I have been in Dublin for a couple days now and we have practice on Monday. I am a bit anxious and nervous and excited; just a whirlwind of emotions is happening as I gear up for playing real competitive basketball again. But for now, I am going to focus on this new wonderful place that I am in: Dublin, Ireland! We have moved into temporary dorms as the accommodation gets ready for the new residents, so we must hold off on making these rooms like home. This gives us plenty of time to explore one of the best hubs in Europe.
Sam (fellow Victory Scholar and my American teammate) and I decide to go on an expedition.
Before I tell you the story of our travel that day, I must set the scene:
Anyways, Sam and I want to get to the City Centre because most of the things globally associated with Dublin are located there. At least, that’s what we have heard. So, Sam and I schedule to wake up early to get the most out of our day. We head out after eating a delicious traditional Irish breakfast to the City Centre. We have our iPhone navigation system ready to take us to our destination and we are off. To the Southeast of our campus are mountains and honestly, it’s the only marker we are able to see through the thicket of the trees so we use that to gauge our progress.
As we have been walking for about 15 minutes from our rooms on campus, we see a game of hurling going on. Now this is one of the most brutal games I have seen live but it’s so interesting and tactical at the same time. It is like the game of lacrosse mixed with self-toss baseball combined with the force of tackles in football minus the pads. The few minutes I was watching, I was just beyond confused.
After watching some hurling, we keep walking for about another 10 minutes and then we realize we haven’t been paying attention to the navigation which probably has been telling us to turn left for about 10 mins… so we decide to let it re-route us as we make the next possible left. We just so happened to stumble into the most gorgeous park: Griffith Park. It is incredible that we find—in the middle of the city—such serenity and beauty. Being in that space, was the most at ease I have felt since I first learned I would be a part of Sport Changes Life. This is also when I realized that dogs can freely roam without leashes and they don’t run up to you either! I cannot imagine my pup being able to do that; kind of wished he would be that trained though. During our walk in the park, we are alongside the Tolka River with ducks (more animals familiar to me, yay) and the most beautiful swan. Of course, I had to stop and take a picture… but what was really crazy to me was that the swan was posing for the picture!
At this point, Sam and I have made little progress in our journey to the City Centre after 45 minutes. But we are still determined to get to our destination, so we decide to keep walking south along Drumcondra. This is when we realize that one of the largest matches between Ireland and the UK is happening soon. We continue walking and take a couple of roundabout ways because we listened to our navigation system and some out of towners…and we finally make it after an hour to the City Centre to meet up with the two Victory Scholars placed at Trinity College: Rebecca and Simone.
But this isn’t where the journey ends…
TO BE CONTINUED…
Fun fact: in Ireland (and across Europe), City Centre is the same as downtown for Americans.