Today, Saturday March 9th, marks the first day of our spring break and my trip to Dublin, Amsterdam, and Barcelona. After a long day of traveling yesterday, today was my first day exploring Dublin, Ireland. Being of Irish decent it was amazing to be able to visit the country where my ancestors had come from. Much of my family back in the states has yet to visit Ireland, including my grandparents who in their years still haven’t gone. Being able to visit, what I like to call “the homeland,” meant a great deal to me, especially seeing how I am one of the few in my family who have visited.
After meeting up with Zach, Chryssie, and Hayley at the airport, we hopped on a bus and ventured towards the city in search of a way to get to our hotel. As the bus neared the city the openness of the vast fields quickly turned into stone buildings, perfectly identical apartment houses lining the sides of the streets, and monuments of famous Irish figures. The most prominent of these statues was the memorial of Daniel O’Connell, the most influential nationalistic figure during the 19th century. This statue stood at the entrance to O’Connell Street in downtown Dublin and stood nearly forty feet in height. Once I saw the statue it was almost as if I had an instant flash back to one of my classes I took back at Franklin Pierce with Professor Kelly on Irish history since the 1500’s. After taking this course and learning of Ireland’s fight for independence, it was truly remarkable to stand face to face with the memorial of the most prominent male figure of that time.
We walked up O’Connell Street and grabbed a bus in front of the post office that took us to Pheonix Park, the largest park in all of Europe, where we sort of hit a dead end. The hotel we were staying in was on the other side of the park and to walk there would have taken almost two hours from where we were. Therefore we decided to grab a taxi and split the fare when we got to the hotel. After finding the hotel, everyone got ready and our Saturday night in Dublin began.
The first stop was for food at a pub called Busker’s Bar in the Temple Bar district of the city. Known for its accumulation of bars, the Temple Bar district was named after its world renowned beer garden right in the middle of the district known as, Temple Bar. Luckily for us while we were eating, Ireland’s National rugby team had a match in Dublin against France in the RBS Six Nations tournament. This rugby tournament is held between England, France, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales every year. Rugby being invented and extremely popular in this area of Europe brought a high energy to the bar. Needless to say the bar was a huge collage of greens, whites, oranges, blues, and reds. Surprisingly, the amount of French supporters at the bar was nearly the same as the amount of Irish supporters. The Irish team had the game under wraps for most of the game, however the French team came back to tie it up in the final minutes and the game ended in a draw. When the time on the clock struck zero every Irish supporter went completely quite. On the other hand the French supporters began chanting their national anthem throughout the streets.
The rest of the night consisted of venturing around the Temple Bar area, checking out different bars and trying to experience the life in Dublin, especially during the RBS Six Nations. It seemed as if around every corner there was an ocean of green jerseys and with each jersey the person wearing it had a pint in their hands. Even though the team didn’t win the fans still celebrated as if they had won the whole thing. The French supporters seemed to be more rowdy then the Irish fans in some bars. Dressed in red kilts, white shirts, knee high white socks, a blue sash, and a blue beret they chanted in French all night. After having a few more pints of Guinness, as cliché as that is, we walked around a bit more near Trinity College, then headed back to the hotel.
Saturday March 9, 2013
The Nightlife of an Irish Rugger Fan