It has been a little while since my last blog post because I’ve been pretty busy with assignments and presentations for school. So, I wanted to give a little recap of how I celebrated Halloween here in Ireland!
A few weeks before Halloween, Niall told us about a music festival-type event called Jika Jika that was being held in Ebrington Square in Derry. His all-time favorite DJ, Patrick Topping, was going to be there so we decided to give it a go and buy tickets!
The next challenge was to find a Halloween costume. When we first arrived in Letterkenny, Manny had been watching a series on Netflix called “Money Heist” and recommended it to all of us. So, we all started watching it and got SO into the show. (I’m anxiously waiting for the next season to come out!!) In my search for Halloween costumes, I came across a “Money Heist” inspired costume on Amazon and thought it was perfect for us! Everyone else agreed and we all ordered red jumpsuits and Salvador Dali masks so we could dress up as the characters in the show. I know you might be thinking, “Then why isn’t she wearing a red jumpsuit and mask in the pictures??” Well, there are 2 reasons: 1. Someone had to dress up as the Professor (one of the main characters of the show) to make our costume complete, and 2. Niall needed a costume so I took one for the team and let him wear the one I ordered, which meant I’d be the Professor (I called myself La Profesora…thought it was a little more fitting😉)
So, all the components for our Halloween night had come together and we were ready for our night in Derry (which is in Northern Ireland). Here’s a little fun fact for you all: Derry was named the best Halloween destination in the WORLD by USA Today – and I live just 20 minutes away from it! The origin of Halloween actually dates back 2,000 years ago to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (sow-in) where it was said that the ghosts of the dead returned to walk the earth before a new year began for the Celts on November 1st. So, I’d say its roots in Irish history make Derry a pretty darn cool place to be on Halloween!
Back to my Halloween night experience – we decided to take the bus to Derry since it was quick and much cheaper than a taxi. Once we arrived, we weren’t sure where to go to meet everyone so we walked across the Peace Bridge and into Ebrington Square. It was super windy and chilly – you could actually feel the bridge moving as you walked across it, which was a little scary! Once we made it across the bridge, Niall calls to tell us that we were on the wrong side🤦🏻♀️ So, back over the bridge we went. Then, we found a little Mexican restaurant and snacked on some chips and queso while we waited for Niall, Temple, Dave #1, and Dave #2 (collectively known as “The Derry Boys”). They eventually showed up and we hung out a little bit before heading to the Jika Jika festival. We saw some of the Derry Halloween Parade and then began our trek to the other side of town to get to the party! On our way over, we also saw the fireworks show over the River Foyle – it was all such a cool experience!
We finally made it to the festival and it was PACKED. There were so many people dressed up in different costumes and dancing to the music – it was so much fun! Somehow in all the chaos, we were able to find our French housemates and some friends from our neighbor house and continued the fun with them, too!
After the festival, we went to a bar called “The Diplomat” to hang out with everyone before heading back to Letterkenny. Little did we know it would be so difficult to get a taxi to take us just 20 minutes away! Since we were in Northern Ireland, the 24-hour cab services in Letterkenny wouldn’t pick us up because we were technically in a different country – would have been nice to know beforehand! Now I guess you’re wondering, how the heck did they get home?? And there’s only one answer to that question: Lauren NicPháidín. Lauren is literally a SAINT. She will do anything for anyone and is seriously one of the best people I’ve ever met! She has such a big heart and gives so much of her time to coach and be a role model for the boys in the North Star basketball club, keep our LYIT Donegal men in line, AND she has a 9-5 full-time job as a social worker on top of that! So, thanks to Lauren, we were able to get a lift back to Letterkenny and we made it home safe and sound. (Seriously, if it wasn’t for her I’m not sure where we would have ended up!)
The entire night was DEFINITELY one to remember and an amazing experience. I might just have to come back again next year to celebrate Halloween, Derry-style!
Traveler Tip #16:
If you’re a scholar based in Letterkenny and are going to a coaching session somewhere, WEAR LAYERS. Chances are, the gym will be freezing – ESPECIALLY the Ballyshannon gym on a Sunday! (You can thank me later)
That’s all for now, folks👋🏼