In Dublin, Scarlett, Esther and I stayed in the Hazelwood Student Apartment for 5 weeks. The security is arrogant, indifferent to our request, and very impatient. The internet connection was poor in the first week, and I had to solve it all by myself. The kitchen is well-equipped. We have plenty of cooking utensils to use. Unlike its description on its website, which states 10-minute walk to DCU, it’s about 30-minute walk to DCU. Since we three shared a flat, it’s homelike and cozy to us. We were disturbed by the noise made by the neighboring flats a few times, but it was bearable. There is a fitness center across the street, and bus stops are nearby. Within 5 to 10 minute walk, we can get to Aldi, Spars, McDonald, Costa and the pharmacy. However, it’s quite far from the city center, and it takes time and costs a lot to take a bus there.
Last Sunday we woke up at 4:30 in the morning to start out our trip to Northern Ireland. We stopped by a small fishing villege called Larne, then we went to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Giant Causeway and Dunluce Castle. It is a pity that we did not have enough time to enter the castle on the cliff, since it looked so beautiful from afar. Belfast is our last stop. It’s probably because of the parade on St. Patrick’s Day, which was a week ago, the city was extremely quiet and gloomy. Hardly could we see people walking or talking on the streets. It appeared to be a city of ZOMBIES to me.
Our courses are in general very well-organized and stimulating. There are many interesting activities and discussions going on everyday. So far, I enjoy the classes with Kriz on the lawn most. I really enjoyed the fresh air, beautiful sunshine, green grass, and the company of my classmates. I think this is a wonderful experience of learning and exchanging ideas. This will defintely be one of the most unforgettable pictures in my life.
This weekend, we went to the Writers’ museum and National gallery. By listening to the audio guide, I heard the introductions of some famous Irish writers, including Bram Stoker ( Dracula ), Jonathan Swift ( Gulliver’s travels ), Oscar Wilde ( Happy Prince, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The importance of being earnest ), George Bernard Shaw ( My Fair Lady ), William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw ( My Fair Lady ), and James Joyce ( Dubliner, Ulysses ) and Samuel Beckett. I saw the death mask of Patrick Kavanagh and the special telephone of Samuel Beckett. Our second destination is the National gallery, in which we were introduced some famous paintings. I am particularly impressed by a work called “The artist’s studio.” In the painting, the painter portrayed his second wife, Hazel, who was praised to be the most beautiful woman in the mid-west. During the walking tour, we were told the history of GPO, General Post Office, where the Easter Rising took place in 1916. We can still see many bullet holes on the walls of the building now. On the Moore St., we saw a scribed board on the wall, on it is a farewell letter written by the very first leader of the Easter Rising that died in action, O’Rahilly. He wrote down his final words to his beloved wife, Nancy, and sacrificed his life for the establishment of the Irish Republic.
The half-day trip to Glasnevin Cemetery is a very special experience. In Taiwan we seldom visit a cemetery unless on Tomb Sweeping Day. I was stunned by the fact that there are more dead people buried there than those who are alive in Dublin. While hearing the stories of those liberators, I seemed to enter a time capsule. Here, the boundary of life and dead is simply time.
After the summer course, Scarlett and I will go on a 5-day trip. We have arranged the lodging on-line. We are looking forward to a laid back trip, so we tried to make the schedule less tight. We will first go to Cork on Aug. 10th, and then we will go t0 Killarney and stay for three nights. We will spent two days in the national park, and another day to Dingle. We will probably join the local tour in order to ease our trip a little bit. On Aug. 14th, we will head back to Dublin, stay for another night, and fly back to Taiwan on Aug. 15th. Hope we can have a great time.
This is the fourth date of my stay in Ireland. I haven’t overcome my jet lag yet. I am dizzy and probably suffer from heat stroke because of the rare heat. It’s hard to imagine how welcoming the sunshine is here, almost 20 hours a day. I got tanned, oops. We shop, cook, commute and take classes every day. It’s not an easy task to be a student again. Hopefully I’ll get used to the life and enjoy it as soon as possible.
By the way, Cathy said that learning takes place when you are outside your comfort zone. Can’t agree with it more.