Last weekend my parents and I flew from Dublin to Barcelona for the weekend.  Barca is very much like Dublin in that there are endless tourist attractions.  Once Lydia (my mother) got her hands on the hop on-hop off tourist bus map, our weekend was swamped with visits to parks, cathedrals, and other tourist traps to secure trinkets for the loved ones back home.

We were happy to find warmer weather but sad to discover a few unfortunate things.  In Barcelona everyone dresses better than you, their soccer team is better than yours, and NOTHING is open on Sundays (my designated shopping day).

Barcelona Index

The Good

  • People are prettier in Barcelona. period. +50
  • Numerous opportunities to torture Barca natives with my broken Spanish. +75
  • The beach.  Even though it was too chilly to swim. +100
  • Spotted a fair amount of boys holding hands. yay gay love! +80
  • There is an overbearing amount of bread in this city, which makes me respect their prettiness even more.+ 200
  • The breakfast in our hotel was so good. Much better than any Irish breakfast. +50
  • Got a chance to meet up with the Dublin girls for a night out at the clubs by the beach. Spanish boys really like to dance in groups. +150

The Bad

  • There are no redheads in Barca. – 25
  • Really strong obsession with religion (didn’t think it could get much worse than Ireland). – 75

Total 605

Ever noticed Sangria tastes just like church wine?

Barcelona photos

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Breaking News: college students drink more while studying abroad, common sense suggests

New study proves what every hot blooded American college student already knew: in college, anything is an excuse to drink.  The bigger the excuse, the greater the drinking.  Here in Europe, there are just that many more reasons to drink than there are in the states. Thanks to this new study, the insane amounts of drinking overseas is not only verifiable by deductive reasoning but scientific evidence as well.  Now parents back home can sleep better with the knowledge of their children’s bad habits instead of just second-guessing. Thanks, science! The results are earth shattering:

Students under 21 drank less than their older peers before traveling, but once abroad they increased their drinking more — by about 170%.

I hope these aren’t the same experts they have searching for the cure for cancer.

Study: College Students Drink More While Studying Abroad [TIME]
Semester Abroad Spent Drinking with other American Students [The Onion]
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can’t wait for the trip to Belfast

NYMag: Belfast City Council member Lorraine Mallon (in the tomato suit, above) was awarded £24,021.75 in damages after the city’s former mayor Jim Rodgers botched an attempt to leap over her during a photo shoot to promote a gourmet food fair, accidentally kneeing her in the back of the head and causing her to suffer a slipped disc. Rodgers told the Scotsman it all would have been fine had the grass not been wet. “I’m very fit and look after myself,” he said. “But it was just one of those things.”



I’m guessing Ms. Mallon is still happy to have been a part of this magical moment.

It’s All Fun and Games Until the Lady in the Vegetable Outfit Gets Hurt [NYMag]
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Keyboard Confusion

Look down at your keyboard. Notice how the ‘@’ sign shares a key with the number 2 at the top left of the keyboard. Well, on the Irish keyboard, the @ sign shares a key with the apostrophe ( ‘ ).

This Friday I visited the library at our study abroad school.  All I wanted to do was sign into my e-mail to print out a paper from one of the school computers.  It took me TEN MINUTES to find the @ sign.  Ten minutes of my life I will never get back.  I couldn’t ask a librarian for help, I was way to embarrassed by my inadequacy.  I ended up Googling ‘Irish keyboard’ to figure it out.

If you look at the layouts of different keyboards, you’ll notice they tend to follow certain patterns, and are more alike than they are different.  Still, a new keyboard layout can pose certain issues to anyone unfamiliar with it.  I’m not sure if it’s Bill Gates or Steve Jobs I have to blame thank for this:

US Keyboard

Irish Keyboard

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The trek from hell

The trek from hell (before the rain)

There are no sane people in Galway.  None.  They like to fight, and yell, and run up mountains.  Needless to say, this weekend’s trip was a little much for us small town Dublin kids.  Our bus driver, a Galway native, took us on what he calls ‘a small hike’ up some endlessly rocky mountains.  We got caught in a hailstorm.  I had to cover my entire face, leaving only a small hole to look through so I wouldn’t tumble down the mountains.  As the rain pierced my eyeball I remember thinking, ‘this is exactly what I had in mind when I signed up to go abroad in Ireland’.  It was perfect.

Galway Index

The Good

  • Number one redeeming quality of Galway: The sheep.  I do love sheep. +100!
  • More redheads. +10
  • 2 fights in one weekend, one even included a man foaming at the mouth. +40
  • There is a Papa John’s. + 300
  • We stayed in a banging hotel! Well, banging in comparison to Blackhall place in Dublin. +20
  • Emily slept on the bathroom floor, instead of her bed, because of my obnoxious snores. +35

The Bad

  • The boys in Dublin are much cuter and better educated than in Galway. – 15
  • But the girls in Galway are hotter.  Not liking the competition. – 20
  • Galway is home to the Claddagh ring. Those annoying traditional Irish rings girls in the states love to wear. – 30
  • Emily sleeping on the bathroom floor, instead of her bed, because of my awful snoring. – 20

Total 430
We’ll have to see how Galway stacks up against the rest of our outings.

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Oh, art.

This week in class we discovered that we have no idea what art is.  Our idea of art is wrong, and we will never fully grasp the true span of it’s meaning.  My Contemporary Drama teacher at DBS introduced us to playwright’s like the Irish native, Samuel Beckett and the German poet, Bertolt Brecht.  He also showed us this video of a scene from Brecht’s play Breath (1969).  Brecht is known for his short plays, but this one is extremely short.  From Brecht’s detailed instructions in the script, it is estimated to be about 25 seconds long.

According to our professor, this is art.  He classifies it as art with humor, saying

“humor is found in the darkness of the human existence”

I understand Ireland has made a disproportionately large contribution to world literature.  From greats in poetry like James Joyce and Ezra Pound to authorities of fiction such as Jonathan Swift,  and theatrical virtuosos like William Butler Yeats.  Irish literature is incomparable.

But I challenge you to watch this video without either squinting in confusion at the purpose of this play or laughing hysterically at the idea that this could be considered “art.”

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I can now die happy.

I just want to let everyone know, my life is now complete.  This weekend I was chosen by two discerning tweenage girls to…wait for it… buy them alcohol! I was elated.  Never ever have I had the opportunity to do such a favor for someone.

This is sort of who they looked like.

These two girls, obviously no older than 15, were ready for a Saturday night out on the town with their neon tights and high ponytails.  And they had just given me the chance to make their night! But I had to say no.  Who knows Ireland’s repercussions if I were to be caught providing alcohol to a minor? If only my two fellow underage drinkers knew that I too can’t legally buy alcohol in my home country.  I too have felt their pain.

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