My favorite picture of the Irish countryside

24 April 2011

Happy Easter!!!

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you had a good day.
Side note: Sorry if this blog gets a little off topic every once in awhile - I haven't been sleeping very good lately (I don't know if it's the time change or end of year stress, either way it's annoying!) and last night I literally didn't sleep at all so I've found I tend to get a bit chatty when I haven't slept!
My friends and I started out the morning going to Christ Church Cathedral for their Easter Service. I decided to wear my heeled boots (not a big heel, but enough to know it's there) - flats would have definitely been a better option! After church, we went to Gallagher's Boxty House in the Temple Bar (ironically, none of us got boxty) before heading down to Grafton Street (about a kilometer from Christ Church). We then decided we were going to go to Phoenix Park, and we were going to walk there. I really need to go back when I have the appropriate footwear as the park is gorgeous, but I was very focused on trying not to fall this time! I figured it up when I got home, and I walked 10.8 kilometers (almost 7 miles!) I feel like those boots (and my feet) should get a gold medal! I'm thoroughly impressed with the boots I was wearing because they honestly didn't hurt my feet until we were halfway through the park (probably around mile 5) and I don't have any blisters! I will be keeping these boots around for a long time!
And now - I am going to bed! Goodnight!

17 April 2011


Sorry, I didn't get this up yesterday, but I was waaaay too excited to write. Even my personal journal just has written I MET JOSH GROBAN!
I found out last week that Josh would be doing an album signing at the Celtic Note on Record Store Day. Naturally, I went out the next day and bought his new album, Illuminations (I would highly recommend it if you haven't bought it yet!) When I got to the checkout the man said, "And how would you like to meet this fine fellow on Saturday?" I managed to contain myself and replied with a simple, I would love that (but I was really shouting uh, YES! in my head!) My flatmate, Matt, and his girlfriend, Lenna, were very entertained with my enthusiasm for the whole event. I kept telling them that we didn't have this kind of thing in Kansas, but they still laughed (I'm sure I was very entertaining.) So at 11:45 yesterday morning, I arrived at the Celtic Note on Nassau Street and realized that Josh is a little bigger in Ireland than I thought! The end of the line was all the way around the corner (I think I had flashbacks to standing in line at the Garda!) I stood in line for a little over an hour before I got to the front and had the surreal experience of seeing one of my favorite singers about 10 feet away from me! OMG!
The line snaked its way through the store (it's not very big at all) and finally it was my turn! I believe this is what I told my mom afterwards:
Did you get that?
If not, here's a translation:
We shook hands, he signed the inside page of the little book, then he put his arm around me and we took a picture. It was very exciting.
I didn't really know what to expect since I'd never met a famous person before, but I have to say I was thoroughly impressed with Josh. They had a professional photographer there so you could go online later that day and download your picture (it made everything go much faster and it was free). In every picture I saw, he looks genuinely happy - no fake smiles or anything. Every person I heard him talk to he said nice to meet you and thanked them for coming before they walked away. Such a nice guy!
So that was pretty much the highlight of doing grad school in Dublin - completely validated the whole experience! :)
If anyone would like to go to his concert in KC on 25 May, please come along! We have a group of 6 or 7 already and would love to have more!
In case you haven't seen my Facebook lately, here's a couple pics from yesterday:

Here are the lyrics to one of my favorite (can't pick an absolute favorite) Josh Groban song:
Hidden Away
Over mountains and sky blue seas
On great circles will you watch for me
The sweetest feeling
I've got inside
I just can't wait to get lost in your eyes
And all these words
That you meant to say
Held in silence
Day after day
Words of kindness
That our poor hearts crave
Please don't keep them
Hidden Away

Sing it out
So I can finally breathe in
I can take in all you say
Holding out for something I believe in
All I really need today
I want to free your heart
I want to see your heart
Please don't keep you heart Hidden Away

You're a wonder
How bright you shine
Flickered candle in a short lifetime
Secret dreamer that never shows
If no one sees you than nobody knows
And all these words you were meant to say
Held in silence day after day
Words of kindness that our poor hearts crafe
Please don't keep them
Hidden Away

Sing it out
So I can finally breathe in
I can take in all you say
Reaching out for someone I believe in
All I really need today
I want to feel your love
Will you reveal your love
Please don't keep your love
Hidden Away

I want to free your heart
I want to see your heart
Please don't keep your heart
Hidden Away

12 April 2011

Coalition of the Willing

I'm not sure how many readers are still out there (hello? ECHO, ECho, echo)but, if you haven't jumped ship, take a look at this video:

It's a video on how we can all play a part in fixing the world (in a nutshell anyway). Enjoy!

24 March 2011

I love Oxfam

Last night, we had our Oxfambooks "Christmas" party. (It's an Irish Christmas ;) One of the volunteers owns a Mexican restaurant up in Malahide so we had our dinner there. I have found decent Mexican food in Ireland!!! So excited!!! He said the cook was from California so I think that probably has something to do with it. I discovered that they're as fascinated with American accents as we are with Irish accents which was very entertaining for me. All in all, we had a grand time and I thoroughly enjoyed everyone's company.

21 March 2011

Last Day of Spring Break

It's the last day of my 3 week Spring Break. I had all kinds of plans for what I was going to accomplish during these three weeks, but I don't think any of them were achieved! I have a feeling today will be spent doing lots of reading for Medieval Dublin.

17 March 2011

St. Paddy's Day

It's been a wonderful day with a surprising lack of all things stereotypically Irish! Dublin is definitely a lot crazier than Galway on St. Paddy's Day. Dublin was definitely an experience, but Galway still holds my vote for the best place to be in Ireland on 17 March! I started the festivities last night by going with one of my friends (who is also from Kansas) and some of her friends from Trinity. We found a pub with E5 cocktails (really exciting!) then went to Dame Lane where we met up with some of my friends from UCD. We ended the night at the Mercantile, which, of course, was PACKED! It closed around 2:30 and it took Laurrie and I until between 4:00 and 4:30 to find a taxi. I was soooo tired by the time I got back to my flat! This morning, I forced myself out of bed around 10:00 so I could get into town and get a good spot for the parade at noon. Turns out, I really didn't need to get there that early since the parade didn't actually start until 1:30 (a.k.a. an Irish noon). The parade was very strange, but really cool! It was based on a book written recently (I honestly don't know which one) so each section of the parade was a chapter from the book. Some of the creatures looked like they belonged in the Neverending Story! After the parade, our group went for lunch and I learned, yet again, that there is no such thing as authentic Mexican in Ireland. We went to a burrito place that had signs saying their ingredients and chef were all from Mexico. I'll give them points for spice, but that's about it. Dublin has carnivals come in for the St. Patrick's Day Festival, which lasts all week so we walked around those this afternoon. Unfortunately, they wanted E4 for one ride so we didn't actually ride any rides. We all decided to part around 4:00 so I thought it would be easy to get the bus since everyone was probably staying in town. Not so much. After two of my buses passed me because they were full, I decided to walk up to the next bus stop. Fortunately, I was able to get on there and made it home in record time since we were too full to stop and pick anyone else up! I don't think you could pay me to go back into town tonight, it's soooo crazy there! I realize I love being a tourist and encourage others to travel, but it's days like this when tourists really annoy me! Maybe it's because I can't convince people that I actually live here when there's so many tourists around or maybe it's because my daily life is slightly disturbed. Either way, I never realized how easy it is to spot Americans walking down Dame Street.

Irish quote about St. Patrick's Day:
St. Patrick - one of the few saints whose feast day presents the opportunity to get determinedly whacked and make a fool of oneself all under the guise of acting Irish.
~Charles M. Madigan

07 March 2011

Henri-Chapelle Trip

I posted a few pictures of Henri-Chapelle in my last post and I put all of the pictures up on Facebook, but I realize not everyone has Facebook, and I know my mom has sent my blog address to her Carlton cousins so I'll repost the pictures here. I apologize as this is going to be a very long post!

The main entrance from the road.

Every state's seal was engraved on the pillars at the front of the cemetery. Here's Kansas!

The U.S. seal is on the floor of the main entrance.

You can's see them very well, but the names of those MIA are engraved on the pillars at the front as well.

The guardian angel statue stands at the front of the cemetery.

I saw a grave with a poppy on it.

The top picture is the engraving on the back wall of the cemetery. The bottom two pictures are close ups so you can actually read what it says: "In Honored Memory of Those Who Gave Their Lives for Their Country."

The graves surrounding James'.

Almost 8,000 men are buried in this cemetery alone.

The maps show the routes of the different armies throughout the war.

The countryside surrounding the cemetery.

The main entrance.

Without the sand rubbed in - you can tell how much of a difference this makes!

You can order flowers to be put on the grave. When they receive an order, they put the flowers out on the date specified and rub sand into the grooves on the stone. They then take a picture and send it to you.

They rub sand from the beaches at Normandy into the grooves so the inscription shows up on camera better.

James was killed in action near Lucherberg, Germany, while his unit was trying to take a bridge.

06 March 2011


I returned yesterday from a week long trip to Lueven, Belgium. I was a little nervous about it since I didn't really know anyone going on this trip (a few of the boys had been in classes with me, but they were just acquaintances). We had an absolutely fantastic time! There were 6 of us (all M.A. students) taking it for our Research Skills credit and 5 more Ph.D. or beyond just along for the ride, plus 6 professors. The first day we went to the Belgian Archives and took a walking tour of Leuven. They had said it would be a small town, but I think their version of small and my version of small are two different things. It was probably the size of Galway - maybe a little bigger. We also discovered that Belgian beer is very good.
While walking around, we found that Leuven also has a spire...only there's has a fly on the end of it...
The second day we went to Aachen, Germany, to visit Charlemagne's Cathedral. We had lectures each morning so we didn't get to Aachen until about 1:00 and had our tour at 2:00. We ended up leaving right after the tour at around 5:00 so we didn't have much free time. Probably my only complaint of the whole trip would be that we didn't get all that much free time in our field trip cities. We did get sausages in the market square so that gave us time to explore for our hour of free time at least. The tour was really nice and the guide was very knowledgeable. I think he was pretty excited to get a tour group who was actually interested in all of the historical stuff he had to say! We saw Charlemagne's first coffin, his throne (basically 4 marble slabs put together into a chair - it was for church so he wanted to appear the humble king), and his final coffin (although it only contains 90-some of his bones).

The next day we went to Antwerp and the "big kids" went to Bruges. We went to the print museum in Antwerp, which was absolutely fabulous. Really, I suppose anything that puts me among lots and lots of books I think is amazing, but the museum really was cool. Again, we didn't have a lot of free time, but we did have enough to discover a chocolate drink shop. It was absolutely amazing! After we hyped ourselves up on chocolate, we made our way back to the train station, had the stereotypical running through a European train station to catch our train, and "missed it by that much." We then ran into the professors who had also missed the train so we all ended up taking the next train back together. We then had a group dinner ouy minus the PhD students who weren't back from Bruges yet.

Thursday, we went in to Brussels to tour the EU Parliament building. I wasn't sure how interesting it would be because A) my interests lie in the 400s - slightly before the creation of the EU and B) I'm an American citizen and don't have much to do with the EU (although someone did seriously ask me last year if America was part of the EU *facepalm*) The tour was actually really interesting and now I feel like I need to go to DC and see the American Capitol as well! Again, we didn't have much free time since we got done with lunch around 2:00 and had to be back in Leuven by 5:00 so we went to the Comic Book Museum (Mike and Josh - I would have gotten you Smurfs things, but everything was in French!), then walked around the area by the train station for a bit. We missed the first train we intended to catch back so we thought no problem, there's another in 10 minutes we'll take that. Evidently the one we missed was the express that took 20 minutes and the one we got took 40. We got back to Leuven at a quarter to 5:00 and raced back to the college. Fortunately, the reception at 5:00 was an Irish 5:00 and we had time to relax before the ambassador got there. The reception was for a talk from the Irish Ambassador to the EU, which was extremely interesting. Usually, I don't get into politics much, but she was a very good speaker and really explained a lot of how the EU works.

Friday morning, everybody else left for home and I went to the Henri-Chapelle American Military Cemetery. My Granny's brother, James Carlton, is buried there so I went to go see his grave. I'm pretty sure I'm the first relative who has been there since my Granddad visited on his way home from the war. It really was a very moving experience. The impact of how many men died doesn't really hit you until you're standing, looking out over 8,000 graves and knowing that there are at least 3 more cemeteries in the area that look the same. Caroline, my contact person for this trip, took me out to his grave, rubbed sand from the Normandy beaches into the grooves so that everything would show up in the picture, and placed Belgian and American flags in front of the grave. She gave me all kinds of information about where James was killed, the date he died, and gave me forms for finding out more information about his time in the army. She also asked for any information we had on him to be sent to her as they are trying to collect as much information about each soldier before they are forgotten. There are 8,000 men buried in the cemetery and they only have 500 pictures so far so if you know anyone buried in Henri-Chapelle (or any other foreign military cemetery for that matter), please pass on any information you have!

12 February 2011


I have learned the virtue of being prepared for sickness before the sickness actually hits. I have a cold, and will be using this medium to whine about it. I could feel my throat becoming scratchy on Tuesday, and I should have stopped at the campus pharmacy then and picked up medicine. Unfortunately for me, I did not. I was in successful denial until Friday, when I finally had to admit that my nose was plugged, my throat was on fire, and my sinuses hurt. I have both Dayquil and Nyquil, but I'm supposed to use those "sparingly" because I'm on Warfarin. I also have cough drops and Sudafed, which have both helped quite a bit. This morning was the worst - my face hurt. Not my head, mind you, my face. I could tell my sinuses were completely filled up and all I wanted to do was burrow my head in the covers and not come out til my cold was done.
Of course, I put off going to the grocery store so I don't have much for way of food in the house. I'm sure if I desperately needed something, Matt would go get it, but I feel bad asking him. Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel well enough to take the bus into town to get some nasal spray, soup, and possibly whiskey (it's been suggested more than once!) I really wish colds were like the flu - 24 hours later, you're not necessarily well, but you're on the mend. Colds you just have to wait out until they've run their course. Maybe this is my punishment for getting a flu shot - I can't get the flu so I get a cold instead!

02 February 2011

1 year later

This post is a little late coming, but better late than never, right? This past January I celebrated a year of life that I almost didn't have. For those of you who don't know, a few days before I was supposed to leave for Italy in January of 2010, my roommate took me to the hospital because I couldn't breathe. We were both sure it was some sort of panic attack that I would get a breathing treatment for and be on my merry way. Wrong. Thanks to a doctor who refused to believe that it could be anything but blood clots and would not give up until he found them, I remained in the hospital, did not board a 10 hour flight to Italy, and started the regimen of Coumadin that would heal the clots.
I promised myself then that I would truly live my life and not sit and wait for my life to start. In this past year I've made quite a few changes. I moved to Dublin, started graduate school, moved into my first apartment, and started volunteering more than working. While I'm always adding to my bucket list of things I want to do, I feel very fortunate that I'm crossing things off of that list as well. So many people develop a list of "Someday I want to do" but few people actually get around to doing these things.
So, today my post is meant to challenge you to accomplish something on your bucket list (and if you haven't made one, do that, too!) Remember that in the big picture, we are just a spec in the huge scheme of things. Our life is fleeting and too short to spend sitting around waiting for it to start. Go out and live it!

These aren't Irish quotes, but they encompasses this post well:
"Dance as if no one were watching
Sing as if no one were listening
and Live every day as if it were your last."

"It's not dress rehersal. Live the life you imagined."

"Life isn't about finding yourself. It's about creating yourself."

"Do one brave thing today. . .then run like hell." (Ok, this one might not be as inspirational, but it provides comic relief ;)

19 January 2011

And we're back

So much for my getting better at blogging in the new year! Let's start with Christmas break - no there is too much, let me sum up (Princess Bride fans, you're welcome.)

I got home on December 6th rather than the 11th. I figured since I was done with classes, I would go home and surprise my parents. I had it all arranged for two of my sorority sisters to come pick me up at the airport, then for my sister-in-law to come from Topeka and take me to Concordia. Thank you Bre, Laura and Joni for making that work! We went up to my dad's office at the hospital first - the look on his face was priceless! We could see the wheels in his head turning...I'm pretty sure the thought going through his mind was, "Was I supposed to pick her up TODAY?" We then went home because we fortunately found out, through Facebook, that my mom was home sick that day. She was a little drugged on Nyquil so her reaction was a little more low key than I expected, but she was still excited.
I spent most of break making various visits to Baldwin, Jennings, Salina, and Greeley and just enjoyed being at home. I got almost everything on both Mom and my 'to do' lists done - woot! No matter how enjoyable it was, January 15th came and I had to come back to Ireland. My journey from the airport to my apartment was not nearly as exciting as the first trip between the two, but I'm definitely ok with that. My cab driver had no idea where Beechwood Court was so it was a good thing I had already been here.
Classes started yesterday for me. I only have one class - how awesome is that! It's called Medieval Dublin and looks very interesting. The bibliography is about 20 pages long (no, I"m not exaggerating) so it's a good thing it looks interesting. This whole having one class a week thing should give me plenty of time to work on my thesis (key word: should).

I realized I haven't been doing this in the last few posts so here is my Irish quote of the post:
"It's not that the Irish are cynical. It's simply that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody." ~ Brenden Behan