a nurse, doctor and getting the medication cost me a total of €0,50
- The final day of school is already finished
- A random high person mistook me for Curt Cobain
- A person was shot approximately 100 meters from where we live
- I lost my return ticket to Belfast, and had to buy a new one at Dublin, typical =P
- Veolia, a dutch railway company, is actually a trashtransporting company in Ireland (same logo).
- I've still been following football here all the time, both the Dutch National Team and Fc Twente
- More glasses have magically found their way from a pub to our cupboard.
- We made a birthday cake for our roommate.
- When kicking random objects, a bag of crisps had some white powdery substance as its contents.
- I found a box in which a gun used to be out on the streets.
- I think my French improved a whole lot more than my English has
- I eat a lot more healthy here than I used to back at Nijmegen.
- Going to Ireland has inspired me to go to an international workcamp in Athens this summer.
- In Ireland, I already had change guitar strings as often as I had in total back in the Netherlands.
18 april 2011 07:29 | Door: marina
that took some time to read!!!
23 april 2011 19:30 | Door: Priscilla
Jezus hee.. wat een tekst... ik vind dat daar wel wat tegenover mag staan hoor :P hahaha ga jij mijn blogs ook maar eens lezen! Ik ga er morgen ofzo weer 1 voor leraar worden schrijven.. heb een tshirt gekregen van Ilja voor die website XD mag t hier ook promoten XD lol
9 mei 2011 12:44 | Door: jan linders
Ever thought of writing a travelling guide of Ireland? You're a talented writer and you absolutely share your enthusiasm about Ireland, Irish landscape and culture etc. with your readers! On the side you seem to be able to write essays and do exams on ethics, philosophy, psychology etc. next to making music now and then! My compliments, enjoy your last weeks, greetz,
P.S. Being an AJAX supporter myself, let's not discuss FC Twente -:) !
slán leat gaeilge !