Guest Blog by Courtney.
So, Saturday, after we got to our hotel, and found it to be rather poor accommodations we decided that if we found somewhere better to stay for a night, we would just stay there. We then went to Dublin, and after texting my friend for a couple hours, finally met up with her!
It was more awkward than I had hoped…we have not been able to hang out in a really long time, and we were best friends since around 5th grade. But, that aside, it was wonderful to see her. She took us on a tour of the stuff she liked about Dublin, and then said we could come stay a night with her. We jumped at the chance to not be in our crazy hotel room and took a trip to her town Maynooth.
After a half our train ride, we arrived in the tiny college town of Maynooth. She spoke of a few places to eat, and mentioned a pub with a great hamburger. Paul was so excited by the thought of meat that we went to Roost straight away. It took forever for us to get our burgers, but it was WORTH the wait! They were the best hamburgers I have ever had. It was 8 ounces of meat, cooked over wood, with a pepper sauce….SO good. Oh, and I have bragging rights…of the two guys and myself, I finished the whole thing first (followed by Paul, Scott didn’t even finish)! After this, we headed to Rachel’s apartment. Let me tell you, I thought that I had poor accommodations at Aquinas college, but the University of Ireland at Maynooth has much worse with its lower cost apartments. Each apartment houses 5 girls, each a mix of actual college and exchange students. Rachel lives with two Irish and two French exchange students. The apartment is a hall way that has a bathroom on the right side when you first walk in, and then each door on either side after that is a bed room. Each person gets their own room. Then, at the end of the hall way, through another door, is the tiny kitchen/dinning room/living room area. There is no carpet, and they don’t provide you with couches, only chairs with thin padding on them.
But, we got to watch some Irish TV. They have a lot of American programming, some European stuff, a channel in French, and a channel in Gaelic. But, best of all, they still have good old Cartoon Network!
We were so tired that we were falling asleep, so we went to bed. Scott actually got to sleep on long cushions on the hard tile floor, while Paul and I slept suspended on two chairs put facing each other. Not the most comfortable night I have ever had, but it was nice to stay with my friend for free.
This morning we got up at about 1, having slept off our jet lag. I tried Irish tea for breakfast, which is usually made with milk and sugar, but I didn’t have any sugar in mine. We got ready, met up with some of Rachel’s friends, and then went on a tour of Maynooth.
It is a beautiful little town!!! Lots of green grass, trees, old buildings, and even a castle. We took lots of pictures, and went to have ice cream. After this, it was time for Mass….now Mass in Ireland is different. There is no singing, and everyone talks really fast. The Mass was done in 45 minutes. But the church we were in was beautiful.
After, we ordered pizza “take away” style as they call it here, and ate it at Rachel’s before catching the last train back to Dublin.
Ahh, this day, walking around and seeing more of what Ireland is really like, made me want to live here! The climate is really interesting, and the trees, people, and places are amazing…So far, I love Ireland!
For dinner on Saturday we went to a place called The Roost. While we sat and waited for our food, we looked over all of the random condiment packets at the table. There were packets of Tomato Ketchup, Mustard, Mayonnaise and Brown Sauce. Brown Sauce was kind of like A1 Steak Sauce.
Then, they came. The best burger that I’ve ever had. 8 ounces of meat on a huge bun. I had mine with Cheese and the pepper sauce on the side. Needless to say, I was very hungry and finished the whole thing. The ketchup didn’t taste much like our ketchup in America… it had a tangier taste to it, I think. The pepper sauce was really quite good on it, but even without it, the burger tasted really good and the flavor exploded in your mouth. It tasted like it was cooked on a stone or a wood stove. And the fries were also terrific.
After that, we went back to Rachel’s place and we slept in uncomfortable positions on couches with chairs pushed up to spread out across or on the floor with mats from window benches, with blankets and a pillow. We were asleep by about 9:30, and when we awoke the next day, it was 1 pm.
We took a stroll around the college in Maynooth, led by Rachel and three of her friends. We saw an awesome graveyard where many priests were laid to rest, as well as a Cathedral there that was being restored. Inside, they still have all of the seating that faces the middle aisle. It was AWESOME in there. It was just beautiful and I could only imagine what Gregorian chant would sound like resonating within those walls. There were many pictures of cardinals in the hallways surrounding. There was an awesome park in the middle courtyard that we walked around. We then went to a mall and got ice cream!
After that we went to Mass at the Parish of St. Mary’s & Ladychapel Maynooth. It looked like a castle on the outside. The priest was Fr. Paul Coyle. The mass only lasted about 45 minutes because there was no singing at all. It was a welcome change of pace, though, as some times all of the singing can detract from the solemnity of the mass.
Next we got pizza (again, but it was recommended) from a place called Mazzoni’s. It was alright… but I’ve had much better (Chicago stuffed). After that we went back to the train station to head back here to our hotel. More to come!
Saturday, after leaving the hotel, we made our way to Dublin, where we spent a few hours exploring the city, and checking out the prices at local restaurants. The prices weren’t actually too bad at many of the places. We stopped looking around when I was so hungry that I could walk no further. So we went to this little place called “La Pizza.” Great choice for our first meal in Ireland, eh? But we more than made up for it for our next meal, which I will write about in my next entry.
We then went to the spire in the middle of the town after getting ahold of our friend Rachel, who was going to meet us there. She took us around to many places included a mall, through Temple Bar (where people were playing music in the street) and to a park where we saw green green grass and all sorts of green vegetation.. awesome. It was so nice to see the green plants everywhere, after leaving the white fields of Michigan.
After that, we left by train for Maynooth, where Rachel goes to college. More later.