Friday, April 9, 2010


To start out this post sorry I have kinda neglected this blog for the last couple weeks. But now I am back on track and going to write about my trip to the Netherlands. I went there last week thurs to tues, to see the home land and hang out with my extended family. The highlights of the trip for me was first Amsterdam. I loved going to the Anne Frank house and the reichstag museum, where they have many Rembrandt's. This was a great day that I spent with my two cousins Fiona and Hendrik. The other days i was able to tour all around holland courtosy of my family who showed me all key things to see in Holland. This is included going o a premier soccer game, haraveen vs. sparta, which was awesome. Then I had to return to Dublin early in the morning on Tuesday to go back to school and actually doing lots of work for all my classes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

So last weekend I went out to Galway west Ireland with erin, kylen, and greta. Our main goal of this trip was to see the legendary Cliffs of Moher. We went in and took a bus tour from Galway to see them, but then Kylen and I were not satisfied. So we got off the bus tour halfway and with all our backpacking gear decided to hike all of the cliffs. So at 4 Oclock on sat. we take off hiking starting at sea level. We have only a loaf of bread with peanut butter for food because our other food needs our stove which we don't have fuel for.... As we start walking we are not disappointed. We walk along the edge of the cliffs the whole way until about seven at night and end up camping in a farmland right near the edge of the cliffs which is absolutely amazing. Sunday we work down the other side of the cliffs and into a tourist surf town of Lahench to catch the bus all the back to Dublin. Overall the hiking trip was great and the cliffs are amazing in every right.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunday climbing in Dalkey
I went south of Dublin with the climbing club to go rock climbing in Dalkey. It was the first time I have rock climbed outside and it was sweet. I was able to climb a few routes which was lots of fun. The weather was great so it made the climbing even Better and the view from the top of the routes was great, being able to see the whole bay of dublin. I got home though and I was so tired from such a day and week, I just made food and crashed.
The West of Ireland
Last week we left on a class trip to go to Westport a small town on the west coast of Ireland. Our class took this trip to learn hands on about the Great Famine between 1845 and 1850. On the first day on the drive up, we went to the National Famine Museum and also the Strokestown House. They were both very cool, but the Strokestown house was fantastic. It was an anglo-irish estate house that had been owned by one family for over 400 years. The collection of historical artifacts was absolutely dumbfounding. For example, the library contained multiple first edition of dickens, some Tolstoy, and also a first edition candied by Voltaire. Also I was able to hold a first edition version of dickens Christmas stories which was pretty cool. Then we went back to the Hotel and had the most fabulous three course meal, a sausage appetizer, lamb rump,all topped off with a creme brulee. The next day we went out to croagh patrick mountain and looked at it; we were not able to climb up it. It is the third tallest mountain in Ireland and is a religious pilgrimage for many people each year, it is called the Holy mountain. Then the group proceeded to go in through an amazing mountain pass, toward Connemara national park. Which was fantastic and I was able to do a small hiking loop which was very pretty. The we returned to the hotel for a great meal again and a night out on the town in Westport. The last day we went to achill island to see many deserted famine cottages and a brilliant coast line. The last thing we did was go to a heritage farm. This was a small farm that has been preserved since the famine and is run by the owner of the house who group up on the small farm. It was very informative and quite impressive. The we went back for our last night at the hotel for a great meal and fun night out with our whole group including our professors. Then on Saturday the rest of the group took the bus home and kylen and i stayed in westport to climb up Croagh Patrick which was absolutely amazing. Overall, the trip was phenomenal and tons of fun.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Life in Ireland

So I firgured I should update this thing because it has been about a week. But no major events have happened. Lets see what I have done in the past week. First, on friday I went to the Irish National Gallary of Art. It was very fun and I really enjoy all the history that goes wiht each painting. I always think how crazy it is to think that a painting has been around since the 1300's, maybe that is just the history nerd in me. This weekend I was supposed to go to a proffessional Hurling match. Which is a gaelic game and only really played in Ireland. It is a mix between hockey lacross, soccer and maybe some football, but bottom line it is very fast paced and dangerous. But the game was cancelled due to SNOW. Yep we got about an inch of snow and they had to cancel this match. That made my weekend kind of sad, but I did have a lot of fun hanging out with friends ad meeting more Irish folks. Now the school week a has started again and I am back into doing some reading and trying to focus on writing papers. So it is school I guess. The thing I cna't believe is that this is already my fourth week here..... Wow time flys.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The weekend in Wicklow

On Saturday morning kylen and I decided we should go out hiking in the Wicklow mountains, which are about 30 minutes out of Dublin. We get to the place we think we are going to hike but before we leave we talk to an owner of the youth hostel right across the street. He gives a different better route so we head out on a 30 kilometer journey starting at Saturday at 3. We start hiking and it is picturesque views, but the hiking is hard work. We get about 7 kilometers in and we decide to stop for then night and make camp by this stream and hilly pasture. It is absolutely amazing. We cook a wonderful pasta dinner and then are in bed by 10. Saturday night it dropped below freezing and I was the coldest I have ever been sleeping, it was a very hard night to sleep. It was all because I did not have a sleeping mat to protect me from the ground cold. We wake up Sunday right in the middle of these mountains surrounding us which is the best feeling. Then we head out bright and early on out 20 kilometer day. We hike all day until about 2 when we finally arrive in the small town of Grendalough. It is a quaint tourist trap with old church ruins. We get into to town and have to hang out tell four before we can catch a bus back to Dublin. Overall, the weekend was my favorite so far and allowed me to see more of Ireland then just the big city.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It has been a few days

So classes are completly under way now. It has been quite a transition getting back into school mode after having almost two months off. But my classes seem good and not to hard. I am taking a Health and fitness class, an International relations, Intro to law, and the history of Russia and the Former Soviet Union, and lastly the History and culture of Ireland. All of these classes are with all Irish Students except the last which is all Americans. But out side of school lots has been going on too. On Tuesday all the American students from CIEE had to go to Immagration and get our immagration card (just like a green card for the US). We all had to wait there for over three hours, which sounds bad, but if we had not had an appointment it could have been as long as 10. So that night was not very much fun, but it is somthing we had to do. Then wednesday we just hung around tried to get a rough outline of places I want to visit and when so that was good. This afternoon was great though, it was a bueatiful blue sky day so a group of us decided to go to the Guinness Store house tour. This tour was very fun and historical becuase Arthur Guinness has had so much influence on the developement of Dublin since 1759. The reason it was important to go on a clear day because the tour ends in the gravity bar which is six floors up and completely glass all the way around. This allows you to see the whole city; which is amazing.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

First day of School

Monday Feb, 8 was our first day of school. I was a little stressed about going to a whole new system and not really have a finalized schedule yet. I got going and went to my only class for the day it turned out not that bad and not super different either. I think the semester will go well, but it may be some work for a few of my classes like the Elections and voting class which is following the UK's election which I know nothing about. After my one class I went to the grocery store to buy food and then basically hung out for the rest of the day with my room mate and some people in my study abroad group.

Sunday Feb 3

On sunday seven of the people in our group took a day trip to the coastal city of Howth. It is a small fishing town about fifteen minutes outside of Dublin, and it is absolutely gorgeous. We went there because it is a place with a famous cliff walk. So we set out to take this hike which went all the way around the peninsula that Howth is on and was just absolutely amazing. The hike a took about three hours and was probably around 6 to 7 miles. The views were great and really what I had in my mind of what Ireland looks like. After the hike we found a sea side take out restaurant and ate great fish and chips. Which were delectable. Overall it was my favorite day so far, it was great for me to get out of the city and experience more nature because I really need that as much as I can because I am not a city guy really.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My firsts day in Ireland

So on Friday kylen and I are very tired but we decided to try to beat jet lag by staying up as long as we can. So we go into the Center of Dublin where everything is. It is a 15 minute bus ride and it is quite easy to figure out. Then we just wander around the downtown and look at stuff and take it all in. We find a great place to eat in a Irish pub/restaurant and I order a beef and vegetable stew of some sort and a pint of Guinness. It is truly and Irish meal. Around like 630 we decide we are super tired so we better figure out the bus home and try and make it. We make it back to campus just find a spend the night watching a movie and pretty much falling asleep early. Saturday is our first official day so we definitely want to experience downtown more completely. So we leave at about 12 on the bus and walk all over for about eight hours seeing everything we can. It is amazing and a great way to get our bearings on the city which is very beautiful and is a very unique city. On sat. afternoon we are kinda tired of walking and so we decided to go to an Irish pub and watch a Liverpool soccer game which was a whole new and great experience. After the game we walk around some more until about 830 or so and then we don't know what else to do but head home again. But it was a very fun and long day. I am very tired from walking all over the city so I just crash when I get home. Sunday we only planed really to find the grocery store to get some food an then hang out and look around campus so more and that is what we have done. I got quite a bit of food for a low cost because kylen and I are deal shopper and look for good prices (thanks mom). Overall the first few days have been great.

My trip to Ireland

I departed on my journey to Ireland on Wed. Jan. 27 with a flight out of grand rapids at 3. This flight was late though so they put me on a different flight that left later and also changed my flight to london to a flight directly from Chicacago to Dublin. This all seemed like a great idea to me, but what i was not counting on was the bad weather in both Chicago and grand rapids delaying my first flight so long that I missed my flight in Chicago to Dublin. This was a major problem because the next available flight to Dublin was the next night. So I had to leave the airport and get a shuttle to a cheap hotel and then spend the morning bumming around this small town outside of the airport. I went back to the Chicago airport around three in the afternoon, and it turned out that kylen was on the same flight so we were both in the airport together waiting. So we get on the aire lengus flight and fly all night with very little sleep to arrive in Dublin at 830 in the morning. We wait around the airport for about an hour for a ride to arrive. Are Resident director arrives and he drives off toward campus. Once we are on campus he brings us to our rooms. Which are not nearly as nice as the the photos on that i saw at home.

Monday, January 25, 2010

getting ready to leave

Hey I am just creating this blog and I have never really done this before so hopefully I will actually write in it but right now I am just packing and getting all my stuff together so that I can move to another country for four months. Kinda crazy I know. All my life for four months in a 50 pound bag.