The process of settling in at Trinity College began for our global studies group as two students welcomed us and helped with luggage. Some of the accommodations were ready, while others weren’t. However, that wasn’t a problem. We could temporarily store all luggage into the rooms ready for use and the Trinity College students continued to assist us, climbing up and down stairways to put everything away.
While the remaining rooms were being prepared, we had time to get acquainted with our new surroundings in Dublin and have lunch. I set off with several others in my group to find a pub that was open. It was around 11 or 11:30 a.m. and a few that we passed by weren’t open yet for the day. Rounding a corner, though, we found Fitzgerald’s and ventured inside for our first Irish pub experience together.
Beautiful wood and panels of rich green decorated the interior of Fitzgerald’s, along with several maritime-themed items near our table. The service and food were great, atmosphere was nice and relaxed; we didn’t feel hurried out by anyone, so we could just sit and talk for a while. Once we were ready to leave, it turned out that the diet soda I ordered was called a “split,” the way it was listed on the bill.
I also found out, when trying to pay, that my bank had given me British pounds instead of euros. So, one young woman in our lunch group covered the cost of my food and we headed over to a currency exchange where I finally got my euros and paid her back. The next day was a bank holiday in Ireland and it was better to take care of the money right away. Due to the exchange rate, the 210 British pounds I had went up to 249 euros and a $20 I added to it dropped to 14 euros.
Wandering around as Dublin newbies for the most part, a woman suddenly tapped me on the shoulder after approaching us from behind. She said, “Fraulein,” handing me a colorful brochure for a number of bus tours in the area. We thought that was very nice of the woman to offer the info to us.
Soon, we headed back to campus. It was time to check on a few more rooms and if they were ready, we’d get an info pack and door key cards. At the accommodations office, we found our rooms were all set, signed a log sheet and continued on to Houses 47 and 48. A welcome dinner was scheduled for our global studies group at O’Shea’s on Talbot Street. So we had to get our luggage from the other rooms, rest if needed and get ready to meet at the campus main gate in business casual attire.
It began raining steadily and continued throughout the walk to O’Shea’s, making the distance seem longer. My shoes, a sort-of flat Mary Jane style, also hurt my feet before we got too far. That slowed me down a bit and two others from my group stayed behind with me so I wouldn’t be on my own. Anyway, I don’t think I broke my shoes in enough before the trip. Despite the difficult walk, I spotted a few interesting things along the way that I wanted to take photos of if I passed by them again on a sunny day:
- A sign for The Leprechaun Museum
- Fancy lighting on O’Connell Bridge
- James Joyce / Ulysses marker on the ground
Once we were at O’Shea’s, a young woman took our orders for appetizers, main course and dessert. I took in the Irish symbols decorating the walls.
The food was delicious: spring rolls for appetizers, stew for main course and a slice of chocolate cake for dessert. Since I skipped having a Guinness with lunch, I decided to try topping off dinner with a pint of the famous beverage. Not really used to the taste of beer in general, I could only drink about half of it. Later in the week, we’d be visiting the Guinness Storehouse.
Before heading back to campus, one of the global studies staff helped with my phone settings to get the wi-fi to work. She texted a code back home to my family, so that could be communicated with my service. Eventually, we got it set up to show Ireland’s service, Vodafone. I still had one more issue with my phone – it turned out that I had the wrong converter. The one purchased for the trip had a color-coded world map, indicating that it would work in Ireland and elsewhere throughout Europe. Unfortunately, it only had two prongs, instead of three need for outlets such as these:
So, until I could buy the correct kind, I borrowed a converter from one person or another in my group. Everyone I traveled to Ireland with was friendly and willing to lend a helping hand to each other.