From London to Dublin and back again!

What an absolutely crazy weekend. A friend and I went to Dublin to see the Ireland Winter Term class and had a ball! Admittedly, the whole thing started off a little rocky, though…

We cut out of class a bit early and booked it from Tube to bus to airport with time to spare. Unfortunately, due to the strange setup of London Luton, our inexperience flying, and the complete and utter lack of helpfulness from airport personnel, we did not “check-in” to our flight. I thought that, by checking in online, we had bypassed that step. Apparently, we did not. As a result, we made it completely through security and all the way to boarding our 2:20 flight, only to be told that we hadn’t checked in and couldn’t get on the plane.

OOPS.

Not only that, but we had to be escorted back through the airport to book another flight. Now, I’m generally a very polite, friendly person when it comes to people who are just doing their jobs and, as a result, people tend to be fairly helpful and nice. Not the case at the airport. Suffice it to say that the airport employees were cold and unhelpful enough for the ordeal to have been a bit more upsetting than it ought to have been, resulting in, well…essentially crying in front of the nice men flying to Belfast who were trying to see if we were alright.

Did I mention that it was also snowing, so we didn’t know if the next flight would get cancelled or not?

Anyway, we got it straightened out and I will never neglect checking in at an airport ever again. Our second flight was supposed to take off at 5:50 but didn’t leave until 8:30, and we got off the bus in Dublin around 11. I was incredibly pleased with myself for remembering the layout of the city and getting us from the bus stop to the hotel without a map AND without asking for directions.

I mean, I was really quite proud of myself.

Thankfully our friends had gone out instead of waiting for us; we had no way to communicate how late we were going to be and were really worried that they’d have had no fun on a Friday night on our account. But we got to the hotel and they weren’t there, so we headed to a nearby pub for a pint (my friend) and some whiskey (me). And girly drinks because they were on special.

Finally met up with my old flatmates in the hotel a little while later and had a great time hanging out. Really hadn’t seen them as much this past semester as I’d wanted, so it was nice to spend a few days with them. This year’s Ireland crew is great (though not as awesome as mine!) and I had a lot of fun not only with Kate and Hannah, but everyone else they hung out with. I also knew way more people on the trip than I thought I did, which was really entertaining. (Cue confused looks about how I suddenly appeared in their class.)

Steve, the prof from last year who’s leading this year’s trip, let us tag along to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and, even though I saw it last year, it was still pretty spectacular the second time around. Lit a prayer candle for all the military boys (been on my mind lately!) and just walked around looking at the stained glass for a while before going to get some super yummy pizza. Steve also took some of the visiting students out for dinner that night, so I officially ate better this weekend than the entire time I’ve been in London.

It was so great to be back in Ireland. The people were friendly, the pubs were great, drank in the one where James Joyce met Nora Barnacle, and shared some amazing nights with dear new and old friends. I’m SO unbelievably glad that Hannah and Kate went on this trip this year; now they totally get how great Ireland is! (I’m also not-so-secretly pleased that everyone thinks Galway is the greatest place ever.)

So now I think I’m going to curl up in my new wool sweater and take a quick nap before class – which will take place in the Victoria & Albert museum tonight, natch – and be happy where I am for the next (exactly) three months. And maybe, just maybe, in another year and a half I’ll be studying again in Galway.

Sláinte!

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