Dorothy, I think we are in Kansas.

I think Toto already was swept up by the powerful winds of the Irish for his wagging tail and saddened barks are no where to be found. I find my 5’11” frame veering from a straight line and occasionally stumbling into a fellow friend walking with me to and from campus. Sure it rains, every day, but the wind sure is an epic cultural shock as well. When crossing the waving Shannon River beneath the bridge we walk on, our voices trail off with the booming air causing non-convertible savvy hair. I’m making do though.

The cold was a downer in the beginning of my travels, however with pain comes beauty. Ireland didn’t coin itself as the ‘Emerald Isle’ for a mountain of literal gems; in fact the gem of this beautiful country isn’t something you can really buy. Here is a preview of Saturday’s epic travels.

The breathtaking Cliffs of Moher standing over 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.

The breathtaking Cliffs of Moher standing over 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.

Though this day trip certainly was calling my name, Thursday marked another eventful visit to the city centre in Limerick. Hoping to fix my locked cell phone with the worst network available in Europe, Tesco, Sofia[my fashionista Italian roommate], Vicky[my hilarious Greek roommate] and Yves[the dapper Swiss man] all traveled together on the 304 bus. Public transportation truly is fantastic here, simple to use to and from the University and only 1.80 euro each way.

[pic of my hat]

After purchasing the cap to heat my frozen head, we ventured to Dunnes, my new favorite grocery store combining clothing, food, and cosmetics into one conglomeration. For only 25 euro[I’m sounding like such an American with these noted prices], I bought a pair of Dr. Marten’s rip off boots which not only were comfortable, but replicate the expensive brand quite nicely. Especially since this was the day my right knee began hurting[I’m currently elevating my leg on two pillows on top of a bag of frozen peas], new shoes were in order.

Sofia had to venture out of the city before Vicky, Yves, and I for a class, so we decided to test the local coffee shop I was so enamored by every time our bus would pass its location. Arabica Coffee Company is a bit cramped and a tad overpriced, but in general, it was cozy for our tired feet.

Yves's cappuccino.

Yves’s cappuccino.

Always ready for a photo opp.

Always ready for a photo opp.

Of course when we arrived back on campus, I would discover that I had missed the lecture for my Irish Music + Dance class which actually was:

A recital-lecture by Mícheál Ó Súilleabbháin on the first published collection of Irish Music – Neal’s A Collection of the Most Celebrated Irish Tunes (Dublin 1724)
 Only one copy of this book survived – among the papers of the 18th/19th century collector Edward Bunting in Queen’s University Belfast. Older than any surviving manuscript collection, A Collection of the Most Celebrated Irish Tunes Proper for the Violin, German Flute or Hautboy was published in 1724 by John and William Neal in Christ Church Yard in Dublin. Containing the earliest versions of tunes now familiar through the revival of Irish traditional music over the past fifty years – such as Tabhair Dom Do Lámh/Give Me Your Hand, and Molly St. George Mícheál Ó Súilleabbháin uses his knowledge of Irishsean-nós (‘old style’) oral tradition to bring these tunes alive within the Baroque context of the collection.
Bummed, without a phone to communicate, my lost puppy senses triggered sending a swift wave of fear through me…then I remembered I had Wi-Fi. Phewww! To finalize the day, we finally convinced several of our friends from the Kilmurry Village across campus to experience the festivities Robin 59 has to offer.

Yves being a loner before whipping out his secret weapon.

Yves being a loner before whipping out his secret weapon.

Consisting of Swiss cards, ‘american’ chocolate chip cookies, and expected laughter, I instantly forgot about my worries and breathed a sigh of social relief. Little did I know TGIF was around the corner to heighten my already memorable weekend.

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