Meet Lola

Hi all! I’m still alive (for those of you who were worried!) And Paris was amazing (for those of you who were wondering). I’ll have a post on that coming soon, but I have a lot of catching up to do before that. (You still haven’t seen pictures from Amsterdam, I know, because I am a huge procrastinator! But, I’m working on it!)

So, I figured I would fill you all in on how I spent my Easter weekend, and let you know what I’m doing this weekend.

Easter is a really big holiday here, with the kids getting multiple weeks off from school, so it only seemed naturally that we would also get lots of time off (Yay, only three days of school this week!). So, we got back from Paris on Friday evening (and apparently they found someone with a bomb in the Paris airport after we left so we got real lucky!!!). We were all in bed by like 8 p.m. Friday night since we were all exhausted from the week in Paris and traveling back to Ireland. Saturday we also spent laying around in re-cooperation mode.

Easter Sunday rose cold and rainy but we all made it to Mass anyway. I’m not Catholic but I figured I should still got to church, and it was interesting to see how Catholic Mass works since I’m not familiar with it. It’s very similar to my usual Lutheran Church, except I obvious can’t take communion at a Catholic church.

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We went back to my favorite St. Mary’s Cathedral for Mass!

After Mass, we went out for lunch. I tried lamb for the first time! I had never tried it before, so I figured I might as well, and it seemed Easter-y. It was actually really good!

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After lunch, the weather had cleared a bit so we took the long way home to enjoy the nice weather and appreciate being in Ireland!

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We even got an Easter rainbow!

We went home, and later that night we got all dolled up and went out. Apparently, Easter is a holiday where you go out and drink here in Ireland, and since we all want to fit in with the community it was only fitting that we go out and celebrate Easter at the pub as well!

The next morning, we heard that if we wanted to we could attend a musical at the local theater. So, I naturally really wanted to go since I love musicals. They performed “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”

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This was a musical I had never seen before so I was really excited to go and see it. It was equal parts funny and sad, and the cast did amazing. (I actually met the actress who played the main character later at the pub! It was like meeting a celebrity!)

The cast did a really good job. They had some really talented people, and they did a decent job with the Texan accents!

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After the show, and after I got back from the pub, I heard we had a new member join our family!

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Meet Lola, the bunny!

My lil sis got a bunny for Easter, named Lola! Apparently, she is a free-range, attack house bunny! Who knew such things existed?!?

Lil sis calls her the cutest three-pound loaf of bread! I think Emily loves Lola more than anything else. I texted her yesterday (since she’s on Easter break still) and asked what she did with her day and she said she played with Lola all day.

And now Lola has a harness and leash to go on walks, and a cat bed for naps! I think she just may be the most spoiled bunny ever!

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I called the family to FaceTime the other day, and got to watch Lola eat hay for like ten minutes. She’s most definitely very loved!

Anyway, that’s what I did with my Easter weekend. I’ll be working on getting my posts from Amsterdam (oops!) and Paris up as soon as possible! This weekend were headed to Lismore, Youghal, and Ardmore! It will be a weekend filled with castles, churches, and cemeteries. Wish me luck!

We have survived (more or less)

So, yesterday was Saint Patrick’s Day here in good old Ireland. And I am pleased to report, no causalities for the Mercyhurst study abroad students!

Wednesday night, the festivities started with fireworks out over Dungarvan Bay! This was such a surreal moment for me. Like I’m going to be celebrating the Irish holiday in Ireland! How fecking cool is that?!?

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Our actual Saint Patrick’s Day festivities began bright and early when we were asked to meet with the mayor outside of their version of City Hall. Each year for the eight years that students have been coming to Dungarvan, they have a flag raising ceremony where they raise the Irish and the American flag in out honor in front of City Hall.

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The mayor is holding the American Flag, and our favorite tour guide Tom Keith is the man in the very green jacket.

After the flag raising ceremony, we walked as a group to St. Mary’s Cathedral, where I attended my first Catholic Mass. The really cool part about this, besides getting to sit in the place of honor, and having the priest personally welcome us, was that sections of the service were done in Irish! It was very cool to hear the language being spoken and sung.

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And the Cathedral is beautiful! The stained glass was gorgeous!

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After the service, we had some time to get ready before the parade. So, Kelsey, Sara, and I explored up around the church for a while and found a place that makes the best cheesecake!

 

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We were real excited about the cheesecake!

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That’s St. Mary’s in the background

So, we get back and get all decked up for the parade!

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The wonderful Tom Keith and his wife Caramel gave us huge flags to carry, and everyone was really done up. Mercyhurst gets to walk right near the front, so we were basically leading the parade!

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I grabbed this flag because it was yellow and had crowns on it… turns out it was the Papal Flag! So, I was accidentally taking people out with the Papacy all day yesterday!

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After we finished the parade, we were treated to food and drinks at the Dungarvan Sailing Club. This is the seventh year they’ve opened their doors to Mercyhurst!

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There was a “Don’t Give Up the Ship” flag, which made me miss my big sis who sailed on the Brig Niagara in Erie for the longest time!

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After all our food and drinks we were free for the rest of the night! We went out to our favorite Anchor Bar, which was so packed you couldn’t even move, and you couldn’t hear anything anyone was saying but it was so much fun to be apart of!

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I was pretty tipsy when we left the Sailing Club, and apparently wanted a picture with this pretty mural!

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At Anchor Bar!

After we left the bar, we came back to the house and a group of us played Disney Power Hour, which kicked my butt like nothing else! Basically, it plays Disney clips and in between the clips you do shots. As it keeps playing, the clips get shorter and you take more shots. But, let me tell you, by the end, you really think you can sing! I don’t think I’ve ever belted out more Disney tunes in my life that loudly before!

Eventually, I got the hiccups for about an hour and decided that I should probably head off to bed. Woke up this morning and managed to make it to class so I call our Saint Paddy’s Day a success!

 

I got lucky (by kissing a stone)

I should be studying for my philosophy midterm, but I’m blogging instead. I have so much to catch up on before we leave for Paris!

So, two weekends ago (wow, have I really been slacking!) we went on a trip to Blarney Castle, Cork, and Cobh (pronounced Cove). So, sit back and enjoy photo overload!

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Blarney Castle off in the distance

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Now, I don’t know much of the history of the castle. All I know is that the Blarney Stone was originally kept somewhere else and moved back to Blarney Castle fairly recently. (And the idea that the locals pee on it has been proven a myth!)

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See that little gap up near the roof? That’s where the Blarney Stone is. So, to kiss it requires you to lean over backwards off the side of a hundred foot drop! No biggie, right?

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Actual photographic proof that I kissed the Blarney Stone! I almost chickened out but then I thought when am I ever going to be in Ireland at Blarney Castle again, so I did it!

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it was a big moment for me!

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Another Julie Andrews moment. I think I have a collection going…

 

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After exploring the castle, we explored The Poison Gardens!

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After the castle, we were all frozen because it rained non-stop while we were there, so we stopped in this cute little chocolate shop for some hot chocolate before taking the bus to Cork.

We didn’t do much in Cork. We basically just stopped to eat lunch on our way to Cobh. It reminded me a lot of Dublin, but apparently you aren’t supposed to say that out load…

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After lunch (and a little shopping because let’s face it, we’re a group of girls!) we got back on the bus and headed for Cobh. I really liked Cobh. It was this quaint, little town right on the water. It was the last port of call for the Titanic before she sank, and the last group of passengers actually boarded from Cobh. So naturally, we did the Titanic Experience!

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The Titanic Experience was really cool to do. To start with, the building that your inside used to be the ticket building for the company that owned the Titanic. And, once you got inside, you were given a “ticket” to board the Titanic that had the name, age, and class of the person you “were.” The really cool thing was that all these people on the tickets were the original 133 people who boarded the Titanic from Cobh. At the end of the tour you got to see if “you” survived the sinking!

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So “I” was Marcelle Daly, I was 31, traveling alone and in the 3rd class rooms, or steerage.

They tried to make everything look and feel very authentic. Even the bathrooms were done up in the appropriate style!

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Yes, that is me taking a selfie in the bathroom. It was for posterity. 

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So, before your Experience starts, you wait on the docks. Then, the wall lights up to look like you’re outside on actual docks. An actor on the screen begins explaining who’s on board, some details of the boat, and explaining how we would be getting from the docks to the Titanic. In the background were people waving, and moving luggage. It was really cool to watch. So, then you move from the docks, onto your tiny boat that “rows” out to the Titanic. Along the way, more information on the Titanic was being shared. Then, you go outside onto the decks where the people stood just minutes before rowing out to the Titanic.

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That is the original dock that the boats took off from to go out to the Titanic.

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Once inside, and “on” the Titanic, we got to see the 3rd class rooms (where I would have been staying)…

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and the 1st class rooms. This part was cool because the same actor as before came back onto the screen (which was the mirror this time) and talked about the different rooms, and chastised us for being in a 1st class room. Then he acted like he heard something off screen and told us the Titanic had hit an iceberg and we were being ordered to evacuate.

You get put into a lifeboat, and on screen again, you watch the boat sinking. You can hear people screaming and the waves hitting against your lifeboat. Eventually, the ship cracks in half and sinks completely. This ended the tour portion, and in the next room where all types of artifacts, and you could search “your” name to see if the person whose ticket you had lived or died.

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I survived the sinking of the Titanic!

After the Titanic Experience was over, we had a little time to explore the city of Cobh.

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We naturally stopped for a treat, and I tried Honeycomb Cake! It was soooo good!

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We decided to hike to the top of the town and explore up around the cathedral that was there.

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So, there we are (almost) all the way caught up! Stay tuned for the first installation of my Amsterdam series!

 

Hurling and Appologizes

So, I’ve been slacking a little on the blog posts (I was just chastised by my mother via Skype less than an half an hour ago), so I’ll try and pick them up. We have a lot to cover so hang tight!

As I’m sure you can guess, a lot had happened in the past week (I went to Amsterdam!) which will have to wait! This post is less exciting but still cool.

 

So, we got to see a hurling match today. Now, Hurling is like a combination of field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and football. Basically, a bunch of men chase a small ball around a field while carrying wooden sticks.

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I wasn’t quite sure of the rules (or which team I liked) so I basically cheered when everyone else did.

The gist (from what I could gather) is that each team has 15 guys: 1 goalie, 6 defense, 2 mid-field, and 6 offense. The main object is to get the ball down the field and score. But you can carry it, kick it, hit it, whack it with your hurly, and basically do whatever necessary to get the ball down the field.

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When you get it down there, you can shoot it between the goal posts for 1 point, or into the net for 3 points.

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There are also all types of ways you can foul, but don’t ask me what they are.

At half-time, they invite out the Tiny Tots, who are basically toddlers that are learning to play Hurling. I almost stole like 40 little kids, cause they were all so stinkin’ cute with their little hurlies!

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People here really love the game, and even though I didn’t quite understand I’m glad I got to see something that is essential to the culture of the place I’m staying.

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The final score was 14 Waterford, Dublin 19. Waterford is in the blue and white, and Dublin in the blue and navy.

Keep your eyes peeled for my next post all about how I got lucky…

I’m a (self-proclaimed) duchess

So, on Thursday, our favorite Heidi Hosey comes into class and gestures for Naomi and I to follow her out of the room. Of course, I immediately start thinking of things we could have possibly done wrong.

Luckily, she just wanted to know if Nay and I wanted to go to Ormund Castle with her, and of course we did, since I love castles!

Ormund Castle was the home of Anne Boleyn’s father, so I was soooo excited to see it! But, before we went to the adorable town of Carrick-on-Suir where the castle is, Dr. Hosey took us to the “best view in Dungarvan.”

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To get to Carrick-on-Suir, you have to drive down this long winding road that’s on the side of a cliff. The drive down was terrifying, but the view was pretty impressive.

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So, we drove through the cute little town and found Ormund Castle. We parked, and walked up to the front gate… to see the whole front of the castle is covered in scaffolding! It was closed for renovations.

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I snuck a picture through another gate. I tried to cut the scaffolding out. This part of the castle is the old original foundation before the Boleyns built in front of it.

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Here you can see the Boleyn part of the castle in the front, and all the construction.

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Since we were in Carrick-on-Suir, we decided to explore the town a little. It was very cute and quaint.

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I think Dr. Hosey felt bad we couldn’t get in to see the castle, so she offered to take us to a little town by the sea (whose name escapes me) or to Lismore to see Lismore Castle. I, of course, picked going to see the castle since I’m actually a princess.

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So, we arrived in the town of Lismore (the winner of the Tidy Towns award. You’re welcome for that bit of knowledge!) And Dr. Hosey took us for a tea. It was like a real tea too. It had the little teapot and plates and cups. We tried Bailey’s cake which was delicious and the little teacakes they brought out as well. After tea, we walked to the Lismore Heritage Center, where we learned all about the history of Lismore from our friend Brother Declan (looong story. But basically, Brother Declan is the “man” who narrates the film they show at the Heritage Center. The video was made in like the 70’s and was hilarious!)

Basically, the land goes back to 636 AD when monks established the area. They were continually attacked by Vikings, and then the English. The land was eventually given to Sir Walter Raleigh by Queen Elizabeth, who sold it to the Dukes of Devonshire for 1,500 Euros. It was 42,000 acres so it was a steal! The Dukes English-ized the area and built Lismore Castle. The original burned down, so the one standing today is a rebuild.

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Some of the castle grounds. They’re extensive! So this section was turned into a park that the average person could use.

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She’s a pain in the hiney!

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After our detour through the park, you had to hike along the side of the road to this bridge to be able to see the castle.

Now, this is because the Dukes of Devonshire still use the castle!!! And I hear they have a grandson near my age so I’m making it my goal to meet (and marry him) before I come home. So bow down to the next Duchess of Devonshire, peasants!

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That little tunnel is a path down to the Black Water, the river around Lismore. The Vikings used it to attack the area, and I wanted to go down there and explore but it was so flooded!

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And back in the distance is St. Carthagh’s Cathedral, established by Brother Declan’s order of monks back in 636 AD.

And now the important stuff: my future home, Lismore Castle!

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This tower is part of the original castle!

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Can’t you see me living there?!?

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The castle grounds

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The wonderful Dr. Hosey risked life and limb to get this photo for us by running into the middle of the street to get the whole castle into the picture! That’s why we love her!

After Lismore we headed back to Dungarvan, and had a quiet night in the townhouse. Last night, we went to our favorite Merry’s then over to Anchor Bar. I behaved myself (after getting free shots from the bartender!)!

Early night tonight. Gotta catch an 8am bus to Blarney Castle, then over to Cobh (pronounced Cove) to see the Titanic Museum!