At the beginning of this week I realized how fast this semester is already going by and that my assignment due dates are beginning to sneak up on me. With that in mind, I spent a lot of my out-of-class free time this week at various cafés around Dublin, trying to find the best coffee and tea spots while also attempting to buckle down and get a good portion of my work done before the assignment week is suddenly here.
At the recommendation of my overseas advisor, I checked out Accents on St. Stephen’s street Monday, and it’s quickly become my favorite spot to grab a pastry, coffee or a tasty Matcha latte. They have a lounge downstairs that is the epitome of chill (apologies for using that phrase); with comfy couches, relaxing music and lighting. They also have an extremely friendly and hospitable staff that makes you always feel welcome, even if you order only one coffee and loiter in their lounge for hours. Almost right next door to Accents is another great spot, called Oolong, that has an equally great lounge and café vibe (it’s just a little pricier, and the staff at Accents really is too nice). I know I’ll be spending a lot of time at both spots during my time in Dublin. Both cafés are in a prime location, and the walk through the Grafton Street/Stephen’s Green area on the way back is always pleasant and mind-easing after spending hours staring at a computer screen trying to research and formulate coherent sentences into an essay.
Apart from trying to knock out schoolwork, I still managed to have fun this week. Tuesday night was Comedy Crunch night, and even though it wasn’t quite as funny as the week before, still provided some much-needed laughs. I dedicated Wednesday to class work and practicing guitar before going out with some friends Thursday to an enormous bar called Dicey’s Garden (they have a 2$ pint deal every week). It was a great night, but made getting up Friday for class a bit challenging.
For my Irish history class on Friday, everyone ventured over to Dublinia and Christ Church Cathedral after the lecture for some hands-on learning about the age of the Vikings and Medieval times in Ireland. Dublinia is a really interactive museum, with appealing exhibits for every age group. There was even a part that showed how Vikings used the bathroom, with a pretty over-the-top demonstration of a guy pooping (I still have no idea why this was an exhibit). I obviously had to film some of that… you can’t really hear the sounds he’s making, but, it sounded like he was having a bad time to say the least.
Christ Church Cathedral is a really amazing structure, and the crypt in the basement of the church was insanely cool and creepy, containing remains of ancient members of the clergy, army and government.
Saturday we went on a Celtic day tour where we saw historically significant spots like the Hill of Tara, Trim Castle and Loughcrew passage tomb. Hill of Tara is amazing because it’s where the ancient Celtic Pagan people would come to determine who was fit to be a king, and it also gave you a 360 view of nearly all of Ireland.
^^Statue of St. Patrick and the Passage tomb at Hill of Tara
^^”King” rock at Hill of Tara. They decided who was fit to be king by placing their hands and feet on the rock and, if they were fit, the rock would emit a loud sound
Trim Castle was neat, but wasn’t quite as exciting as the other spots (I’ve seen so many castles since I’ve been here that they’re losing a bit of their appeal).
Loughcrew is an ancient passage tomb that sits atop a huge hill, with incredible views at the top. From a distance, the tomb looks like a giant stack of rocks until you get to the gate and go inside, where there are markings made by ancient Celtics that no one has really been able to decipher. The amazing thing about these passage tombs is that on one day of the year, the sun will shine directly into the tomb illuminating the markings. That day either falls on a solstice or equinox, and apparently no one can figure out how the Celts knew how to make that happen. They believed this allowed those who had died to pass on to the afterlife.
^^Outside of Loughcrew
^^The gate going in and some of these markings (they were known for taking a lot of psychedelic drugs, which is probably where these crazy shapes came from)
After that long day, I got some rest before going out to grab some drinks with a few friends. My first stop was the Church for the France v. New Zealand rugby game. The Church is a huge bar/club/restaurant that used to be an old church, and although it’s expensive, it’s a really cool place to grab a drink or a bite to eat. Then we went to the Auld Dubliner in Temple Bar, a place that has been insanely crowded and lively every time I’ve been, and grabbed a couple of pints before heading home.