“Undoubtedly you will wake up sometime around 3 in the morning.” Of course I wouldn’t, I had my plan to sleep all the way through the night. I’d push myself all the way till midnight then pass out so my sleep schedule would regulate. I was even willing to bet on it, but no one took me up on the offer. Come night time my eyes shoot open. “Well it’s got to be at least 6 o’clock and time to get up. But wait if it was 6 wouldn’t Adam be up already? He wanted to shower before me, so it can’t be six yet. Please tell me its not 3, after all my high talk please tell me its not 3. Damn it 2:55 AM. Well someone should have taken me up on that bet, they would have won 5 euros”
Despite the some what rough start to the morning I was able to drag myself downstairs for breakfast. What a feast it was! Sausage links, bacon rashers, Guinness bread, toast, 3 cups of tea, 2 glasses of orange juice, a heaping of scrambled eggs, tators, the flaky buttery amazing croissants, and a banana. I could just spend all day feasting on this endless buffet of food. It of course is not the full Irish Breakfast, as it is lacking the black and white pudding (blood sausage) but I’m sure I will have the chance to try some before I leave. Coagulated blood and oatmeal does not sound delicious, in fact seems quite disgusting, but hey its enjoyed around the world so I have to try it.
After this filling breakfast we made our way to the Irish Fulbright Commission. Fulbright is a international organization that delivers research grants to post graduate students to continue various forms of study throughout the world. It encourages this bridging of cultures as a way to grow global awareness as well as bring new perspectives into fields of study. The Director of the Irish Fulbright Commission, Colleen Duby, a lovely women with a deep understanding of world and Irish history, was kind enough to talk with us for an hour. She touched on all aspects of Irish history, including the rise and death of the most recent Celtic Tiger, as well as why there has been such a resentment by the Irish people towards the current government system.
One thing that Colleen talked about that truly resonated with me was the lack of identity within Northern Ireland Protestants. This was something that I never really had thought about before. In class we always talked about how the Protestants, with support of the English, kept the Catholic Irish underneath their thumb. Trying to keep an objective view point I still gained the opinion that these were one of “bad guys” in the muddled Irish conflict. Yet with the overwhelming Catholic population in the south, and 1/3rd Irish population in Northern Ireland they have faced opposition from a ton of forces. In addition to this, in recent years England, there long time backer, has started to take a neutral position towards conflicts with Northern Ireland. This leaves the protestants feeling somewhat isolated and grasping for what defines them. This would explain why they cling to events such as the Orangemans Day so tightly. These traditions and celebrations are the defining part of their culture and if they were to lose these then they would lose what little remains of their definitive culture. This is all just speculation, and simple observation, but I hope to explore this more when we head up to Northern Ireland.
After leaving the Fulbrights office we wandered around the city for a bit taking pictures of pretty much everything. This included a trip to the beautiful St. Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street. Though I could attempt to explain these places in words, it would do no justice. So here is a collection of pictures from the day. Even these only help a little. For you have to close your eyes to hear the birds around you, smell the aromoas of the blooming flowers, feel the breeze tingle your skin, and breath in the rich Irish air.
I should also mention that we went and saw Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband” at the Gate Theater. It was wonderfully put on and absolutely hilarious.