University of Haifa International School Student Blog
Hey everybody! I am currently writing from my British Airways flight back to Tel Aviv from London. This past Wednesday through Monday, I had the privilege of visiting my friend KT in Dublin, Ireland. The entire trip was really awesome and went off without a hitch. KT is currently studying Art History at Trinity College in Dublin. Having never been to Ireland before (though I boast about my Irish heritage), I was really excited to visit. On the first day, we walked around Dublin’s vibrant downtown and I got all my souvenir shopping out of the way (Guinness memorabilia for all!). Dublin’s streets are teeming with charming old buildings, picturesque pubs, and unique vintage shops. As usual, I spent more money shopping than I intended, but have yet to regret any of my purchases (especially the brightly multicolored 80s Adidas vintage jacket I found).
The next day, we took a trip to the scenic fishing village of Howth and did some exploring. Howth was beautiful and although I’m not a big seafood person myself, it was interesting visiting the fish market shops and (of course) getting an order of fish and chips (by the way – chips are French fries, not potato chips). The best part of Howth was the short hike we ventured on along the coastal cliffs. The landscape had a sort of grey stark beauty—exactly as you would expect of the Irish countryside. The day after that, we visited a hip local flea market, which, as my luck would have it, was specifically selling sci-fi themed wares that day. My inner comic book nerd rejoiced and I bought several promising stories. The flea market was located in an area where you could get pizza and drinks on a restaurant double decker bus disguised as a restaurant. After shopping, we climbed aboard and enjoyed a delicious pizza snack in the bus’s bohemian interior.
Sunday was most certainly the most exciting day of my trip. KT and I made plans to visit Phoenix Park, this gigantic park in the city of Dublin. Though we had heard you could sometimes see deer in the park, we never imagined we would be as lucky as we were. Upon arriving at the park, we rented bikes (I hadn’t ridden a bike in a fairly long time so it took some getting used to). The haphazard directions towards where the deer might be were confusing at first, but eventually we happened upon a huge field with literally hundreds of deer. There appeared to be two species: a dark brown one and a tan with white spots one. I kept trying to ask people what kind of deer they were, but everyone just laughed in response (I think they were operating under the assumption that there’s only one kind of deer!). Since the deer in the park had no natural predators and were used to people, they were extremely friendly and not timid at all. Though we probably weren’t supposed to feed them, everyone around us had brought carrots and crackers. Some guys were nice enough to donate us some of their crackers, and we both succeeded in getting deer to eat right out of our hands. It was an amazing experience and something I never would have expected out of my trip. Furthermore, it was mating season, so we got to see fawns, males fighting, and several deer couples in the throws of love (haha).
This morning, before I departed for the airport, I stopped by Trinity College to see the campus and visit their exhibition on the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is a beautiful manuscript of the first books of the New Testament, complete with elaborate drawings and artwork. Amazingly enough, the book has survived since the 7th century—even though it was stolen at one point! As a Religious Studies major, I love getting a little taste of the local religious history and culture. Besides all our action-packed excursions, KT and I also got to discuss and compare our abroad experiences. I talked to her a lot about Israel, and, in turn, she taught me some Irish history. I am super grateful I had the opportunity to visit Ireland and feel like I learned a lot from my experience. Furthermore, I got to eat some foods (Mexican and Chinese) I’d been missing in Israel and see the festive decorations for Christmas in Dublin and the London Heathrow airport. Right now, though, I am looking forward to being back sleeping my bed in the dorm!
Atlanta, GA, USA