Dublin Up: March 12, 2015

Over the past few weeks I have been lucky enough to explore not only parts of Ireland, but also an amazing part of Europe.

When I finalized studying abroad, there was one place on my list that I knew I had to go, Amsterdam. A few weekends ago I took a bus, plane and train, and finally got there. It did not disappoint.

We arrived at Amsterdam Central Station, which looks nothing like your average public transportation station, and immediately saw the beautiful city. Bikes, trams, historic buildings, and the bustle of many people were in front of us.

Although we were only there for the weekend, and it was a damp weekend, we did as much as we could. Amsterdam is an amazing city like none other. It is full of canals and small unique side streets; everywhere you look there is something new.

I was lucky enough to experience something I have always wanted, a visit to the Anne Frank House. I have had friends and family ask me about my experience and I’ve had trouble finding the right words to describe walking through the house, other than by saying it was a once in a lifetime experience. If you ever have the chance, I strongly encourage you to visit.

Amsterdam is also famously known for being the city of canals. We got to enjoy a canal cruise and were able to see the city from a different perspective. I was truly amazed by how many people biked. Even though it was rainy and cold, people would be dressed in their suits and everyday clothes, riding their bikes.

One of the final tourist spots we visited was the Heineken Experience. This was my first brewery encounter, and it will certainly not be my last.

Amsterdam is a place I will never forget, and during my last two months here, In Europe I hope I can visit again.

Before I had time for post-Amsterdam blues, my study abroad group was on our way to Dublin. A city I finally would be visiting for the first time since arriving abroad.

This may be surprising since Dublin is one of Ireland’s main attractions, but studying on the opposite coast has made it difficult.

We lucked out and we happened to have a beautiful weekend weather-wise. We enjoyed a three-hour walking tour of the city with an experienced local. I got to see the famous Trinity College and of course, the highlight of the trip, the Guinness Storehouse.

The Guinness Storehouse is no joke and totals seven stories high. The museum, which is situated in the middle of the factory, is only a small part of this huge production.

After going floor by floor and learning all about the history of Guinness I got to enjoy my very own pint in the Sky Lounge, an area with a 360 degree view of Dublin. Needless to say the trip was a great success.

Over this past weekend, the exploring continued as my study abroad group traveled to the small and popular town of Killarney.

Killarney is about two hours south of the University of Limerick, and is home to one of the most beautiful national parks.

The national park was our first stop. Home to the Muckross House, a mansion built in 1843. We arrived and were taken by horse carriage about a mile to the Torc waterfall, located at the base of the Torc Mountain.

This was a surprise to our entire group and was one of the most green and lushest places I have ever seen. Following the waterfall we took a tour of the Muckross House and then were on our way to Killarney center.

We only had about two hours to explore yet another historical town, so my friends and I found a nice local pub and enjoyed a pint and the best fish and chips I’ve ever had.

It’s been an amazing, crazy and life changing couple of weeks. But I think the craziest day yet will be this Tuesday, as it’s finally St. Patrick’s Day.

I will be traveling to Dublin again for the holiday, to enjoy the parade, drink green beer and celebrate. Happy early St. Patrick’s Day URI! Cheers!