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.

Monday, February 1, 2010


After a great demand from some people for pictures (aka Jenna and Kathleen, out of fear that Dad will get a facebook page- still get one Dad. Ill accept your friendship even if they wont!) here a couple of the highlight pictures. For more of them just go look at them on my fb page.

After we missed the ferry ride back the day before this is the view I woke up to at 7:30. Almost made it worth it in the end. Hello Atlantic Ocean.

I decided to climb down a bit of the way to go on this little edge about 8 feet down. I dont know if it was the smartest thing I have ever done but it was definitely worth it to go where few people have probably ever gone.

Pulling the standard Dad move on the top of the Dun Aengus Fort. The coolest place I have yet to be at in Ireland.

Hanging off the edge of the cliffs on the Aran Islands. 300 ft drop down feels like a lot more when your on the edge.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Aran Islands "Ireland's Alcatraz"

This past weekend Tom, Jane, Lauren, and Kristina came to visit and to see what Galway and the west coast has to offer. We met up Friday night and I showed them a few hot spots in Galway’s nightlife. In the midst of the night they convince me that I should come to the Aran Islands with them tomorrow morning. After waking up to my alarm at 8:30, which I don’t remember setting, and I stumbled over to the Kinlay House where they were all staying. Thank God it was right down the road. 26 euro and an hour and a half later we found ourselves on the ferry taking us out to sea. The ferry ride is 45 minutes long, and after quickly realizing that sitting below deck along with a hangover and an empty stomach is a horrible combination. Good thing the sites you see as you travel out to the Atlantic on the top deck are completely worth the cold temperatures that you go through. We arrive on the largest of the three islands and realize that we don’t really know what someone does once they get to the island. So we decide to take a bus tour around the island with a man named Bertie Flaherty, probably the nicest man I’ve met in Ireland, and that’s saying something. Bertie has lived on the Aran Islands for the better part of his life and recently retired from being a fisherman. The Aran Islands consists of a population of 825 people, that’s smaller than my high school by 300 people and I felt like I knew most of the people there. Basically everyone knows everyone. Bertie brought us all around the island which is 10 miles long by 2.5 miles wide. The coolest part of the trip was definitely the area called Dun Aengus. Dun Aengus is basically identical to the Cliffs of Moher is every way except that it is not on the main land. This place was amazing. It was by far the coolest thing that I have yet to seen while on my European adventure. Imagine hanging off the side of a mountain with a 300 foot drop down into the ocean. Pretty cool huh? I literally felt like an 8 year old in a candy shop, never wanting to leave and always wanting more. After Dun Aengus Bertie brought us to the furthest west edge of the island. It was here that I realized that when I stepped out the furthest from my friends I was the closest person in all of Europe to America. Pretty cool. Miss you USA.

Then things started to get really interesting. After realizing that time was running short we ended our bus tour and went back into “town” or at least the harbor. We realized that we had a couple hours to spare so we went into a bar to wait until our 5:45 ferry departure. After a while we left the bar and walked down to the dock, and didn’t see the boat. We started to panic a little but then thought that it must be coming in any minute. So we looked at our tickets and saw that the ferry leaves at 5 pm and the bus ride home ticket leaves at 5:45 pm. Perfect. We run into the tourist house and ask if there was another ferry leaving the island tonight. He laughs at us and says that we should be looking for a place to stay the night. Let’s just say that tensions began to rise and rage surfaced. After words had been spoken within our group and pointing the finger at each other we knew that there was no way that we were getting off this rock until tomorrow morning at 8. Well since there is only 1 hostel on the island the choices were limited of where we would be staying. After securing down our room, which we didn’t even end up sleeping in because our roommate was a creepy Italian that was not only giving the girls “the eye” but also Tom and I, we knew that we had to get supplies. Step one: Spar for alcohol and bagels. Step two: drink the alcohol and eat the bagels. Step three: repeat step two. After getting past the feeling that we were being imprisoned or enslaved on the islands that are only 9 miles off the coast of Ireland, we tried to salvage the night. It was like our own little Alcatraz. We ended up meeting up with some Americans from New York who were planning on staying on the island that night along with some really nice Irishmen and a South African. We raided the two bars they have on the island and saved everything we could from the night. By the way, you want to see stars like you have never seen before I suggest going out to the middle of the Atlantic and looking up. I felt like I was looking through a telescope and thankfully it was a clear night and a full moon. The five of us slept in the Rec Room on the couches for about 3 hours and then rolled out of the hostel in the morning and onto the ferry. 2 hours later I took a vow to myself that next time I go somewhere I can be stranded I will look at the ticket for my ride out of there myself. Would I go back to the Aran Islands? Yes, definitely. Would I spend the night there again? No. Has the reality of what happened to me yesterday become a funny story now? Absolutely.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


First trip major trip of the European adventure was completed this past weekend. I pictured my trip to Dublin to be a like a warm up before a big game or a pregame before a big night of drinking. Dublin would be the test specimen for what to expect when I visit other major cities and countries in the next couple months. If I learned anything from Dublin it is that I’m going to break the bank very quickly. Dublin took everything I had and then went after my family and then took the clothes off my back, leaving me with nothing but cobwebs in my wallet and a pocket full of receipts. All that besides, Dublin is an awesome city! It is so much bigger than what I had expected that every part of the city blew my mind. But before I get ahead of myself let me start at the only logical point: the beginning.

Day 1: Being too lazy to get up at the crack of dawn Bobby and Hubick and I took the 9:45 direct bus from Galway to Dublin on GoBus. A bit less than 3 hours later we arrived on O’Connell Street navigating ourselves around in circles trying to decide where we would sleep that night. (tip for the future: plan ahead) After wasting an hour or so we decided to stay at the Kinley Hostel where all our friends were already staying. Should have saw that coming. We dropped off our packs and headed out immediately. Statistically, the first word American college students associate Dublin with is the word Guinness. Dont believe me? Look it up. So naturally the first stop on our list was the famous Guinness Factory. Thankfully the hostel was pretty close to the Factory and of course all our friends were already there. Naturally. The Guinness Factory is one of the coolest things I have ever experienced. If Arthur Guinness already isn’t sitting in the VIP section of heaven he should be. All 55 acres of his factory are probably considered the Irish Holy Lands, considering Ireland alone drinks about 13 million pints of Guinness every two weeks. (fun fact for you). All 7 floors of the Factory are amazing. Each floor designated to a different aspect of the Guinness foundation: G) Welcome Atrium and Ingredients 1) Brewing, Cooperage and Transport 2) Advertising 3) Brewery Life 4) Celebrating 250 years of Guinness 5) Gilroy Advertising/ Bars 6) Gravity Bar- highest tourist point in all of Dublin. Every floor= heavenly. (Excuse all the religious sentiments, it was just that awesome.) Best part of the trip was pouring my own pint o Guinness; it just doesn’t get any more cliché. Pouring my own pint of Guinness, in Dublin, in the Guinness Factory. That’s something you see in the picture books or on postcards. The Gravity Bar at the top is an amazing sight. The bar is a complete 360 degree bar with glass surrounding 90% of it showing off the entire city of Dublin and the Wicklow Mountains. It is a fantastic sight to behold on a clear day, which we had. Luck of the Irish right there. After snapping some photos we left and were on our way to the Jameson Factory. We figured we might as well keeping drinking if we already started so early. Jaymo was a bit of a let down mostly just because Guinness was so cool. But the free Jameson wasn’t a let down at all. Thank you John Jameson. That night we all went out and hit up the famous Temple Bar area, aka tourist central. I met up with Tom Culkeen, and granted him the title as Tour Guide Tom. He took us around the area and eventually we met up with more BC people and had a night for the ages.

Day 2: A lot to swallow in the first day so take a deep breathe, a drink of water, grab a power bar and when your ready continue onto day 2. After waking up to 23 other people in my hostel room and immediately feeling disgusting I eventually pulled myself together and jumped back into the thick of things for day 2 of Dublin. First stop: Kilmainham Jail, the famous jail featured in many movies like the Italian Job and Michael Collins and even a U2 music video. This is where they kept the 13 leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916. The jail was pretty unbelievable and the conditions they lived in where unimaginable. After leaving the jail we decided to go somewhere saintly, so obviously St. Patrick’s Cathedral was top of our list. The Cathedral was one of the coolest parts of the trip for me. It was gorgeous and enormous and not at all what I had expected. Inside are a lot of memorials for soldiers that died in WWI and WWII and in the Easter Rising and many of other battles. I thought that was really cool since I always felt like the Church tried to separate itself from the politics of war and the pain and sadness that surround it, so that was an interesting surprise. After the Cathedral we went to Dublin Castle, which was pretty awesome. The president of Ireland had been there a week before we were there at a meeting. The history behind the castle was really interesting and the building was beautiful inside. That night we ran all around Dublin and saw a lot of the city which was a lot of fun. Hubick and I met up with Tom again and we ended up sleeping on his wood floor in his single at UCD to save a buck on the hostel. Thanks Tommyboy.

Day 3: Hubick and I woke up 2 hours later than planned, thanks a lot Jagermeister. After realizing we were 20 minutes outside the city we struggled to find a bus. Finally got on one and felt like Harry Potter on the Knight Bus, so naturally it was totally worth it. Eventually we got back to Dublin and went up and down O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main street. After that we trekked over to Trinity College. The campus is remarkable. It is massive and reminded me (and I hate to say it) of Notre Dame with the open quads and untouchable grass. After snapping a few shots of the Trinity Arch we went to the Book of Kells. The coolest part of my trip by far. It blew everything else we did out of the water. Unfortunately pictures are not allowed inside it so I cant show you any pics but that might be a bit of the reason it is so amazing. We spent probably 2 hours in a tour that you can walk through in under 90 seconds. Everything about it was just extraordinary. It’s hard to put into words what being so close to something so profound was like so I wont try. Bottom line it was the coolest part of the trip. If you go to Dublin this is a required stop. The library that follows the Book of Kells can only be compared to the library in the Beauty and the Beast. Absolutely magnificent. Rows upon rows, shelves upon shelves, floors above floors of books. It was unbelievable. After leaving Trinity College Hubick and I walked around St. Stephen’s Green and saw the largest indoor clock in Europe and basically called it a weekend. We jumped on a bus back to Galway, pockets a little lighter but memories packed to the point of explosion.

Texts From Last Night

Last week was Bobby’s 21st birthday. So naturally like any American we decided to make that day a complete drinking fest, that would only be successful if Bobo could only talk, read, and write at a 4 year old level. After a dinner prepared in the palace (19 Donegan Ct.) the pub crawl commenced. Starting off in the middle of no where Galway at a pub where we watched the Man United game we slowly but surely began to walk towards civilization, and into the lights of Galway. 10 pubs later and 10 Jameson shots down the hatch for Bobby we stumbled into GPO, one of the nightclubs that Galway has to offer. To the great pleasure of the pub crawlers that still were hanging onto the night Bobby was at a state of mind that was below a 4 year old intelligence level. And of course for those who stuck out it out to the end Bobby was not the only one K.O. by Galway that night. After some fantastic dining at Supermac’s, Rebecca and I began to walk back to The Niland House. After laughing about how great of a body guard I would be for the both of us in the event of danger, Rebecca reassures me and says she has mace. Like a 7 year old boy in a toy shop I am mesmerized by this and demanded to see the bottle. I mean come on what person hasn’t thought of what it would be like to tear gas someone? I know I have. And now I know both sides of the story. Without feeling for the point where the mace will be sprayed from I push down on the bottle and got a first hand experience of what the creepy assailant would feel when they come to attack Rebecca. Second fastest sober up period in my life. Needless to say I ran the ¼ of a mile home just like Ray Charles plays the piano, all from memory. After possibly the quickest ¼ of a mile I have ever ran or the longest ¼ of a mile I have ever ran I arrived home. I couldn’t really tell you how long it took due to the fact that my eyes felt like they were walking across a fire pit like I was some circus performer. One hour later of running my eyes under the sink I went to bed with wet towels on both eyes praying that when I wake up in the morning I wont need Jesus’ second coming to perform a miracle. Thankfully I woke up and just like Jesus cured the blind man I had been healed, though not completely fully. Best part of the morning however was the text I received from Rebecca from the night before that read: “Seriously though, now you get to go home and tell everyone that you survived being maced in the face. By yourself…” I’m still holding out for Textsfromlastnight.com to respond but I have faith that it will be posted eventually. Lesson I learned: Mace is for girls, not Jimmy.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Burren

So a couple of days ago there was a student activities fair that some friends and I checked out. Basically just a bunch of clubs asking you to sign up and join. When we were there we found the usual clubs that you find back at home, but then there were a few that were definitely not at BC activities day, like kayaking, equestrian, mountaineering club, and surf club. Deciding to join the clubs we don’t have the opportunity to back home we signed up for most of these. This weekend we had our first mountaineering club experience, and the destination of the hike was called The Burren. The Burren is an area of land in county Clare that literally is just mountains and hills of rock, half the time I felt like I was running through the set of Lord of the Rings.

But to start from the beginning, I woke up and got to the bus at 9 am, a difficult task for any day of the week but especially a Sunday. Eventually we were off 30 minutes later and on our way to county Clare which took about an hour and a half to get to. On the way they periodically stopped and let people off the bus to go up different paths. Due to the fact that Hubick, Lindsay, Lissy, Elora, and I didn’t have the proper shoes, pants, and just general attitude towards everything so early they put us in the last group designated the “slow group.” Getting off the bus Hubick and I realize we are the only two guys in the entire group of 22 people, besides one of our tour guides Neil aka Lars. We started our ascent to the top of God knows where and along the way practiced our extreme mountaineering, laughing about how good we were and how the medium and fast group have no idea what they are missing without us in it. We started off on the path which quickly turned into nothing so we began to climb up. 1 hour later we reached what I like to call the Land of My Fore Fathers, which was just a circle of rocks built up about 9 feet high. 30 minutes later we reached the top of the hill where I we all thought we would end but instead we continued onto a second peak about an hour further from where we were. Exhausted, tired, hungry, aching, and delirious we reach the top of point two and are told that we are going to turn around and head back down. Kill me. Hiking up for two and a half hours is one thing, turning around and hiking back down is torture. Nevertheless we cursed the skies, wind, and our tour guides as we turned around and hiked the 2 hours back down.

Now I know that there was a lot of bitching in there, that was mostly for my dad because he would love to hear that I spending my day starving myself and pushing myself to the limit and hiking all day. But the top of The Burren is truly an unbelievable sight. The winds up there are so strong that I am certain if I opened up a sheet and connected it to my backpack I would be paragliding down the side of the mountain instead of hiking. (Probably a better idea than hiking down.) Half the time it was a struggle just to stand up but it was definitely worth it. The sight at the top looks out over the entire Galway Bay and the beginning of the Atlantic Ocean. You can see the Aran Islands from there and you know that you are just on the edge of a vast emptiness of water. Lets just say that the end definitely justified the means. After explaining to some of the people in the group what 'SFD' meant we were back where we started in no time. And with just enough time to grab a bite at the pub at the bottom and have some of the best chowder that I have ever had, sorry Bostonians. On the way home I passed out, and woke up back on campus and pulled a death march back to my place realizing that sleeping tonight is not going to be a difficult task.

Friday, January 15, 2010


After class today Hubick and I went to the gym on campus. Now before some of you stop reading this because you know I have to be lying if Im talking about going to the gym, stop and realize that everyone told me that while in Europe I should try as many new things as possible, and this I decided would be one of them. To join the KingFisher is 200 euro. So you know that there is no way Im joining, but today was free trial day, or so we thought, so Hubick and I thought it would be a good learning experience to see what fit people do when they come here. When we get to the desk we find out that it is not free gym day and before turning around and leaving on the spot, the lady understands that we are dumb Americans and didn’t realize that the free trial was really last week and for only the first 50 people. We get in, and work out for a total of possibly 45 minutes, worst part of the day, and quickly hurry down to the pool, the one reason we really wanted to go. We jump in the pool, without a required swim suit but instead just a pair of gym shorts. Immediately the pool attendant comes over yells at us and makes us wear swim caps. It was my first time with a cap on, not as much fun as I thought they were and definitely not as effective. There was probably 4 other people in the pool too, we were in the lane labeled “slow.” After realizing that we weren’t even really swimming the people around us started to get pretty pissed. Thinking that there should be a lane designated for Americans we left the pool, went in the steam room, and jumped in the required shower area to rinse off. I took a shower washing every body part with actual soap; including all my major crevices; including in between my toes and in my belly button which I never did before but sort of enjoyed. I washed my hair with adult formula shampoo and used cream rinse for that just-washed shine. I can't seem to find my toothbrush, so I'll pick one up when I go out today. Other than that, I'm in good shape. Realizing we have no towels we went to the changing village- an area that girls and guys both can use together for last minute touches before they leave the changing area- and we used the hair dryers to dry off. Which we were then yelled at by a gym worker because we were going to fry to dryers doing that. Laughing at the fantastic spa day we just had we looked on the bulletin board and saw the next free gym day in on the 21st. Spa Day part 2 is definitely happening, just going to remember a towel.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

So it is probably time I give credit to the people who host me and the guys so many times before we go out since it is clear from reactions from my last post that they were very upset that I failed to give accurate details. Before most nights of going out hubick, bobby, and I travel the grueling 20 second walk upstairs and go to lissy, liz and she who chooses to be kept anonymous (elora) apartment. (this is of course after I walk the 8 minutes to their apartment buildings) this travel upstairs is a necessity due to the fact that unlike the girls place, bobby and brian’s place, and my place don’t have enough room to stretch our legs out on the couch without hitting the other side of the wall. Their place on the other hand is a palace. If bobo’s and hubicks and my place equaled the Holiday Inn in Omaha, Nebraska their place would equal the Ritz-Carlton in Dubai.

Now the glory that is “the pregame” is a beautiful thing for one reason, its cheap and there is usually a goal of drinking as much as you can before going out. Probably in Ireland: the euro. The pregaming I have been doing here I am not exactly proud of. 5 euro wine bottles is one of the cheapest deals and then 8 tall boys of the drink fit only for a King, the Bavarian Crown, for 10 euro. However, we always seem to make due. Interesting side note people would like to know, is that Elora is actually the person who had my keys when I lost them. So thanks Elora! Anyways, long combination of thumper (which I am getting better at) and speed quarters always follows. Life without solo cups and pong balls is limiting. I think Im going to have to make up a new game because my ears are ringing with the sounds of quarters hitting glasses and hands pounding the table.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Worst First Day of School Ever

I have had approximately 16 first days of school in my lifetimes. And there have definitely been some rough ones in there. First day of elementary school is scary, first day of middle school is awkward, first day of high school is intimidating, but who would have thought that I would have to travel all the way to Ireland to have the worst first day of school in my life! This is a quickie of how my day went. (I already typed it out on time and I got kicked off line so this isn’t going to go into as much detail about it all, it will be more of a rundown, but in the end I would probably have bored you with the details anyway). Woke up at 8, took a shower after two of my roommates- no hot water. Went to class at 9, teacher didn’t show up. Went to pick up my student ID card, office hours don’t start until 10 am. Walk to the second farthest building on campus to find out why the teacher didn’t show up at 9. found out seminar courses don’t begin until next week. Go back to the student union and wait for my next class. Go there at 12, zero people show up. Walk with Brian to the farthest building on campus to find out why no one showed up to the second class, class room was changed earlier that day. Awesome. Go back to center of campus to try to pick up course descriptions in different departments. Basically end up running around campus for the next 3 hours doing that. Eventually have to go back to that furthest building again, fml. Go to try to pick up my ID now, note on the door that says ID cards wont be ready until later this week. Of course they wont. Walk back to Hubick’s place, much closer to campus than mine. Sit there for an hour waiting until my last class of the day at 5 pm. Walk back in the freezing, sit through the class, actually got to one today (1 for 3 not bad). Get home, feel like death, try to battle through a fever and sore throat bc it’s the first day back for all the irish students. Go out, a lot of fun, meet some pretty cool irish guys that live in Brian and Bobby’s apartment. Find my keys that I lost 3 days earlier (highlight of my day), go back home. Maybe get an hour of sleep the entire night. End of worst day ever. As they say, the sun will come out tomorrow. But if it does and it looks like this I don’t want it to.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

First 24 Hours

So as I said before I was going to hopefully have exciting news for the next post. Idk if my first 24 hrs are exactly exciting but they sure were eventful. After arriving at Ohare in Chicago I said goodbye to my mom and went through security to find myself having to go through extra security. Typical. They put me in a glass box and said to wait for someone to come and they will give me a further inspection. After 5 minutes a man came in and did everything put a colonoscopy to me. Eventually the guy let me go finding that I am not a terrorist and telling me to have a "great flight!" I boarded AerLingus flight 143 and sat in the wrong seat to begin. Thankfully I realized it before the 300 man who was sitting in the seat next to that one got there. 7 hours next to a man of that size and I would want to kill myself. I ended up sitting next to a really nice 26 yr old girl named Danielle who is studying Irish poetry in Belfast. She gave me some really good advice about what to go see and what airlines are the best to scope out. I watched Public Enemies and Entourage episodes and the flight went pretty well. I landed in Dublin at 8:30 am and that is where it all began to go wrong. I got off the flight and went through customes fine but had a 4 hour delay until my flight to Shannon airport. After waiting the 4 hrs i boarded the plane and was going to take off until the pilot told us that Ireland is experiencing the worst snow in 20 years and that we might be delayed. oh boy here we go.

After looking outside my window i realized that there was possibly 3/4 an inch of snow (not kidding). The pilot said that Dublin has completely shut down and that schools are canceled and ppl are not going to school because of it. are you kidding me? one of the countries in the world with the most amount of rainfall and they are unprepared for the weather to drop below freezing? nevertheless i laughed about it with my friends on the flight thinking that the delay would be short. 5 hours later, 3 trips out to the runway, and 4 times defrosting the wings of the plane i wanted to murder someone. eventually the just kicked us all out of the plane and said get on a bus. So after waiting an hour to get my bags I got on a bus to Galway. I arrived to my apartment building around 10 pm and after 24 hours of traveling all i wanted to do was drink. I met my roommates and decided to go to the pubs. I arrived to the King's Head at probably 10:10 pm and then bounced around from that pub to The Quays (pronounced The Keys) until the end of my night.

I live right next to the harbor. I look out my front window and there are 2 massive ships 20 yards away from me. I feel like I am on the set for The Deadliest Catch. It really is a nice spot with an awesome location to the downtown life. I have 5 roommates. Chris from Elgin, IL and he went to Carmel, and goes to Marquette now who I am directly rooming with, Ian from Washington DC and goes Georgetown, Patrick from Grayslake, IL and goes to Madison, Charlie who has lived all over the world but currently in Germany and goes to Georgetown, and Nick from Libertyville, IL and goes to Marquette. Our place has definite up and downs. Great location for downtown, very tiny. Far from school, but somewhat isolated.

Today was orientation I am not going to bore you or myself with the details from that. After it I walked around a bit, got my sweet new phone, a Motorola piece of crap that I kinda like a lot, grabbed a quick bit to eat at supermacs (looks like a great late night food spot) and then went on a booze run. Booze is very expensive- 24 bottles of stella for 15 euro is the best bet we have found so far. We will see how the night goes from here…

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Back to the Home Country

So I decided to start this blog for a few reasons 1. because a lot of people said that I should start a journal, and I want to be cool like all the other kids 2. so that I can try to remember all the things I did while I was abroad and 3. so that people can stalk me on multiple online portals. While I know that my blog will not be the homepage of your computers, it will allow many of you to have another website to go to as you procrastinate from doing what you should. Im not going to get my hopes up and think that people will visit this, oh idk daily, but Im hoping that it will eventually become at least one of your top 5 sites that you think of when you open your computer, or maybe not.

I just finished packing up everything and am about to head out in a couple minutes to the airport. I arrive in Dublin tomorrow morning then make my way over to Galway by the afternoon. So hopefully by the next time I post it will be something a little more exciting then this. See you guys on the other side of the pond.