L’ennui est contre-révolutionnaire.


Giants and Rubber Bullets.

Going in back in time now, and beginning from the beginning of the traveling days. This post was written in my travel journal on April 7th, during my last week in Ireland.

The past few days have been amazing. Sunday (the 5th April) I went to the North- to see the Giant’s Causeway or Derry. The weather was fantastic! The sights were beautiful and I even befriended another girl who was travelling alone as well. The Giant’s Causeway is a strange basalt rock formation on the north-east point of Ireland. The rock was all formed into perfect hexagonal columns. Fantastic!

The rocks are just like little stepping stones,  but still it was quite a climb to the top!

Then we travelled to Derry, which was pretty incredible. We met with a tour guide there who was from Derry and lived there through all the troubles. He took us on a walking tour of Derry and the ‘Bogside’ (which is where the English shoved all the Irish Catholics as they took over Ireland) Very heavy stuff. As we walked down along the road where Bloody Sunday occurred, I think we could all feel the weight of the history of Derry and the ‘Bogside’.

When we got on the bus, we were all totally silent. You could feel the impact the visit had had on us all, a far cry from a few hours earlier when we were all cracking jokes about giants.

I’m making the most of my last days in Ireland, trying to re-visit all my favorite Dublin institutions, as well as getting out and seeing more of the countryside. Plans are set for a trip to Blarney Castle and Country Limerick as well as a weekend in Galway. Hard to believe my time in Ireland is coming to a close, it has been an amazing 4 months.

And as always: Lots more photos are available on my Flickr. Click Here!

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Bonjour!

Our travels have been going swimmingly! We’ve spent a fantastic week in London, journeyed through Provence, and now we are ending our stay in Lyon and catching the train to Paris!

Apologies are in order for the lack of updates! I’ve been so busy having fun its hard to find a spare moment to write a blog post, and when I do post I like to create something interesting and worthwhile. I’ve been keeping sketchbooks packed with observations and drawings and the like, and I look forward to going through them all when I arrive home May 5th. I plan to post all my adventures chronologically (if after-the-fact) so that you can enjoy the trip in the same order that I did.

For now I must say au-revoir as we have a train to catch! Paris, look out!!

Bisous

L

An amazing ruin of a castle in Northern Ireland.



Just to say . . .

Happy Easter to all!

I’m killing time before my  flight this morning to London. Hard to believe that four months have already flown by and I am leaving Dublin. I’ve grown so attached to this beautiful city. I’m sure I will be back to visit in the future!

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I promise to continue updating this blog as much as possible throughout my travels. I still have lots and lots of Ireland Adventures to share with you! Trips to Northern Ireland, The Giant’s Causeway, Derry, Blarney Castle and the Cliffs of Moher.  Not to mention all the new adventures I look forward to having in London and Paris!

All my Love

Lauren

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Road Trip to Donegal

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First off, Apologies for the lack of blog posts these past weeks. School has ended and I’ve been trying to tie up a bunch on loose ends before I leave Ireland for London on Sunday. (tomorrow! yikes!) I made sure I had a full week after the end of the semester to travel around Ireland- but let me tell you I wish I had another 3 weeks to spend! Ireland may be a small island- but it’s packed full of beauty and adventures!

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The last weekend of March I took a roadtrip with my good friend, Anaelle, to Donegal- an area of Ireland that is on the north-west coast. Everyone told me that Donegal was beautiful, except Anaelle who claims that there is nothing there but sheep! Really, Anaelle must have become immune to the scenery because Donegal is amazingly beautiful! Some of the beaches were really breathtaking, the one above actually had a group of surfers enjoying it! The water must have been cold- but you can’t beat the scenery.

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This is a traditional styled thatched cottage, there are still a few left dotting the landscape of Donegal. The house where I stayed in Donegal was also an older property- the walls are made of trampled stone. Which means that the shells were put in place, and then villagers would trample lime and sand and stone down into the shell of the house to create a solid wall – one whole meter thick! It gets chilly inside a stone house like this, so I was grateful for the wood fire that kept us warm.

It was a four hour journey from Dublin to Donegal but well worth the drive. I’m glad we had a car, as most of the things to see in Donegal require a car to get to, or to enjoy. We took a drive through the blue-stack mountains, visited several beautiful beaches and enjoyed the amazing barren landscapes.

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This is beach is known as Silver Strand- and boy it was WIND-Y! Looking out onto the water I could hardly breathe for the wind.

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Up next: A fantastic tour to The Giants’ Causeway and the historic northern town of Derry.



Cause for celebration!

Back home in Vancouver, St. Patrick’s  Day is little more than an excuse to drink green beer and pinch people, but here is Dublin it is a whole other story!! In Ireland St Patrick’s Day is a National Holiday, no school, no work, and no stores open (only pubs!). You might be interested in knowing that it is common in North America to abbreviate St. Patrick’s Day to ‘Patty’s Day’ however, this is incorrect. You’d be best to call it Paddy’s Day, lest you incur the wrath of the Irish.

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And did you know that St. Patrick was not actually Irish? Rather he was captured by pirates and sold to work on an Irish Farm. He eventually returned to his homeland, having had a deep religious experience in Ireland. Back home, St. Patrick dreamt of Ireland and realized his destiny was to return to the Emerald Isle once more. When in Ireland he became a famous preacher- essentially our idea of a rock star. He also claimed to have driven away all the snakes from Ireland, however scientists have proof that such reptiles never lived on Irish soil.

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Regardless, St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and a national hero! So on the 17th of March the whole country shuts down and celebrates their culture. I was thrilled to get to spend St. Patrick’s day in Dublin – the heart of the party! I travelled downtown early Tuesday morning to get a good spot for the fabulous Paddy’s Day Parade. Let me tell you- I was not disappointed! The Parade began winding it’s way through the city at noon, and arrived in front of our primo spot at about one- well worth the wait! It was a good 2-3 hours of non-stop entertainment. In Canada, our parades are usually fairly ordered, often the fire departments will show up, as will other important community members, followed by a pipe band and perhaps some girl scouts in fancy dress. This parade was unlike anything I’ve seen back home! I would actually call it more of a carnival than a Parade. The costumes were amazing and fantastical, the music was fantastic, just the general vibe of the experience is indescribable. I strongly urge you to check out my Flickr page (click HERE) for more photos, as I doubt I could fit the 100-odd photos I took into this one little blog post.

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Following the Parade, the city began to get even crazier. Thousands of people crammed every street- most wearing some form of goofy green headgear- and every pub we passed by was packed full! I was to some extent expecting this, my Irish friends had warned me, if you want to get a seat in a pub- be there when it opens and not a second later! So instead of a Pub I headed to Bewley’s on Grafton street with a few friends. Bewley’s is a Dublin Institution- a wonderful café and restaurant in a magnificent old building in the heart of downtown Dublin. (And it is very reasonable, price-wise!) We had a delicious meal and a great chat then went for a walk in the sunshine around Stephen’s Green (which is a famous park in Dublin). I’ve been told that it will often rain on St. Patrick’s Day but luckily we had excellent weather- and it was still slightly nippy- enough to wear my favorite green coat comfortably. All in all it was a fantastic, very Irish, day!

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Happy St. Patricks Day!

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With Love, From Dublin!

Lauren



Spring has Arrived.

An open letter to friends and family back home:

Dear Loved ones, How I feel for you all, and your recent blizzards. Does Canada not realize it is Spring?! You should know that all this snow is only serving to enforce the ridiculous stereotypes of Canada that the rest of the world believes. (eg. Igloos and Polar Bears.)

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Don’t be fooled by the cool blue skies, dear friends. Spring has officially sprung here in Dublin. Crocuses are poping up everywhere, even my little front yard in between the old dead detrius ofp2230011 the winter. Daffodils line the streets in Milltown and make even the most overcast grey day sunny. Sometimes, as I walk to school over a cobblestone bridge, running my hands along the mossy sides – I have a sudden deep and penetrating feeling that I am in the Secret Garden. Tending to the plants and pruning back the deadfall from a cold cold winter (the coldest Dublin has seen in decades) and making room for the new blooms of spring.

xo Lauren