Thursday, November 10, 2011

Man, oh man... It's been a long time since I did one of these. I'm sorry for neglecting it. This post might get pretty long, but I'll post again after ITALY.

So, we last left off before my trip up to the North of Ireland. Well, I got really (really really) sick that weekend. I spent more time in hotel rooms than I did touring the North. I did go to Giant's Causeway, which you can check out in the link. Basically, its a crazy rock formation on the Atlantic Ocean. Some of you won't be surprised to find out, whenever we visit a body of water I have to put my hands in it. I did it when I went to California with Dad when I was 12, when we went to Spain 2 years ago, and I do it here.

This is me venturing to put my hands in the Atlantic, which was much more dangerous than it seems in this picture. Slippery stones and pools of water, not to mention that I was still really (really, really) sick. It was totally worth it! (it always is).

I would say a good amount of people who read this blog know what The Troubles were in Northern Ireland. It only ended about 15 year ago and went on for almost 30 years. If you want to know what the conflict was about, check out that link. It's wiki, but it will give general information. There are tons of murals all over Belfast and Derry, the cities we visited, dedicated to conflict. This picture is of a mural on the side of a house right outside our hotel. We were told by our advisor only to turn right when we left the hotel. If we turned left it would lead us in Sandy Row. Were we really in any danger? Probably not. The issues are pretty much over, but segregation is absolutely still apparent. Loyalists, as you can see from the flag, support Britain ruling in Northern Ireland. We were avoiding the chance that we could be"in the wrong place at the wrong time", there were a lot of those kinds of deaths during the Troubles. 

The division of the island of Ireland happening in the 1920's when Ireland was asking to become their own country, independent from Britain. Basically, the six counties of what is now Northern Ireland was more heavily populated by Protestants (and therefore supports the Crown) than Catholics, so those counties stayed ruled by the British. Nowadays, the ratio of Loyalists (Protestants) to Unionists (Catholics) is about equal, which causes discussion of reunification to continue. 
         The weekend after that was Halloween, which is considered a bank holiday in the Catholic country of Ireland, so I had an extra-long weekend. Guess what I did with all that extra time? I went to meet/ visit with my relatives up in Cavan. So I stayed with Anne and her family, she is my mom's first cousin. I met my Grandma Theresa's half-sister Bonnie. The fact that I can come to a different country and spend time with people who are blood-related to me is amazing. I had a wonderful time, it was Halloween so on Saturday night I went out with some of my second cousins. We had a fantastic time, they did a great job at showing me around the Virginia (town they live in) night life. FYI the night life consists of 4 pubs and 2 nightclubs. Nonetheless,  I was not disappointed. UGH, unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures (groan) but I'll have some at Christmas, I promise!
Absolutely HA-LARIOUS

On Sunday I came home and went out in Dublin. Our friend documents a Dublin band, Funzo, so we went out to see them place for a while. It was night filled with wandering around. We went out much earlier than usual, and it was unseasonably warm. We found a random bar that we now are big fans of. Best costumes of the night went to the Cool Runnings Team. Luckily we knew one of them, so we got a picture!

I'm sorry to tell you all that since then, I've pretty much just been writing papers and doing school work. I'm making Irish friends, a few of which will see this post and laugh. Thanksgiving is two weeks from today and our big group will be going to a bar to eat dinner. We wanted to have it here, but there was no way to fit all of us in one apartment. I will be dedicating my day to my favorite activity- BAKING! I'm going to make my first home made pie crusts. Apple pie and French Silk pie (by special request) will be on the dessert menu Thursday night. 

As I said, I'm going to Italy! For the next 9 days, I wil be eating and drinking some of the most delicious food! No worries, a post will be written when I return. And don't worry, Jean sent me about a hundred batteries so I'm going to take some fantastic pics!

Love to you all!

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