So I went to Ireland. It probably seems like a spontaneous decision, but it wasn’t as spontaneous as all that. I knew that I needed to leave France by February 1, and my original option was to return to the states and do the whole “visa thing” all over again, which did not really get me as excited as you might think. So when I discovered two months ago that you can leave the Schengen region and come back after the expiration to be here legally for three months, I took advantage of that!
Part 1: The Luck of the Irish
Flying with RyanAir is cheap, but it’s a pain to get to the “Paris” airport (not really in Paris at all – you have to take a second one-hour-long train ride to get there) and they are notorious for not being flexible with baggage or getting there on time. So many betises were made this trip by me! Naturally I missed the 9:30 train to leave Orleans (literally ran up to it with my ticket as it started moving!!), so the next was at 11:30. I nearly cried, because it takes an hour to get to Paris and an hour from Paris to get to the airport in Beauvais – I had to be all checked in and everything by 3:10pm and if I was lucky and there was a train to Beauvais almost immediately when I got to Gare du Nord and if I was the luckiest person in the world, I would still only have 30 minutes to check in and all that, and I was afraid it might take longer! So blah blah blah when I got to Gare du Nord at 1pm, the train leaving at 1pm was late (and the next one was at 2pm which wasn’t really possible), and basically I made it literally less than a minute before it left LIKE A BOSS.
All went better than expected. 🙂
Okay, so at the airport every other person was redheaded. The irish accent is adorable. I wish I could have spent a lot longer than 2.5 days there!
So I met up with my friends Conor (middle) and Dave (left). We went out to Doyle’s, a classic kinda typically Irish pub where we had a couple pints of Guinness. I’m not a very good tourist in that most of the time this is the kind of thing I prefer to do – hang out with some brilliant lads and enjoy sharing our culture, ya know. Also, I look the most Irish of any of us three.
After that, Conor and I went to this hip indie bar called the Workman’s Club which is kinda well-known and I’ve heard of it! There was a room for dancing where they played hip indie music that I didn’t know! and an outdoor area with a bunch of heaters, and it was a really nice atmosphere. I met three French girls, it was so weird. Throughout the whole trip, I met maybe half a dozen French people – the lady at the tourism center (she was from Bretagne), three girls in the Guinness Storehouse, and these people at the Workman’s Club.
The following day was going to be my one full day in Dublin, so I really tried to hit the tourist spots as hard as possible. After eating burritos at this burrito bar called Boojum that were as good as Moe’s, Conor had to go to class so the city was mine to explore. I took a map from the tourist center, then took the advice my mom had given me and headed toward the Temple Bar where I had an Irish coffee. Only Irish coffee contains all essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat. The first bite of whiskey took me by surprise, because I didn’t know what an Irish coffee was before. I stayed at the Temple Bar for a bit and listened to the live music that they had going on there.
I wandered around, taking pictures of the Dublin Castle, the gorgeous churches, having a hot chocolate and a dessert at Starbuck’s (it had been a long, long time since I had been there), and then I made it to the Guinness Storehouse. It’s basically a tour of how they make Guinness and what makes it so special and the history and all that jazz. To be honest, I loved it from first taste. It really was unique – it went down smoothly, no bite or anything to it, and had a great taste. A lot better than the French beers I’ve had, to be honest. At the end of the self-guided tour (you go from the 1st floor all the way up to the 7th floor as it progresses) you arrive at the Gravity Bar overlooking the city where you get a “free” pint. It’s free because you paid to come in!
I came back to Conor’s place after that, we ate, and then met up with his friends and girlfriend and played poker for the rest of the night.
Part 3: Retour
Naturally my flight Friday morning was at 6am, and naturally neither of us heard my alarm at 4, and naturally I awoke at 5:20 – a fitting end to the journey, considering the beginning! I took a taxi instead of the bus to make sure I got there on time, and I did. Still, very stressful.
Arriving back at Beauvais around 9, it took about 30 minutes to get through the passport check area, and I cleared! Bonjour, la France! The train to Paris wasn’t until 2pm, but there was a bus to another little town where I could take the train almost immediately when I arrived, but it would take about an hour and a half on the bus. I met this nice young Irish couple trying to get to Paris too, but they didn’t speak any French, so I helped them out and we took the bus and train together – I feel like we really had some nice moments.
I’m so lucky to have gotten the chance to go to Ireland – I haven’t traveled much while I was here, and while it was a trip forced on me in a way, I am so glad I could take advantage of this chance. Next stop… Manchester, England in May!