Painting Spring Break Green

St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin (17/3/14)

The day of green. Green…more green. Ironically, St. Patrick’s colour was not green. It was actually a deep, royal blue. Anyways, St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. What is there to say? It’s Dublin, Ireland and it’s St. Patrick’s day.

My flatmate and I started off the day by going over to a Canadian friend’s house. We started the day early at 7:30am. We arrived at our friend’s house about an hour and a half later. There were already a handful of people there getting the day started. Our host was nice enough to make us some lovely pancakes until all of her pancake mix was gone. They were pretty good pancakes. Then, we stayed at the house doing St. Patrick’s day things, including putting on temporary tattoos on almost everybody. I’m proud – not really – to say that I cleaned out an almost empty jar of Nutella. It was a delicious breakfast indeed, hahahaha.

The crowded Dame Street along the parade route.

Then, we took a cab to city centre in attempt to watch the parade around 11am. At first the streets looked scattered and people seemed a rare sight, though when you did see people, they were all green and St. Patrick’s Day ready. Then, as we neared the route for the parade, there seemed to be less and less free space. When we finally gave up on trying to find a good spot to watch the parade, we settled down and spent a good hour trying to get a view. The parade floats weren’t very tall and overly extravagant and there seemed to be no real theme for the entire parade. It was really random. There was anything from Vikings to Dante’s Inferno to jazz/swing music with dancers – which was awesome. I didn’t get to see much at my short height, I just took in the environment for the most part. When we finally gave up trying to watch the whole parade with the whole lot of us being rather short, we headed to Burger King and grabbed a bit to eat before heading to our resting place for the rest of the night, Pygmalion.

We arrived at Pygmalion very early on around 3pm. It was a pretty comfortable place to spend some time until later on in the night after sunset, then they started to play some pretty terrible music and stamped everyone’s hand with a stamp that said “Flying Pyg” (very creative). However, it was nice to have a little group of people to talk with that didn’t drink much. I met a girl who was visiting from London, but originally from New Zealand. She was interesting and decided to call me “her ninja”. Then, there was this German guy who was pretty interesting to talk to and my flatmate and I made good conversation with him, especially since he was also an English major. It was all good.

Sometime around 9pm, my flatmate and I both decided it was time to get some dinner in our system. Oddly enough, most of our group didn’t seem interested in joining us, or they had already left for the day. Of the few of us that were left, only my flatmate and our newfound German companion seemed interested in actually feeding ourselves. It was shocking, but as they say, “to each their own”. Thus, we walked about and ended up eating from a street vendor right outside the pub. There, I had my first Irish burger. It was delicious. It might not be “the best burger ever”, as one of my American trampoliners said of the burgers at the Hairy Lemon, but it was still pretty gosh-darn good – and 1/3 of the cost. I can tell you honestly, It was much better than any burger I’ve had in America, including Inn-N-Out burger and – my favorite – The Habit. Why? It had REAL beef patties that were very minimally processed, unlike most American burger patties. You could taste the beef falling apart in your mouth as if it had been made just from mince (Americans, read “ground beef”). It was delicious, just absolutely delicious. Yes, it was simple, but it was delicious nonetheless.

After filling up our stomachs, we went back in for a little bit, but decided that it was time for us to go home and call it a day at 11pm, 8 hours after we had walked into the pub.

Spring has Sprung! (19/3/14)

The day started out grey and bleak. It was cloudy and overcast, but my flatmate and I had previously made plans to go to Bray. So to Bray we went – yes, it’s called Bray, like the sound a donkey or a mule makes. We were happy to be accompanied by one of our new friends from the St. Patrick’s Day party.

A portion of the Cliff Walk from Bray to Greystone.

We started bright and early in the morning and took the DART – the Dublin commuter train – down to Bray and started our day with a short, rocky walk on the Cliff Walk from Bray to Greystone. The whole trail is 7km long, following the DART line between Bray and Greystone. We only walked half of it and then we turned around and walked back so we could make it to Powerscourt Estate for the day. It was pretty rocky in some areas with a few steep climbs. The whole trail was rather narrow, sometimes barely wide enough for two people to walk side by side, but it was definitely a refreshing walk. There were all sorts of people on the trail, runners, people with pets, elderly people getting their exercise in, and some wandering young people like ourselves.

The entrance to the Walled Gardens at the Powerscourt Estate.

After a refreshing walk along the cliffs, we took a DublinBus over to Powerscourt Estate. The bus was such a difficult thing, as it only came once an hour – if we were lucky, and it left and arrived at the stop on the dot. It’s probably the timeliest DublinBus I’ve experienced so far.
We got to the Estate at the perfect time when it was bright and sunny, although somewhat windy. The place had a rather steep entry fee of €8.50 for students as it was just a large house – which we didn’t get to explore as part of the entry fee – and its extravagant, movie-like picturesque garden. Nevertheless, it was nice to just spend a few hours there. We walked around the whole of the gardens within 2 hours, then spent the rest of the time just enjoying the break, taking it all in before school started up again.

Things I Learned “today”

• Daylight savings time is different in America and in Ireland. It started on the 9th in America, it WILL start on the 30th in Ireland.
• Hydrogen peroxide is not sold in the European Union due to the European Council’s directive to ban the sales of products containing more than 6% hydrogen peroxide. It has to do something with using hydrogen peroxide as a tooth whitening agent (I didn’t even know you could whiten your teeth with hydrogen peroxide).
• The Irish generally talk about height – and bra sizes – in feet and inches as well, though everything else is in centimeters.
• In the Irish version of prom, their “debs”, they don’t take professional photos like we do.

Words/Phrases of the Day

• Lead = leash, like the ones you put on your dog when you’re walking them.

Other Pictures from the DART Station & Cliff Walk

The DART station at Bray. Love the murals depicting the decades in the history of the Irish rail system.

The rock/pebbles beach at the start of the Cliff Walk from Bray Head.

A peak over a wall of the DART rail parallel to the Cliff Walk.

A view from a random set of stairs we decided to go up near the beginning of the trail.

Other Pictures from the Powerscourt Estate

Some small greenhouses at the Powerscourt Estate and “Julia’s Memorial” in the centre.

Dolphin Pond, which was supposedly bought in Paris by the 7th Viscount in the late 19th century, so says the pamphlet.

Triton Lake: the main Powerscourt Gardens lake – with the House in the background.

The Powerscourt House and the stairs leading down to the main lake, Triton Lake.

The Pepperpot Tower among the plants of the Powerscourt Garden, “modelled after a pepperpot from Lord Powerscourt’s dining table” as stated in the pamphlet.


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