By: Julianna Pratt, ’16 // Early Childhood and Elementary Education
For me, I have never been much of a city person. I’ve never been able to go to the city for more than a weekend, yet here I am in the city. It took a lot of getting used to at first; the noisy pedestrians, the constant ringing of car alarms, and the sound of the street cleaners coming by at four in the morning. However, after being here for almost two months now I have gotten used to the bustle of the city, though it still is nice to be able to escape every once and a while.
One thing they promised during orientation was that it was so easy to get out of the city and see the “green”” of Ireland. Well they were right. Just in the past couple of weeks I’ve gotten to go out to places like the port village of Howth, Bray to do some horseback riding, and the outskirts of Dublin to hike through Massy Woods to see the Irish Hell Fire Club.
Howth is a beautiful seaside village that is quaint and has a lot to offer. It is just a thirty minute train ride on the DART and has the best seafood you could ever hope to consume. I went with three of my friends from the trip and we explored the town, going to an old ruined Church and cemetery as well as looking out from the pier. Howth also has this amazing market on Sundays. It has local venders selling everything from all the food you would desire to homemade crafts and jewelry. This was a nice place to get some fresh air and see what lies outside the city. Plus they had some killer sea bass, best meal I’ve had since coming to Ireland.
A couple days later, Lilly Johnsson, our Assistant Director and unofficialmom in Dublin, took us horseback riding in Bray. This was such an awesome experience. The last time I went horseback riding, I was about six years old, and so it was amazing to get back in the saddle. Morgan (my trusty steed) and I trotted through the hills of Bray looking over the city and the ocean that surrounds it. Everyone at Brennanstown Riding School was extremely nice and supportive and made me confident in my ability to horseback ride. It was a wicked awesome time and I am glad that Lilly took the time to plan this trip for us. I never thought I would be able to say I rode a horse through the hills of Ireland, but now I can.
Just this past weekend, Ciaran O’Rourke, our head resident and activities coordinator, took us to Massy Hill to go hiking up to the Hell Fire Club. This 10 mile hike was long but filled with fun along the way. We told stories and were able to bond with Ciaran since he has just joined our Champlain Dublin family. We got to explore the abandoned stone building that was once the Hell Fire Club and sat around telling a ghost story or two about the property which legend has it had its roof blown off and burnt by Satan himself. I sure got an intense work out with the endless hills we had to climb but it was nice to get out of the city and explore the more natural side of Dublin.
I’ve quickly learned that it is so easy to get out of Dublin and explore the great outdoors and all the unique experiences that Ireland has to offer.