Another week down in Dublin! Areas of the city are all starting to connect with each other in my mind, and I’m recognizing the names of streets. My time in the city center has become more relaxed without the stress of having to pull out google maps or check the bus app multiple times within each trip downtown.
As it turns out though, my newfound knowledge of Dublin did not help me when trying to get around Cork on Saturday. I had stopped there only for an hour during a Paddywagon tour, and at first impression Cork seemed like a replica of Dublin, just with less people and modern architecture. We were dropped off by the River Lee, which looked similar to the river Liffey in Dublin. I walked around for the hour, stepping into a book and cassette tape store as well as an arts and crafts store. While I thought I was circling around the main part of the city to end up back by my bus near the river Lee, I actually had walked a great deal in the wrong direction. Luckily I was able to meet back with my tour in time.
The main highlights of the tour were visiting the Rock and Cashel and then Blarney Castle. It was a beautiful and surprisingly sunny day, and exploring the open ruins of Cashel perched on top of a hill in Tipperary, soaking in the sun overlooking fields in the small town was very peaceful. I also got to kiss the Blarney Stone which has been something I’ve always wanted to do! I did not expect having to go up narrow spiral staircases in order to kiss the stone, but it did make the experience a little more thrilling. I also did not know that the Blarney castle had gardens surrounding it, I really enjoyed walking around and taking some time to stand by one of the small waterfalls on the property and relax. I haven’t felt like I’ve gained the gift of gab, as kissing the Blarney Stone promised, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s one of those traits that will develop gradually.
On Sunday, my roommate and I went to the Guinness Storehouse and learned about how the beer is made and some of the history behind its exportation. I’m not really the type of person who enjoys beer, but the storehouse was quite large and really made the displays interesting. By the end of the tour I had a new appreciation for Guinness—even if I still think it doesn’t taste great.
While walking around, this week, I also had the strange experience of running into a girl that I went to high school with on the streets of Dublin. She is also on a summer study abroad program with her school, Millersville University. We didn’t really talk in high school but we had a nice chat and might even meet up again in the coming weeks. Sometimes it surprises me how small the world can be.
In regards to my internship, things are still going well overall. However, there have been a few instances where I had finished a task, and then when I asked my supervisor what I should work on next, she didn’t have anything else for me to do, leaving me to find something to do on my own. As a new member of the team, sometimes that could be challenging since I don’t really know what else there is to do. I’ve been managing though, whether it be assisting in the shop or updating donor and volunteer files. This issue ties into one of the difficulties assimilating into Irish culture. I have found that the people either aren’t very direct with what they want from me, or they initiate a conversation by immediately asking what I think of certain areas of American politics. This is the opposite of what I have experienced at my other jobs; as my bosses have been very clear on what they expect me to do throughout the day, while asking little to no information on my personal opinions. Another aspect that I have had to adapt to is the weather. I am used to hot summers with not much rain. In Dublin, I am usually wearing long sleeves and always have a rain jacket on hand just in case.
However, I need to point out that it has been very easy to fit in here and I haven’t experienced culture shock. Dublin is a wonderful city, and even though I’ve had to get used to a few things here, they haven’t been serious. I’m really enjoying Dublin and I can’t wait to do more things in Ireland.