Agus anois a rá againn slán a fhágáil ag Éirinn

This post’s translation: “And now we say goodbye to Ireland” (even though the featured image above is London)

It is hard to believe that this time has actually come. I am sitting in my bedroom on my twin bed with the orange duvet cover that spent most of the semester in the drawer under my bed wondering how this time has gone so fast.

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A picture I took of my gate before leaving DIA for Chicago O’Hare and beginning my journey to Dublin on Sept. 13.

I think back to September 13, when I was sitting at Denver International Airport waiting for my plane that would take me to Chicago O’Hare to arrive. First off, I could not imagine sitting on a plane for seven hours from O’Hare to Dublin. Second, I was nervous. I was headed across the Atlantic for three whole months on my own. There was only one other person from Arizona State going over, and I had only ever met him once, and it was basically in passing. This was a huge step for me.

To be honest, for most of college, I did not want to study abroad. My brother studied in Prague during my senior year of high school and absolutely loved it. It gave him a new place to be, new people to be around, and offered him valuable experience for his business degree.

I never felt that many of those parameters fit my experience. I went to an out-of-state university, whereas my brother stayed at Colorado State, in

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Journalist Jeff, taken by my friend Kerry Crowley last semester

my hometown. I was surrounded by new people as no one from my school was at ASU, and the only people in my class from the city of Fort Collins were both back in Colorado by the end of the fall 2012 semester, so I was surrounded by new people. Being in the United States is also more advantageous for my degree, as, especially after seeing what journalism is like over here, most journalists work in their own country. One just does not hear American accents on the news over in Europe.

I used those arguments time and time again with my mother and my brother as they tried to convince me to study abroad. I was even more convinced toward my side of the argument, as I entered this semester with 1 credit remaining before graduation and I could have gotten that out of the way last semester with an extra class or this semester with a quarter-long online class.

But, eventually, I was worn down. I give my mother and brother credit. They were persistent. Every time we had a family dinner when I came home to Colorado, the topic of studying abroad came up, and I literally mean EVERY time. I’d push it off, give my excuses and try and win the battle for the day. But, during the Fall 2014 semester, I relented.

I honestly just thought, “Why not? It could be fun. I only have electives to take anyway.”

So, I started looking up programs. Pretty quickly I narrowed the cities I wanted to go to to two cities, Manchester (purely because I am a Manchester United supporter) and Dublin. Dublin seemed like a better program (and it was a bit cheaper) so I signed up. I went through ASU’s and CAPA’s applications and did everything that they asked of me and began to prepare for my trip. I bought my ticket when they said to (definitely wish I had flown Aer Lingus for the US Customs pre-clearance in Dublin on the way home), and after finishing my schooling at ASU and the Cronkite School and working a summer at Café Mexicali in Fort Collins, I went to DIA and began my journey over.

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Me, on the first day of class with a very tired Darby Vance in the background.

When I boarded my flight in Chicago, I even muttered to myself, “There’s no going back now.” Yeah, I was nervous. What were the people going to be like? Was I going to become great friends with anyone? Would I like my roommate? What would our living situation be like? What was Dublin going to be like? These questions and so many like them rushed through my mind as I sat there on that seven-hour flight. Finally I landed, and began what has turned out to be a wonderful journey!

I have gotten to experience Dublin in so many amazing ways. This part is odd to me to write, because it is similar to one of my final essays for my Global Cities course, but I have really enjoyed getting to experience Dublin by walking around and reading the city using a practice called semiotics, which is where one looks at everything around them to try and learn about a city. They try to learn its history, what it has become, who lives there and more. I have gotten to do that so much here and it has given me such a deeper love for this place.

Perhaps one of the most amazing ways I have gotten to experience Dublin is through the Chapel Group at St. Mark’s Church. I wrote about this before, but this is basically a church group for college students that met weekly to praise God and be a community for each other. I have gotten to meet people from all over the world because of this group and I am seriously going to miss it when I go home.

I have also gotten to experience Dublin with an amazing group of people. I have loved every second I have been in Dublin. I am so thankful that God has surrounded me with some amazing new friends, friends that I hope I will keep in touch with and keep in my for many, many, many, many years to come.

There have been challenges. Being a senior graduating at the end of the semester in another country is hard. There is so little motivation to do work, especially when the classes only meet once a week and don’t normally assign homework between classes. Add on wanting to travel all over Ireland and Europe, and it’s a bad recipe for work. But, I powered through that (somehow) and hopefully will receive all A’s (although I may not know until next May).

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Me at Notre Dame Cathedral

There was also Paris. I cannot explain how much I wanted to go home after being in Paris on Nov. 13. That night shook me to my core, and it took good talks from friends (both in Dublin and the US), both of my parents and my girlfriend to get me to calm down and stick it out for the last month. And I have to say, my trip to London the next weekend gave me a sign that said all of those people where right.

I guess I never wrote about London. I definitely meant to, and I still may write a separate post about it, because it was probably my favorite trip, but as I took the Thames Path from Greenwich to Westminster my first full day there, I was greeted in the clouds by a smiley face. That may not sound to many like this profound sign, but as I stood there looking at it, I really felt as if God were saying that I made the right choice to stay in Europe and take the trip to London (which I had strongly debated canceling). From then on, I knew that God had truly blessed this trip for me, and, to go back a couple of paragraphs, Chapel Group was just another sign of that.

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The smiley face in the sky over London

And now, here I am having just taken my penultimate class of college and turned in my final assignment. My final class will be tomorrow morning, and my college career will end in the most fantastic way possible. By watching movies. We will be watching Rocky Road to Dublin and The Commitments. I have not seen either of these, so if anyone has any reviews, send them my way! But honestly, I could not think of a better way to end college.

I will begin my journey back to the United States, and to my awesome, large queen-size bed in Fort Collins on Saturday. I get to have the pleasure of spending the night at Heathrow, before boarding a 10.5-hour flight from London to Dallas, and then having a three- or four-hour layover after going through customs in Dallas before I head back to Denver.

I am going to miss Dublin. This place has truly become a part of me. I’m going to miss the people, the accent, my friends, CAPA, and so much more. But, I am at the same time extremely excited to head home. I will love having an oven again, getting to see all of my high school friends, seeing my mom, Christmas, and most important of all (sorry Mom!), I FINALLY will get to see my girlfriend, Julia, when she flies up from Tucson on the 26th to spend New Years with me.

So for now, Dublin, I say farewell. Slán, as it is said in Irish. I hope this is not a good bye, more like a see you later. I hope to walk your streets again one day!

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A quick photoshop I put together of all of the countries I visited (and a Dublin GAA flag) on top of the EU flag.

Back to the USA I go!

512054Coming Soon: A video and photo slideshow highlighting all of the amazing things and people this trip has had in store! Check it out soon!

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An méid sin a fheiceáil i am sin beag: Deireadh Fómhair agus Samhain cothrom le dáta

(The title this time: “So much to see in such little time: October and November Update”)

Ok, so I’ll admit this. I haven’t written for a while because, well, I’ve been lazy about it and I put other things (such as school) ahead of it, but this past week has been so eventful for me, I really want to catch people up on what has been going on here in Ireland for the last month and a half!

It is crazy as I sit here writing this knowing that at about 1:15 am tonight, I will cross the threshold of being one month away from being home. I honestly have mixed feelings about going home, which I will dive more into later.

But, first, let’s catch up on the months of October and most of November!

October was a crazy month. Lots of travel and sightseeing within Dublin, along with getting into the grind with course work. My favorite class so far this semester has been my Irish history class. I hear this from a lot of American students, and it is true. We have been fed American history from birth. Through this trip, I have been able to talk to friends and people in my class who have said that they have maybe had only one or two years on world history in their lives. That means that they have basically had almost ten years of American. I understand knowing one’s own history, but shouldn’t we understand what is going on around us and why from a historical prospective? That is one reason I have loved my Irish history course. I have gotten to learn so much about the country of Ireland through this. I have learned about the medieval feudal systems from before the Vikings or Normans/English arrived. Then learning the impact that the Vikings had on the Emerald Isle and, of course, the British has been fascinating. There have also been many wars and rebellions and fascinating people to learn about. We haven’t quite gotten to learning about the Easter Rising and the Irish Civil War of 1922 yet and I haven’t learned much about the recent conflicts near Belfast and the Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland divide, but we will get to those very soon and I am quite excited to learn about those. I have learned a bit about the Easter Rising just from various sightseeing touristy things that I have done, but I am excited to learn about it in depth in class.

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The Global Cities class grabbing some breakfast at a cafe in north Dublin.

My creative writing class has been very interesting. I have been able to really write in a way I have never really tried to do before. I have come up with some interesting subjects, some of which are too in-depth for the short word count we are allotted in the class, but I have still enjoyed getting to write in a creative manner, instead of just the facts and nothing but the facts, as I have been taught in journalism. This class has brought me a huge culture shock.

In our courses here, the grades are dependent on very few assignments. In history, we have 11 papers (nine of which are one page, weekly reports on the lecture and field trip that comprise the class to show our understanding); in Global Cities, we have one paper, a interactive Google Map, and then a second Google Map of a specific neighborhood of Dublin, along with a tour of that part of the city and an exam; and then there are three stories and an academic analysis of a novel, film or play for creative writing. Relying on such few assignments for a total grade has shocked me. (If I had ended up taking the advanced photography class, there would have been one semester-long project that would have comprised my entire grade). Crazy, right?

When I received my mark for my first creative writing assignment, I had no idea what to make of it. I received a mark of “69/70”. That is not 69 out of 70, but actually, according to my professor, it is a grade of between 69 and 70. In Ireland, however, and this is a basic understanding that could in no way be correct, that is essentially an A- or B+. Being from the USA, seeing a mark of 69 or 70 on my paper would mean I got a C- or D+, so I was, safe to say, dumbfounded when I saw that. I worried about that for a while, because I am really trying to stay within the Summa Cum Laude boundaries (the border at ASU is a cumulative GPA of 3.8, mine is 3.85), which means I can only get two B’s this semester. If the conversion back home ends up as a B for creative writing, since that class counts for two classes at ASU, those are my two B’s. But, I am significantly less worried about that now than I was before, and again, I’ll get to that later.

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

Throughout October, I got the chance to see so much of the city of Dublin and Ireland. I saw the Book of Kells, Christ Church Cathedral (twice), the Dublinia Museum (twice), St. Patrick’s Cathedral, got back to Galway, saw the small town of Kinsale in County Cork, got back to the Cliffs of Moher and kissed the Blarney Stone!

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(L-R) My Aunt Liz, Mom and I at the Cliffs of Moher!

I got to do so much of that because my Mom and my Aunt Liz took a trip out to Ireland for 12 days! I seriously don’t know how both of their jobs signed off on that, but, then again, how often does one have a son/nephew studying in Ireland for three months? They went to so many of those sights and more (Kilmainham Gaol, the Guinness Storehouse, and the Ring of Kerry) with and without me. They loved the Ring of Kerry, which was the one thing I didn’t get to do, since I had to come back to Dublin for class. But, I was able to take the Irish Rail between the places that I went to with them, and that is one of the best ways to get around Ireland. So much of this beautiful country can be seen that way. I enjoyed it much more than taking a bus on the expressway. I enjoyed having my mom and aunt here so much! It was an awesome taste of home and I know that they really loved being here as well.

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(L-R from top): Sydney, me, Erin, Noelle and Darby at the National Leprechaun Museum.

One of the things that has been the least enjoyable during my time here was the night tour at the National Leprechaun Museum. It was promoted as being terrifying and only for those over 18 because of the stories that would be told, but I was honestly disappointed. It was still a fun night to be out with friends, but it cost almost €20, and I wasn’t scared once. It was interesting to learn about the history of leprechauns and fairies and such in Ireland, but, it was a kind of disappointing night. (Also, the only reason it was for those over 18 was because the tour guide cursed I think twice).

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Darby laying in a coffin during the ghost bus tour on Halloween night!

 

 

 

One of the most enjoyable things, however, was the ghost bus tour that a group of us took on halloween night. We had a fantastic tour guide named Sebastian and the stories he told were chilling, the rest of the audience was interactive with Sebastian and it was just an interesting and fun night! If anyone is ever in Dublin for Halloween, I highly recommend taking the ghost tour operated in the big purple buses by Dublin Bus.

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St. Mark’s Chapel Group

Also, I started going to a different church on the recommendation of my girlfriend Julia and her friend Alysha (who has studied abroad in Dublin). It’s a church called St. Mark’s, and I believe it is an AG church. Deciding to attend there has been a fantastic decision. On Wednesday nights, they have what is called Chapel Group. Basically what that is is a bunch of college students (over 100) who gather at the church, talk, get to know each other, drink coffee or tea, then worship Jesus and hear a message and just be in the presence of God. It has been so amazing to be a part of that. It has also reminded me a ton of Chi Alpha, which is my ministry group back at ASU, and being able to go Chapel Group every week has been such a great sense of home and Jesus and I am so thankful for Julia and Alysha and Jesus for bringing it into my life.

The beginning of November has been quite, well, eventful. After a week of classes, our mid-semester break (called assignment week) hit, and the CAPA crew got a week off of classes! I decided in October to go with three girls (and Darby, who joined the week before the trip) to travel to Amsterdam, Prague and Paris from 11/7-15/15. I was extremely excited for this as I have never been on the continent of Europe before and getting to see three amazing cities would be such an incredible opportunity.

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Amsterdam was wonderful. The first day we were there, we walked around the city, from Centraal Station to our hostel in southeast Amsterdam. I knew that topics such as sex and drug usage were much less taboo in Amsterdam than I am used to, but I was definitely shocked when I walked into a tourist shop and in the back, there was a bookshelf full of porn DVDs. The canals and the architecture around the city are so beautiful and I highly recommend going here. The second day, we took a hop-on, hop-off bus tour and got to see the Gassan Diamond factory, the I Amsterdam sign and, probably my favorite part of the trip, the Heineken Brewery. That was such a fun experience that was capped by that night when I also had the opportunity to walk through the Red Light District and just pray for the women and men there and ask for the Holy Spirit to enter into that place and transform it. Definitely a life-changing experience being there. Our second day, we went and did the self-guided tour at the Anne Frank House, which was, also, amazing. Amsterdam was definitely the highlight of the trip for me!

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Next came Prague, which was our shortest stop, with only one full day of being there. We stayed in a beautiful AirBnB apartment in Vinohrady and I am so glad we did that rather than a hostel somewhere in the city. We all had the opportunity to do laundry and relax, even watch some HBO. It was great! Darby joined the trip there and we had a, as the Irish say, grand time with him! We did a Segway tour of Prague, and that was so great! We saw so much of the city, and it was all of our first times on Segways, so that was exciting in itself!

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We then headed to Paris and that is where the trip changed. I had not been feeling great upon arrival. I honestly felt lonely, like most of the friends I had made here were just friends on the surface. I was missing my friends back in Colorado and Arizona and especially Julia. I had a good long talk with one of the girls and I definitely felt better the next day, Friday. On Friday, we had an awesome day! We walked about 15 miles around the city, getting to see so many sights. Honestly, this post is long enough, so I don’t want to list them all. We also did a night bus tour around the city and got to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle, the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées all lit up, it was fantastic and we went to a really cool sandwich shop where the nicest people served us. It was a great day. But that night, as everyone knows, it all changed. Starting right after we got back, at around 9:30 p.m. in Paris, there was a terrorist attack. There were suicide bombings at the Stade de France, where France was playing Germany in soccer, drive-by shootings at a complex with about three cafes full of people and then the Bataclan Theater was rampaged and many were killed. In total, 129 people were killed in the attacks and another 350 were injured. To me, this was one of the scariest nights of my life. Our hostel was right near the Louvre (about a five-minute walk away), and being that close to a monument with so many connections to power was frightening to me. I had a feeling that if the attacks escalated, then the Louvre would have to be one of the main targets. We were also not exactly far away from any of the attack sites (about 25 minutes from the stadium and 15 from the concert hall), and being that close, knowing that if any of the terrorists were on the run, they could easily reach us, was terrifying. I made sure that everyone was kept up to date with my status (I let my mom and Julia know I was safe before they even knew what was going on) and Darby was great on social media, letting everyone know that we were safe as well. I also cannot speak more highly of the CAPA staff in Boston and Dublin and the ASU Study Abroad office. Everyone made sure to know our status and where we were going, including the Ireland coordinator at ASU, Erin Piper, and the Assistant Director of Student Safety and Engagement in the ASU Study Abroad Office, Dan Hart, along with Anne McDonnell from the CAPA Boston office and Suzanne here in Dublin, who came in on a Sunday to meet us back at Griffith and talk to us about what happened. It was so great to be surrounded by such many amazing people. I am so thankful for God’s protection, that I was able to get out of France on time and that I was never in any danger in Paris. I pray for the victims of the attacks in Paris, Beirut and everywhere else that have been attacked or hit with a natural disaster recently. This is truly a scary time and we all need to be vigilant of our surroundings.

I do have to be honest though. I have loved my time here, but after last Friday, I had some serious thoughts about seeing if there was a way to end this trip early and head home. I know that attacks can happen anywhere, but I honestly just want to hug and see my family and girlfriend after going through that night. But, I am definitely going to stick it out for this last month!

Also, since I said I would go into this later, here I am going back to grades. Going through Paris last week has made me realize so many more things are so much more important than grades. I’ll get what I get in classes, and I’m not really worried about it anymore.

I have a trip to London planned for this weekend. I have been second-guessing going, just because London is, like Paris, a highly-targeted city, but I have been praying and talking to people around me and the biggest sense is that I should go. I shouldn’t let the terrorists win by being scared to go somewhere. I should live my life how it has been planned. Nothing should stop me from experiencing this. So, I really do think I’m going to go, and I just pray for protection and for no incidents to happen while I am there!

But, yeah, that’s just about it for now!

Slán agus go mbeannaí Dia thu! (Goodbye and May God bless you!)

-Jeff Vinton

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Seachtain eile spraoi i gcathair Bhaile Átha Cliath!

Well, I can definitely tell whoever reads this that this post is sure to be shorter than the two that preceded it.

But with that, it’s time to recap on the last week! (By the way, the title of this post translates to: “Another fun week in Dublin city!”)

Now, let’s start with where I left off in my last post, hmm now…where was I (shamelessly opens another tab to look, because come on, who remembers what they wrote seven days ago?)

Ahh there it is! The Cliffs of Moher!

This is a photo me at the Cliffs of Moher!

This is a photo of me at the Cliffs of Moher!

The CAPA crew took Saturday and took a jaunt across the Republic of Ireland to see one of the many wonders of this amazing world, the Cliffs of Moher! We were there on a beautiful day. We could see out to the Aran Islands and beyond, it wasn’t horribly windy or cold (despite me wearing a beanie in the picture) and it was great that the entire program took the day trip together. We went out on a bus with members of a language school and a couple of tourists, and the trip took us to a few small towns for meals along with the highlight of going to the Cliffs!

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The Cliffs of Moher, truly a wonderful sight to behold!

When we got back, the Squad (that would be Sydney, Maritza, RJ, Darby, Thomas and myself) went to a play that was being put on for the Dublin Theater Festival. The play was called “I’m Your Man” and I have to say, when it comes to plays, I’m definitely more of a broadway person. This however, was one of the more artsy plays where, for the most part, the actors stood in one place and talked to the audience, with one person doing a lot of interpretive dance. So it wasn’t my cup of tea, but the lighting and music were amazing, so I still enjoyed myself. It was also awesome to experience some culture with some new friends!

The next day was definitely more a relaxing day after the long day of traveling and the play. I did get a chance to go and check out a non-denominational Christian church here in Dublin called Christ City Church with two other people in the program (Jenna and Alexis). The service was great and it was awesome to be back worshipping God, because I had not been to church since the day before I left for Dublin! We went to a burger place called Bunsen after the service, and it was so great! Definitely the best burger I’ve had in Dublin.

This is the church that I believe I will be going to for the next few months! Find out more about them at christcitychurch.ie!

This is the church that I believe I will be going to for the next few months! Find out more about them at christcitychurch.ie!

Monday came, and so began another week of classes…for most people. I turned in my registration sheet and officially signed up for classes. This process has been confusing and stressful for me and definitely a place where I have felt some culture shock. So, to anyone considering studying abroad in Ireland, read up on how classes are registered for so you can be way more prepared than I was!

My schedule is actually really nice this semester. I am taking three courses (because one counts as six credits back at Arizona State). My first class is “Analyzing and Exploring the Global City: Dublin,” which takes place on Wednesdays. It has only four other members of CAPA in the class, so it is very small and I think I will enjoy that a lot. My second class is Creative Writing, which is a big departure from journalism, where we are taught to stick to the facts. That’s on Thursdays. My final class is Irish History and Culture, which is on Fridays. So I have 4-day weekends, which should make for some good time for travel.

I only have one trip booked so far, which is to Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds in December, but there are definitely some more in the works, and hopefully I’ll be seeing a lot of Europe while I am here!

O'Brien's tower at the Cliffs of Moher. Some of the best views at the cliffs can be had by paying €2 and climbing the narrow stairways to the top of this tower!

O’Brien’s tower at the Cliffs of Moher. Some of the best views at the cliffs can be had by paying €2 and climbing the narrow stairways to the top of this tower!

Tuesday was not very exciting, I helped Darby film stuff for a future vlog, so stay tuned for that, and other than that I did not do much because I knew the next day would be extremely exciting!

The next day, yesterday, was my birthday!!!! I turned 22 yesterday, and this was my first birthday outside of the United States. The day started off well as I got to talk to my girlfriend, Julia, over FaceTime just after midnight before going to bed, and then when I woke up, my Global City class took a field trip to the museum of archeology and history. After that was a pretty chill time, where I was kind of sad, due to not being around all my XA and ASU friends, my friends back home in Fort Collins, and my mom on my birthday, but what my friends, both here in Ireland and back in the States did next was awesome.

A few of the CAPA people had me sit down on the couch and close my eyes before they showed me this unbelievable, extremely touching video that they had teamed up with Julia to make.

The reaction video posted right after I finished writing this, of course.

After the video, all of the CAPA crew came over to apartment 204 (aka: my apartment) for a little birthday party/hang out, and we had a great time! I don’t have any pictures of it, but it was a lot of fun!

As for this weekend, I am looking forward to my first weekend of having nothing planned and just getting to relax. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get ahead on some of my essays!

Well, that’s it for now! Have a great week!

Slán agus go mbeannaí Dia thu!

(Goodbye and may God bless you!)

-Jeff Vinton

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Seachtain amháin síos, dhá cheann déag chun dul!

A picture of me taken from high above the field at Croke Park!

A picture of me taken from high above the field at Croke Park!

Now, I couldn’t pronounce the title of this post if you paid me a million dollars, but I started my weekly posts about this trip to Dublin with a title in Irish, so I think I’ll keep that going!

One week down, twelve to go!

That’s what the title translates to in English (or at least what I translated to Irish). Sunday (the 27th) will mark my 2nd week of living in Dublin and my time here so far has been some of the most exhausting, yet exciting, times of my life.

Last week was non-stop. Everyday was wake up at 8 am (or earlier), get dressed, go out, explore the city, and then get back to Griffith College at 10 pm (or later), go to bed, then repeat the exercise the next day. I am honestly not sure if I have ever been that exhausted in my life. And now, let’s take a look back on my last 7 days in Ireland!

The visit to Croke Park was where I left off on my last post, so let’s start there!

A sign outside of Croke Park that makes sure one knows where they are.

A sign outside of Croke Park that makes sure one knows where they are.

Croke Park was unbelievable. The field itself is about three times the size of an American football field and it is surrounded by 82,300 seats where rabid fans of the classic Gaelic sports (hurling and Gaelic football) sit and cheer on their respective teams.

One of the most amazing things about these sports are that the athletes that are competing are amateurs. They are schoolteachers, mechanics, pastors, businessmen, members of the Garda (the Irish police force) and just about every other job one could imagine. The teams are set up in a Little League style, where each of the counties in Ireland chooses an all-star team from the club teams in the country to represent in the All-Ireland competition. The final always takes place at Croke Park and getting to see the site of so much of Ireland’s sporting history was extremely fascinating to me, as a sports fanatic. This year’s final took place last Sunday between County Dublin and County Kerry, but we’ll talk more about that later. One of the coolest facts that I learned during this excursion was that New York City has a team that can compete in the All-Ireland tournament. So the US could win an All-Ireland Championship! That has never happened, because the NYC team is pretty bad, according to our tour guide, but nonetheless, that’s awesome!

The story of Bloody Sunday with the names (in Irish) of those killed on the left.

The story of Bloody Sunday with the names (in Irish) of those killed on the left.

One of the sad facts that we learned about the history of Croke Park was Bloody Sunday. Bloody Sunday took place on Nov. 21, 1920, in the aftermath of the Easter Rising and the rise of anti-British sentiments in Ireland. On Nov. 20, 1920, Michael Collins and his “squad” had attacked and killed 14 members of the British army. The next day, Dublin played Tipperary in a Gaelic Football match and the British stormed Croke Park killing 14 Irish people, including Michael Hogan, a player from Tipperary, and injured 80 more. One of the stands is named in honor of Michael Hogan.

Croke Park was absolutely wonderful to visit and I wish I could have been there for the final!

The jersey of the New York Gaelic sports teams

The jersey of the New York Gaelic sports teams.

That night was Culture Night in Dublin, and my roommate and two of our friends ended up walking around the Temple Bar area and found this really cool art exhibit where we wore hoods or hats that connected us and forced us to spend some very time together in close proximity. (I wish I had a picture of this, and if I ever see one, I will definitely post it here) We also found a really cool concert that was being broadcast by RTE, one of the big media conglomerates in Ireland. There was a symphony orchestra, opera singers, a guy who read from his book, a comedian and more there and it was really cool!

The beautiful scenery and view at the Killary Fjord!

The beautiful scenery and view at the Killary Fjord!

The next day we headed out across the country to Galway! Galway was wonderful! It is a city that feels much more European than Dublin. I have been saying this to my friends here and the ones I have talked to back home, but many times, Dublin feels like an American city that just so happens to use the Euro. Going over to Galway, while getting closer to the US, made me feel more like I was actually in Europe! There were a ton of backpackers walking around and we stayed in a hostel, my first experience there. We ended up taking a day tour around the countryside in an area known as Connemarra. Our bus tour took us by many wonderful lakes and villages in county Galway and county Mayo, and I was blown away by just how beautiful of a country that Ireland really is!

(Clockwise from top L) RJ, Darby, Maritza, myself and Sydney posing for a picture at Kylemore. It's probably a bit blurry due to a random person taking the picture. Sorry!!

(Clockwise from top L) RJ, Darby, Maritza, myself and Sydney posing for a picture at Kylemore. It’s probably a bit blurry due to a random person taking the picture. Sorry!!

The highlight of the tour was stopping at Kylemore Abbey, which was literally the farthest away from Galway that we got. Kylemore is this amazing gothic abbey just nestled into the mountains in county Galway. It borders Pollacopall Lough and the scenery on the grounds and around the abbey is absolutely unbelievable and gives one an absolute reverence for the power of God and just makes one wonder how exactly He created all of this Earth. Kylemore was one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited and I would love to go back someday!

This is all of Kylemore Abbey as seen from afar.

This is all of Kylemore Abbey as seen from afar.

On Sunday, we traveled back to Dublin and I went with a my roommate and our friends Sydney and Maritza to a pub near campus called the Bleeding Horse to watch the All-Ireland final! I made sure to wear some blue, as that is Dublin’s color, and we met some guys from the middle of Ireland, although I can’t remember what specific county, who were rooting for Kerry “to piss off the Dubs.” Well the Dubs had the last laugh, defeating Kerry 0-12 to 0-9 (12-9). The two numbers are for the types of points that can be scored. The first number is for goals, and those are worth three points, and to get one of those one must kick the ball in, past the goaltender as if it were soccer. The second is points, and to score a point, a player must make the ball through the uprights, like in rugby or American football. Watching the game was very interesting for me, as the pub was packed, but it was not nearly as crazy as I expected. Fans were very controlled. There were no songs or chants in the pub, and even the cheering after Dublin won only lasted for a couple of minutes. I definitely expected a crazier atmosphere, especially for the All-Ireland Final.

In the center of this picture (in light blue) is the Dublin Gaelic sports jersey! Up the Dubs!

In the center of this picture (in light blue) is the Dublin Gaelic sports jersey! Up the Dubs!

After the game I went and met some members of a local non-denominational church and I cannot wait to go for an actual service on Sunday! God has definitely put me in an amazing situation here in Dublin and I can’t wait to hear from Him as to the reasons for all that happens here over the next three months!

Monday brought the start of classes, and with it brought some realization of how classes work here.

Signing up for classes is so much different here than in the States. In the US, I would normally have my classes picked out and signed up for 3-5 months before the semester begins. Here, I try out classes to see if I like them for two weeks and then I register for the classes. A new, stressful experience, and one I did not expect to encounter! But new experiences are awesome experiences and I’m glad I went through this one.

A beautiful sunrise that I saw on the way back from Galway!

A beautiful sunrise that I saw on the way back from Galway!

So far I know I will be taking Advanced Photography and Analyzing and Exploring the Global City: Dublin, the latter a CAPA-only course, but I am still in the midst of finalizing the rest of my courses. I may take a 6-credit Creative Writing course to round out my schedule or I may take Irish History and Culture and Film Studies. I should figure it out by the end of this week, but it’s good to have it narrowed down to those two paths after so much uncertainty.

I’ll be headed back to Galway this weekend as the CAPA crew will take a trip to the Cliffs of Moher on Saturday, but other than that, I’m not all that sure what the rest of this week will hold! Stay tuned for updates on the rest of my stay here in Dublin City!

And as with the last post, if you have an iPhone and you want to iMessage me, I got an Irish SIM card and number, and you can iMessage me at +353 (89) 700 1277. I’ll be back at +1 (970) 556-2979 in December. Anyone without an iPhone or iMessage of any sort should reach me on Viber or WhatsApp where I go by the American phone number. Or you know, Facebook always works too! My Skype name is jeff.vinton52 if anyone wants to video message me there! God Bless!

-Jeff Vinton

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Éirinn Go Brách!

Wow, what a few months it has been. It feels like just yesterday that I was walking across the stage at Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, AZ and receiving a maroon folder inscribed with the logo of Arizona State University as I was fake graduating.

“Wait, what? Fake graduating?” That may be what you are asking yourself right now.

Well, yes, technically, my walk across the stage at Gammage was a mere symbolic measure of my final semester in Tempe coming to a close. You see, I was heading to a new campus in a new city and country to finish my degree. Let’s start by telling of how I got there.

When I was a senior in high school, my brother studied abroad in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. For three years, I have heard all of his stories of his travels, what he did with his friends in Europe and just all of the crazy things he did during his time in Europe. I thought that sounded amazing, and I knew that I wanted to get over to Europe at some point, but for the first two years of college, I never thought that studying abroad was going to work for me.

I always had a plan. I knew I wanted to get into college, study journalism, then go out, get a job and work my way up to becoming the host of College GameDay on ESPN. Now, that in general still is the plan, and honestly, I think I’m jumping into the real world at around the right time, because when ESPN will be looking for the 3rd host of College GameDay, I should be a seasoned journalist (barring that Rece [or Reese, seeing as I have heard that he changed how he is spelling his name due to a promotional deal with Reese’s] Davis keeps the job for awhile). But never in that plan was a trip across the Atlantic to study at another university. Once I signed on the dotted line, metaphorically of course, due to today’s digital age, I became a Sun Devil for life. I never thought that studying abroad held any real value for me. Little did I know how much God had in store for me when it came to this possible trip in the future.

“What will being in another country teach me about being a journalist in the United States?” “Can’t I graduate and get working earlier if I stay here and finish at the end of my ‘junior’ year?” “Will I even have enough money to go over there?”

The James Joyce Bridge

The James Joyce Bridge crosses the River Liffey and connects north and south Dublin.

All of these questions, and so many more, went through my mind as I debated coming to Europe. I even tried to convince my mom and my brother to stop pestering me about studying abroad using these questions.

Well, as we can see now, my plan has changed, and I didn’t convince my mom or my brother.

During the summer and autumn of 2014, I kept debating in my head and listening to my mom and my brother continue their pleas until one day, I just relented. My mom had always said that my paternal grandfather would be willing to help pay for my trip, as it had to do with school, and I knew that it would be an amazing experience so I just decided to say why not? Basically, God had used my mom and brother to wear me down and to relent to Him wanting me here. I am very interested to search for why God wants me here in Dublin this semester, but as with everything He does, I am sure that there is an amazing reason as to why he brought me here!

I then started to research programs through Arizona State’s Study Abroad Office and I found a fantastic program in Dublin, Ireland, a city and country I have always wanted to visit, due to Irish roots deep within me. I decided to study with the CAPA Dublin program at Griffith College in Dublin.

The logo of CAPA International Education, the program that I am studying with at Griffith College in Dublin! (Courtesy: CAPA. org)

The logo of CAPA International Education, the program that I am studying with at Griffith College in Dublin! (Courtesy: CAPA. org)

I went about the various steps that I needed to complete before departure during the spring 2015 semester and after walking across the stage at Gammage in May and spending two final weeks in Arizona, I drove up to my hometown, Fort Collins, Colorado, with my girlfriend, Julia (with a stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to see one of my great friends and mentors, Chris Lindstrom), and began my summer.

I knew that I needed to get a job this summer to make some money for the trip, so I went out and applied at so many places before getting a job at a locally-owned restaurant called Café Mexicali. Café Mex is an awesome place to work, and I am so thankful for that place, because they are allowing me to come back and work after my trip.

Throughout the summer I made it back down to Arizona twice, the first time in June/early July for the wedding of two great friends, Chandler and Kellie Nick, and Julia’s 22nd birthday! She got a giant cinnamon roll at a restaurant in Sedona and then cake at dinner in Tucson. The dinner in Tucson was doubly special, as we went to El Corral, the restaurant my parents went to after they got engaged. The second time was about a week before I departed for Dublin, as a goodbye trip, since I will be in Dublin for three months. Julia also made it up to Fort Collins after her trip to Canada in July, and I was very happy to have her in Fort Collins for almost a week.

Pretty soon after my trip to Tucson over Labor Day weekend, it was time for me to board my first flight to Dublin! I don’t know why but I had been fixated on my 7-hour flight from Chicago to Dublin. I was almost fearful of it. I had never been on a flight that long in my life and to actually take one, well, I was worried. Julia, along with anyone else I had told about this, always reassured me and told me it would be easy. “They’ll feed you!” “There will be movies.” “Take a sleeping pill and it will all be over before you know it.” I heard those pieces of advice over and over, but that did nothing to calm my nerves. My nerves were never really calm until that plane came up off the ground and I muttered to myself, “Well, there’s no going back now.”

And it did turn out to be a fairly easy flight! Seven hours is still a very long time to be cramped up in a metal tube (and I have no idea what I will do for the 10 hours of my flight from London to Dallas in December), but I sat next to a very nice couple who had a relative in the IRA during the Easter Rising and another one who owned a bar in Ireland, and a movie I had been wanting to see, Tomorrowland, was playing, so I talked to them, watched the movie, tried to sleep (and did, but only for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half), and ate when the flight attendants brought food.

At seven in the morning in Dublin (even though it felt like midnight for me), my flight landed safely and I went through immigration very excited and ready to begin my journey in Ireland. That journey got delayed for about four hours as I waited with other American students (some in my program, some not) who are studying at Griffith for the shuttle to campus and for everyone to arrive.

This is the logo for Griffith College, the college I am studying at in Dublin! (Courtesy: Griffith.ie)

The logo for Griffith College, the university I am studying at in Dublin!

Eventually we did make it to Griffith and got moved into the rooms and it has been a very exciting first few days! I am living with RJ Murphy, who goes to Anderson University in South Carolina, and then we have two flatmates, Darby Vance, who also attends Arizona State, and then Thomas Kent Reddington-Kincaid III, who attends the University of Florida. In total there are 18 students studying here in the CAPA Dublin program and I am excited to get to know all of them over the course of the next three months!

So far, I have been all over south Dublin, shopping on Camden Row and Grafton Street, seeing St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and so many other sights on a historical walking tour and then seeing some of North Dublin, like Phoenix Park and the Spire, and then taking tours of the Old Jameson Distillery and, what has probably been my favorite part of the trip so far, other than meeting new people, taking a tour of Kilmainham Gaol (pronounced Kill-main-um jail), a very historic prison in Dublin, where the 14 leaders of the Easter Rising were imprisoned by the Crown of England and later executed. (Pictures from my trip so far can be found here: My Three Months as a Dubliner)

We’ve also found a few awesome pubs (it is Dublin, after all), with the top three so far being the Bleeding Horse, Whelan’s (where a scene from PS I Love You was filmed), and the Bernard Shaw.

This is leprechaun graffiti I found on the wall of The Bernard Shaw pub

This is leprechaun graffiti I found on the wall of The Bernard Shaw pub.

The process of getting classes all sorted out has been a pain, but hopefully it will be done soon and I can update you all with the list of what will hopefully be the last classes I take in my life.

We have also gotten some fantastic weather while I have been in Dublin! It rained the first day that I was here, and it just started raining, but other than that, it has been sunny and amazing!

It has also definitely been hard being so far away from home and 7 or 8 hours ahead of everyone I know, especially Julia, but I know that God has reason for this trip and that He will reveal it to me during all of the fun times that I have here in Dublin and anywhere else that I may travel (including a possible trip to Galway this weekend)! I am very excited for Culture Night tomorrow, which is a once-a-year event in Dublin where all of the sights are open for free to celebrate Irish culture, and then for the All-Ireland Gaelic football final on Sunday between Kerry and Dublin (COYBIB! Go Dubs)! We will also be touring the national Gaelic football stadium where the final will be played, Croke Park, tomorrow, and that is sure to be a ton of fun!

Well, that’s enough for now, I’ll be back soon with updates from Dublin! If you have an iPhone and you want to iMessage me, I got an Irish SIM card and number, and you can iMessage me at +353 (89) 700 1277. I’ll be back at +1 (970) 556-2979 in December. Anyone without an iPhone or iMessage or any sort should reach me on Viber or WhatsApp where I go by the American phone number. My Skype name is jeff.vinton52 if anyone wants to video message me there!

-Jeff Vinton

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What Has VinTheDay Been Up To Lately?

Hello all! 

Over the course of the last three months, I have been interning in the sports department at Fox 31 (KDVR) and their sister station hosted out of the same building, Colorado’s Own Channel 2 (KWGN). I worked in the sports department with their awesome staff, Nick Griffith, Raul Martinez, Kami Carmann and Michelle Tuckner. (Any of you who are in Colorado, check them out!) During that time I had the opportunity to record a few stand-ups and am finishing up my last few packages, which will be available for your viewing pleasure at http://jeffvintonportfolio.wordpress.com, and on YouTube (just search “Jeffrey Vinton”). I do have two takes of my mock sportscast up there, but those are only available to viewed outside of the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan due to a Rockies/Tigers highlight. So, if you happen to be traveling abroad in any country except for the five listed above, enjoy! 

I also began writing for Pick Six Previews, a website that covers college football nationwide. I am covering the Pac-12 South for them and I wrote three team previews (Arizona State, Arizona and Colorado), which can all be found here: http://www.picksixpreviews.com/2014-pac-12-south-division-preview.html 

That’s all for now, enjoy! 

-VinTheDay

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Check out my other blogs!

Hey all, 

Check out my other blogs: 

http://ontheclocknfldraft.wordpress.com  

-I run this blog with my friend, Bill Slane, and we are currently working on some exciting things for next spring as we get closer to the 2014 NFL Draft, so be on the look out! 

http://forgottenrivalries.wordpress.com 

Thanks for reading and taking a look at these blogs! 

-VinTheDay (Jeff Vinton)

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