Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jameson Distillery

Well, while I haven't been able to write for a while, that's because I've been doing all homework!
However, be prepared for the next blog: because it includes my 21st Birthday and the Waterford Factory!!!!!
that's right, 5 days until turn the legal age to drink in the US. Of course, my study abroad director decided to have the final dinner that night, which kind of sucks; however, we are going to a karaoke bar. So, I am pretty pumped about that!

Last Saturday, Janelle, Alex, and I went to the Jameson Factory. And while it should have taken a total of fifteen minutes to walk there, it took a god hour because we got horribly lost. But it was well worth it!

[Pretty chandelier over the bar]
[The balcony.]
[Irish Coffee: uh. maze. ing.]
[Alex and I with our drinks. I was tired. Forgive my appearance.]
[John Jameson, himself.]
[This cat used to kill all the mice that went into the distillery. It's really stuffed...]
[A man carrying sacks of barley. Don't worry, he's not stuffed.]
[A man sifting through the barley.]
[One of the original washbacks. If you rub this, you get five years of good luck. I rubbed it. Here's to hoping.]
[A washback.]
[The whiskey goes through three sifting machines to get the water out so it's a good-enough alcohol level.]
[Our guide (who was on his sixth tour of the day and hilariously delirious) showing us the stages the whiskey matures.]

[Alex got to do whiskey tasting at the end: comparing scotch to Jameson to Jim Beam.]
Last night I made my flatmates REAl Mexican food (relatively: Ireland has a very small supply of actually Mexican food, so there were some substitutions...), with Chicken Enchiladas, Spanish Rice, and Chips and Guac. It was such a great hit! I adore my flatmates! I got so lucky with them! Oh, and Sean bought ice cream for dessert and that was actually my favorite part. I'm such a chocoholic, it's distgusting!

On Saturday, a group of us is taking a three hour bus-ride to the Waterford Chrystal factory and I couldn't be more excited! (Thank you, Schumann, for the tip!) Then, Monday is two of my friends going away party. Tuesday is MY BIRHDAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!
Then it's essays, essays, essays, essays. Oh, and some traveling by myself that I'm excited for.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Northern Ireland


The group headed to Belfast and after a two and a half hour drive you couldn't really tell you had exited The Republic of unless you saw that the km had turned to miles and the white line that separates the car from the road turned to a dotted yellow.
Our director/teacher/study-abroad father gave us a rather long walking tour of the City where we headed up Falls Road and Shankill Road. I'm pretty sure the protestants live on the former and the Catholics live on the latter. Don't quote me on that, though.
The following are the plethora of Memorial Sites and Murals that were displayed about the city. I wasn't too big a fan of the city; however, we were in the ghetto part and not in the city centre. But there was glass everywhere you walked so I found it to be quite sketch.

[Bobby was the first out of ten to die while on a hunger strike, only asking to be treated as a common prisoner and not a hardened criminal. He was arrested for being a member of the IRA.]
[Memorial of those who died on Falls Road. One of them they figure couldn't have been more than 16 years of age.]
[This is the International Wall.]
[Finally, something uplifting...]
[There were seriously murals on ever single blank side of the building.]
[I ask myself this every day.]
[That green thing is the peace line separating the two beliefs.]
[There are Cherry Blossoms everywhere right now. It's so beautiful.]
We then drove to the city of Derry and after our very filling 3-course meal, a few of us took a walk around this city's peace wall. I actually really loved Derry. It reminded me of the Galway of Northern Ireland, being so quaint.
[Our hotel we stayed at all three nights. It was lovely.]
[There were quite a few filled-cannons throughout the wall.]
[Little Ben, as I call the building. But really it's some governmental building.]


We visited the Ulster American Fold Park at Omagh, which was an outside museum with costumed demonstrators going about their very day lives doing traditional tasks. It was so cool.
And, the gift shop had Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Guess what the entire group stalked up on?
[The cottier and family's house. These are the guys that lived on the land without really having any means to make money since their plot was so small.]
[The tiny little fireplace they used to make their potatoes.]
[The bigger the dung pile you had, the richer you were. Weird.]
[The Blacksmith's House.]
[The Blacksmith making something for us.]
[The Schoolhouse.]
[The teacher: who in those days would actually have been a man.]
[The farmer's house: he rented the land from the landlord and in turn gave some of his land to a cottier.]
[The Landlords House.]
[Old-town Ireland.]
[The Printer.]
[This is the ship we took to "get to America." Their conditions sucked. The sailor was quite cute and he said I sent his heart a-flutter when he saw me. But only because I have red hair and that's bad luck on the ship. What a surprise, my hair color always means I'm bad luck or a witch.]
[This is the carriage that was used in "Far and Away" with Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise! It might have been my favorite part... I'm such an American.]
["The New World."]

We then took a walking tour of the Civil Rights March that took place on January 30, 1972. Also known as Bloody Sunday. 13 dead. 15 wounded.
[A sign letting us know internment is still in effect by the British.]
[A mural of men carrying a wounded 17-year-old, who later died, while a priest carries a white surrender hanky covered in the boys' blood.]
[Free Derry.]

[These are the bullet holes from Bloody Sunday. You can stick three fingers into them.]
To make the day even more depressing, we went to the Free Derry Museum, where we found a letter at the very end that was from a British soldier to the family whose son he had shot. I won't say some of the words that were said, but it went something like their son was a dirty bastard who deserved to die. I personally hope he got his come-upons.
Then we met with a man that was there the day of Bloody Sunday. His brother died from a gunshot after he had talked their mother into letting his brother go. Even worse, their mom followed the younger son and took refuge in her sisters flat while the shots were being fired. She would find out later that the man that shot her son was below the window she was looking out to find her son.
It was depressing.


We departed for Carrick-a-Rede: The Bridge.
[That's the Bridge.]
[That's me crossing the Bridge.]
[The views were breathtaking, though.]
[The Group minus one.]
Then we went to the Giant's Causeway: one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
[The trek to the Giant's Causeway.]
[We arrived!]
[Me a top a rock.]
[There are 40,000 interlocking basalt columns (almost like stepping stones) that formed when a volcano erupted over 60 million years ago.]
[We then had the rest of the day of to do some shopping around the city of Derry. I bought new tennis shoes and hair products because everything is literally half the price in Northern Ireland. The taxes are 20% less up there than they are in Republic of. I'm a little jealous. So, with that, we decided to stalk up on some alcohol for the rest of the trip. And I just had to show this picture because I was so happy that I found Yellowtail wine. 2 bottles for only 10 pounds!]

Word of the Blog:
Hoover (verb, noun): [to] vacuum