BIRTHDAY and PADDY's Day

So it is already half way through the semester and I can not believe it. The past 2 months have been a whirlwind of excitement, meeting new people and discovering more about myself than I thought possible. Time really does fly when your having fun. I am sad when I think about leaving but I try to focus on all the memories I've made and friends that I know I'll keep in contact with after this semester!

Unfortunately leading up to this week was not very exciting and I actually had a TON of school work to catch up on. However things began to take a better turn for my birthday week! I always turn my birthday into an entire week cause well, I can.

After finishing up my midterm essays, My friends visiting from Saint Mary's and I headed to the Guinness factory! I am not the biggest beer fan but I had enjoyed the samples. I did get a little tipsy while tasting the beers, though I could not finish my free pint. We went up to the skylight at the top of the factory, where at the Gravity bar you can see all of Dublin!

This past week was "rag week" on campus which is the unofficial, official party week before our not-so "study week". I promise I actually do study here mom and dad.

On the eve of my birthday I was ambushed by my friends at midnight with Bulmers + candles and some birthday shots. On my actual birthday (Wednesday) I enjoyed a nice lunch with friends at a local cafe "Twist". For the evenings festivities this was another feat. I may have thrown a semi- rager in my tiny apartment but it ended up being a blast. Might have got a warning from the RA's... but after plenty of games and craic, we headed out to Brady's for some good Irish fun and dancing. Even though most people don't buy you drinks here, this night only, I was the downfall of everyone's wallet.

The festivities did not stop there of course. On Thursday (when I finally pulled myself out of bed...) we rallied again for the big night at the Roost. I definitely tried to lie to the bouncers saying it was my birthday to get in for free, that didn't work. Birthday night round 2 was definitely a good time with all my international buds! I would probably have to say this was the most fun I've had on my birthday and all my old & new friends made that possible!

For the weekend, Maddy and I went to Howth which is a peninsula about an hour from Dublin that has beautiful hiking and a view of the sea! This coastal town has plenty of seafood places, farmers markets, and hiking around the hills. We spent a few hours walking along the coastline, on trails right overlooking the cliffs. It was very windy being by the ocean but we had amazing weather and actually got hot while hiking. I think I might have gotten tan as well, on my face.

Afterwards we walked around the town which is very quaint and dog-friendly. There was a farmers market that had fresh artisan breads, nuts, pastry's, handmade jewelry and pasta! It had great prices so we splurged on some focaccia bread, pasta and pesto. We finished off the afternoon at a seaside restaurant with classic seafood chowder and fish & chips, yum.

On the most anticipated holiday for anyone one in Ireland, I traveled to none other than Dublin. We arrived around 11 to begin the excitement of the parade, partying, and the crowds. There was so many foreign people that had traveled near and far to experience the celebration in Dublin. The parade was full of ornate floats and actors, along with multiple bands, some that had traveled from American Universities. The floats all represented an aspect of Ireland, such as its Viking history, sea life, and royal influence.

When the parade concluded I headed to a local restaurant, GoGartys, for traditional Irish stew. Then the activities continued as we walked in and out bars looking for the right vibe and crowd to chill with. After roaming the streets of Dublin, being pushed from all sides, we ended up at Fitzsimons in the Temple Bar District which was full of life and young people. There was so many people wanting to take pictures with us and it was so much fun all getting along no matter where any of us came from. We danced and sang to Irish music at the bar until we decided to find another pub to conquer. Unfortunately all the pubs became 21 and over (what is this, America?) probably because they wanted to keep the young wild crowd out. For the finale of the day, we headed back to good ol' Maynooth and ended at the Roost. The day was definitely a success and will be an experience I will always look back on! Had a little bit of a headache today... however it is all part of the adventure.

As of now I am on break and tomorrow I am flying out to Madrid, Spain for an extended weekend! I am so incredibly excited to see the country I've always dreamed about, speak some español, and have tapas and wine!

Happy Paddy's Day!

Sláinte,

Megan