"Thinking in isolation and with pride ends in being an idiot." - G.K Chesterton

Recent Musings

The First Week – Photo Essay

The First Week – Photo Essay

When I began writing this post (in the moments of free time I’ve had during orientation week) I tried writing in the chronological style of my previous two posts. I quickly realized that this would become unwieldy. A play by play doesn’t always explain the […]

Ireland – Part 2

Ireland – Part 2

I awoke at 5 a.m. to a light drizzle in a strange house, over 3,000 miles away from home. As I laid in bed, I smiled in disbelief at my present state: I was staying in a house in Northern Ireland, traveling with my best […]

Ireland – Part 1

Ireland – Part 1

January 2nd, 2018 – The Departure

I woke up at 7:30 am to the muffled rumblings of a family scrambling to get people out of the door. I grabbed a cup of coffee and plopped myself down to observe the chaos of the morning – usually I’d sleep through this, but since I wanted to say goodbye to my family one last time, I enjoyed the show. After many hugs and exclamations of how much they’ll miss me, I left for O’Hare international with my father and Brendan J. Thorp. I’ll spare the minute details of the flight from O’Hare to Dublin. I will add one humorous happening from the O’Hare security line. While waiting in line to go through security, a TSA agents announced in a matter of fact voice “Please do not place infants in the bins! The bins are not for infants” While this would appear common sense, the announcement exits for a reason. Perhaps, as Ethan suggested, the TSA agent was bored; regardless, it makes a humorous memory



January 3rd, 2018 – The Arrival

The real adventure began once we had retrieved our bags from the baggage claim and had put them in storage for the duration of our stay in Ireland (We are only carrying what we have in our backpacks.) The first item on the agenda was visiting a remnant of a monestary founded by St. Columba in the city of Swords, Ireland. Since Swords was only a couple kilometers from the airport, we decided we’d walk to Swords.

I don’t mind walking, I really don’t, but when you’re jet-lagged, haven’t had a proper meal in over 8 hours, and haven’t had your proper fill of coffee, it’s not a great combo. I forced myself to be in a relatively good mood because of three things.
1. I’m in Ireland with my best friends, traveling for a week before I get to spend an entire semester studying in Rome – I’ll live
2. Seeing an ancient pillar silhouetted in the moonlight is not something you see every day (We had gotten in so early that the sun hadn’t risen, something we hadn’t accounted for)
3. The power of a G.K Chesterton’s quote:

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.

I am consciously trying to make myself reframe all the bad things that happen to me while abroad. Not everything will be perfect, but that’s ok. In the Hobbit, Bilbo wasn’t always comfortable and happy, the book is actually quite explicit in describing how miserable he at times. If adventures were always perfectly fun, everyone would have them.
After a search throughout Swords for a place for breakfast, and a casual stroll past a small castle, we trekked another 5 kilometers to the city of Malahide. At the end of our journey was a small wood, and at the end of the wood, a small clearing.

Once we had rounded the bend of the clearing, we were greeted by Malahide castle. Not something you see in Wisconsin or Bismarck.

After we had seen the castle and the ancient church next to it, we found a cafe. Food is a magical thing. I entered the cafe hangry and jet lagged. I left feeling full and filled with energy. The food was filling and hearty, something I know I will miss in Italy. With our two minor excursions completed, we plotted our way to Dublin. Consulting with some locals, we learned that the Bus fare from Malahide is 3.30 Euro- exact change. Lesson 1 – Always have change in Euro, bills don’t cut it. We spend an hour walking around Malahide looking for a way to get exact change for a fare. Pro tip – Irish carpet shops are not flush with change. We ended up going back to the cafe we started at. Exact fare in hand and lesson learned, we boarded a double-decker bus and rested our feet. Our sole mission in the Dublin city center was to see the Book of Kells and the famous library room of Trinity college aka the Jedi Temple Library. After a little bit of city navigation, we arrived at Trinity College where the Book of Kells was on display.

Seeing the Book of Kells, a manuscript transcribed and intricacy decorated all by hand in the 5th century by Irish monks was incredible. After we had seen the Book of Kells, we walked stairs to the old Trinity College reading room. The design for the Jedi Temple archives (Star Wars Jedi Library) is almost a carbon copy of the old reading room.

With the Book of Kells and the old reading room checked off our agenda, the next item was finding a bus to Belfast, where our Airbnb was for the night. Luckily, we found a bus for only €10. Once on the bus, everybody fell asleep. On arrival, we figured out how we’ll get to our next stop tomorrow – Downpatrick. After finishing the business side of our Belfast stay, we found a pub and ordered food, and a first for us, a beer.

With food and beer to satiate us, we hiked to our Airbnb.
That’s where we are now, sitting and lazing about. We walked 16 miles today. At least our shoes are broken in.

Go dtí an chead uair eile! (Until Next TIme!)

What is a Trip?

What is a Trip?

In two days I depart for Dublin, Ireland en route to Rome, Italy for an entire semester. After many months of waiting, it’s finally close enough to feel real. There will be so much to see, do, learn, eat, drink and experience that I struggle […]