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What is in a name? What is in anything that makes it to be what it is? What is in a restaurant that makes it cute? Maybe a large chalk board behind the counter detailing the contents of its menu, or some artsy low sitting chairs that people are expected to eat like normal people at, or a wall of old and new books all in Spanish. If this is the case, then the place that we went to for lunch yesterday is definitely a cute restaurant.

We passed this place several times as we wandered the city the past few days, but we never actually made it inside. We thought that today being Sunday, it would be a good day to eat out. We chose this place mostly because of its looks, but were equally impressed by the atmosphere and the food.

Ivana ordered toast with an olive spread and tomato and cheese melted on top. Kathleen got a curry chicken sandwich. We both got bubbly water, which we were delighted to find came in a glass bottle which we held on to when the waitress came to clear our places.
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Today, we are up early. On our way to Ireland, we needed to be at the airport by 8am. We ate our yogurt standing up in the hostel’s kitchen, then walked across the street to the metro.

As our time in Europe is coming to an end it is a very interesting sensation. We are sad to be leaving for sure but eagerly await our arrival in America. After seeing so many new things over the past almost 6 weeks we are aching for something familiar. We are however also very excited to have the opportunity to bring back many new things that we have learned to the United States, especially many of the new foods that we have tried!

iAdios!

❤ i&k

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Over the past two days we were able to experience a beautiful cathedral only minutes away from our hostel and get a glimpse into the life of the medieval Normans who fortified the area surrounding the city of Dublin after they pushed the local Celtics towards the western side of Ireland.

Our first stop most days has been Mass at St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. This church is absolutely spectacular! The architecture was mimicked after that of a Roman temple with the great saints gracing its pediment. It’s inspiring to see the reverence of the Irish people at this church; they spend much more of the Mass kneeling than we do in America and we were honored to be able to join in. It’s crazy how such a simple act as kneeling at moments we were accustomed to standing brought our attention to the Mass in a new way.
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Next, we went to Drimnagh Castle. Built in the 13th century, this castle was occupied by the family of Hugh deBernival, a Norman Lord and his family of Knights for 400 years! The castle was then acquired by the archbishop of Dublin and passed through the hands of several other tenants before it was used as a school house, and then abandoned. Our tour guide, Andrew, explained to us that when the Irish, after 800 years of foreign rule, finally regained control of their country, they wanted to get rid of anything that was not Irish. They wanted to reclaim their heritage that had been intermingled with so many others. As a result, the government left the castles to crumble. Drimnagh Castle is one of the few that was in good repair when the government realized that even though they didn’t like the Norman, Viking, or English occupations of their country, the buildings were an important part of their history.
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The castle over the past several years has been restored to its former medieval glory. They invited craftsmen who have been trained in the the dying medieval crafts to help them restore the castle using only techniques that would have been used when the castle was originally in commission. Andrew also killed any desire that either of us had to live in medieval times. He enlightened us to how gross it would have been, living with bugs in your clothes, bathing only once a month, dying from something as simple as the common cold, and sleeping in the same room as all of your farm animals on the stone floor covered with some straw. It did not sound very appealing. 😛
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On a brighter note, however, he was very encouraging when Ivana said she would like to move to Ireland some day. He told her that it wouldn’t he hard to marry her off to an Irish man and have her dreams come true. 😉

At the end of the tour, Andrew gave us directions to the train station which would be much faster than the bus we had taken to get to the castle. In true fashion, we promptly got lost. We met a kind woman who readily came to our aid and walked us almost the whole way to the train station.

It was such a wonderful way to spend our last full day in Ireland, and we were once more convinced of the generosity and kindness of the Irish.

Cheers!
❤ i&k

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We met a lot of friends today!

We started off by going to Matins service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The cathedral was absolutely stunning! The boys’ choir was so talented and reverent – it was like tasting a piece of Heaven here on earth.
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After the service, we walked into The Old Marsh’s Library. It was filled with really old books from the 18th century. The two men that worked there were very friendly and asked us where we were from. They had both been to the states before and shared their experiences with us. In the last room, we signed our names in their guest book with a quill!
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After wandering around for a bit, lost, looking for a coffee fix and wifi, we stumbled upon Fumbally, a quirky cafe. It was a very friendly environment, kind of hippy actually.

Next, we visited the National Gallery of Ireland. They had all kinds of beautiful paintings from Caravaggio, William Turner, Jack B. Yeats, and many others. After that, we visited the National Library of Ireland. There, we talked to an Irish genealogy specialist who helped Kathleen get closer to discovering her Irish roots.
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St. Stevens Green on the way to the National Gallery.
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For lunch, we went to Peter’s Pub – it is a privately owned pub with a very peaceful environment and the sweetest owners! We split a toasted ham, cheese, tomato and onion sandwich, and a beef and vegetable soup. It was such a deliciously comforting meal.
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The owner gave us pamphlets and great advice on where to visit next. So we decided to take up his suggestion and visit Dublin Castle that evening.
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Dublin Castle
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Dublin City hall in front of the city crest.

The people here in Ireland are the nicest people ever! Everyone is so willing to point you in the right direction or tell you about their grand Irish history. At the castle, we met a very kind older gentleman who readily gave us a tour of the outside of the castle and took us to their city hall. He insisted that the tour would be free. He gave us Irish candy and a bunch of tourist pamphlets. When it started getting dark, we told him we had to leave, so he gave us his business card in case we wanted more tours!

Well, that’s it for tonight!

Cheers,
❤ i&k

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We went to the charming village of Howth today (pronounced: Hoat). It’s a fishing village so it has a pier, a small harbor, and a light house. The first thing we did was walk out on the pier, it was so windy that it felt like the wind was pushing us around. After exploring the pier we walked around a small out-door market which was filled with a wonderful assortment of crafts and foods. Ivana got a flat white to fulfill her coffee cravings.
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We then ascended further up into the village, which was built on a large hill. On our way up, we came across an old stone church. It was called St. Mary’s Church and had been used by the Lord of Howth. However, what once was a place of worship was now being used as a cemetery both inside and out. It was a very peaceful and a wonderful opportunity to pray for those who had been buried there.
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We were also able to go even higher into the town and see the church that is currently being used, St. Rita’s, unfortunately we weren’t able to go inside, but the outside was majestic!
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For lunch, we ventured back out onto the pier to a restaurant called The Brass Monkey. We both ordered soup; Ivana had Potato and Leek soup and Kathleen had Homemade Seafood Chowder. It was so good, we highly recommend it!

We have been learning that waiters don’t come by your table to check up on you while you’re eating; they give you your space to enjoy your meal and have a good long conversation, something that we are realizing most people here are very good at. They really know how to savor the moment and take the time to connect with the people who they are eating with, something that we don’t often take the time to do in America.

That’s all for now!

Cheers,
❤ i&k