Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The British Literary Pilgrimage!!! Phase 1: SLC - Ireland

I hope you all are ready for some picture overload! Because all of these are only a fraction of the pictures I have from the first 4 days. Sorry it's taken me so long to get started on blogging all of my crazy adventures. I have a lot of pictures to get through! 

Anyway, my grand adventure commenced on May the 2nd, 2011. And Oh, was it grand! We had a little bit of a rocky start, though. We all arrived at the airport at 6:30 AM ready to get on a plane, but were disappointed to find out that our flight to Dallas was cancelled, which meant we would miss our connecting flight to Chicago, which meant we would miss that flight to Dublin. We waited on the floor of the SLC airport for 6 hours before we even heard anything! Finally, American Airlines started figuring stuff out, but it meant splitting us all into three groups. Some would be able to get to Ireland on time. Another group would be sent to New York City, where they would spend the night before flying out to Dublin, the last, and largest, group would spend the night in Salt Lake, then fly to Chicago and then to Dublin the next day. Guess what group I was in...
This is what happens when your stuck in a queue line for 6 hours- you start going a little crazy.
Yep. Salt Lake City. I was pretty bummed out about it- I'm not gonna lie. But, it actually turned out to be a really beautiful day, and I had a lot of fun! Plus, I got a chance to get to know these girls a little better:

 That's Brooke, Chelsea, Haley, Emily, me, and Liz (from left to right). They are all pretty amazing girls. We started off our afternoon in SLC at the Gateway mall, which honestly isn't the greatest if you're trying to save all your money for Europe. But it was still pretty fun and we managed to entertain ourselves, as you can see. :)

Like I said before, it really was a beautiful day. It was warm, the sun was shining, and the flowers and trees on Temple Square were in full bloom. It had been a long time since I could visit Temple Square just for the sake of visiting Temple Square, and I must say it was rather refreshing after the stressful morning we had all experienced. Plus, I finally got a chance to go to the roof of the Conference Center, which I have always wanted to do. It was worth the wait. :) I didn't think to get any pics of that though.

The next day we finally got to get out of Utah! This is in the Chicago O'Hare Airport during our 6 hour layover. That airport is massive, and has a lot to do, but by the time our flight left we were all pretty ready to get to IRELAND!!!

 Ireland is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. It was so green! Except in the places covered with rock. The picture above is an example. All the gray stuff on the hill is rock. It looks way cooler in person, but you get the idea.

 This is Corcomroe Abbey, our first stop once we finally made it to Ireland. This is the moment when the trip actually felt real, and when I realized how fantastic it was going to be. It was in ruins, and had graves everywhere, the entire inside is covered with headstones. It was absolutely beautiful
The first picture of me taken in a foreign land. :)
The whole group at Corcomroe. All the slabs of rock in front of us are graves.

After we left the Abbey we headed to the Cliffs of Moher, aka the Cliffs of Insanity!!!! I'm pretty proud of this picture because I think it actually captures how breathtaking and stunning Ireland actually is. Oh man, I LOVED it here! It was rain and a little foggy, but I think it just made the Cliffs even more amazing. They're huge, and they're beautiful. In fact, they're in the running to be on of the new 7 Wonders of the World. You should all go vote for them. :)

Kaity Lewis (she was pretty much my best friend through the whole tour. I love her!) and I in front of the Cliffs. As you can see, we got pretty wet.
Some of my other good buds on the trip: Juan (yes his name really is Juan), Becca, Kaity, me, and Sara (the leprechaun).

Another cool place we saw in Ireland was this really cool rock thing. :) I can't remember what it was called, but it's an ancient burial ground. A lot of people are buried there.

These rocks cover the ground everywhere around the stone structure. Everywhere. They're called grikes.

My token Chaco pic for the trip. Every adventure needs one!
 The next day we got on a ferry and went to the Isle of Inishmore, on of the three Aran Islands of the coast of Ireland. This was easily one of my favorite parts about the whole trip.

Me, Becca, Emily, attractive Irishman, Kaity, and Chelsea on the Ferry.
This pic pretty much sums up how I felt the entire time I was in Ireland.

On Inishmore, we took the most amazing bike ride EVER! We started at one end of the island, biked about 3 miles along the coast, then hiked about a mile up a hill to the cliffs of Dun Aengus. 
A small taste of some of the scenery on my bike ride.

A rocky beach along the way. It was full of sweet tide pools. The rocks were like staggered steps all the way down to the water.

I don't know why I love this picture so much, but I do. It reminds me of the amazingness of Ireland I guess. This was taken at Dun Aengus, and I was kind of overwhelmed with how beautiful everything was.
That's me lying on the edge of a cliff. No biggie. It was so cool! This was at Dun Aenghus, and below us there was a sheer drop. There was nothing below me, and the wind was blowing like crazy. It kind of felt like I was flying. 
On our way back from Dun Aengus to our ferry, we rode through sheets of rain. It was very wet, but between that, the gorgeous sky, and the beautiful ocean to my left, it was kind of like a dream. That day was pretty perfect.

On our last day in Ireland :( we spent our time exploring Dublin. We started at Trinity College, where we saw the Book of Kells and the most extraordinary library I have ever seen. After that we just shopped around the city. Dublin is pretty great. I wish I would have taken more pictures of it. My favorite part of the city was its parks. The picture below was taken at the most beautiful park I have ever seen. The rock wall behind us is a fountain with a big gorgeous pond. It was pretty great.

That night we left Ireland, and my heart broke a little. It felt a little like home. But, the rest of my trip was pretty incredible too. :) Coming up: Wales!


Tiffany said...

Yay! That was an awesome update. I cant wait to hear more about your trip. You look beautiful and i LOVE that picture of you upside down too. :) I might have thrown up looking off that cliff but I bet it was amazing. AGH!!! I cant wait for more.

The Clarks said...

wow taunalee!!! i was so happy to see this post! ireland looks so incredible. and i can't believe you've seen the cliffs of insanity!! ha ha. GORGEOUS. and might i say whoever had the idea of riding bikes through that area - awesome. that looks SO fun. i'm so excited to see more!! =)

Taralyn said...

1. You are so gorgeous!
2. You look super happy and it makes me happy and I may or may not have teared up while reading about the fulfillment of one of your life dreams. :)
3. Love the Chaco pic!

The Clarks said...

Awesome stuff! Ireland looks like a fun place to RIP on a mountain bike. Rip as in 'tear', not as in R.I.P. Just thought I'd clarify. Looks super cool; keep these posts coming!

The Clarks said...

P.S. That last one was from Steve

Taralyn said... about phases 2-20? ;P

Tiffany said...

Ya update you hoser