Today was a wonderful breath of fresh air! It seemed like the first time since we’ve been here that we got a break from touring, classwork and constantly being on schedule. We have had some amount of free time, although I feel like mostly we have a “go, go, go” mentality, wanting to see everything and fit in all we can while we are here. Some of us (who stayed in Ireland this weekend) opted to go to mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the morning while others chose to get some must needed rest. Personally I had family visiting so I spent the morning with them and showed them some of my favorite places in Dublin. In the afternoon most of us decided to go to Howth, an outer suburb of Dublin and spend some time there.
Howth is a beautiful fishing village right on the coast that reminded us of either Cape Cod or Newport RI. It was a beautiful sunny day so we decided to wonder around the outdoor market they have there. We found everything from baked goods to jewelry to wooden art, most of it handmade. After leaving the market we walked around the town for a little while, noticing all the sailboats and a variety of fresh seafood markets and restaurants. We decided to eat at one restaurant called “Bloody Stream” which although had an obscure name was delicious. All of their fish was fresh from the sea and even those in our group who normally don’t eat fish decided to venture out and try it. After our dinner we traveled back to the city via the Dart which is a train/ commuter rail that travels to Howth and surrounding suburbs.
Overall the day was wonderful and are constantly thankful of the beautiful weather that we have had here, as we often told that the sun and warm temperatures are not too normal, even in the summer. It is hard to believe that we now have less than a week left in this beautiful country however we fully plan to enjoy and appreciate every moment.
Yesterday we decided to enjoy our Sunday off and take a day trip to Howth while some of the others took a trip to Cork and the Blarney Stone. Getting to Howth was pretty easy, we took the train from Don Laoghaire, which is where UCD treated us to dinner last week. I would definitely say the hardest part about taking the train was breathing due to the smell! Once we got to Howth the first thing we did was go to the Howth Market. This was an adorable little market filled with food stands, crafts, and jewelry. Three of us bought beautiful Indian tapestries that may actually come be the basis of us trying to convince our friends and family back home that we really spent this weekend in India. Although the tapestries were not locally made, we soon found out as we walked toward the pier that all of the fish served in Howth restaurants is caught locally and brought in straight from the boats. In addition to plenty of restaurants, there were local fish markets lining the walk to the pier. Everything seemed so fresh that it made even me, who hates anything seafood, want to try the fish! After hanging out on the pier for about half an hour watching locals ride around on their jet skis, we decided to sit down for dinner. We went to Crabby Joes, where Torie, Alex, and Ryan had the best fish and chips that they’ve had yet in Ireland and Alex had seafood chowder that she didn’t stop taking about until it was all gone. Next we went to the cliff walk that gave us some of the most beautiful views we’ve seen on this trip, comparable to the Cliffs of Moher! We even saw some kids cliff jumping off the smaller parts of the cliff! After taking advantage of the great photo ops (of course) and spending some time relaxing on top of the cliffs, we decided to head on back to what now feels like home, UCD. This day in Howth was a much needed day filled with relaxation and as the Irish say, “good craic”. Although these past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind filled with tours, full days of class, and assessments, we are excited looking forward to the next two weeks that give us a little more free time to explore Dublin and wherever else we may go.