travel

Dublin, Ireland

My first stop on my summer of adventures.

This is a perfect city for those novice travelers. Everyone is super friendly. Navigation is a breeze, as the city is small enough that you can walk everywhere. And English is the primary language.

Although now the city appears to be overrun with tourists, and you will have to visit the touristy parts of town, you can experience traditional Irish culture throughout your visit.

Top tourist attraction are the Guinness and Jameson breweries, jail museum, cathedrals, and Irish history museums.

If you are visiting the city for any length of time, I highly recommend you pick up a leap card right at the airport and ride the bus into the city–making your navigation around the city a breeze. It was €40 for an unlimited 7 day pass as opposed to our only taxi ride that cost that much just to get us to our house the first day.

So that is the general what travelers need to know, but here is how our trip went…

We arrived after an overnight flight from New York (we being me and my family) running on very little sleep, because no one really took me seriously when I explained how important it is to sleep as much as you can on the plane. Everyone was so cranky. And uncoordinated with everything from wheeling the luggage to taking bathroom breaks to paying attention to what it is that we are actually trying to find. Then the icing on the cake was finding out ED SHEERAN had performances in Dublin and was staying in Dublin when we would have been able to attend his concerts, except they were all sold out. Apparently the Irish really love Ed as all of his performances in Dublin, Cork, Belfast, and Galway were all sold out! Devastating.

Not my ideal first day of my holiday…but thank god it all got better.

Aside from visiting many of the sights in Dublin including the Oscar Wilde statue, Trinity college, Temple bar nightlife, and many of the cathedral ruins, we were all completely captivated with the (oftentimes depressing) history and especially the remnants of the pagan belief system.

Like I probably mention in every post, I am obsessed with this book series called A Court of Thorns and Roses and the Throne of Glass series fantasy books about fae and fairies, that all come from CELTIC MYTHOLOGY. And we are literally in the birthplace of these mythologies and legends so me and my sisters were living in our glory. So any ACOTAR or fantasy fans, this is definitely a city or country you should check out.

We did a couple of bus tours to see other parts of Ireland. Our first was a mythology based tour to ancient burial grounds in the midlands such as the Hill of Tara, Boyne Valley, Newgrange, and ????. We got to see faerie trees up close and saw where the still practicing druids tie ribbons on the trees as offerings to the fae. Our tour guide was amazing sharing both legends and true history about each of the places we drove past. And at one point during the tour he handed us off to such a charismatic character, Marty, who shared stories about the fae, changelings, and origin stories of the ancient ones who were banished under the Earth. He was hilarious–inventing new plots to the Irish legends about legendary heroes Finn MacCool, Cu Chulainn, the Ulster Cycle, and more! (which are all totally interesting if you have the time and want to check them out!) Plus we got to go hiking & get up close and personal with the sheep! (Maybe my favorite part…I mean they are just so cute!)

The other big tour we did was a Game of Thrones/ Giant’s Causeway based tour to the Northern Ireland. Our first stop on this tour was to the Dark Hedges aka the King’s Road where Arya escapes with the night’s watch after losing her father in Season 1. Then we visited a couple of very small coastal villages where all of the scenes from the Iron Isles were filmed and some of Melisandre’s crazier schemes…like the cave she gave birth in. Those moments were the highlight of the trip for me because, like, we stood exactly where they did. Those places are actually real places. No green screens were necessary. Incredible. And I really hope I never forget the smell of the coastal city so I can get the full effect for when I re-watch the show again.

But the Giant’s Causeway was just as cool. And as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it means that it is a site of cultural value for the world, because it is a visual display of how incredible our earth is. The entire cliffside formed millions of hexagons all from a volcanic eruption and has inspired legends and cultures since it’s creation millions of years ago! But my description does it no justice–brush up on your Earth Science knowledge and visit it for yourself!

My next stop is Edinburgh, Scotland!!!

 

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Environment

What will you do for the Earth?

So today is Earth Day! And in honor of the planet, everyone should take a hard look at their lifestyle and make some changes, or just do something, to better the Earth.

This year’s Earth Day campaign is to End Plastic Pollution. Plastic waste is a major environmental issue that only seems to be escalating, exponentially. Plastic does not break down, is not compostable, and most forms of plastic are not even recyclable. Plastic is made for our one-time use disposable society and they fill up landfills rapidly as people frequently turn to disposables for the convenience of it.

Many cities, towns, and counties have been taking action against plastic bags and charging a 5¢ bag fee to encourage people to reduce the plastic waste. We can do more on the individual scale. We need to fight back against this disposable culture in every way that we can. And one of the best places to start is with your own buying decisions. Companies pay attention to the consumer choices and YOU can decide to purchase the merchandise with less packaging, less plastic, no plastic, biodegradable packaging, and even products with less processing.

In addition to this year’s to working towards this year’s campaign, there are many other ways to appreciate our planet.

Saturday, my sister and I joined her high school Interact Club in a beach cleanup. We only spent an hour and a half walking along the beach picking up all of the litter, plastic straws, and broken bottles, but I would say that it was time well spent. I was so disgusted with how many broken bottles we picked up and it just felt like a never ending task.

But it felt really good to do something. And it was so rewarding when others started joining in. Visitors to the beach saw the garbage bags and gloves and got to work. It really was a nice community moment for such a small act of community service. Beach cleanups and volunteer work are things that can be done anywhere from an individual scale to an entire organization participating. And the rewarding feeling far surpasses any effort you expend into the small task. And hopefully other will see you cleaning up and it will inspire them next.

Plus the cleanup was really fun in trying to figure out what some of the items we discovered were. Here are some of the funky things we found.

My sister thinks the bottom one is a handcuff, but I think it looks like something that would be found on a boat,  to tie the boat to the dock. Does anyone really know what it is for?

And then the middle one looks like a bullet to me. Never really seen one before, but I feel like this is what it would look like back in the day.

Then there was what we think looks like bones. And we may have just contaminated a crime scene, or perhaps someone ate chicken wings and couldn’t be bothered to throw away the bones. What do you think?

I was thrilled to have such good weather this weekend, (even though mother nature sure does have a lot to be angry with us for) and got to spend Earth Day outside, hiking, at a New York state park. My friend and I took a peaceful 4ish mile hike among many other environmentalists also out to enjoy the beautiful weather and nature.

And during our hike, the conversation never really departed from the reason for this special holiday and my friend and I discussed ways to resolve our ever-growing plastic problem.

Besides the usual solutions (forgo straws, use a reusable water bottle, change your habits, etc.) her revolutionary idea was about canning water instead of bottling it––aluminum is one of the best materials out there. So what do you think about that?

Research some options in your community to see what you can get involved in. If we treat every day like it is Earth Day, then maybe we won’t have to be so concerned about the state of the environment anymore.

Take a look at the Earth Day website to get some inspiration for what you can do on Earth Day.