Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Craic Was Mighty

The photos that correspond to this post can be seen here

Hey My Chillins,

Chris and I had a blast in Ireland, it was an amazing place! We spend a few days in Dublin and i can't say how much i love the Irish. Our Hostel (The Brewery Hostel) was so much fun and the people were so chill, i felt like a was at Western. So where did i leave off...?

So after a solid nights sleep (thank God for sleep!) we headed out to explore Dublin. We went to this old Church just down the street called St. Audoeons, an old church that i can't find any info on right now, but it was before 1000 a.d...i think. We then saw a cool little sticker on a power transformer, here is its description and tell me what you think it is (or movie it is from). It was a lamp with a heart in the middle of it and the letter I above the heart (insert Jeopardy music now). We then took the light rail down to the Busarus (Bus Station) and saw this awesome uber Catholic bookstore (Colin would be in heaven!) and continued on to Connolly Square. This place was hoppin' (actually not very much in comparison to the later on in Ireland). They have the Millennium Spire and some really cool shops to check out. We walked down the square over the River Liffey and to Trinity College.

Trinity College is an amazing campus filled with great architecture and history. It was originally a Protestant Seminary, but now is a full collge and Catholics make up 90% of the student body (big surprise in Ireland i am sure). We headed down the street to Temple Bar (a large cultural area lined with old brick buildings and tons of bars) and marveled at all the amazing places to get a good cold brew. I still had not had a Guiness yet. We checked out this castle area and just chilled for a little as a young man played the spanish guitar...he was really good! We meandered over to St. Patrick's Cathedral and caught the Choral Evening Prayer which was fantastic. Ireland has had some amazing Authors, like Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and Bram Stoker, i will have to get my read on when i get back home. On our way back to our hostel, we saw Christchurch Cathedral and i took a picture of it. I still hadn't had a Guinness yet.

We had a BBQ that night at the Hostel and just chilled with a bunch of people. There were Spaniards, Aussies, English, Irish, French, American, Swedish (yeah Mark Sherman! Another one besides you!) 12 of us in all for an evening pub crawl. We went down to Temple Bar and Chris and I were wondering if there really was a real Bar called Temple Bar. We soon found it and it was hoppin'. I have never seen so many people in a bar, as loud a music or as much Guinness flowing! I had the local brew (no not a Guinness, a Temple Brau) and had a blast!

The next day we set out for Galway, a 4 hour bus ride to the other side of the Island. We were feeling a little adventurous that day and since the Craic was still Mighty, we didn't book a hostel. After dropping our bags off at the overnight luggage hold we walked around and saw the ocean (Atlantic) and both had a "Brilliant" (think Guinness commercial...and no i still hadn't had one so stop asking me already! Are you trying to build the suspense or what?!) idea...lets go swimming. One problem, our swimsuits and towels and all that stuff was locked up for the night. Well once the Craic is Mighty (look it up now if you haven't already, i am going to be using it quite a bit) one doesn't just put a damper on it because of a little technicality of not having swim wear. So we walked on the wrong side of the street and ended up going to a place where we couldn't swim, but along the way back we saw what appears to be (insert anthropologists voice here) an ancient Galway sport...put the shopping cart in the canal. There were like 10 of them along the route, it was really odd (and i have been described as an odd person, so you know how much it takes to make something odd to and oddball like me...odd). We headed over to the Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas and i finally heard mas in English (Irish English i mean). We walked for like 2 or 3 miles and finally got to Salthill beach. We went down and stripped down into our drawls in broad daylight and went for a swim (very refreshing, look for the video post when i get back). Uh oh, time for a paragraph break...sorry.

So we walked around for the remaining hours of sunlight and went to the nightlife drag. This place was even more crazy b/c Galway is a college town. There was a dude there from Switzerland wearing a shiny red outfit, with a big pot-belly and angel wings (his bachelor party). We had a beer. No not a Guinness yet. So you remember in my rambling incoherent writings above to which i am going to get awarded not points and my God have mercy on my soul; when i said we didn't book a hostel. We thought to ourselves...selves, this is Ireland, the bars will be open until like 5 a.m. and we can just hang out there, milk our beers and catch some breakfast and the 11 a.m. bus back to Dublin. Nope. Bars close at 2. So we headed back over to the church and found a little nook and tried to sleep. 45 min. later we were freezing and hungry and really just big pansies. It is really hard to be homeless, i truly have a more profound respect for the struggles they face in their lives on a day to day basis. So we walked up and down the main drag like forever and we were passing this Hotel called Mayerek and i said, "Chris, lets try to get in." So we knocked on the front door at 5 a.m. and i told the the two gentlemen that answered the door that we were weary travelers from the US that had not booked a hostel for the night. Thank goodness for the pity of the Irish on us b/c they let us come in out of the cold and sit in front of their gas fireplace. This hotel was very upper class and since Chris and i were looking our dirty selves, i was surprised they let us in. They came over to us and asked us if we would like some coffee to which we humbly accepted and in a few minutes we had some hot and delicious coffee. A few minutes later they asked us if we wanted to have some nice warm out of the oven croissants and after a long debate (1 or 2 seconds in our heads) we had our croissants on their way with their buttery goodness. We stayed there a few hours and then caught our bus back to Dublin.

We were really wiped out after no sleep (again) and so we were hoping to catch a few z's on the bus. We were getting on the bus and i noticed a little holy card by the bus driver. I said, "Hey, nice ( i briefly forgot what it was, but recovered in time not to look like to big a dork) Divine Mercy Holy Card. To which the Bus driver responded, "I am glad you didn't call it a Sacred Heart Holy Card (As If! Haha, it was totally not the Sacre is fun to have such an amazing and crazy theme park in my makes the loneliness go away...awkward silence, blank stare). So we proceeded to our seats and settled in for the 4 hr. bus ride. Now on the previous trip, i had somebody sit next to me for 3 hrs of the trip, whilst Chris was all alone in his sprawled out bliss in his own seat. I will reveal a little bus trip for y'all now, pretend or actually be asleep, and you too can enjoy two seat comfort for long hauls. This time though, i was really asleep and don't remember much of the bus ride. Only one part really woke me up. Apparently there were these two kids (bro and sis) who were arguing and yelling at each other. Well the bus driver wasn't going to have any of that so he stopped the bus (oh evening prayer at the Mosques is starting, it is 7:35 p.m. on a Monday here and i can hear the call to prayer in my Hostel...Istanbul will come later so be patient which if you have read this far, i am sure you are) on the side of the road, got up (and so did i at this point) and said, "We will not be having any of that on the bus, people are trying to relax on the journey so be quiet please!" as he moved his finger back in forth (the Irish are tough!). We got to Heuston Terminal and got off the bus and Harry (our bus driver) got off after us and came up to us and asked me if i was Catholic to which i responded "Hardcore" (I need a shirt that says that for future trips...maybe not here in Istanbul though). He handed us a few Miraculous Medals on rope and said today is Our Ladies birthday, have these and God Bless. I love the Irish and Ireland!

Ok, take 5, you have been reading for a while. Smoke em' if you got em'

We had a few hours of daylight left so we decided to go do the Guinness Factory tour at St. James Gate. All i can say is amazing. Amazing process, amazing beer. We made our way to to The Gravity Café Bar and that is where it happened. Overlooking the great city of Dublin, i sank my lips into my first real Guinness. As my lips departed the glass with my mouth full of Guinness, it gave me a little kiss on my upper lip with its foamy goodness and i was ready to be assumed into heaven. My feet began to depart the Earth but i told the Lord that i still had much to do here on Earth so he let me stay a little while longer. Well with all good things, it had to come to an end and then start back up again later that night with a few more Guinness's down at the Oliver St. John Gogarty pub in Temple Bar. This place was packed and had great music and people from all over the world...including Pennsylvania. If you are into debauchery, life doesn't get any better than any night down in Temple Bar. We refrained from most of the debauchery, but did have a few beers (to which my cousin is partial to the Ciders and i can see why...mmmm good!). We didn't get much sleep that night (is this a vacation i am on?) so the pattern continues and we awoke to overcast skies (the weather had been clear and great every day). I felt at home. After a final farewell to our hostel hosts, we went to the airport and Chris and I parted ways; I going to Istanbul, Turkey and he is in Paris, France...I hope. So this is Ireland, it was amazing, super Craic and i would go back in a heartbeat. If you have are asleep b/c of this right now, good get a full nights rest for me. If not take two more reads and call me in 18 days (do not operate heavy machinery or drive for at least 8 hours of reading this.).

Fun Fact:
I was in Ireland for 64 hours and 49 minutes without having a Guinness, talk about willpower!

God Bless,

(James Bond Credits style)
Brett- played by Brett
Chis- played by Chris
Harry- played by Harry

Brett will return in "Full On" a journey through Istanbul (Kiwi & Aussie Style) in a little while.

Pray For Me!


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