A Travellerspoint blog

Paris: Day 1

Dungarvan to Notre Dame


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Our week long trip to Paris began early Sunday morning. We all piled onto a bus headed to the cork airport and tried to stay awake. When we got to the airport and made our way through security we still had a long wait until we could board, so we perused the duty free shop. When we were finally able to board a few of us had to change seats because the plane was pretty empty. We landed in Paris and waited for people to get their checked bags. The bus we had to our hotel apparently came with a tour guide, and she talked the whole trip.

We had some time to settle into our rooms. They were pretty small, and the beds were super close together. Cherie and I joked that we would end up cuddling in the middle of the night because we were so close.

We gathered in the lobby and headed to the closest metro station that would take us into the city. The Paris metro is pretty crazy, and being in a big group just made it crazier! We finally made it to our destination: The Eiffel Tour. After taking a ridiculous number of pictures we got in line to go up to the top. The wait was pretty long, but totally worth it! We got up to the second floor, which is the middle of the tower, and took pictures before getting in line to go to the top. There are two levels at the top. The first is surrounded by glass, the second is only a wire grate. By the time we got up the sun was starting to set so we got some really great pictures. The view was just spectacular!

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We got back down to the bottom and got our first of many crepes for dinner before we had to meet. I got ham and cheese and it was delicious. After the sun went down the Eiffel tour started Sparkling! We watched for a while then we walked all the way down the River Seine. It was beautiful with all the bridges lit up! Our final destination was Notre Dame Cathedral. I couldn't wait to see it in the sunlight.

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Posted by Caitlin39 16:14 Archived in France Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Dublin

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This weekend we went to Dublin. We had to get up really early on Friday to get on the bus that would take us on the three hour journey. When we arrived at our hotel it was too early for us to check in, but they let us put all of our bags into a room for safekeeping while we explored.

We were then shown around Dublin a little bit so that we could get oriented to the city. We saw Dublin castle, where Tom Keith told us about the history of Dublin and how the castle embodies a lot of Irish History. Afterwards we went to the National Archaeology Museum. There were all kinds of exhibits on the Celts and the Vikings on through medieval times. I was amazed at the preservation of the artifacts. There was a huge viking longboat, and they even had bog bodies! Our next stop was the houses of Parliament. We were shown around inside, and we got to sit in the meeting rooms while our guide told us about how the government of Ireland works. Then we walked around so that we could see where Trinity College and the Temple Bar area were and then back to the hotel. Monica and I took naps before we went out. We had dinner at this little bistro, and the food was really good. Afterwards we went and found a cute little pub to hang out in. There was a rugby game on, and Tom ended up talking to some local guys about the game,

The next morning I had to get up extra early because we were going to Newgrange. Only four of us were going with Keiko, and the rest of the group was going to spend the morning in Dublin doing some more sightseeing. We caught the bus to the Newgrange Visitor's center and we arrived for the first tour of the day. From the visitor center we had to catch another shuttle that would take us to the site its self. When we got there, we found out that we would actually get to go inside the mound! We were in the second group to go inside, so we had some time to wander around outside before it was our turn to go in. It was absolutely breathtaking. We walked down the narrow passageway, which rises several feet to the center. The passage was lined with standing stones and larger stoned laid flat across the top. Some old graffiti remained from before the site was recognized and protected. At the center, the roof rose in a dorm formed by flat stones laid on top of each other spiraling upward. there were three large basin stones around the center, and carvings in the three alcoves that contained them. Our guide then turned off the lights inside and the chamber went pitch black. She then simulated the entrance of the sun on the winter solstice. It was simply amazing.

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When we got back to the city we bought tickets for the Hop-on Hop-off city tour bus. That was probably the best investment I made, because it took us everywhere we wanted to go without the hassle of learning bus routs. We started exploring the city, and decided to get off at St. Peter's green, which is a huge park. We wandered around taking pictures, and enjoying the smell of flowers. At one of the ponds we made friends with a swan, and hilarity ensued. We also found this really neat Victorian garden, complete with walls and gates, and tree lined paths.

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From there we made our way to the Guinness storehouse. We had just enough time to walk through the exhibit before the last bus of the day would take us back to our hotel. At the end of the museum I learned how to pull a pint of Guinness! We had to drink our pints pretty fast to have enough time to visit the gift shop and catch our bus. Needless to say we were all pretty silly on the ride back.

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We saw the sun set over the river Liffy, and it was gorgeous!

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The next morning, Melia and I tried to go see Christchurch Cathedral across from our hotel. We got up early and ate breakfast then headed across the street. It never registered to us that it would be closed for visitors on Palm Sunday since no signs gave any indication that this was so, but it was. So , instead we took pictures outside the church and wandered around for a bit. When everyone else was ready to go, we hopped on the bus again and went to Kilmainham jail. There is a lot of history in the jail. It held several of the leaders of the Easter Rising before they were executed, and we even saw the courtyard where they were shot. Now there is a little memorial for them there.

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After our tour we rode the hop-on hop- off for a while so that we could see the rest of the city. I managed to find Toner's pub, and I went in, but the bartender didn't give me a free pint.

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For most of us, Dungarvan has begun to feel like a home away from home. While none of us wanted to leave Dublin, We were all really happy to get back to Dungarvan.

Posted by Caitlin39 14:44 Archived in Ireland Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Irish Culture Seminar #2


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Today was our first real Irish Culture Seminar class. It actually took place in a classroom! Our first class wasn't really like a class at all unless you count going to a pub as a lesson in Irish culture, which you could definitely argue. I think you could even count St. Patrick's day as an Irish culture lesson since St. Patrick is one of Ireland's patron saints (Even though we learned today that he was never canonized), and it's a national Holiday.

Our lesson today was a lecture by Tom Keith on Irish history. Tom knows everything about everything that relates to Irish history, which is awesome because he is just a fountain of knowledge, but it also means that he gets sidetracked very easily. He would also talk to you for hours on end if you let him.

Posted by Caitlin39 14:26 Archived in Ireland Tagged educational Comments (0)

Cleaning the Kilrush Cemetery

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Today was a really long and tiring day. We left in the morning to clean up the Kilrush famine cemetery that we went to see a while back. When we went the first time there were all kinds of broken bottle ans beer cans, and we wanted to help out and clean it up.

We headed in what we thought was the direction of the graveyard, but ended up going two miles out of our way. Mayor Damien had to come find us, and show us how to get there. It didn't take us very long to get the graveyard clean. We picked up a lot of trash, and it looked a lot better once we were finished.

When we were finishing up, a man who lived nearby came to talk to Mayor Damien. this guy apparently thought it was an insult that we were cleaning the graveyard. It seemed as if we were saying that the people were incapable of cleaning their own graveyard, which they weren't, but we only wanted to help. The mayor cleared things up eventually, and we went back to get cleaned up.

After class a few of us went to the hotel for dinner. The chef made macaroni and cheese just for us! It was delicious! It was the perfect end to a really long day.

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Posted by Caitlin39 15:57 Archived in Ireland Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

21st Birthday!!


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We celebrated my birthday over two days. Friday was my actual birthday. Instead of going out to a bar at midnight, like we would have celebrated in the states, I had a glass of wine at midnight. I knew we were going to celebrate later.

We went to Waterford in the morning to wander around. We followed Keiko around for a bit, but she kept going in circles and Monica and I were going to meet a friend of hers and her kids for lunch. After lunch we went to the tourism office and caught a walking tour of the city. We learned a lot of the history of Waterford and got to see some pretty neat buildings. Our guide got us into this cathedral that isn't open to the public yet, so that was really cool.

We got back to Dungarvan and Monica and I went to have a nice dinner at the Park Hotel. When we were done we went back to our townhouse to wait for everyone to get back. They had apparently gone out without me... on my birthday. So, we went to the pub for a little while. Saturday was going to be our big going out night.

I didn't do much on Saturday except for go out at night. We started off at the Anchor, which is a cool pub where a lot of the young people in town go. A couple people bought me drinks, and Monica asked the DJ to play "Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night" by the Black Eyed Peas and they gave me a birthday shout out. One of the guys from our group, Calvin, didn't think I was drunk enough seeing as how it was my 21st and all and a bunch of the people in our group didn't want to buy me drinks, so he got a couple of the Irish guys he was hanging out with to buy me drinks instead.

When we were ready to leave the Anchor we headed across the bridge into Abbyside to go to Minnie's, which is our favorite pub. There Monica bought me a blue bomber, which had Redbull, so by the time we went upstairs to the night club we were both wired. We danced the night away until the club closed. Everything closes early in Ireland compared to the States.

Posted by Caitlin39 14:02 Archived in Ireland Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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