Cairlinn, Kerlingfjǫrðr, Carlingford
After a week or two of copious amounts of Red Bull, little-to-no sleep, and stress beyond belief, I have finally finished all of my essays! I had one due for each module and they all needed to be between 1500 and 2000 words. I feel confident about two of them; however, the third one will be a little iffy. But there is nothing I can do about it now so I might as well just enjoy the free time I have! It is surreal to think about the fact that there are only four weeks of instruction left, this week and three weeks after Easter break.
Over the weekend, I got to go to Carlingford with all of the Americans studying with IFSA in Ireland. It was similar to the previous adventure weekend we had last semester in Galway, but this one was so much better for so many reasons! It was practically better right from the start because it did not take us eight hours like the last trip did! The town is only about an hour and a half south of Belfast on the Irish Sea.
Much like the Killary Adventure Centre in Galway, the Carlingford Adventure Centre had a high ropes course, water activities, and lazer tag. But what makes them superior in the activities category is the fact they had zorbing! If you do not know what zorbing is, you pretty much get in this massive plastic/rubber ball thing and roll down a huge hill (you can thank the New Zealanders for that!). It is quite like a rollercoaster, except you cannot see where you are going and get to see the expressions of the person sitting across from you! I wish I could have gone again because one time does not do proper justice.
I also got to do a bit of archery, some “team building” activities, and the high ropes challenges. One thing I did not like was this “maze” that they had set up. It definitely was not the most orthodox maze you would come across. It was in a box, roughly the size of a shipping container and there were no lights. We (our group of about 12) had to crawl through this three-levelled box and try to find our way out without any lights. It was pitch black. I am not claustrophobic or scared of the dark, but I felt quite uncomfortable inside of there. I probably will never do something like that again.
The town itself was really neat. I took some time to walk around and explore some of the local landmarks. A town that has been around for the greater half of a millennium definitely has some interesting places to visit. The ruins of Carlingford Castle are right on the coast and would have acted as defence for the city. Right in the middle of the town are the ruins of Taaffes Castle which has been converted into a restaurant, bar, and club and the Carlingford Priory and Friary. It is really odd seeing these structures that have been standing for 700 years right next to a modern café or bistro. The Church of the Holy Trinity was pretty modern in comparison to the other landmarks. The hostel we were staying at was right in the middle of the Old Town, surrounded by the original walls that wrapped around the town in 1326. The whole town was so beautiful; it had such an Irish feel to it. I wish the weather would have been a bit nicer so we could have seen the luscious green hills in the background.
My time here is quickly coming to a close. After this week, we have three weeks off for Easter break, only three weeks left of instruction, and then three weeks for exams. After that, my time in Ireland is up. I cannot wrap my head around the fact I have already been here for six and half months. I am in the home stretch and the end is in sight! As exciting as it is to think about, I really hate the realization that it is all almost over.