Once in Dublin (and other adventures)

One thing I’ve always appreciated about Dartmouth is how supportive my friends and classmates are of each other’s passions. In high school, I totally nerded out over a lot of things, but it wasn’t until I came to Dartmouth that I actually opened up about my passions, and as a result I found myself gaining respect and support from many of the people around me. Last weekend was no exception to that, as I found myself in Dublin, Ireland, visiting my friend Kelsey, who’s on the English FSP there this term. I don’t know very much about Ireland, except that as a freckled redhead, a lot of people think I’m from there, which I am not.

However, one of my favorite movie-musicals of all time, Once, takes place in and around Dublin, and as the music-loving nerd that I am, I got really, really excited about visiting all of the sites from the movie. And despite the fact that Kelsey has never actually seen Once, she still got pretty excited about visiting all of the places with me. On my first day there, we trekked out to the eastern coast of Ireland, south of Dublin, to visit Killiney Hill, the site of what I think is one of the most beautiful scenes in the movie. The hill was easy to hike and had amazing views from the top. It was straight out of a scene from a movie. Literally.

The top’s a screenshot from the movie, and the bottom’s the picture I took from the top of the hill.

And in case that wasn’t enough movie-inspired traveling, I also spent way too much time wandering around on Grafton Street and in St. Stephen’s Green, two other places that are featured prominently in the film. I think my favorite place from the movie, though, was probably the music shop, Walton’s. In the movie, the characters go to the shop and sit there and play their own songs, so I decided it would be awesome to do the same thing, and spent a few hours before my flight back to Edinburgh jamming out on the guitars and pianos. It was awesome. I also bought an Irish whistle from the shop as a souvenir and have been teaching myself how to play it, which I’m sure my flatmates really appreciate…

Flash forward a week later, and now I’m on a 10-hour bus ride to London. I also managed to almost miss my 6:45 am bus when I completely slept through my alarm – major thanks to my friend Andrew who called me at least five times until the ringing woke me up. I somehow managed to sprint what Google Maps told me was a 27-minute walk in 15 minutes to make the bus on time, and then celebrated on the bus by eating a mango that I had found in my laundry bag the night before. It was great. It was also incredible to finally explore London and not just fly through the airport, as I’d done two times before. London decided to bestow on us some of the most beautiful, sunshine-y weather for our first day there, which made for some great views from the London Eye as well as a gorgeous walk in St. James’s Park, where I met a pelican! I petted it, which was easily a highlight of the entire trip.

My new best friend, the pelican!

In true London fashion, though, it poured on our second day, which actually worked out really well as we’d done the majority of sightseeing the day before. So, we decided to hit up some of London’s famous and free museums, and managed to explore the V&A, the Science Museum, and the Natural History Museum. Between museums, we also managed a walk through Hyde Park, which was a little rainy, but lovely just the same. And to top off a fantastic weekend, I met up with Dartmouth Admissions officer Carrie Rosenblum ’10 for dinner and drinks in Covent Garden, right in the center of the city!

With midterms coming up, this weekend hasn’t brought any far-flung adventures, but I did go to the other coast of Scotland yesterday to see the Atlantic from the other side and also pick up a pair of super-cheap hockey skates so I can take full advantage of the rink here in Edinburgh. I also just found out that the city runs a “Winter Wonderland” where they set up an outdoor rink right below the castle in a huge garden, so that’s something to look forward to! And now, I’ve got to get back to essay-writing, because alas, being in Europe does not preclude me from actually having to do schoolwork.

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