As part of the London program, the students are required to visit a different country and return to London with a presentation about what we learned. The choices were Dublin, Amsterdam, Berlin, Edinburgh and Krakow for the students in Economics. Obviously by the title, I got assigned Ireland along with three other girls: Tori, Jennifer and Julia. It was late October when we were going on our trip. Tori and I were roommates living with woman and her son who was about our age. We woke up at about 9AM to very loud house music coming from the kitchen. Turns out our host brother decided to get the party started early. Tori and I decided to get out of the house after the rude awakening. We met up with Julia and Jennifer at the train platform that would take us to Stanstead Airport. The flight over wasn’t all that interesting, except for the fact that on the plane, you could choose where you wanted to sit. All four of us were a bit confused by this, especially since that is a definite no-no in the U.S.
We landed in Dublin Airport at about two in the afternoon, hopped on a bus and took it all the way to the city centre. And not a word of a lie, everyone we came across was partying hard. I wouldn’t say that they were all drunk like we expected, but they were well on their way. We all had the same thought: “If this is what they do on Thursday, I don’t know what they do on Friday.” After we get to the centre, we got to our hostel that Jeannine Wyman found for us, dropped off our bags and went off exploring Dublin. The first thing about Dublin is that it is a very small city. So small it doesn’t even have a train system, but it doesn’t even need it. Everywhere we wanted to go was in descent walking distance, except for the Dublin Zoo which was a bit out of our way. So we walk to Temple Bar, a section of the city filled with pubs and clubs and party places. The streets were decorated in green, black and gold and there were people everywhere, even hanging out of the windows. And that was where the real fun began.
One of the first things we noticed in Temple Bar was that there was no open container laws. We grabbed some warm cider and beer from the nearest Tesco (UK supermarket chain) and went walking around. The Irish are very warm and very eccentric characters. No matter who we came across, the people were extra friendly and wanted to know what we were doing and if we were liking Ireland so far etc. One pair of fine Irish gentlemen talked to us about American football and they knew a fair deal about the New England Patriots. As a New Yorker, I definitely gave them hell for it. Anyway, as the night progresses we start to wonder what’s actually going on because it did not seem like a normal night. A young woman and her friends came out of one bar and talked to us. When we asked her what was going on she told us that it was Arthur’s Day. When we asked what that meant, she told us three words: Arthur Guinness’s birthday. Guinness is the livelihood of the Irish culture, they live for their dark beer and they celebrate the man for what he did for the city. Someone told me that Arthur’s Day was actually a bigger deal than Saint Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately I wouldn’t be around to see the celebrations for St. Patty’s so I had to take this person’s word for it. So needless to say, we celebrated along with the Irish and had the time of our lives. The best part of the night for me can be relayed through this picture.
So that concludes the first part of my Dublin adventure. I’ll be back next time with some of the things I learned about Dublin and the rest of it’s culture…and more Guinness
By Christina Sportiello