I have had an extreme run of luck when it comes to traveling. Serious sunburns have faded away, a week on a boat spent with no motion sickness, and now I managed to escape the clutches of jet lag that sought to consume everyone. Obviously, I was tired from a night of little sleep on a plane, but I was perfectly fine staying awake for a full day upon arrival and walking around Dublin.
For our first day in Ireland, the first time any of the eleven of us have been, we were taken around the immediate vicinity of Griffith College, the prison-turned-military-base-turned-college where we will be staying. Following this outing, led by an Irish guide, Brad took our group to a few big destinations around the city. To be honest, I found this frustrating. To me, the tourist destinations felt like I had not left the United States of America, while the residential areas made me realize how far from home I really am. I would have loved to go off and get lost in the residential areas, learning about my temporary home through immersion rather than rather than seeing popular places that had developed to be no more Irish than I am.
Even still, it was a great introduction to everything ahead. It was definitely enjoyable to hang out with everybody in the group and take pictures together too. I went out of my way to only photograph what stood out to me today, rather than everything I thought looked amazing. Because of this I did not take pictures of any of the beautiful churches, Trinity College, Temple Bar, and a few other locations. Walking with the group, it felt like I was on another Pittsburgh tour. Maybe it is a result of my upbringing in Midwestern Suburbia, but the hustling and bustling markets and the gaudy classic architecture all felt very similar to me between the two cities.
The greatest distinction I saw lay in the suburbs, hitting the familiarity aspect quite soundly. Dublin had a lot more graffiti and litter than Pittsburgh and my home, but at the same time, it had a wealth of colors, from the doors to the abundance of flowers outside every home. The graffiti was a living artwork rather than just a blemish, and it merged with its more natural siblings to form an amazing picture on the canvas that was only slightly dampened by the litter problem. I do not wish to sound as if the more populous and popular locations were ugly or unappealing, they were certainly brilliant in their own rights, but it was in the alleys and twisting corridors of life that I thought I could begin to see what I was looking for.
There is one thing I can say as an absolute certainty from every location I have been to in my life. Whether it be the old road outside my home town, the lazy streets in the residential areas of Dublin, the boat in the middle of the sea late at night as we played cards, or downtown Pittsburgh as we sprint to where the bus picks us up:
Rain is beautiful.