After another delicious breakfast consistent of custard yogurt, a warm croissant, and a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, we had the morning free to explore the city of Dublin further. A group of us walked about a mile into downtown where we went to see if we could get into the Trinity Library. As always, the line was a mile long, so we decided to go to the Temple Bar area instead. Here I found a used book market, where I purchased a James Joyce book, a famous Irish novelist. I am hoping to read it on the long flight home (in less than a week!).
We walked around some more before deciding to head back to the college and rest. Then it was time for the games to begin! And by games, I mean the Gaelic Football Quarter-finals at Croke Park, as we were fortunate enough to get seats with great views of the field. The match was between Dublin and Roscommon. Hence, I put on the only blue shirt that I brought and got hype for the hometown team.
Knowing nothing about the game going into it was interesting, but I found it to be a fascinating game. I was also amazed by the physical capabilities of the players. The sport seems to encapsulate many different sports in one, including soccer, basketball, volleyball, and rugby.
Cúl after cúl the Dubs reigned victorious! The crowd of blue’s pride was contagious. It was so cool to actually see a live game after hearing about it during our tour a couple days ago. I really got a sense for what our guide was saying about the spirit of the fans and the respect of the players, who were sharing waters even during the game.
After being in Dublin a week now, I can honestly say that my perspective of the city and the country of Ireland itself has changed greatly. The people are nicer, the roads are more confusing, Irish is an actual language, the food is delicious, the music is inspiring, the sports culture is tremendous, there is both history and innovation, and the weather is unexpected. And I think trying to find these differences and experience them first-hand is what has made the trip so enjoyable. You can read about the culture all you want, but until you try and become a part of it, you will not understand how strong and unique it really is.
When asked what my favorite part of the trip has been so far, I had a hard time finding an answer. Whether it be walking down the streets through Temple Bar, the Docklands, or Grafton Street; or hiking up the side of the Cliffs of Moher; or exploring the seaside town of Howth; or shopping at various street markets; or eating the delicious food at every pub or restaurant; or taking company tours and applying business knowledge. I really cannot pick one moment over another. I highly recommended visiting Ireland at least once in your life and not only appreciating the famous tourist destinations but get to know the people here, who really welcome foreigners and try to build relationships wherever they can.