Mom’s Visit to Ireland & Our Trip to Rome!

The rest of April was spent finishing up projects and papers for my classes. Classes ended here on April 25th. After many hours of travel my mom arrived in Dublin that same day. Her original flight was canceled so she had to fly to Atlanta, Paris, and then Dublin. I was so excited to have her here in Ireland! On Friday, I took her around Dublin. We walked through St. Stephen’s Green park, shopped on Grafton Street and had lunch at Bewley’s Café. We finished the day off with dinner, live music and Irish dancing and Fitzsimons in the Temple Bar area.

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On Saturday we went on a day tour to Cork, Blarney Castle, and Cobh. It was a beautiful sunny day! When we returned to Dublin I took my mom to have corned beef at O’Neils.

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On Sunday I took my mom to mass at Sacred Heart Church and then I showed her the UCD campus and my apartment.

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We then left for the airport at 4a.m. to head to Rome! We stayed at Starhotels Michelangelo. It was just around the block from the Vatican.

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We then headed for the Colosseum. As we were walking up I ran into my friend Toni’s friend who visited in Dublin. With the thousands of people in Rome, I thought it was crazy to run into someone I knew! We then toured the Colosseum and experienced the ruins surrounding it. As we walked out my mom spotted dressed up gladiators and insisted I get a picture. Even though I was so embarrassed, it is quite funny to look back on.

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We headed to the Trevi Fountain. This area was absolutely packed with visitors. We threw our coins in and made our wish to return to Rome someday. Surrounding the Trevi Fountain were boutiques and gelato shops. We had local gelato and it was heavenly!

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We then rested up and had a celebratory birthday dinner at the restaurant next to our hotel. Tuesday was spent visiting the Pantheon and Spanish Steps and trying local cuisine.

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On Wednesday we attended the Papal Audience. Having attended Catholic grade school and high school, being at The Vatican and seeing the Pope felt surreal. I couldn’t help but think of how much my grandmother would have loved to be there.  I also do not think I have ever been surrounded by so many people in my life! Even though when the Pope spoke we couldn’t understand him, they had an English summary that was read. It was very interesting to see such a large group of diverse people gather to listen to the Pope. After this we ate lunch at a local restaurant and then rested before dinner. Following dinner we took a night tour of the city to see everything lit up.  I am so glad we did this! Our driver took us to two separate points that overlooked the city and were both breathtaking.  It was really nice to see the attractions lit up with half as many tourists as during the day.

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On Thursday we went on a guided tour of the Vatican. The tour included a tour of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. These were both so magnificent and gorgeous. It was so neat to be there right after the election of a new Pope. You could feel the energy throughout the city. We finished out visit with a carriage ride, shopping, and dinner at a local restaurant.

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Throughout the week we had gorgeous weather. I was able to wear shorts and a tank top everyday. Coming from wearing a coat everyday in Ireland, this was a nice change. Rome was VERY crowded and I was surprised at how little English they could speak. Overall, Rome was a breathtaking city and I am so blessed that my mom and I were fortunate enough to be able to see it to together.  The weekend brought more sightseeing, shopping and eating at local restaurants in Dublin.  My mom flew home Sunday as I began to study for finals. I was so sad to see her leave but grateful that she was able to come visit! I had my first final on Tuesday. I have two next week and then will be on my way home on the 19th!  It is unreal that I only have a little over a week left here!

XO

Julie

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Killarney, Gap of Dunloe, Horseback Riding, & Hiking

The first weekend in April was one I won’t forget. My friends and I had been planning and looking forward to this weekend since February. We stayed in Killarney, which is a town in County Kerry, southwestern Ireland. Our hostel was an old mansion with a large living room that we watched movies in each night.Our first full day in Killarney we did a tour of the Gap of Dunloe. We started by hiking for about two hours. We then went on a boat tour. This area was breathtaking and we could not have lucked out with better weather!

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On Saturday we started the day by going horseback riding. This was one of my favorite parts. The scenery was so beautiful it almost looked as though it was not real! The rest of the day was spent hiking.

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We took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent almost our entire time outdoors. Many of my favorite memories of Ireland were created that weekend and I am so fortunate to have been able to experience that part of Ireland.

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Grateful-

XO Julie

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March Travels, Jen’s Trip to Dublin, & Easter in Ireland

March was filled with great opportunities and wonderful experiences. It began with a wonderful visit from my sister, Jen. Jen landed in Dublin on March 8th and I was able to show her around the UCD campus. We quickly returned to the airport that night for our flight to Paris. We arrived in Paris and took a train and the metro to our Bed and Breakfast. We stayed in a local Parisian apartment with our host Aline. Aline was very welcoming to us. Her apartment was very cozy. She had tea and cookies waiting for us when we arrived. We had a delicious breakfast each morning with Aline. She had us try different kinds of teas while she gave us tips on getting around Paris.

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On our first day we took a Sandman’s New Europe walking tour. The tours are built to show visitors the best of Paris and pay at the end what the felt the tour was worth. During the tour we were able to see and learn the history behind many historic monuments and areas of Paris. We began the tour by the fountain at Place St. Michel and ended it at the Arc de Triomphe. Sights we saw along the way included; Notre Dame, View of the Eiffel Tower, Tuileries Gardens, Assemblée National, View of the Pont Alexandre III, Latin Quarter, Pont Neuf, Place de la Concorde, View of the Champs-Elysées, View of the Arc de Triomphe, The Louvre, Palais Royal, Musée d’Orsay, Love Lock Bridge, and View of Les Invalides. After the tour we climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. The view from the top was stunning! We then went to Notre Dame to tour it and sit in on a service. It was beautiful! We did not stay for the whole service since we could not understand what they were saying. We finished the day off with dinner at a local restaurant.

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The next day began with a trip to The Louvre. The Louvre is the most-visited museum in the world! You could easily spend a whole day in the Louvre. We decided to make it to a few of our favorite pieces first including, Mona Lisa, The Winged Victory, and Aphrodite. We walked through a few other areas including the Renaissance, Middle Ages, and Pharaonic Egypt before making our way out. Following lunch, we headed toward Montmarte. We climbed the hill to the Sacre-Coeur which watches over the city from its highest point. It was another breathtaking church! We were also able to see the Moulin Rouge and walk through the Red Light District. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating so we did not stay in Montmarte for that long. We headed back to the bed and breakfast to relax before dinner. We ate dinner in an area that reminded me of a Crocker Park. On the way back we got turned around when leaving the Metro and got a little lost in the rain but eventually made it back.

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On our last full day we headed to the beautiful Palace of Versailles. This was one of my favorite parts of our trip. The Chateau was stunning. The elaborate design and decoration were definitely a sight to see. I was most looking forward to the Hall of Mirrors. The Hall was so picturesque The gardens were not open but we could see them from the windows. After visiting Versailles we went to Angelina’s for hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was simply amazing and the tea-room was so cute! After Angelina’s we went to dinner near the Eiffel Tower. After dinner we went to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle as it does on the hour each night. It was a terrific ending to an absolutely perfect day!

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On our last day we walked around a few different areas of Paris and we went to Victor Hugo’s apartment. We walked through gardens before heading to gather our belongings at the bed and breakfast and heading back to the airport. We had an amazing time in Paris and I would love to go back!

Thursday was Jen’s first full day in Dublin. We went on a walking tour of the city that went down the quiet streets and bound through bustling boulevards, uncovering the hidden sites as well as the famous ones. The tour explored 2,000 years of history. From some of the world’s greatest writers to dramatic and sometimes tragic events through the centuries, Dublin’s main export has been stories and our guide brought the past to life through her passionate delivery of the history of this vibrant city. The tour took us to; Dublin Castle, Viking Remains, Norman Dublin, Georgian Dublin, Christ Church Cathedral, The National Library, Temple Bar, U2’s Hotel, Trinity College, Chester Beatty Library, and St. Stephen’s Green.  We ate lunch at Bewley’s café, which is one of my favorites in Dublin. We went shopping on Grafton Street ad in St. Stephen’s Shopping Center. We met up with my friend Cecilia and went to Trinity Bar for dinner and then to Fitzsimons for live Irish music and dancing. The town was really lively with all of the tourists that came in to celebrate St. Patick’s Day.

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On Friday we took a day tour to Wicklow National Park. We were able to hike through an area of the park and visit Glendalough. Wicklow National Park is known for its beauty and it also is where Gerry and Holly met in P.S. I Love You. We then traveled through beautiful Kildare to historic Kilkenny. Once the medieval capital of Ireland, Kilkenny boasts of Irelands finest Norman castle. The city was busy with many tourists from the states who came to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. We returned to Dublin and ate dinner at The Church. The former St. Mary’s Church of Ireland is one of the earliest examples of a galleried church in Dublin. Built at the beginning of the 18th century, it boasts many outstanding features, such as the Renatus Harris built organ and spectacular stained glass window. In September 2007 the building was acquired by new owners and renamed “The Church Bar & Restaurant” and its range of services was expanded to include a Café, Juice Bar, Night Club and a Barbeque area on the terrace.

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On Saturday we went to a hurling and Gaelic Football match in one of Europe’s larges and most loved stadiums, Croke Park. We were able to see the Dubs on their home turf against their rivals. This was an extremely fun Irish experience, especially the day before St. Patrick’s Day. On our way back we walked through the city which had been “turned green.” Many buildings were lit up with green lights for St. Patrick’s day.

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Sunday was St. Patrick’s Day. We got up early to get decked out for the festivities. We went to Trinity Bar which overlooked the Parade. We spent most of our day there. We had a traditional Irish meal with corned beef, cabbage, lots of potatoes, and mixed vegetables at O’Neils. Jen’s last day in Dublin was spent shopping by O’Connell Street, enjoying Irish coffees, and live music and Irish dancing in the Temple Bar area. It was so nice to have Jen here! I wish she didn’t have to leave. We went back to the airport so that Jen could go home and I took off to Amsterdam with 3 other study abroad students.

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Amsterdam was a storybook city. It was filled with old building and houses that looked like they came alive right out of a fairytale. We walked throughout the city and went to the Anne Frank House. Touring the house where she hid was one of my favorite things we did in Amsterdam. It was so interesting to see how they hid and what they had to go through while they were in hiding. We went on a canal tour throughout the city. It was interesting to learn that there are hooks that come down from the top of the houses to bring furniture in through the large windows because the stairs are so steep. There were many houseboats that were each very unique. We went to the famous Pancake Bakery and had the most amazing pancakes with bananas and nutella.  We also went to the famous windmills. Near the windmills were cheese shops and clog factories and shops. The Netherlands are famous for the tulips, windmills, clogs, and cheese. I will definitely have to come back when the tulips are in bloom because they are my favorite flower!

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Returning to class was difficult since I had been off for two weeks. We had a short week due to Easter. I was really missing my family and friends with Easter approaching but I was able to have a wonderful weekend with my friends that have turned into family here in Dublin. On Good Friday a few of us rented bikes and rode through Phoenix Park. It was a beautiful sunny day! Phoenix Park is home to the Papal Cross, U.S. Embassies, Lord Mayor of Dublin’s house, and the official residence of the Irish President. When we came back I went to the Stations of the Cross at night. It was a wonderful Good Friday! On Easter Sunday, I attended a Catholic mass at the Sacred Heart Church. It was an absolutely amazing service. The altar was breathtaking. After that we went to O’Neils for a traditional Irish breakfast before heading to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We went to St. Patrick’s for an Evensong ceremony and to tour the Cathedral.  We finished the day off with a wonderful dinner made by Cecilia’s sister and I was able to Skype my family back in Cleveland.

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Easter this year brought about a lot of reflection. I was reflecting on all of the blessings God has bestowed on my family and me in these past few months. I have been able to experience so much during my time abroad that I will never be able to experience again. Also, Jen has been given her territory and will be moving to Orlando this month! This is such great news and I am so happy for her and proud of her! My mom and I will be visiting her in May. We are so blessed and have so much to be thankful for. God is GOOD!!!

Have a blessed day!

xoxo

-Julie

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Weekend in London!

The term “tourist” is often seen in a negative light.  However, tourist rather should have a positive connotation because it means one has the opportunity and ability to see the world.  One should express pride in this label and seize every opportunity to explore, learn, and count his or her blessings.  The past few weeks of travel have provided many chances to do just so.

The last weekend in February I was able to travel to London with a fellow Alpha Phi sister, Lauren, from Marquette University. On Thursday (2/28), Lauren and I arrived in London  where we were greeted by our incredible hosts, Lauren Krantz and her fiancé Mark. After obtaining our bus and tube passes for the weekend, we headed to The Northgate. This adorable English pub was the site of our first taste of London Ale, as well as delicious butternut squash lasagna. It was a great place to begin our fabulous weekend.

On Friday, we set out early with the map our wonderful “travel agent/host” Lauren made for us. She literally highlighted the tubes, buses, and paths we needed to take in order to see the most in a day; it was amazing and allowed us to see the majority of London in only two short days! Our adventure began at the beautiful Buckingham Palace with the changing of the guards. If you know me at all you more than likely know of my fascination with the Royal Family. Needless to say this trip was a dream come true! We continued on with our day and were reminded of “The Parent Trap” as we strolled through St. James Park and ate in its charming coffee shop on our way to see Big Ben and the Parliament building.  After capturing  photos with the guards and their horses at the Horse Guards Parade (luckily, I did not get bit), we headed to one of my favorite spots in London and my favorite part of the weekend: Westminster Abbey.  My love for William and Kate grew immensely as we wandered through this magnificent church. It brought back memories of waking up to watch the Royal Wedding in the chapter room on my birthday with my sisters. The array of significant burials, including those of Charles Dickens, Isaac Newton, and Charles Darwin, and history encapsulated in one building was incredible.  As we were self-guiding ourselves through the cathedral, Lauren and I had the opportunity to attend mass in the cathedral’s Nave.  Although it was a Church of England Christian ceremony with a female priest, it was interesting to see the similarities between different denominations.  My favorite part of the mass was the Our Father, where the priest invited us to voice the prayer in our native languages.  It was amazing to witness a universal faith exhibited through numerous languages and accents.  Upon completion of our tour, we headed to the markets in Covent Garden, which were delightful, and to the National Gallery, where there was an exhibit on American art.  It is very interesting to witness America from an outsider’s perspective.  After spending time in Trafalgar Square and taking pictures with the infamous lions, we headed to Picadilly Circus, London’s version of Times Square. We stopped for dinner at the Spaghetti House before heading to my second favorite part of the entire weekend in Queens Theatre: Les Misérables.  This show was by far the best stage performance I have ever seen. At one point my jaw dropped in awe of the amazing display of talent on stage.

 

On Saturday, we stopped at Pret a Manger for the most delicious croissants and lattes we have ever consumed before we headed to our tour of the Tower of London.  Viewing the stunning 530.2-carat diamond in the Crown Jewels was definitely the highlight of my visit.  We crossed the infamous Tower Bridge on our way to the Borough Market, a massive market containing foods from all cultures.  After sampling foods from all over the world, we made our way to St. Paul’s Cathedral.  We overlooked the city’s oldest and most spectacular landmarks at Madison’s Bar, located on the sixth floor of the One New Change building.  We then made our way to the oldest pub in London, Ye Olde Chesire Cheese, and the Old Bank of England Pub, which is known for its elaborate décor and affluent ambiance.  It was nice to have Lauren and Mark’s recommendations in order to get an authentic London experience.  We made our way back to Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, and of course we had to stop at McDonald’s for a Diet Coke before heading to Harrods, one of the world’s most famous department stores.  I had heard Harrods was huge, but I was still shocked when I saw how massive the store actually was.  Literally anything you would ever need can be found in Harrods, including jet skis, play castles in one of the most impressive toy departments ever, and a gorgeous spa.  After wandering Harrods for a couple of hours, we took advantage of London’s new Chipotle (we obviously needed a taste of American-Mexican cuisine) for dinner on the way home. The coming of Sunday morning brought a 3am wakeup call for our flight back to Dublin. I finished the weekend off by taking advantage of the gorgeous weather and wondering through the National Botanical Gardens in Dublin. This will be a weekend I will remember forever and I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to travel to London!

I hope you have a blessed day my friends.  Thanks for stopping by.

Julie

“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” Ephesians 5:20

 

Buckingham Palace

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Horse Guards Parade

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Changing of the Guards

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Galway & More!

My what another spectacular few weeks I have had! Two weekends ago I was able to explore the beautiful city of Galway. We started our adventure with a stop at the famous Cliffs of Moher. They simply took my breath away! I was amazed at just how close to the edge we were able to get! With the sun shining down, God blessed us with another gorgeous day to be able to visit the cliffs. As with many of the stops I have made in Ireland, this was another one that pictures simply do not do justice for. Seeing this awe-inspiring scenic view in person was something that I will forever treasure. We continued on our journey to the Portal Tomb. When we first stepped off the bus we were confused as to why we stoped at what looked like a cluster of rocks. However, this historic monument dates to before the Egyptian pyramids, so it was realy neat to explore yet another piece of Ireland’s past before heading to Galway for the night. We checked into our hostel and were extremely lucky to have our six friends together with a private bathroom! We went into town for dinner and then headed back to the hostel to get ready for a night out in Galway.

On Saturday, we made our way to the beautiful Aran Islands. These islands are home to 800 residents, 3 churches, 5 schools, 1 gas station, 1 small grocery store, and not one hospital. When we stepped off of the ferry we rented bikes and were able to ride throughout the island. There were many beautiful horses throughout the island that we were able to see. The rain held off for another day of soaking up the beautiful landscape.  We then headed back for another night out in Galway.

Sunday morning we took advantage of “the most scenic drive in Ireland” through the Inagh Valley. We stopped at a few places on the way to soak up the breathtaking view. We saw hundreds of sheep and stone walls, which are all over the countryside in Ireland. After the stunning drive we were able to go back to Galway and explore the city a little bit more. We walked by the Spanish Arch and did a lot of shopping. We were able to go to Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh store. This is the original Claddagh store in Ireland. I was so excited to get a Claddagh ring from there! The Claddagh ring shows two hands holding a heart which wears a crown. This motif is explained in the phrase, “Let Love and Friendship Reign.” After shopping we hopped back on the bus and headed back to Dublin.

Fat Tuesday here is celebrated at Pancake Tuesday. My friend’s Irish roommate helped us celebrate by making us traditional Irish pancakes! They were delicious! I was able to receive ashes on campus by the Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on Ash Wednesday. It was very neat to take part in this mass with the Archbishop. Everything was pretty much the same. However, some parts were said in Gaelic such as the Our Father. It was such a great way to start Lent!

This past weekend we took a day tip to Howth. Once again we could not have asked for better weather!! Howth is a smaller fishing village outside of Dublin. Howth is known for the beautiful coastal hiking trails it offers. We were able to hike for about an hour and a half before stoping toward the top for lunch. On our way back we took a different route. What started out pleasant quickly turned towards a muddy trail! Thankfully we all had boots on and sucked it up and just went through it, but not without a few laughs! There was also a beautiful golf course in Howth. Even though I have only gone golfing a few times and am not the best,  I really enjoy it and can’t wait to go again this summer.

As I have said before, one of my main goals during my time here was to grow closer to Christ. I have had the joy of experiencing services at many different places such as Trinity Chapel,  Our Lady Seat of Wisdom on Campus, and Our Lady Queen of Peace which is in walking distance from school. This past Sunday I went to Our Lady Queen of Peace for the fist time. It was only a 15 minute walk from campus. Inside the church I was able to light a candle for my mom and sister by the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She will always hold a special place in our hearts expecially because of the love my grandmother had for her. After mass I decided I had to take advantage of the beautiful weather and went into town. This was the first time I went into town by myself. I must not have looked too lost because people were asking me for directions! I was able to finally walk through St. Stephen’s Green which is sort of like the Central Park of Dublin. It seems that most people had the same idea as I did to enjoy the weather! I am so happy that I took advantage of the beautiful Sunday the Lord blessed us with.

During this Lenten season I am focusing on my words. I am focusing on speaking not only kind words but words that only LIFT others and speak of the greatness of the Lord. I am focusing on positive affirmations rather than negative. Above all I want to speak words of praise and gratitude for all of my blessings

Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

 

Being in Ireland has also taught me to count my blessing and to live in the “NOW!” I thought I would share this with my blog readers. It definitely gives you something to think about! Make the most of your time!!

 

Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day.
Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course.
Each of us has such a bank. It’s name is TIME.
Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.
Every night it writes off as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose.
It carries over no balance. It allows no over draft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day.
If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against “tomorrow.”
You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health and happiness.

Blessings-

Julie xox

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Exploring Cork!

I apologize for not updating my blog lately. Time sure does get away from me when I am busy exploring Ireland! UCD took the international students to Merry Ploughboy’s, which is the only pub in Ireland that is owned and managed by traditional musicians. We were able to enjoy live Irish music and Irish dancing. The Irish dancing was my favorite part! The next day we went to Whelan’s. This is the pub where Gerry sings Galway Girl in P.S. I Love You. It sure looks different from the movie.

 

On Friday we left bright and early to explore County Cork. A big green Paddywagon tour bus greeted us. Our tour guide Freddy was extremely fun and shared many stories with us which made the bus rides fly by.  Our first stop was Cahir Castle which is one of the biggest castles in Ireland. We then made our way to our hostel and went on a walking tour of Cork. I really liked the walking tour because I was able to learn so much about the history of Cork. Cork was extremely different than Dublin, but I really enjoyed it. Cork was more colorful and definitely not as touristy. We saw the big butter factories, beautiful churches, and ate at the famous English Market. The English Market reminded me of the West Side Market in Cleveland. My two favorite churches were St. Ann’s, and St. Peter and Paul’s. St. Peter and Paul’s was the most magnificent church I think I have ever stepped foot in. It was absolutely breath taking. We stayed in a hostel room with 16 other girls from UCD. Even though the hostel was not that nice it was fun to be with other UCD students. Saturday was an amazing day. We started by visiting the West Cork Model Railway Village in Clonakilty. The view from the village was gorgeous. The sun was shinning and it was a lot warmer than it has been recently. The village was adorable and it was a dollhouse-sized version of the town. We went on a train ride through the village and everyone was so friendly in the village. We stopped for lunch in Skibbereen before arriving at Mizen Head. Mizen Head is the most southwestern point of Ireland. We were able to hike the beautiful cliffs and cross a large bridge to see even more picturesque views. Soaking up the sunshine and listening to the waves crash sure was relaxing. It really made me want summer weather! We left Mizen Head and stopped in Bantry for dinner. We ate at a local pub and had the most delicious dinner since I have been here!

Sunday we headed to the small town of Kinsale. I fell in love with this town! It was very colorful and built up into the mountains with quaint coffee shops, boutiques, and an adorable chocolate store. We toured Charles Fort and then took a walking tour of Kinsale. We ate lunch at a famous restaurant called Fishy Fishy Café. The chef has been on the Food Network and the food proved that he deserved to be known!  We left Kinsale and headed to Blarney Castle, where I kissed the Blarney Stone! I did not know what to expect. We climbed to the top of the castle and to kiss the stone you had to bend upside down to kiss the side of the stone. Hopefully the gift of “gab” will be mine for the next seven years. We shopped around outside of the castle and then headed back on our big green bus to watch the Super Bowl. It came on very late here so I could only keep my eyes open for the first half and the halftime show. I am looking forward to our trip to Galway next weekend!

 

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St. Peter and Paul’s

Cahir Castle

Cahir Castle

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St. Ann’s

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Cork

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St. Peter and Paul’s

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Cork

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Clonakilty

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Clonakilty

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Driving to Mizen Head

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Mizen Head

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Mizen Head

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Mizen Head

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Mizen Head

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Fishy Fishy

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Kissing the Blarney Stone!

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Blarney Castle

 

Remember ” Life is a climb, but the view is great.”

I hope you have a blessed day my friends.  Thanks for stopping by.

-Julie

Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís, May God hold you in the palm of his hand

This Sunday I woke up to a beautiful sunny day. I began to read my weekly Sunday devotional from the book “Miracles: A 52-week devotional,” that the Rowsey family gave me for Christmas. Each week I look forward to Sunday to read these powerful passages. The back of the book reads, “The journey of life can be difficult. Discouragement and doubt can cloud the light of God’s love. But God is working among us, healing the brokenhearted, bringing hope to the hopeless, and giving life to those who are desperate. Sometimes all we need to turn things around is a fresh look at the miracles happening still today. God’s fingerprints are everywhere. All we have to do is look for them.” How true is that? When I went to a pre-departure meeting at BW we were asked to reflect on our goals and expectations for our experience that was just around the corner. One of my main goals was to deepen my relationship with Christ. In my everyday life, I so often find myself trying to balance my time between classes, homework, multiple jobs, organizations that I am part of, applying for internships and other opportunities, and trying to catch up with and spend time with my family and friends in-between all of that. I often seem to find those last minutes of the day or minutes in-between to focus time on my relationship with Christ. Is that really fair to Him? After all, He is the one who has blessed me with a loving family, amazing friends, work, and the opportunity to attend college.  This has been on my mind a lot since that reflection time in November. As many of you know I can tend to get very anxious. With leaving the country for four months you bet I was anxious! In the summer a lady I worked with told me, “You can either worry or pray, but don’t do both.” This has stuck with me. As I was packing, I could tell I was starting to worry. I kept repeating what she had told me and focus my attention on the once in a lifetime opportunity I was going to have. As I sat on the plane not knowing anyone I kept repeating that piece of advice and used the time to give thanks to my Father for this opportunity. These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of exciting events. From sightseeing to new friends to settling into a whole new culture, I sure have had a lot to “worry” about. Instead, each time I find myself getting anxious I pause and give thanks for all I have.  As I began to read the passage on Sunday my room was lit up by the sunlight. However, as most days here it was quickly gone and it began to rain. When I was done reading the powerful passage about God knowing our needs, I was overwhelmed with how much it was relating to my current situation. I closed the book and went to close my window I looked up and saw the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen. I truly believe that was a sign from God and all of my angels that I know are watching over me! I was overwhelmed with His presence and I know that He is not only guiding me but also protecting me along this journey. My Mom’s best friend Annie always signs her cards “ May God hold you in the palm of his hand.” This is one of my favorite Irish sayings. I saw it in Gaelic on a church sign the other day when it was pouring and did not get a chance to take a picture. In Gaelic it reads, “Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.” As I continue on deepening my faith during this journey I am going to challenge myself to pray to Him instead of worrying, knowing that he is holding me in the palm of his hand and my angels are watching over me. I challenge you to do the same.

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

and rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

–Julie

Rainbow behind the tree! This picture does not do it justice!

Irish Doors

One of the most fascinating things about Dublin that is sure to catch your eye are the unique doors. Many of the neighboring areas surrounding campus have townhouses. Since many of them are brick, they all seem to blend together. The decorative doors, however make each one unique. On our walking tour we were told that a famous writer George Moore lived next to another famous writer, Oliver St John Gogarty, in Ely Place. Both were a bit eccentric and it’s said that Moore painted his door green so that the drunken Gogarty would not come knocking on it, thinking it to be his own door. Gogarty then painted his door red so that the drunken Moore would not come knocking on his door! Whether that is true or not, I am not so sure. They are sure a sight to see and I wanted to share some of them with you. Enjoy!

 –Julie

2010-01-01-035 2010-01-01-043 2010-01-01-079 2010-01-01-092 Doors Dublin

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Class, St. Michan’s Church, Old Jameson Distillery, and Dancing!

This post is long overdue. It will include all of last week. I began my classes this past week. The classes here are very different from BW. I am in four classes that meet once a week for two hours each. It is very interesting to hear the professors and other students speak of Irish businesses and speak of ways that American business professionals are “doing it wrong.”  I am in three business classes and one Irish culture class that is mandatory for all of the study abroad business students. This class also takes us on a few trips, which will be very fun! I am very excited to be on more of a schedule. The campus here is so lively with all of the Irish students. It was very weird not really seeing familiar faces in classes or on campus! I am so used to my BW family and I sure am missing my friends and family! However, I can already tell that I have grown so much and have been forced very far outside of my comfort zone, which was the main purpose of studying abroad!! I have found a group of friends here that I know will become like family. We have helped each other through many of the frustrations of adjusting to a different culture so far.  The Irish students all go home on the weekends. Many of them travel one to three hours home each weekend! This is obviously very different from the college culture I am used to considering I only go home a handful of times each semester and I am less than an hour from school.  Weekends will be spent exploring Ireland and traveling with other international students. The business school took us on a cultural trip on Friday. They took us to St. Michan’s Church, which is Dublin’s oldest north side parish church that was founded in 1095. We were able to tour the church and see the historic church organ. We also were able to go underground into the vaults to see mummified bodies. The five long burial vaults are accessible through stout iron doors in the graveyard. In one of the vaults we saw the remains of the famed Crusader. Many myths and legends surround the bodies. It is said that if you touch the hand of one you will be granted seven years of good luck. We went ahead and touched the hand to see if we would be granted good luck! After we toured the church we then went to tour the Old Jameson Distillery. Located on the site of the original Jameson Distillery in Dublin, this Dublin whiskey tour told the story of John Jameson and his world renowned smooth Irish whiskey. At the end of the tour we enjoyed a whiskey tasting. After this we went to one of the top American recommended restaurants in Dublin called Chatham Brasserie. We had a three-course meal. This was probably more food than I had eaten all week! I tried mussels for the first time and absolutely loved them! I am so grateful that the business school put on this fantastic day for us! On Saturday we went to our first rugby game at UCD. It was quite an experience! I am going to have to study up on the sport a little more so that I will know what is going on next time! When we went out later we danced the night away to 90’s music. We successfully still knew every word to the Spice Girls and N’ Sync songs that were played! Another week in the books and I find myself stopping to soak things in and thanking God for this once in a lifetime opportunity!

Psalm 107:1 
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

 

Until Next Time:

May you always have walls for the winds,
 a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
 laughter to cheer you, those you love near you, 
and all your heart might desire. –Irish Blessings

 

–Julie

 

St. Michan's

St. Michan’s

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Exploring Dublin

On Friday the weather was terrible. We spent the day catching up on some much-needed sleep and getting acquainted with this place that we now call home for the next 4 months. We began to look into places that we want to travel to during our time here. When planning it out the semester sure does seem like it will be over before we know it! Saturday was spent shopping. This was our first experience grocery shopping. It sure was an adventure to find things and carry them back to campus. I definitely take for granted being able to drive to run errands. The driving over here is very confusing to me. I keep seeing a car and wondering why it is on the wrong side of the road. It will take some getting used to! It is a really nice change of pace to just relax on the bus while someone else is doing the driving! Sunday was one of my favorite days so far. We began the day by visiting Trinity Chapel for mass. It was an absolutely beautiful old-fashioned chapel. We then went to lunch and headed to the Guinness Brewery. Tickets were cheap for students and they let us in to tour the factory and then at the top we got a free pint of Guinness. The bottom two floors explain the ingredients in Guinness (barley, hops, yeast, and water) and then explains the way that it is brewed. The next few floors go through the history of the famous brewers of Guinness, and their advertisements. Once you reach the top you get to go into the “Gravity Bar” which is a round bar with a 360 degree view of Dublin. We could see the ocean to one side and hills to the other. It was such a beautiful view!

Our Irish roommates came back from break today. They welcomed us with a cup of tea. There are two boys and two girls. All of them are very welcoming and hospitable. We have not noticed the accents so much since we have been around so many international students. However, our roommates speak very very fast! They use the words grand, craic (which is pronounced like “crack” but means “fun”), and cheers a lot. I am so happy that I get to live with them so that I can learn more about Ireland and the wonderful people here!

Guinness Factory

Guinness Factory

Shopping!

Shopping!