Yes, I attended a Penn State Game in Dublin. If it sounds odd, that's because it is. When I found out my alma mater was playing in Dublin, I screamed with excitement. One, because I've been away from America for two years and seeing a game would make me feel like I was home again, and Two, because Dublin. I promptly booked tickets through RyanAir and asked one of my school mates who now lives in London if she wanted to go as well.
Now I'm not a football fan by any means, but there's something about supporting your college football team that makes even the most non sports lover a foaming, screaming, freak. The game had a great turn out playing University of Central Florida. The game was exciting because Penn State was winning up until the last quarter and then UCF got in the lead. Penn State won with a field goal in the last few seconds!
I was happy we won because then we'd get to see a bunch of happy Penn Staters out at the bar later that night. And we did. They were everywhere. It was very strange seeing Penn State fans all over Dublin. They were even in the woods when we veered out to see the Wicklow Mountains. Although the Irish didn't understand American football, there were plenty of them out to see the game and they were very interested in learning. Similarly, the next day at Croke Park, there was a game of Gaelic football that I wouldn't understand.
The Penn State Game
Wicklow Mountains National Park
I didn't just go to Ireland for the game. I wanted to see the Irish countryside. B, his parents, myself, and my friend, Danielle all packed into a rental for a day trip around the countryside. We decided to go to the Wicklow Mountains National Park. The countryside was beautiful as was expected.
We spent some time at the "Monastic City" which is the remains of an early christian monastic settlement near Glendalough Valley. We walked through the old cemetery, cathedral, and round tower. We spent hours just driving around taking in the views and we also stopped off at The Woolen Mill Outlet which I suggest. The gray wool poncho I am wearing in the pictures is something I bought during my trip and I wish I would have bought another one as they are more expensive online.
We decided to go to Kilkenny to see the Kilkenny Castle and explore the town. It's quite a drive from Dublin but the town is a lot smaller and quant. It happened to be a heritage day and so our entrance to the castle was free. After doing a self guided tour, we had dinner downtown and also stopped in at a local candy shop for treats and some Irish toffee.
Book of Kells
I didn't get to do a whole lot of sight seeing but I did get to see the Book of Kells. It's located in the Trinity College Library. The line was pretty long but it went fast. Admission is 10 euro. You get to see the old library and the Book of Kells. It's a very intricately detailed book with a Gospel manuscript in Latin containing the four Gospels of the New Testament. The library is pretty impressive and it's what I imagine as my dream library with rolling ladders a dark wooden bookshelves. A girl can dream.
Other Stuff I Did in Dublin
This trip was different than most of my other trips mostly because I was with a group of other people. I didn't do as much sightseeing as I would have liked but it was nice to get to travel with a group for a change. We did a lot of drinking in Dublin. For a non beer drinker, I sure had my fill of Guinness. When in Dublin... We also did a haunted walking tour. I wouldn't do that again, but I heard the haunted bus tour is a lot of fun.
We partied in Temple Bar which is an area of Dublin that is known as the party side of town. It's full of tourists, but it's a must see. The nightlife in Dublin is fantastic. I read somewhere that 50% of Dubliners were under 25 so of course there is a thriving nightlife.
We also took advantage of the great seafood in Dublin. The first night we took a 30 minute train ride to Howth for some seafood right near the train station. I even got to experience an Irish breakfast. Beans for breakfast isn't so bad. Not great, but not bad.
What I Didn't Do in Dublin
I only had really two and a half days in Dublin and unlike other trips, I really felt like I have some unfinished business left there. There are a ton of things I didn't get to do. If I could go back, I'd buy more Irish wool, go to Dublinia which is a viking museum in the Christ's Church, the Guinness Storehouse, The Jameson Distillery, and I'd see more of the countryside. As an English major I really wanted to do the literary pub crawl and see the Dublin Writer's Museum to look at works by writers I learned about in school like Joyce, Yeats, and Wilde. I guess what I'm saying is I'd love to go back.
Have you been to Dublin? Tell me all about it in the comments!