The end of 5th week seems like a good time to write about what I did over New Years and before term started, right? This term has been really busy, but I finally have some time to sit down and write. This also marks the halfway point of my time at Oxford, which has flown by.
So here we go…
After my mom left, I spent time in London, Oxford, and Dublin.
Two days before New Year’s Eve I was in London and went to the Natural History Museum and V&A museum. At the V&A, there was a dance group performing excerpts from the Nutcracker and even though it was definitely a performance geared towards families, they danced beautifully and it made me miss dance a lot.
I spent NYE in Oxford with some friends at Blackfriars. It was probably one of the best NYE’s I’ve had (and one of the few I actually stayed up until midnight for). We started off 2017 with champagne on top of the Oxford Mound while watching fireworks. I’m struggling to find the words to describe this moment because it was kind of surreal- like I could not believe that I was in another country, at Oxford, surrounded by friends, standing on top of a 11th century mound of dirt ringing in a new year when it felt like I had just arrived at Oxford a few weeks prior.
Anyways, I spent the next two days in London before heading to Dublin. On New Year’s Day, I met up with Danny, a friend from Catz and we got dinner in Chinatown.
I spent my last day in London exploring the city. I went to Harrods and Westminster Cathedral for Mass. I also went to the National Gallery. Even though I had been with my mom a few weeks prior, I love this museum and would visit all time if I could. I also checked out Westminster Abbey during their evensong service. I wasn’t that impressed, but after seeing St Peter’s Basilica, nothing is really comparable.
Now to the most exciting part of this post- DUBLIN. I absolutely loved Ireland and I really enjoyed traveling alone here.
The first day I went on the free walking tour with the hostel I was staying at to get acquainted with the city. Our tour guide was really funny and recommended a lot of non-touristy things to do. However, after the tour I saw the Book of Kells and toured the Guinness Storehouse, so I was very much a tourist my first day.
Book of Kells
Plato… we all know how I feel about him
Trinity College Library
Honestly, I wasn’t that impressed with the Book of Kells. It was pretty, but I wanted to see more than the two pages on display- especially since you have to pay to see it.
I really enjoyed the Guinness Tour, the exhibits were all really well put together and they let you pour your own pint.
Day 2: Cliffs of Moher
I went through a tour bus company for this day trip and we had perfect weather- not too cold, no rain, and no fog. I recommended the tour to other people at my hostel and when they went they couldn’t see anything because the weather was foggy and cold. On the tour we stopped a few places on the way including Dunguaire Castle, built in the 1520s, and Poulnabrone dolmen, a portal tomb that predates the Pyramids and has Stonehenge-like myths associated with it.
We stopped for lunch in a small town and there are this cute cat outside the pub.
Baby sheep on the side of the road.
The cliffs were absolutely gorgeous!
After the cliffs we stopped at the “baby cliffs,” which were equally as pretty. The walk out to these cliffs was a bunch of uneven, rugged rocks, but the view from the edge was worth it.
Day 3: Museum Mayhem
It rained this day, so I planned to spend it in the various museums around Dublin.
I started at the Chester Beatty Library, which is a museum with all sorts of decorated religious texts. I spent multiple hours just walking around staring at all of them and definitely preferred this to the Book of Kells because I saw equally as pretty Qu’rans, Torahs, and Bibles, plus there were more than just two pages of them.
After this I went to Christ Church Cathedral for afternoon prayer that lasted only 5 minutes, but also got me inside for free. Then went to the Archeology Museum and the National Gallery. By this point in my travels I was very tired of museums, but both of these places were still neat. I finished the evening by going to St Patrick’s Cathedral for evensong.
Day 4: Howth
I met a young woman from Ireland working at a hostel in Dublin on my trip to the Cliffs of Moher and she recommended I go to Howth. She also said I could buy a child’s ticket for the train, so my transportation for the day was only 3 euros (even if that did mean I was pretending to be between the ages of 5 and 15-oops).
This is the most perfect little seaside town. I did the long 10k hike along the coast and it was worth all the mud I got on my shoes and clothes. I got seafood chowder for lunch and ate it sitting on the pier looking out onto the ocean. After, I walked around some more, read my book, and eventually watched the sunset. I ended the evening by going to Sunday Mass at the local church, ate dinner, and headed back to the hostel.
Day 5: Last day.
For my last day in Dublin, I started by visiting the Kilmainham Gaol, a historic jail where many Irish revolutionaries were imprisoned and executed by the British, including those involved in the Easter Rising.
Outside the modern art museum
I popped into the Modern Art Museum on my way to Phoenix Park. There was this monument in the park that was cool. I don’t know what it’s for and I have yet to look it up, but here’s a picture.
It was recommended that I go to the canals, which I got to around sunset, so I didn’t see that much of them. I went to this really cool pub/restaurant by the canals that made really good, cheap pizza. On my way there I passed this church that advertised a “folk Mass,” so naturally I was curious. Don’t really know how to describe other than I’ve never been to a Mass like that before.
church with folk mass
A lot has also happened since Dublin, including 5 weeks of term! I can’t believe I’m over halfway through my time at Oxford!!! It’s crazy and I don’t want it to end. Below are some pictures from this term. The first half was really busy for me, but I still managed to enjoy the sights of Oxford.
Oxford has been especially beautiful this term. It even snowed a few days!
view from the bod
Christ church meadow
In science news: I got to tour the Natural History Museum “behind the scenes” and saw the only remaining dodo soft tissue!! I also got to attend a lecture by Thomas Südhof, a Nobel Prize Winner.
Darwin’s insect collection
dodo soft tissue
bad picture of Thomas Sudhof
There have also been a couple of Entz this term:
And I attended a formal hall at Mansfield and got to dress up and wear a gown.
Also went to Leeds Castle and Canterbury last week with some friends from Catz and Exeter.
Leeds Castle- famous black swans
Catz Ball is tomorrow/today, so my next post (hopefully not 47584 months late) will be about that! Also if you made it to the end of this post, I’m proud of you.