Tuesday, May 18, 2010

St Patrick's Day

Only one thing in the world can beat St Patricks day, and that is St Patricks day in Ireland. It is possibly the best day of the year for everyone in Ireland. People make countdowns on their calendars, shut down their shops, and run for the pubs. Lines go out the door in almost every pub in the entire country, and unlike USA they dont have bouncers at the doors admitting one person in for every one person that leaves. If you can muscle your way into the door and up to the bar you get the best treat there is... the mother's milk.

This day of course was eagerly awaited for all of the people studying abroad in Ireland. And I have to admit the day did not let us down. Of course we added a bit of our own antics to the culture that the "american st patricks day" has taught us for the past 20 years of our lives. Some really worked out beautifully and others, well not so much. One thing I learned that day is that American St Patricks day is not the same as Irish St Patricks day.

USA- kegs and eggs is required, irish car bombs is the most important special drink you can have that day, day drinking through all hours is a neccessity and if your still standing at the end of the day you have won, and if you can make it out that night you are a legend.

Ireland- sleep through the morning and wake up before 12 so that you can make it through the night, full irish breakfast is a huge plus because you know your going to be drinking all day, start slowly and then progress up until your throwing back guinnesses like your being paid for it, and once all the americans are passed out, keep going and never look back.

Lets just say that we tried to combine both cultures into one mega day and by the end of it none of us made it out past 8 pm. It was by far the best day i had in Ireland. And thankfully because of cameras I wont forget because without them I dont know how much I would remember.

The Raddest of RAG week

RAG WEEK- aka Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's, St. Patrick's Day, 4th of July, and Cinco de Mayo all rolled up into one week straight of insanity. Rag week is the irish kids excuse to not go to classes and drink for 5 days straight. Basically just be complete degenerates. So naturally the Americans decide to embrace to culture and join our fellow students in this glorious week of festivites.

Rag week is supposed to be college week on campus. The students are supposed to do things around the campus like vote for their school president and vice president and do volunteer work. Teachers dont expect students to come in because they should be doing all these things but instead the irish kids just plan parties around the town and get "piss drunk." Being Irish has a whole new meaning after this week.

Bar parties, house parties, pub crawls, and day drinking to name a few things are the only memories I have of that week. But the highlight was most definitely the beer olympics that the college put on. 12 teams, 11 irish teams, 1 international team (aka americans). This is supposed to be the pinnacle of the entire week. It goes on during the last day of the week and everybody goes. The stage couldnt be any bigger, and my team was completely under prepared for it.

Teams go all out with costumes and themes. Toga, lumberjack, disco, anything goes. My team, jim, connor, bobby, me, and bertie (an irish tank who could drink like a camel) walked in 30 minutes before it started hoping to get in the tournament, and luckly we were the last team selected. The games were full cup boat race, full cup flip cup, full cup funnel, and full cup das boot. After a round robin we advanced on to the medal rounds. After a "your mama joke battle" we found ourselves in the finals playing the heavy favorite, and of course all the irish kids there hated us because we kept winning.

I wont go through all the details, because i dont remember them vividly enough to do it justice, but the next morning i woke up to a gold medal around my neck and the trophy above my tv, a construction site orange cone with all our names on it. RAG week taught me something that night, and its that Americans know how to play drinking games very well, but irish kids can drink like fish.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Amsterdam 101: The Pancake House

It’s 6:55 pm on March 7th 2010. (Im posting this on the 13thof March however) I am sitting in Brussels- Charleroi Airport waiting for my flight back to Ireland, and God Almighty I can not wait to get back to Galway. I just finished up my weekend trip to Amsterdam and have 3.5 hours to kill because I am an idiot and thought my flight was much earlier. You might ask why I didn’t check my boarding time on my already printed out ticket? Because I enjoy sitting wasting time in airports with nothing to do. You might be nice and think that I kept my flight ticket packed way in my suitcase and so finding it would be a hassle? No I had it in my jacket pocket the entire day. Again I like sitting doing nothing in airports. But that is neither here nor there, you are reading this (if anyone does) to hear about my trip to the Netherlands. Well here it is: there is the good, there is the bad, and then there is Amsterdam.

I hopped off the plane in Brussels, Belgium and wont bore you with the details of how I arrived in Amsterdam because the return in so much better. I arrived in the city center and found the hostel to met up with Pat, Dave, KP and Melissa, Simmons, Lena and the rest of the gang. Eventually Dan, Emily and Cormier, Jack Remy, and Wilkie all joined in. Amsterdam is a very unusual city to say the least. I have now been to 10+ countries in Europe in my life and multiple cities in those countries, and I have never seen a place like this. Needless to say drugs and prostitution have completely immersed themselves into the city. Come to think of it, without those things Amsterdam would probably just fall through the cracks of places to see while in Europe. Now I am not denying or stating anything that might have happened this weekend while in the Red Light District. I believe just saying “It was Amsterdam” is sufficient enough.

However, there are certain things that must be revealed so that others can benefit from them. To start: the number one place to go in Amsterdam is not the Red Light District, of the “ I Amsterdam” sign, or the Heineken Brewery, or even the Anne Frank House. It is a little place called the Pancake House. Holy Lord, that places is by far the closest thing to heaven in a city that is most likely going to hell. Everything about it is amazing. How they can combine chili, spiced minced meat, and pancake together and make me consider offering my three sisters into a life of enslavement so that I could have it everyday is beyond me. But believe me if Jenna, Kathleen, and Tara were there for me to offer I would most likely be coming home with a chef and not the three of them. Sorry not sorry guys. I doubt I need to tell you we went back there for breakfast everyday we could.

While I was in Amsterdam I did do some of the tourist attractions too. We went to the Heineken Brewery which was pretty awesome. I put it right behind the Guinness Factory and right in front of the Jameson Factory. I always love going into those things until some jerk reminds me that I basically paid 14 euro for 2 small Heineken beers. Assholes. We also went to the Van Gogh Museum which was really cool- if I was remotely interested in art. I think I need to stop tricking myself into thinking I am cultured because I am in Europe. In the end all I think about when I see his work is that it is really cool I am this close to a piece of Van Gogh’s art. But 500 pieces later and I pretty much pushed the envelope to the maximum. The best part of the museum was the chicken meal we had at the end. Heavenly. We also saw the “I Amsterdam” sign, obviously. Depressing though it was because there was a monsoon when we were there. Finally I walked by the Anne Frank House. Unfortunately, I didn’t go inside because the line was always around the block. That is my one regret about the trip. Shucks.

That pretty much wraps up the trip, except I forgot to mention that as crazy as Amsterdam is known to be, it shuts down really early, like around 1 AM. Strange for a city known for how it parties…As I said before I am in Brussels- Charleroi Airport and by the time I get back to Galway I would have been traveling for 17 hours. Hint: just because Ryanair flies you cheap doesn’t mean you get to your destination cheap, or quickly by any means. Oh well…Amsterdam, ehhh I give you a 60%. Will I come back? Probably not. Am I glad I went there so now I can have it out of my system? Yes. But if I do go back I know the first place I am going is definitely to that Pancake House. How I will miss that place…

Rome For Dummies

This story dates back to just about two weeks ago. Like every single post I write it is always a bit behind. Nevertheless, here it is. Rome for Dummies:

A while back it seems that all of BC decided that meeting in Rome for the BC spring break was the best bet for the most amount of people to see each other. When there is already 30 kids studying there, Id say we made the right choice. Another 30 made the trip down to Italy’s capital for the weekend I dubbed BC invades Rome. An invasion is an understatement. We flooded it. Streets were running with BC paraphernalia. I don’t know how to sum up this trip any other way than the token phrase, “Road Beers.” Thanks Durgs. This trip was unlike any others that I have ever done while in Europe. In the city with the most history possibly in the World it makes sense for you to sleep into 3 pm everyday, start drinking at 10 pm and go to bed at 6 am right? I swear I saw that in the Europe 2010 book for how to see Rome in 6 days. Or maybe it was Rome for Dummies. Either way it was done.

Now even though I did get out and see the city I did not see as much as I would have liked. I saw the Cat Sanctuary (aka where Julius Ceasar apparently died), which now is home to hundreds of stray cats. I saw the Typewriter Building (its named something else but I don’t remember it, and Romans hate it because its apparently ugly- I thought it was sweet). I went to the Roman Forum (didn’t go in) went to the Colosseum (didn’t go in it). Who wants to see the insides of those things anyways? Ummm, everyone. Rome for Dummies. I went to the Spanish Steps, which were really cool, I went to the Trevi Fountain, arguably my favorite place in the city. I saw St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatican City. All I can say about that is that it is enormous! Probably the coolest thing I have seen in Europe so far. I didn’t go to the top of it though, missed it by a couple minutes before it closed. Good thing I slept in. Oh, and I didn’t go see the Sistine Chapel. Rome for Dummies. I did see the inside of the Pantheon though, mostly because its free and you just walk in.

But what I can tell you a lot about is Campo de Fiori because it seems like I was there every night. It’s a beautiful square that has been run over because bars and now is always packed with college kids at night. I recently heard from someone that a Roman newspaper had an article in it about how they think binge drinking and drinking on the streets is becoming more common because students studying abroad from America are bringing it over. I’m pretty sure the article came out a week after the 60 of us were all together. Sorry about it Rome.

While I am upset that I did not see all of Rome, I always justified it by the fact that I will be back there in a couple weeks with my Dad. March 18th I return to the city to meet my Dad and hopefully the inside of all the places I missed out on. Rome Round 1 got the best of me I was ill prepared and I was embarrassed by the city. Rome Round 2 I’m coming in throwing haymakers.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cliffs of Moher/ Quick Re-Cap of February

Hey guys, sorry this is been an embarrassment of a blog for the past couple weeks. I feel like February just flew by in a blink of an eye! Worst part about it is that as fast as February was March will be 10X faster. Before I explain what has happened for the past two weeks I need everyone to be fully aware of the chaos and disorder that I will be trying to tell you. Im about to do a quick run down of the past couple weeks in such a poor fashion it will look like a 4 year old wrote it. So put your boxing gloves on because Im about to start throwing haymakers at you like Im Muhammad Ali.

Biggest thing that I need to mention that I did in February that I have not yet given justice is my trip to the Cliffs of Moher in middle of the month. I went when KP, Cammie, Haley, Bobby and Hubick were here because to be honest it makes it a thousand times cooler when you see this place with people you are with all the time because all you want to do after you see it is talk about it for days. For those that do not know the Cliffs of Moher is a 702 foot drop off Ireland’s coast. The Cliffs look out on the Aran Islands (mentioned previously in the blog) and the Atlantic Ocean. It is an amazing site to see.

I had actually already been on to see the Cliffs when I was younger and came to Ireland with my family but lets face it, if you have the chance to see this place more than once I think you’d have to be a lunatic not to go again. I was really excited to show everyone the Cliffs because it was one of my favorite parts when I came with my family. Plus I can vividly remember climbing out to the edge when I was a kid so I was pumped for déjà vu to kick in. Unfortunately, when we got to the Cliffs there was a fence 30 yards back from the drop off. I thought that I must be in a different place than where I came with my family because the Cliffs go on for a long time but then I recognized a tower that I knew from my first visit. I asked someone and apparently a part of the edge had fallen off and now it was deemed unsafe to go out on the edge! Big disappointment. But knowing the 6 of our straight edge, follow the rules at all times personalities we decided to jump the fence after we saw other people do it and went down there. Lets just say the view down was definitely worth it. However we got kicked out within minutes of being there. Ooops. Once again I ask myself, was it worth it? I don’t think you need to be a brain surgeon to figure that one out.

The rest of February flew by once KP, Cammie and Haley left. I stayed in Ireland for two weeks and unfortunately had to do work. Is this not a 5 month vacation?! Come on, work? Who does that? Well sadly I had to but solely because I was leaving for Rome for 6 days and all my midterm papers were due when I was gone. It was totally worth the effort because Rome did not disappoint.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Searched Manchester United on Google and this is what I found on Wikipedia: Manchester United Football Club is an English Premier League football club which plays at Old Trafford in Greater Manchester. Average attendances at the club have been higher than any other team in English football for all but six seasons since 1964–65. Manchester United is the reigning English champions, having won the 2008–09 Premier League. The club is one of the most successful in the history of English football and has won 22 major honors since Sir Alex Ferguson became manager in November 1986. Since the late 1990s, the club has been one of the richest in the world with the highest revenue of any football club, and is currently ranked as the richest and most valuable club in any sport worldwide… Did I mention that I went to their game last weekend?
Welcome to England, land of the bad teeth and home of the futball hooligan. Two Saturdays ago I went to possibly the best sporting event of my entire life. Having booked this ticket about a month ago, I was literally eating, breathing, and bleeding Manchester Red waiting for this day to come. And when it finally did, it lived up to every expectation that I could possibly imagine. Saturday morning Hubick, Bobby, David, Pat, Dan, KP, Charlie Mock, Hales and Cammie, and I took the two hour train from Liverpool Street Station to Manchester to see the Red Devils play Portsmouth in a premier league showdown. Actually it was more of a blood bath, but regardless it was amazing. I should have felt dead tired from the day and night before but energy and excitement propelled me into supernova supersonic mode and I was good to go. I was like the energizer bunny on crack. The train ride up was like a blink of an eye, then the quick 15 minute ride to Old Trafford from Manchester train station was like being shot out of a gun. As soon as we got there we ran into the first local and asked him where the pubs were. (Like you didn’t see that coming!) We wanted just about every minute possible to try and find United’s GSE version of a real futball hooligan. And even though we didn’t find anyone who was in the United crew (which we wouldn’t anyways because most of them are not allowed in the games anyway) we did find plenty of English blokes who taught us what it means to be an avid true fan. In America most people really do hate the superstars of the teams that they hate. But I think I would be hard pressed to find a Cub fan that said he didn’t want to meet Albert Pujols or a Bears fan that didn’t want to meet Brett Favre. If these guys had a chance to meet their rival’s superstars I think they would try to kill them or at least verbally assault them. The hooligans we met at the Trafford Bar had already made up chants about Chelsea’s John Terry and his sex scandal. (For all the uninformed- John Terry is basically the Tiger Wood’s of England right now.)
After the pubs we went into the game. Words cant describe the mayhem that occurs in that stadium every game. Portsmouth is the worst team in the Premier League right now, dead last in points and will definitely be dropped from the League next year. The place was sold out holding 76,000 people screaming and singing for 90 minutes straight. Ill try to put this into perspective: imagine going to watch the Saints play the Rams and screaming and singing for the entire game. Seems kind of hard to do right? Well Man U treated us to 5 goals and ended up winning five- nil, even better Rooney scored the first goal, and Nani the second. It was like a dream. Auf Hubick Bobby and I all sat together and met some nice people that told us the things to know about the club and such. After the game we hit up the United store and got some gear, which was totally necessary because I already don’t have enough Man U paraphernalia having dressed 3 people for the game with clothes I brought from home. After the game we went back to the pub and met some more hooligans learned some more songs and then took the train back. I will never forget that day. I don’t know if I will ever be back to Old Trafford again but I know that I will always bleed Manchester Red until the day I die because of that day. Forever United.

"You Sound Like Your From London"

This is long overdue but the blog had to be put to the side for a bit due to the pandemonium that occurred in my absence. I will try to reiterate all that has happened in the past two weeks in as few words as possible because I feel that I could write a dissertation on all the events that unfolded. Don’t worry Ill break it up into multiple posts so people don’t fall asleep half way through. My life isn’t that interesting. But the past 14 days have been busy so here it goes:

London: Flew into Stansted, England late Thursday night and met Dan at the airport and took the Tube into London. From there we successfully got lost on the Tube trying to get to Trafalgar’s Square to meet up with KP and Jay. Its been a while since I last was in London and I quickly remembered how much I love the city even when I was cursing out the Tube for going the opposite direction on the wrong line. What’s the point in visiting an English speaking country if you aren’t going to ask for help when you obviously do not know what you are doing? Beats me, you figure Dan would love the fact that he can talk in English again to ask someone, and its not like I am speaking Gaelic over here and that I have forgotten the language. Regardless, eventually we met up with KP and find Pat and Auf already there ready to go. The boys are back in town. We drop off our bags quickly and go to a bar that night and meet up with some of KP’s friends and so more BC people. Great craic. The next morning Auf Pat Dan and I successfully complete a full day of being a tourist. We visit that really big clock, House of Parliament, the Eye, and the Queen’s house, and Westminster Abbey. In between the Eye and Buckingham he travel out to the suburbs of London (on KP’s bright idea that we would be bored when he is in class so he should plan something for us to do because London is really boring) to go to Fuller’s Brewery. We all laughed at the fact that we are being sent out to the middle of nowhere on some escapade. We get lost, then get on track, then get lost again in the end we are 20 minutes late for the tour and end up just drinking in the bar talking to a couple of really nice locals about fun places to go. It ended up being a highlight of the day. Just shows you how things always work out in the end. Of course the last stop of the day to complete the ultimate tourist day was King’s Cross. Oh yes, I had my moment at Platform 9 ¾ and it was just about everything I ever wanted. That night we met up with Haley and Cammie and all went out to club Fabric, a multi level dance club. It was a blast, we ended up meeting Dubbs, PJ, and Tom there for a bit and took a cab back to KP’s in the wee hours of the morning, and needless to say Fabric was a pretty crazy time.

Fastfoward 24 hours: Pat, Dan, Gaby, and Auf are all gone and its Sunday morning. I spend the day bumming around with Hales, Cammie, Bobby and Hubick doing more tourist stuff. I walked past the nostalgic place of London’s Dungeon that Lockyer and I had made so infamous 3 years ago, saw London Castle, Tower Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, and Trafalgars one more time then made the trek back to Ireland, missing just about all of the Superbowl but not being too upset about it because I remembered that I had just gone to the best sporting event of my entire life less than 36 hours before that. All in all, still have London as top 3 cities I have ever visited, seeing all the BC people was great and made me miss Boston and the crew a bit, ooooh yea one more thing; I hate the pound.