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!
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!
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!
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 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!
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!
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.
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.
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!