This past weekend I too my first pilgrimage to Ireland to visit a couple of my irish friends. It was my first time flying in Europe since we landed and I went the the ever safe and reliable Ryanair whose reputation precedes itself. Turns out its not actually all that bad and I didn't end up dying thankfully but it has to be the most bizarre airline, might as well of just been a hallow alloy shell we all sat in. First of you have to get there early so that you can get to the front of the line when the board since they don't assign seats (thats the first warning sign you actually get what you paid for), and European airports I've noticed were built with making it easy to get to your gate in time since it takes about 20 mins to walk there from security. Next they don't actually have their own gates so they share with other cheap airlines yet all the employees at the desk are the same. So you finally get on the plane and its completely bright yellow, not even kidding so bright you need sunglasses or else you will go blind. Then you pick a seat and watch as everyone else behind you piles on and frantically tries to get the best seats available. Then heres the kicker, its true they have advertisements up everywhere, and you can only bring a suitcase the size of kids lunch box, and they make advertising announcements every 10 mins for the entire flight. And if things could get worse you get airborne and you lean your chair back to sleep... but oh wait the seats don't go back.
Anyways got there thursday night and that night my friends took me to what they described as an "Irish Institution" called Coppers which is a bar/night club. It was a good time and packed full of Irish people, so I got an authentic experience. Friday we woke up really late at like 2 and then my friend Steve showed me the sights around Dublin. We both are big into golf and I know him from my golf club back home cause he worked there with me last summer, so we obviously went into this golf shop and I obviously couldn't leave without buying something so I got this sick gor-tex pullover jacket, then since we both felt broke after being there we went to Subway for lunch. Since it was freezing cold out we watched a lot of movies and American sitcoms (they love that stuff for some reason) so we watched a movie and then for the second night in a row ordered pizza, really authentic Irish cuisine. That night we went to a friend of his house outside of the city for her 21st birthday party. It was a blast, but it was hilarious because although everyone speaks english and it seemed enough like a normal American house party TO a certain extent, I felt so lost sometimes because I swear Irish english is a different language altogether.
Saturday we drove out to his hometown of Kilkenny to hangout there and eat a home cooked meal, 3 nights of pizza was not happening. Kilkenny is a country town, very different from Dublin, but its beautiful out there. It has rolling grassy hills everywhere you look and fields for as far as you can see. The town of Kilkenny itself is a small quaint little town with cobblestone streets lined with little shops. We walked around the city a little bit and went up to see the Castle of Kilkenny as well. Compared to all of the other Spanish/Muslim/French/Roman castles I've seen it was much smaller but way more dark and medieval looking. We got lucky while in Kilkenny because there happened to be a food festival going on so we walked through tons of tents in the town square all selling different kinds of foods and deserts.
For dinner we went to his family's house for a home cooked traditional Irish meal that his mom cooked for us. For dinner we had meat, boiled potatoes, roasted potatoes, veggies, and gravy; I have never eaten so much food in my life and it was so nice to have a meal like that after being away from home for 2 and a half months. For desert we had apple pie which I was so excited to see and this big meringue and cream tart with fruit. It was amazing and I felt so spoiled eating it all but also so lucky to be able to do so since I have friends from the country and they invited me into their house. His family was the nicest and his mom was so funny, she was so nice and it was hilarious because she was asking me all theses questions about the US for example "is it true at dinner you guys have these big bowls of food and pass them around the table like you see on tv shows?". We were only in Kilkenny for the day so we headed back to Dublin after dinner and when we got back we all watched a movie and then went to the movies to see the new James Bond movie. Sunday we walked around this huge new mall in Dublin for a little bit and then it was back off to the airport and home to Madrid.