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So the beginning of the week of July 20th marks the second to last week of classes for the program, then we have exam week! (which is really only Tuesday and Wednesday because Monday, August 3rd is a bank holiday or something. The week was fairly relaxing and one of the least busy weeks we’ve had so far. On Monday we only had class, no evening programs, and I stayed in and went to bed fairly early. Tuesday was interesting because we had a morning filled with films titled ‘Ireland and the Cinema’ (how clever). We watched three Irish shorts (Six Shooters dir. by Martin McDonagh, Zulu 9 dir. by Alan Gilsenan, Yu Ming is Ainm Dom dir. by Daniel O’Hara, [My Name is Yu Ming in Irish]), and the full length film Garage dir. by Lenny Abrahamson. It was very interesting to compare them all and discuss. In the afternoon we went to the Dail Eireann (The Irish Parliament) for a tour and a meeting with Pat Rabbitte TD (a Minister in the Parliament). It was interesting talking to him because we were able to ask him questions relating to all of the politics and economic problems currently facing Ireland. Tuesday night was also relaxing, I ended up spending the evening reading Harry Potter and I actually finished it (!) meaning that I needed a new book to read for pleasure reading.

Wednesday was more classes, followed by a mini-surprise gathering for Allison’s 21st (champagne and socializing before we went to the theatre). In the evening we had a performance of The Rivals to attend at the Abbey Theatre. It was supposed to be quite hillarious, but I guess 18th century plays just aren’t my thing (or maybe I just don’t like Sheridan). Afterwards we stopped at Mickey D’s to get some quick dinner before going out for drinks to celebrate Allison’s birthday. We went over to Fitzgerald’s after, I bought Allison her first drink of the night, and it was already around 11 so Tessa and I decided to catch the 11:30 bus home for the night, since buses only run until 11:30 (how ridiculous Dublin…I mean really…). At literature on Thursday we had a great discussion with our professor about Samuel Beckett and Waiting for Godot, we watched some film versions of two of his plays, it was an engaging class. For the film class, Stashu showed Michael Collins, so I stayed to watch that as well, which I can’t believe I’ve never seen before. Thursday we had to hit the hay early because we had to wake up at 5 am to catch a bus into town, to catch a train at 7 am to Killarney. Luck for us, the bus never came, and I didn’t get a bus until 6:20 (when I was trying to catch one at 5:50), so I missed the 7 o’clock bus by 15 minutes and had to wait until 9. Kind of lame.

Killarney was fabulous when I got there. It started out a bit rainy, but after I checked into my hostel (The Sugan Hostel), I wandered around town a bit to figure out where everything was. Eventually I headed down a walking path and ended up in the National Park (I hadn’t realized it was so close!) so I walked around there a bit and sat down to journal a while. When it started to cool off again and looked like rain, I walked back into town and decided to see a movie for the evening. I went and saw Bruno, which was hillarious and well worth it. Grabbed dinner afterwards, spent the rest of the evening reading some of the history stuff in my travel guide, and hit the hay early. I woke up at 7 am (without an alarm) and decided to get breakfast and get ready to head out for the day. I rented my bike at 8:30 and headed out for the day. I went to Ross Castle first, then around the Ross Mining Trail (apparently they used to do copper mining in those parts). After that I decided to head over to Muckross House and Gardens, stopping first at the Muckross Abbey, then after the house I ended up walking around to the Torc Waterfall, and eventually biked around the Muckross Peninsula all the way back around in a circle to the house and gardens. I was exhausted, and arrived back to the hostel with my bike at 2:30 pm. I treated myself to some sorbet and walked around a bit before heading to the train station to catch the 3:50 train home. (It’s a 3 1/2 hour train ride…). I finally got back to Siobhan’s at 8:30 to pasta and garlic bread, and relaxation and TV.

Today, Tessa and I wandered around Dublin playing tourist with our cameras, and picking up our leisure reading and trinkets from Carroll’s (the super store filled with souvenirs). I bought the 6th Harry Potter….again. But I rationalized it by decided it was a fun souvenir since it’s the European version and the 6th one IS my favorite one. And since I just finished the 5th one I need to keep reading them. So hopefully it will tide me over until I get home on August 13th! Which is coming up quick. Dinner will be soon so I should wrap up. This week we have class as usual, a guest seminar on the new migration in Ireland, and a screening and discussion of the film Once (one of my personal favorite films). This weekend we’re planning to get in our last touristy things; a tour of Jameson Distillery and Guiness Storehouse, a tour of Glasnevin cemetary and a stop at the Gravedigger’s pub. Possibly some other tours, but also, studying for or exams next week! The program will be over before we know it….

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