“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag
This is Maynooth University, my school for the next few months! The school is absolutely stunning. I am honestly so blessed to be able to get to come here and see this everyday. The campus is split into North and South Campus. The North Campus is very modern and streamlined and looks like most typical universities, but the South Campus is incredible. St. Patricks was originally built by the King of England so the Irish men could be educated in Ireland to become priests instead of having to go to France to be educated. The king was apparently more upset over opening a Catholic Church than he was over losing the American colonies! As nice as the buildings are to look at their lecture halls are awfully uncomfortable to sit in. There is a tree archway leading up to a small cemetery for the priests and nuns who attended St. Patricks. As beautiful as it is now, I cannot wait to see what it looks like in the spring when everything is in bloom.
I went to the Guinness Storehouse twice now and both times it was so cool. The first time I went was with my host company on a Tuesday night and it was completely empty. The museum tells you how the beer is made and different advertising techniques used. After we journeyed through the museum part we went up to the Gravity Bar for our Guinness overlooking all of Dublin. At night it was gorgeous. Seeing a 360 degree view of all of Dublin lit up at night was incredible and being up there pretty much by ourselves was super nice. The second time I visited the Storehouse, I went with a group of friends. This time through we got to learn how to properly drink a guinness and got to pour our own guinness. After enjoying our guinness in the Gravity Bar we went downstairs and enjoyed some live traditional Irish music. After the Storehouse, we went to Temple Bar for a music festival and had an incredible time. There was live music and friendly people in all the bars and was a fantastic night.
Glendalough Monastic Site and Wicklow Mountains
Feb. 4th: I went on a trip to the Glendalough Monastic Site in the Wicklow Mountains. The site was absolutely gorgeous! Driving to the mountains was breathtaking. The grass is greener than I could've ever imagined. The monastic cite was started in 618 A.D and was still standing. The Monks that lived there built a tower to hide from the vikings. However, the door on the tower was about 9 feet from the ground and the monks would get a ladder and hide with all their valuables in the tower and pull the ladder inside with then so the vikings couldn't get to them or their valuables. The trails along the monastic site led to a lake in the valley. After visiting the breathtaking trails in the Wicklow mountains, we stopped at a quaint little restaurant to grab lunch. I ordered the Shepard's pie and it was life changing. Hands down some of the best food I have ever had in my life and it was just what I needed after being in the rain and cold all morning hiking. Next we drove to a waterfall. The drive there was intense to say the least, We had a huge bus speeding down small and steep countryside roads. It was an interesting, chaotic and wild ride. Along the way we passed the place where P.S I Love You was filmed which is shockingly even more perfect in person. On our ride we saw a beautiful waterfall in the countryside and pulled over for some pictures before making our way to the final waterfall destination. The final waterfall was yyyuuuugggeeee! The pictures don't do it justice. We climbed on some rocks and took some pics and then were on our way home. Before catching our train home we of course had to stop for some donuts. The donut shop Off Beat had more donuts than I could handle. I got 6 donuts to "share" with my roommates, a nutella donut, a cookies and cream donut, an apple crisp donut, a jam filled donut, a ferraro rocher donut and a creme brulee donut. Today was a painfully good day, my feet hurt from all the exploring, my stomach hurts from all the food and my cheeks hurt from all the laughter.
The pictures below are from my trip to Galway. Galway was absolutely amazing. One of the prettiest and greatest places I've ever been, absolutely incredible. The food was amazing, there were fresh oysters and seafood and especially the fish and chips. There were a lot of little family run shops, restaurants and pubs, most of which had great live music at night. I definitely want to go back to Galway as much as I can because I absolutely loved it. There was a nice farmers market on Sunday morning which featured lots of jewelry and paintings from locals as well as food trucks. One of the food trucks was a donut truck and I had a great cinnamon donut which I will definitely be going back for. Through our hostel we booked a tour to the Cliffs of Moher. Words cannot describe them. They are unreal and the pictures do not do it justice. The weather was perfect and made for a great day. I had an absolutely amazing time in Galway and will definitely become a frequent traveller there.
The below pictures are from my trip to Barcelona. It was so nice to be in Barcelona in the sun and warm weather as opposed to the rain and cold in Ireland. Barcelona was a super relaxing and refreshing trip. I went with two friends and we stayed in a really nice hostel. The first day we were there the Barcelona Marathon was taking place so it was really exciting and lively. We went to the Picasso museum which had a lot of super cool art. We went to La Sagrada which was breathtaking. The pictures don't do it justice. The sun shining through the windows and lighting up and coloring the whole church was unreal. After we went to Park Guell. Park Guell had such a beautiful view of the city. Getting to Park Guell was a journey, We took the metro to the top of the mountain and had to hike to Park Guell because we didn't know there was a bus that takes you right to the entrance. We were not dressed for a hike, I was in a dress and was not prepared to hike 4+ miles. But the views were worth it. While there I ate some incredible food such as paella and an awesome burger on the beach. Spain was incredible and I cannot wait to go back in 2026 when the Sagrada is finally finished. Also shout-out to me for remembering a decent amount of Spanish from high school.
St. Patricks Day
St. Patrick's Day in Dublin was so much fun. There was so many people at the parade in the streets, it was awesome. The parade was really cool it had some super weird floats and performers. There was such a happy and fun atmosphere and it was an amazing day.
These pictures are from my trip to Paris. I absolutely loved Paris one of my favorite places for sure. It was absolutely breathtaking. We were constantly stumbling across gorgeous parks and we have great weather so that was perfect. The Eiffel tower never got old, every night we ate dinner in the park around it and it was amazing every time. We went to the Louvre, which is huge. We were in there for roughly 4 hours and didn't even cover 1/4 of it. It was massive. It was so cool though, there was an amazing mix of art which was super cool to see. We also went to Versailles for a day. Versailles was crazy cool. It was so elaborate and glamorous. The gardens were super cool because the fountains were on, which is rare, and they were playing classical music in the background so it was a really fun atmosphere. I loved every second of it. On the last day we went to the catacombs. The catacombs were bananas. It was absolutely insane. It was super cool in a weird creepy kinda way but i loved it. I loved Paris and miss it already.
Zurich is the opposite of any city I have ever been too, quiet, peaceful, calm, and clean. It was so nice to be there and relax. It was super nice and nature-y. For the first day we just explored the city and had some amazing hotdogs. We also hiked to the top of the mountain in Zurich. It was incredible because it had just rained and we were in the clouds giving an eery and calm feel to the mountains. I loved hiking it was nice for a change to get out of cities and just be in nature. We spent the next day in Lucerne. I loved Lucerne. It was a cool mix of super old dutch/germanic buildings and super modern city buildings. There was a big lake with incredible views of the swiss alps. We got to rent a boat, no questions asked, and go boating on the lake and get awesome views of the alps. After we went boating, we found an Irish pub and got some awesome, but very expensive (but very worth it), burgers. We also found some bikers dressed up like bunnies for easter.
From Zurich we flew to Rome. Rome was crazy because I was seeing all these really old things that didn't seem real until I saw them with my eyes. We did a tour of the colosseum. The colosseum was wild. It was super cool to see in person and to see all the different features it had and to hear about how smart the architects were and the innovation they had. It goes without saying that almost every meal we had was amazing, except one. I think we found the only terrible restaurant in Rome. We did a tour of Vatican City. The Vatican was ginormous. So many super cool sculptures and art. There was a hall of really cool old maps (shoutout to Professor Nath) that were all surprisingly accurate. It was really cool to also see the commissions of every pope and how they all added and modified the museum and how it is ever evolving. The Sistine Chapel, like the Mona Lisa, is a lot smaller than one would think. It was still amazing to see this incredible and famous art with your own eyes. Next we went to St. Peters Basilica. St. Peters is literally so big that your brain literally cannot comprehend how big it is. Everything in it is so giant that your brain thinks it is a lot smaller than it actually is because it is comparing it to other giant objects. It was wild. We also went to a bunch of incredible churches that we stumbled across. Which were all wild and amazing. The Trevi fountain was, unlike the Mona Lisa and the Sistine Chapel, giant. I did not expect it to be that big, but it was huge. The Spanish steps gave a great view of the city and we took a really pretty backroad way of getting there and we walked through super pretty streets and alleys. There was incredible shopping at the end of the street such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and other stores I wish I could shop in. But we did get some CSI: Rome action in one of the stores when a group of girls were caught shoplifting and caused a huge scene so that was exciting. But yeah Rome was cool.
London was nothing like i expected. It was quiet and peaceful and calm and clean. I loved it. We chilled in Hyde Park most of the first day eating and relaxing because it was beautiful out. The next day we did a free walking tour and say Buckingham Palace, which Mona Lisa-ed me (lot smaller). We saw the changing of the calvary which was cool. We say a lot of buildings where the royal family stays and it was really cool. We also say Theresa May's house.We ended at Big Ben and we took the most stereotypically British picture of us in front of Big Ben by a red phone booth. We walked over to the London Bridge and walked across it, it was pretty cool and walked over to the original Roman settlement in London. The next day we went to Stonehenge and the town of Bath. Stonehenge was cool. It was really big. The town of Bath was beautiful. It was so old and beautiful, lots of little shops and restaurants. I loved it.