I’ve only been here for a week and I already don’t want to leave. Ireland is everything I imagined it to be and so much more. This is my first time being away from home for more than a few weeks and I get to spend these four months in Ireland, and I certainly could not be more excited. So much has happened in just these five short days but I have already created memories to last a lifetime. I never imagined my first time in Europe being because I chose to study abroad and not just for vacation but I am very thankful for the opportunity.
Myself and the other students in the program have done so much walking this week and it’ll probably be next week before our bodies fully recover from it. I’d say we walked 500 miles and we’re sure to walk 500 more. Monday was tiring anyway as most of us slept very little on our flights over here and then by Tuesday nobody was caught up yet and recovered from jet lag before our walking tour through South Dublin. Everybody was so tired but the adrenaline and excitement of being in a country other than their own was too overpowering.
I think by Wednesday maybe half of the 44 students in the study abroad program here were somewhat caught up on sleep whereas the other half including myself were not. I don’t think I will ever be completely caught up on sleep for the duration of my time here in Ireland but that’s all right. Wednesday we had a tour of Croke Park in South Dublin where two Gaelic sports are played: Hurling and Gaelic Football. The stadium is extremely large, the third largest in all of Europe.
Before the actual tour began, the guide told us to try our best to stick together for the duration of the tour as there are over 2,000 doors total in the stadium and that if we did happen to get lost, “Good luck.” So what happened? You guessed it. Just about half of the group was left locked outside on the upper level of the stadium. I couldn’t tell you how it happened or even how the guide didn’t notice his group was significantly smaller by about half after leaving us outside. The guide took us to the edge of the park to to give us a view and snap a photo or 20 of the city from a higher altitude. We were there for no longer than maybe three minutes when we turned around to have half our group missing. So, yeah, we were locked outside the stadium on one of the upper levels. Those of us left outside weren’t all that upset about it because the view was so amazing we didn’t really care how long it would take for someone to rescue us. One or two students called friends that were still with the guide and told of our situation, meanwhile a couple others were banging on the door until a maintenance worker finally heard and let us in.
So, we get back into the stadium and it is all so foreign (no pun intended) to every one of us so we decide to start walking. We went through a set of doors, not having a clue where it led, only to find ourselves walking through the balcony of a large conference/presentation area of all these professional business people in their best dress. We tried being as quiet as possible but I am sure you know that it was impossible so they all turned their heads and gazed up at us while the speaker kept speaking. That was embarrassing.
We were going to continue walking on through the next set of doors until we realized there were presentations going on through each of the doors. This is when the “good luck” would have came in handy. But, eventually, an employee at the park came to the rescue and led us all the way back to the ground floor where the rest of the crew were waiting for us. Aside from getting lost after the guide specifically told us not to, it was an amazing experience and opportunity to have a “backstage pass” to the park.
As you can imagine there is still so much more to do and learn in this great country. Ireland is an extremely fascinating place and for more than just the reason that they use the “F” word as part of their every day language and I am so excited to continue telling you all about it. Until next time!