Well hey there everyone - I'm sorry that it's been a while since I've written anything on this blog. A lot has gone on, as you can imagine so I'm thinking that I'll break it up into a couple different posts. This one will cover our trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was an interesting trip, though not nearly what I wanted it to be. So what did we actually do? As I've written before, the Quinn School of Business puts on a number of great events and programs for us but this wasn't one of them. No, this trip was a sort of add-on trip for us from the Boston University program at Dublin City University. The few of us at UCD that went (6 of 11) were invited along on their special program as part of their Irish culture class.
I should have known this wasn't going to go well. Originally we were told that we'd be driven up in the coach with all of them and that there'd be a short presentation and then we'd be on our own for a few (3-4) hours to explore the city. Well, it ended up being a 1 hour presentation, followed by an hour lunch (tasty I must say), followed by 3 hours of bus touring seeing various paramilitary murals on the sides of houses or walls from back when there was such sectarian violence. Our guide was the same guy that gave the hour powerpoint on flags and their significance to the religious fighting.
Ok, so it wasn't a total bust but it definitely wasn't what I had been hoping for. I wanted to get to walk around downtown and see the memorials, I wanted to see the Giant's Causeway. I had such hopes for that sort of stuff and we really didn't get a chance to get off the coach unless it was to see a couple murals all in once place. Though, I do have to say that there was one stop where the locals came out to heckle us - including one little girl with blue hair. But let me tell you, I never thought I'd be bothered by something here in Ireland but the 10 year old with a bottle of beer drinking in the doorway of a block house really hit me weird. I get that it's a culture thing and that we're getting used to these new sort of cultural norms but come on! In a country where you can legally drink at 18, what're they starting at 10 for?
Finally we parted ways with our tour guide and a few of the students that had apparently planned to stay the night in the city and we were on our way back to Dublin. It felt like it had been a dream almost but that may have been the fact that I slept most of the way there (we had to be up at 6am... the earliest yet) and most of the way back (did I mention that we were up at 6am?). I wish that I could have spent more time in the country because I think there's more to see and experience there than just the reminders of how recently war had gripped this otherwise developed country.
After talking with Mom and Brian, I've decided that I'm going to grab a bus north next weekend to see around with or without anyone else. Obviously, I'll invite the rest but I'm not going to let them hold me back from seeing the country. I really want to see the Giant's Causeway and the northern coast up there. I've heard such amazing things. Next post will discuss some of the coursework from this week, an Irish house party, softball, and an article I wrote for the University College Dublin Observer. Thanks for reading!