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Leg 4: Northern Ireland, Week One (Pt. 2) 01/31/2010

Posted by Jenn in Uncategorized.

Alrighty! So where did we leave off? Saturday? Saturday was grand!

First, we went to the other main pub in Portstewart that we hadn’t been to–Shenanigans (or Bar 7 as some people are calling it).

Otto with Erin and Katie.

Here we see Otto with my two housemates Katie and Erin (as well as the cocktails we'd ordered that evening--largely a good idea!)

We stayed at Shenanigans with Mark (our RA–remember from last post?) and then Katie and Erin met some people in the bar and decided to have a chat. They seemed like scrupulous chaps, so Mark and I continued onto the Anchor Bar without them for the next hour or so.

Otto on one of the benches at the Anchor Bar.

Otto chills up against one of the larger benches at the Anchor Bar. Fun fact: this is the same bench where the musicians who play the live Irish music every Thursday set up shop!

Otto on Smithwick's.

Otto, being a silly little octopus atop my pint of Smithwick's, an Irish red ale style beer.

After killing some time (and a few brain cells, what with the beer and all) Mark and I grabbed some take-away and hooked a taxi back to Agherton, where I was astonished to discover that Erin and Katie were not yet back. So I dug into my take-away; and let it be known that this is the first time I’ve ever had “chips and gravy”, or steak fries with beef stew (but only the stew part) to all of my American readers (which I think is nearly all of you :P). And it was pretty good!

Anyway, Erin and Katie rolled in about an hour later…and with their new friends, Brendan and Sam! They were really great guys, and we sat around chatting for hours into the evening! Good times, especially for having been in the country for less than a week!

Otto with the group.

Here's (from left to right) Sam and Katie (though they're not paying much attention) and Brendan, Otto, and Erin chilling out.

Sunday was largely uneventful–I went food shopping and played around on the Internet, and that was pretty much my day. But on Monday, I had my first class!

Now, one of these days, I may bring Otto to class with me and take a picture, but I wasn’t about to do it in my first week! But my first class this Monday was History of Witchcraft and Magic in Early Modern Britain and Ireland, which looks to be a fairly spectacular class, being taught by an expert in the field. I believe he wrote the textbook we are expected to use for the class, which is kind of neat when you think about it.

Now, Irish school is sort of broken up into a two-hour lecture, where you show up and take notes, and a one-hour seminar, where you meet up and discuss the material. I’m not sure yet how I feel about this set-up, but it could be problematic, considering I’m a commuter and my 9:15 class and 2:15 seminar leaves me with a whoppy load of free time between classes that I don’t want to waste a bus journey getting to Portstewart and back on. Guess I need to make some friends, huh? ^_^!

And for all of you Otto-heads out there, here are some obligatory shots of Otto at the front of my school:

Otto in front of Uni.

Here's Otto (in focus, you'll notice) in front of the main sign for the University of Ulster, Coleraine.

Otto in front of Uni.

And here (and pay close attention, because I don't think I'm skilled enough to make this happen again) is Otto, OUT OF FOCUS, with the University sign clear as day behind his head. It's like FOCUS and then focus. Yeah. Cool stuff.

Anyway, day one of my first week of school was a pretty great success, I’d say! I got registered for classes, and generally accomplished all manner of menial administrative tasks that I will spare you the horror of reading. It was a good day!

And that EVENING we went to the University of Ulster Student Union Bar. Yes. You heard that correctly. My school. It has a BAR in it. A bar with ALCOHOL. My school is legally licensed to serve liquor to its students. Dude, I don’t even think WVU has an on-site bar, and they’re WVU!

So after getting over the initial shock of finding a freakin’ BAR on campus, Erin, Katie, and I settled in to chat and meet new people. And that was fun!

Otto on the bus.

Otto resting on the rails of the bus that was taking us back to SCHOOL of all places to have a pint. ^_^!

Erin, Otto, and Foster's.

Here is Erin and Otto with a couple of pints of Foster's, which were that evening's beer special. Beer. Special. At SCHOOL. Yeah.

Erin and Katie headed out at about 8:30, and I was almost immediately introduced to Conor, who was not actually a student at U of Ulster, but of Queen’s, but who had apparently just finished his exams and was drinking himself across the country. Kind of neat! Anyway, I met up with his friends as well, such as Phil (who was also from Belfast and doing the drinking thing) and Anto and Steven and Mark (different Mark) and Andrew, who I believe actually go to U of Ulster. It was fun! Especially since I had already called some other American students and we all met up at the bar to chat and play The Name Game.

But I’ll just let the pictures do the talking, shall I?

Conor with Otto.

This is Conor holding Otto. If you look in the back there, you can see Anto and Ruarhi....well, I don't know if I'm spelling that right at all, but he was there as well, anyway.

Otto and Anto

Here's Otto with Anto (if you can even see them--it was rather dark at this point.)

Otto and Mark.

Here's Otto and Mark (at least I hope that's what his name was--I hate getting people's name wrong!)

Mark, Otto, and Jenni.

Here's Mark and Jenni giving Otto a simultaneous happy kiss! What a lucky octopus! ^_^!

Otto and a drink.

Chug, chug, chug! Here's me making an utter wino of my octopus by forcing on him someone's beverage. Although, by the looks of that glass, it may have been a Pepsi...so in that case...maybe he's just a Pepsi wino. ^_^!

Otto on my head again.

Well, Otto's back on my head again!

Phil with Otto.

Here's Phil with Otto. Again, that's only if you can tell Otto is even in there because of the dark.

It was a really fun evening! And afterwards, we all retired back to Anto’s house to watch “Zombieland” (which was awesome!) and the “Father Ted” Christmas special. Since I had never really heard of “Father Ted” before this, it was especially nice to watch a really funny show!

Anyway, the next day of class (wherein I had only the one later in the afternoon) went very well also! I had a film class called Mapping the City, which is about the construct of cities in European film. It looks pretty spiffy, and I’m excited about this class more than any other, I think. We even had our first film scheduled for that evening–“Run Lola Run”.

But I did find out that between the lecture, the seminar, and the film showings, I’m probably going to be in that class from 1:15 to 7:00 EVERY Tuesday. That’s a pretty long time! But the film showings are optional–just so long as we watch them eventually.

Anyway, to kill time between the very short class period and the 4:00 showing of “Run Lola Run”, I met up with two students from the class, Verity and Richard, and we all went out for coffee at the hidden senior coffee shop on campus. It was a good time! They’re both really interesting, fun people! And it turned out that “Run Lola Run” was a good movie (I had seen only bits and pieces of it before), and I enjoyed it very much.

Okay, this post has gone on for quite long enough, I think! So that was my first seven days in Ireland, for those of you keeping count! Tune in next time as I recount my first day OFF from school–we went to Giant’s Causeway!


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