March Madness: Part 1

Long time no see! March has been a crazy month, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Because so many crazy, fun, amazing moments have taken place over the last few weeks, I’m going to divide up events in different blog posts. I wouldn’t want to overwhelm you with information – after all, I hope to have at least one or two people make it through all my blogs. 🙂

The highlight of my month has been having my best friends from home visit me. I cannot even describe how great (and weird) it is to bring my two worlds together. On March 4th, my friends Ben and Anna arrived in Maynooth (forget about Ben for now…he reappears later). The next day, my friend Elizabeth got here. Anna, Elizabeth and I spent the day walking around and eating in Dublin.

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Hooray for friends in Dublin!!

At one point, a guy who was already drunk at 2:00 asked to take a selfie with us. It turned out to be one of my favorite photos I’ve taken in Ireland thus far:IMG_8801

Our new friend gave us lots of advice on being careful in Dublin. Just when we thought this was a unique and weird experience, another Irish person asked for a selfie with us. This photo took place on the bus leaving Dublin:

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We’re really good at making friends.

That night, we went to our first Gaelic football game at Croke Park. It was Dublin vs. Cork, and it turned out to be a nail-biter! Being around locals who care so much about their teams was a great experience. Gaelic football is a part of the GAA, and athletes don’t get paid to play. They do it strictly for the love of their sport and country, which comes across on the field and in the stands.

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In an amazing comeback, Dublin won!

We had a great day in Dublin, but nothing compares to the next day…

Remember me mentioning that my friend Ben also came to Ireland? Well, only Anna and I knew this. He and Elizabeth have been dating for almost six years, and he decided it was time to take the next step. Through lots of planning, lies, and acting over the last few months, we somehow pulled off the biggest surprise of Elizabeth’s life. On March 6th, Ben proposed at Dublin Castle. Her reaction was perfect and worth all the stress we went through (and I’m talking about me and Anna). I don’t know what could be better than watching two of your best friends get engaged in Ireland!

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There were tears all around:)

Now that all four of us could finally be together, we had to split up again. We planned to visit the Cliffs of Moher on the 7th, but because of tour tickets selling out, we had to go on separate tours. It ended up being fun anyway. Anna and I had a great time and the newly engaged couple got to spend the day together!

The Cliffs definitely make it in my top five places I’ve visited. They are around 800 feet high, and as our bus driver reminded us over and over again, it’s not Disney World, so there are no railings.

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We couldn’t have asked for better weather or better views!

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I have to mention one last thing about our time in Ireland. When the four of us met back up that night in Dublin, a guy on the street started singing to us. Since it seemed like the theme of the trip, I told him we had to take a selfie!

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The next day, we flew off on our next adventure: London!

The first thing I saw when getting off the tube was Big Ben. Talk about a first impression! We headed off to the London Eye for our ride, which included a glass of champagne for each of us. Go big or go home, right?

The rest of our day included fish and chips, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, and a play called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (a Tony award winner).

Our second day in London was centered around another one of my favorite things I’ve done so far: the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. We geeked out all day long and I was amazed at how much work went into the sets, costumes, and props.

Elizabeth and Ben had more time left in London, but Anna and I were headed off to Amsterdam. Before we left, however, we made one last trip to Tower Bridge so we could climb up and walk across the iconic landmark.

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Spending time in Ireland and London with my friends was so much fun, and a great break from school. This isn’t the end, though…stay tuned for Amsterdam, St. Patrick’s Day, and a visit to my new favorite place on Earth. I’m great at leaving you wanting more, aren’t I?

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