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The Final Week of a Galway Girl

Dia duit, everybody!

I can’t believe that I’m saying it, but I only have one more day here in Dublin. It feels like just yesterday, I was getting on a plane in Cincinnati, excited and terrified. It turns out that there was no reason to be afraid. I have loved every minute of my time here. I’m so excited to go home on Tuesday. I can’t wait to see my family and my friends and especially my dog (I’ve at least been able to talk to everyone else)! But it’s hard to imagine leaving this amazing city that has come to feel like a second home to me. I’ve met so many incredible people and even though we’ve all been saying our good-byes, it doesn’t seem real. It seems more like we’re each taking separate trips and we’ll reconvene next week for another spaghetti Wednesday! It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that I won’t see these amazing people that I’ve spent the majority of my time with everyday anymore. But I suppose we all have to get back to reality sometime.

While the entire semester has sort of felt like this super extended vacation, since I’ve been done with my exams since last Saturday, this past week has been even more of a holiday for me. It was really great to have an entire week to enjoy my time here without having to worry about school or anything else. I only had three exams and they were not too bad. I felt pretty well prepared for all of them so here’s hoping that that sense of preparedness shows in my results! I feel like I put my week off to pretty good use. I got back out for one final trip to Dun Laoghaire, spent some time in the city wandering around and visiting some of my favorite places. Did a lot of last minute shopping and worked very hard to convince myself that I do not need a Guinness beach towel or a Butlers Chocolate Cafe travel coffee mug. But the highlight of my week was definitely my trip to Galway! Or should I say my trips to Galway. I loved it so much the first time that I had to go back again on Thursday!

Rorie, Susan and I got up early on Tuesday and took a very long bus ride across the country to visit the home of The Galway Girl and the Claddagh ring. We lucked out with some seriously awesome weather. The west of Ireland is often known for being cold, windy and wet but Tuesday was just the opposite. The sun was shining and it was warm enough to take my jacket off, which I loved! We had a delicious lunch of fish and chips at a place on Shop Street called McDonagh’s and then we headed straight for the famous Galway Bay. It wasn’t too crowded so we parked ourselves on the ground for a while to enjoy the beautiful weather. We strolled over to the Claddagh, the fishing area for which the ring is named and got some lovely pictures of the view. We had a chance to do a little bit of shopping and I got my Claddagh ring, which is the one thing I really wanted to buy while I was over here, and we found a little second hand bookshop where I found a creepy VC Andrews novel that helped me to pass the time during the four hour bus ride back to Dublin. Nothing like a little incest to keep a reader engrossed in a plot…

We wanted to put off our return to rainy Dublin for as long as possible, so we bought some ice cream and headed back to the Bay. We ended up spending about half an hour watching a dog fetch rocks from the water while an angry bevy of swans attempted to scare him out of their territory. The dog was not at all concerned for the swans’ displeasure and kept about his business of entertaining about fifteen bystanders. I returned by myself on Thursday mostly because I didn’t have anything that I’d rather be doing in Dublin. The weather, unfortunately, lived up the stereotype I previously mentioned, but I still loved the city. I wandered around a few side streets and did a little more shopping. I wish that I would have had more time in there. I definitely saved the best trip for last and whenever I return to Ireland, you can bet that I’ll make a beeline for Galway City!

I still have a lot to do in my last day here. Believe it or not, I actually started my packing and cleaning process yesterday but there is still a long way to go. I’m hoping to head back into the city for one last time, maybe do brunch or a little shopping and, of course, one last pint of Guinness. I even surprise myself in saying that I’ll miss the stuff! It’s definitley grown on me, and whatever it was that I tried in America was not the same as the Guinness right from St. James Gate. I have been so incredibly blessed with this opportunity. I have seen so many things, been to so many places and met so many people that it’s hard to believe that this hasn’t been one long, amazing dream. But as hard as it is to imagine leaving, I can’t wait to get home and see everyone!

The next time you hear from me, I’ll be back in America!

Sláinte!

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