I left California last Thursday with my family and headed straight for the great city of New Orleans for my cousin’s wedding. Although I only had two days in New Orleans and was starting to get slightly anxious about my trip to Trinity, I had an amazing time. I went out with my family on Bourbon St. and took a walk along the Mississippi River with my mom. We ate some fantastic food and I tried to fit as many classic New Orleans dishes into my short stay as possible: red beans and rice, pralines, gulf seafood, and even gator jerky (see picture on the top left). I wish I could have stayed longer to be with my family and to see my cousin get married, but Trinity orientation waits for no one! So, on Sunday morning it was off to the airport for me and on to a long 24-hour journey to Ireland.
I arrived in Dublin Monday morning at 4:40 a.m. and my orientation program started at 9:30 a.m., which meant that I had just enough time to get to campus, take a quick nap in my new room (without any sheets or blankets), and grab a large coffee before I started my full day of activities. The way the orientation program worked is that from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. every day we had lectures about Irish history, culture, art, politics, and literature and then we spent the afternoons participating in various activities. Some of the afternoon sessions were practical like going on campus tours, getting ID cards, and registering on the student network. Although these sessions were helpful, it was the other, cultural sessions that I most enjoyed. On the first night we all went on a literary pub-crawl. We were led around by an actor to various pubs and sites in the neighborhood, each one having some historical or literary significance. Later in the week, we went to a play at the famous Abbey Theater where we saw an adaptation of James Joyce’s story “The Dead.” I’m fairly certain the play was a bit over my head and I am now determined to read the actual story to see if I can understand it better.
Last, but not least, on Friday, we took an all-day excursion to the Wicklow Mountains, about an hour south of the city. We first stopped at Glendalough, which is “the valley of the two lakes” in Irish. There we visited a 6th century monastic site established by St. Kevin, a hermit priest, and one of the lakes. It was too cold (even in my snow jacket) and rainy to be outside for very long so we drove into the town of Wicklow for lunch before we took a tour of the Wicklow Gaol (jail).
Although I’ve already done so much in so little time, there is still much more to do. Most importantly I still have to register for classes, which start this week. I hope I can make a schedule that will allow me long weekends for travel!
Katie Riley '14