in Ireland, Republic of

Day 1

I’ve been sent to Ireland, thanks to the NSF. I am here with three other girls (A., J., and V.), and we live in the same apartment. I’m using initials because Google is forever.

My mother said to me before I left, “I hope you don’t learn to drink there.” THAT SHIP HAS SAILED.

Delta Airlines was experiencing a systemwide computer shutdown when I got to LAX. Hopped the Special Circumstances line to join V., who was already in line. Flight was at 1, cleared check-in counter at 12:30 pm. Cleared security, immediately boarded plane at about 12:40. I would have missed the flight if I hadn’t hopped the line to join V.

Sat next to V on the first flight, while A and J were together. (Everyone was split up at the next flight). A baby a few rows behind me started screaming. Not just any screaming. This was heavy-duty Mariah Carey I-love-Jesus business.

Atlanta – went to get a cheesesteak at this place called Charley’s, at A’s recommendation. I thought it was pretty good, but then again I have nothing to compare it to.


Flight in Atlanta started began closing gates at 30 minutes before! 2+ hour delay when 2nd engine failed and had to be fixed twice. The cabin got really humid and uncomfortable because they had to shut off the air conditioning, and everyone got reaaaally pissy. After about 90 minutes, Delta finally let us stretch out on the jetway. Finally took off after 2+ hours … I guess if I had missed my first flight, I would have made the second flight after rescheduling anyway?

Slept through most of Dublin flight. Tried to watch Unknown but kept falling asleep — sorry, Liam Neeson. I did think it was interesting, though. I came up with a possible solution to the mystery of amnesiac Liam Neeson, then looked up the plot when I got to Dublin. Totally off. (I prefer my version.)

For dinner: Gross “chicken or pasta” options. The stewardess said, “Chicken if you want to stay awake, pasta if you want to knock out!”

Chicken, because it sounded less gross than airline pasta. It was gross anyway: nearly-unidentifiable chunk of chicken, blob of mashed potatoes that literally looked like shit, puréed spinach (yuk), and overboiled carrots. And it looks like they don’t have actual butter, just “Fresh Buttery Taste Spread” … not that I would have eaten it anyway. Salad with balsamic vinaigrette was okay. Chocolate blondie was bleh.  A. had the pasta and said it was gross, too.


And breakfast was some muffin with a superflat egg.



The signs are in Gaelic and English. The Gaelic portion is, of course, in green.


Took a 10 minute cab ride to DCU, checked in to our apartment. Chatty cab driver told us about local slang and how craic/crack is the local word for fun.

J: We’re hoping to drink some Guinness.
Cab driver: No! Drink a lot of Guinness!

Looked for professor’s office, found it, left a note that we were on campus.

Professor B emailed us back and told us to come by at 10 am for a tour of our lab and office space.

Went to the nearby convenience store (Spar) for groceries and basic supplies. We have nothing — no plates or cutlery, etc. So we bought breakfast things like bread and cereal, and dinner things like pasta, salad, and also forks, knives, and paper plates. Also soap, shampoo, dishwashing liquid, dish sponges, a frying pan, and other cleaning supplies and groceries. 90 euros!! But then again this is like the equivalent of shopping at a gas station or at 7-11. Tomorrow, to an actual supermarket or grocery store.

Also, it looks like the Irish way is to bring your own bag to the store. Period. There are no bags available for you.


Honesty from Colgate! “Great regular flavour” toothpaste, instead of the usual NEW!!! IMPROVED FORMULA, NOW WITH WHITENING stuff.


Pasta sauce here is really good. The tomatoes are smaller but there is a concentration of flavor! And the apples (also smaller) taste so much better. They’re not joking when they say the produce is better in Europe. They’re not as half-wilted as they are in North America and Asia. Or maybe I’m not shopping in the right places.

Bread is better, too. The baguettes are actually edible.

The broccoli, however, is as bland as ever.

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