By Megan Kramer –
Let me just start out by saying how amazing the train ride from Galway to Dublin was. Since temperatures in Ireland rarely reach 70 degrees, practically every building, house and vehicle in the country was built without air conditioning. I know this is blowing the mind of every Texan, because it definitely did ours. And with the little heat wave going on this month, lack of air conditioning caused a general discomfort among the group. The train, however, did have air conditioning, and I actually needed a second sweater to stay warm on it. Not to mention it had working WiFi and great views of the countryside!
When we first stepped out of the Dublin train station, I immediately saw a couple of Guinness buildings and thought, “Well that figures.” But when we got deeper into the city I was surprised to see how much influence literature has had on it. There were little plaques in the sidewalks that marked spots traveled in James Joyce’s Ulysses, posters and ads encouraging people to read, and statues of literary figures such as Joyce and Oscar Wilde. A few of the girls did a literary pub crawl, which was a tour of several historic pubs led by two actors who introduce Irish authors, give a little background about them and the pub culture, and perform scenes from their literary works. We also toured Trinity College, where we viewed the Book of Kells and the “Long Room,” which has 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books archived.
Over our two-day stay in Dublin, we saw the play Shush at the Abbey Theatre and went to a pub called Arthur’s to have dinner and watch a performance about the life of Irish nationalist and rebel leader, Robert Emmett. We also attended a lecture about film at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and went on a guided tour of the city, where we saw Dublin Castle, the old Parliament building (which now houses a bank), city hall and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
For most of us, our trip to Dublin was the first time we’d ever stayed in a hostel. From what I hear, our hostel, Abigail’s, was nice. From what I experienced, I’d rather not stay in one again. They crammed all eight of us into a room full of bunk beds. Luckily, that meant we were only sharing with each other and not some strangers, but eight girls to one bathroom and eight bodies in one room with no air conditioning was all a little ridiculous. Plus, the WiFi apparently didn’t travel to the fourth floor, so we had to sit in the lobby in order to catch up with everyone back home. It wasn’t all bad, though, since hanging out in the lobby or walking around Dublin during any downtime left us open to meeting new people and experiencing new things.
Over the weekend, we were all free to do whatever and go wherever we wanted. Three girls decided to stay in Dublin to uncover more of the city, two went off to Scotland, and the last three (including myself) flew to London for a couple of days. When we got back on Saturday, we met up with one of the girls to go tour the Guinness factory and buy some remaining souvenirs, then it was back to Galway by train.
Keep an eye out for Bethany Kyle’s take on our whirlwind trip to London, and next week’s piece on our day trips to the Cliffs of Moher, the Irish broadcasting station, TG4, and the Aran Islands! Slainte! (Cheers!)
Megan Kramer is a junior Communications student from Copperas Cove, Texas. She is currently serving as the Editor for Cross Timbers Trails Magazine.