Tuesday, 13 January 2015

I'm Rachel, and welcome to my blog!  The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences as I study and travel abroad through Ireland. I am a student from Purdue University of West Lafayette, Indiana, but this semester will be studying at Ireland's largest national university - University College Dublin. I am so incredibly excited and so fortunate to have this opportunity, and I am confident that it will be the adventure of a lifetime!

I am a little behind in getting this all started, but I'm hoping to make up for that now.  

My view of Philly as we prepared for landing.

On the evening of January 11th, I flew from Chicago to Philadelphia and then on to Dublin. Total flight time was about eight hours.During my second flight, which lasted just over six hours, I got to know Gerry, the man sitting beside me. He had an accent that wasn't entirely Irish, and I came to find out he'd been born in England but has lived in Ireland since age nine. We then traded stories, knowledge, and general information about one another for the remainder of the flight. Gerry offered to drive me to the UCD campus in Belfield, County Dublin, which I was so grateful for because I definitely had my doubts about finding my way once I arrived.  He also decided to drive me through Dublin's city center to show me a few of the sites.

I was reminded that cars in Ireland are driven on the left side of the road...


All went smoothly, and I was able to check in, find my accommodation, and get settled in. Since it was about 5:00am back home (10:00am in Ireland), I was ready for some sleep after being awake for the majority of the night.

My cozy new bedroom

And the kitchen that doubles as a lounge area

After a four hour power-nap, I was ready to see something new. Some fellow American exchange students (from Wisconsin and Connecticut) and I made plans to take a bus into Dublin's city centre. It was a challenge, but after a couple of hours of trying to sort out which bus to take, we finally made it to our destination.  

Our first stop was a bar (you'll have to forgive me, as I neglected to take pictures from the outside and have forgotten the name of the place), and the four of us had a round of Guinness (of course).

Audrey, myself, and Nicole
The next place we ended up was a pub called Oliver St. John Gogarty's, where we sat down for our first Irish meal. There was live music being played by a banjoist and a guitarist, both very talented and upbeat.

It was great fun to see a couple of girls get up to start dancing to the Irish music, and even more fun when the older man jumped in to join them. The way they dance with their feet is something else...and so much fun to watch.
Our first traditional Irish meals
I think it's safe to say our first trip into the city was a success! We had a ton of fun just walking through the cobblestone streets, admiring the city lights and just enjoying being part of the street crowd. Needless to say, afterward I was ready for a good night's sleep.

My first ride on the top level of a double decker bus

This is all for now, hope you enjoy following my travels through Ireland, and thanks for reading!

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