Yes, that is right. You can get sick in Ireland on a lovely summer in Dublin. I had to leave my internship at Trinity College after lunch today. I mostly only stayed that long because I wanted to hear one of the other interns’ funny stories about their weekend. Anyways, my weekend was pretty good except for when I started getting sick. It was an interesting weekend at the very least.
It began on Thursday night when my writing flatmates (I’ll explain what I mean by that later) came home and said there was a party at another writers’ flat. I decided that sounded fun, so I went. I really like my these two girls, but the rest of the writers are, as I’ll elaborate upon, super cliquey. That was boring and awkward for me, so I left after about an hour or so. The next morning, I hear Helen come up the stairs to say “Don’t worry guys, it’s okay, I only witnessed a robbery.” Apparently, and although this isn’t my story to tell, I must, she and 2 or 3 others were walking back when this guy comes racing passed. He runs into “Abrakebabra” and hops the counter. One of the friends she was with decides to knock on the window because they’re all drunk and they thought the guy was just being silly. They wondered why he was running so fast. As he’s knocking on the window, the guy pulls out a knife and the 2 ladies behind the counter scream! The guy was obviously robbing the till, of Abrakebabra no less! Outrageous. So of course my classmates/flatmate run!!!! And as they’re done running Helen remembers “112, 112.” She wonders how on earth she remembered it, the emergency number in Ireland. It’s quite sadistically funny, so Helen’s laughing while on the phone with the police, trying to explain why she’s calling from an American phone and trying to get through the laughter so they’ll believe her. Anyways, I’m very glad I got home before that happened!!
On Friday (my internship is only Monday-Thursday) I wandered around Dublin on my own. I wanted to take pictures and see some of the things I hadn’t seen yet. Because 2 of my better friends/flatmates here are in the Iowa Writing Program, they have a ton of extra time during the day while I’m working, so they have all been going out and seeing things! By the time I get off hardly anything is still open long enough. Also, it sorta sucks because the writers are a very cliquey crowd. I like the other interns in the IES program but we only have class together once a week, so it’s not the same as what the writers have going… Anyways, so Friday. I walked up past Steven’s Green to see it lined with thousands of brilliantly colored art pieces. Then I walked up past the Taoiseach’s House (he’s the main official in the Irish government, nobody likes him!). I also stopped and walked through Merrion Square, where Oscar Wilde is forever chilling ponderously on a rock next to the “Wilde House.” Never read any of his stuff, but I may have to now. I continued on towards Trinity College because, although I technically work there, I still hadn’t seen the Book of Kells which consists of original Latin texts from the four gospels in the Bible! That was quite interesting to see, but couldn’t take any pictures… 🙁 . Then I followed my path back out into the city and through Temple Bar where I ate a delicious “traditional irish crepe,” doused in lemon juice and sprinkled with sugar. I’ll have to go back as I saw out of the corner of my eye that they have strawberry and nutella crepes! Yum! Then I of course found the Urban Outfitters that I wasn’t even looking for and went in for an hour! Bought nothing; I’m sort of proud. After this, I wandered up Dame street for about 15 minutes until I saw Christ Church Cathedral, hugggeeeee. I didn’t go in, although eventually I may. But I really wanted to check out St. Patrick’s Cathedral, so I did that instead. Very giant, gothic and beautiful inside. A choir filled the lungs of the cathedral as I walked up and down the hallways piled with statues, stained glass windows, paintings, relics, artifacts, figures, maps, quotes and anything else you could think of. There were a lot of intriguing bits though, for example there were slabs of rock from many places, one from St. Patrick’s Well that was dug up. They all had celtic crosses engraved into them! I was, however, dissappointed to find out that St. Patrick is not buried there though; I don’t know why I thought he was! Although, apparently Dublin is the home of St. Valentine’s remnants…?? Who knew? That’s at another church another day. When I got home that evening my flatmate Kara was planning on having people over. She, another of my flatmates and 3 of their writing buddies were heading out to the Dublin Pride events that night! I thought it quite funny that Helen’s boyfriend gave her permission to kiss any girl she wanted that night! Hahaha, that could have been interesting, however, I was less than surprised to find out that there were no attractive Irish lesbians, nor was it an easy scene to break into.
So Saturday morning at 5 am I awoke to take a day trip to Northern Ireland with 2 of the other interns, Jenny and Sam and the IES intern, Katie. The bus ride there wasn’t so bad, only about 2-3 hours! The first stop was in Belfast, but probably for a good reason. First thing out of the tour guides mouth was “Did you see that crime scene there? Somebody must have got shot last night.” July is near, and that is the month where riots and parades and Protestant “celebrations” take place in remembrance of victory over Catholics. This is one stale victory though, I must say. I hear that from late June to mid July there are Catholic and Protestant camps set up with giant bonfires that school children are meant to watch. The “game” is that you must try to make the oppositions’ bonfire smaller. What silliness! It’s strange things like this that made me a little less in awe of Northern Ireland and more afraid. There was definitely that typical Irish beauty though. Our first real stop was on the coast at the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge. For 5.30 pounds you get to walk for about 1 kilometer to the rope bridge, 600 feet above water, and walk across it to a little island on the other side. Definitely worth it, the island was gorgeous, but the view took the cake! You can see Scotland, only 12 miles away from there, along with numerous other little islands such as Sheep Island, right nearby. The walk back was pretty terrible though, sooooo exhausting! So many stairs! So much sweat! Ahhhhhhhh, why is Ireland so HOT??? Our next stop was the Giant’s Causeway which, if you haven’t heard of it, is where a volcanic eruption took place millions of years ago! I much prefer the Irish tale of why this exists though; apparently there were 2 giants. One in Scotland and one at the causeway’s location. The Irish giant tried to build a fortress but then caught a glimpse of the Scottish giant one day and made a dash for it, kicking up all the land and creating the Giant’s Causeway, footloose and fancy-free! The octagonal shaped rocks were so cool looking. Almost all identical and stacked on top of eachother in a topple-proof manner, it was amazing! After that was saw Dunluce Castle which was kitchen-less. One day the kitchen fell off into the sea, cook, meal and all. This angered the King, mostly because he didn’t get his dinner! The cook he seemed to care less about! Our last stop was London-Derry/Derry. This place was strange. Once the place of constant secular wars, now a grand memorial site for the rough history that occurred. It felt strange to be here because it wasn’t the cute little Irish town feel, nor even the Dublin-type feel. It was possibly British, but I’ve never been there so I couldn’t say. The closest I could come up with was an eerie Pleasantville. I say this because everything seemed so contrived and matching in accordance with the rest of the town. And there were still walls throughout the city, which is why they call it the Walled City. This is what you should call it when you don’t know who you are talking to. The Protestants call it London-Derry, though there are only about 500 of them, and the Catholics call it Derry. After the very long day I did the logical thing and slept!
I planned on going to Church on Sunday morning…but boy was that a feat! I walked for 45 minutes before I realized that I was going to wrong way. I did end up finalizing my journey right in front of another Church though. It was Presbetyrian and after such a long journey on foot, this was while I was really starting to feel unwell mind you, I decided screw it! It’s still church. Yep. That lasted all of 5 minutes before I began to have terrible Catholic School flashbacks and began to wonder what anyone in their right mind was doing there. It was so boring and so solemn and so depressing. Then I thought of my own church and I started to become frustrated because I was sitting in this one! The Devil was playing a game with me, I must say. But I’m going to the one I was searching for next week, walking or not! I might just take a taxi, hmph! But still, I had to find a way out of there…so I devised a plan. I would use the fact that I was sick as an excuse to the greeters and ask them where the nearest pharmacy was and then leave. Phew.
By the way, hailing a taxi was so difficult, I tried 2 and finally the 3rd pulled over. It’s wierd because on Saturday morning we had like 5-10 taxis swerve over to see if we needed a ride when we weren’t even hailing for one, nor standing near the edge of the sidewalk. Even the taxi driver with the drunken, passed out guy wanted to check out our situation! (That poor guys bill must have been ridiculous!) But when I eventually hailed a cab, because I just could not walk anymore, I went back home. Later, my 3 flatmates and I went to Starbucks (home sweet home, they even have Seattle junk in there, how cute? !) and to TopShop, a cute, yet expensive clothing store, and finally Dunnes, to go grocery shopping! Blah. Then the sickness set in more and more…and here I am, away off the job and having coughing fits. It’s fun, really.
What’s next on the agenda? Well, lots of exciting things! Tomorrow my internship class is going to “The Outsiders” play at the Abbey/Peacock theater North of the Liffey! I’m actually quite excited to dress up a bit and spend some time soaking up theater, it’s popular in Dublin, such an Irish thing! Then on Friday the IES staff are taking a bunch of us out to Glendalough in County Wicklow to “hike” (I hope to God there’s no real hiking involved or I may have terrible flashbacks of Pilgrimage from senior year of high school. I definitely was bringing up the tail…). On Sunday (after CHURCH that I actually WANT to go to) there is going to be another IES-ish event to go see a Hurling game. I’m super excited because it’s huge here and really intense and exciting. And I really wanted to go to the exact game, now its all set up! 🙂