The first time I came to Ireland in the summer of 2014 I had actually intended on being here for an entire "semester" (my school ran on quarters) during spring. The price was abhorrent, so I found a program that allowed me to work and study in the summer. Of course, that's lead me to where I am now, so I can't complain at all. However, it meant that I missed out on St. Patrick's Day! So I was pretty excited to experience it two years later, in 2016.
Killian came with and we made our way to an area of the parade where we could get closer to the street and see a little better. There were actually not as many people as I expected there to be, but there were definitely a lot of security guards all over the streets.
The parade lasted for a couple of hours and ironically consisted of mostly marching bands from America! My favourite display was from Dublin Zoo. They had a bunch of huge, colourful animal floats that were super cool. After the parade we celebrated the way you have to: with a drink! All of the pubs were packed with people dressed in green, white, and orange. The streets and pubs were decorated as well. No green beer here, though! Lots of guys were also walking around in full green suits with shamrocks printed on them. (You can see a peek of one of the guys behind Killian in the picture below)
After several drinks and lots of yummy pub food we went for a little stroll through town to spot some of the buildings that light up green for the night.
The next day we took a trip down to Waterford. Correction: Killian was going there for work, and I tagged along. I was in the car the whole time, so I didn't get any pictures of Waterford. But it was nice to see more of Southern Ireland, and the town was pretty cute! On the way home we stopped at Jerpoint Abbey in Thomastown.
The funniest part of this place is that it's along the old road from Waterford, before the motorway was the main road, so Killian used to drive past this abbey all the time, and didn't really register it! The least funny part of this place was that they charged €4/person to go in! You can see below just how close it is to the road.
We headed inside and found a few other people wandering around and taking pictures.
There were a few rooms off to the side with tombs. The walls were all very textured, and the stone carvings had lasted really well over time compared to other abbeys. They were doing some work on one side of the abbey, so that's why you can see a bunch of modern metal bars behind the windows.
A few even had drawings.
Then we went upstairs for an even better view. There was only one area to walk on "upstairs", and it was just an open platform. But it gave a beautiful view of the entire abbey and the surrounding area.
All behind the abbey was countryside. Beautiful green, rolling hills with country lanes and a creek running through. It's the kind of peaceful view that's just incomparable.
Then it was back downstairs for a few more pictures before we left. By then we had the place to ourselves, other than the nosey lady who collected our money. She decided to follow us around as we looked at the different rooms and areas. They had two rooms with glass doors that contained displays of some of the rubble from the abbey. Unfortunately, the information on such rubble was minimal, so it really wasn't worth paying money to actually get no benefit. Of course, I'm glad we did, because I love ruins, but there are definitely free ones out there!
Just look at that view!
Killian used my DSLR for the first time and got all kinds of excited with the artsy angles. It was pretty much as entertaining as the abbey itself.
We tried going to Jerpoint Park, which is just down the road and is supposed to have church ruins including a graveyard. Unfortunately, like Jerpoint Abbey, it looks to be a paid attraction and was closed for the season. So we headed home, happy and exhausted.
Coming up soon will be blog posts on Wicklow National Park and Limerick! Stay tuned.