WEEK THIRTEEN: KING OF THE NORTH

Surprise surprise, I had another fun week. Crazy, right? To start off, I had my final classes of the semester. I really enjoyed my classes and had really cool professors, so it was sort of a bummer to be done. That being said, class is still class, so it’s cool to not have to go anymore. I don’t have anything for a couple weeks, because we are meant to use this as a study period. This seems like way longer than necessary, but I’m not complaining.

With the limited schoolwork, I played a bunch of golf this week, and played the famous Old Course for the first time. I just walked down in the late afternoon and got a tee time on the spot. It’s pretty bizarre to get on such a famous course with such ease, that you almost forget that this is where so many great golfers have played and so many famous moments have occurred. I played the first few holes by myself and then joined up with Bryce, a full-time student, for the back nine. The course was not as hard as I expected, although this is largely because I somehow avoided a lot of its deadly bunkers through sheer dumb luck. It also probably helped that I was very focused on not trying to embarrass myself. I had a stretch on the back nine of a couple holes where I played so hard that I thought about quitting and going home to Seattle, but other than that, I played pretty well. The one shot that is most etched in my memory looking back is my drive on the seventeenth hole, where you have to hit it over part of the Old Course Hotel. I crushed it right over the into the middle of the fairway. We finished right as the sun set, and I’ve got to say, playing the Old Course lived up to the hype. Hopefully I get on a couple more times before my stint in St. Andrews is through.

On Wednesday, I headed to Dublin to visit Ellie, one of my best friends from high school. I got in that afternoon and walked around town. Dublin’s a nice size, big enough to be interesting but small enough to get a good handle of it in a few days. We walked through downtown and along the river, enjoying the uncharacteristically pleasant weather.

On Thursday, we headed down to the Archaeological Museum. Ellie’s shown plenty of people around Dublin, so there’s few things she hasn’t seen, but this was one of them. The museum is most famous for its bog people, well-preserved bodies that are thousands of years old recovered from Ireland’s bogs. They’re a little macabre, but very interesting, sort of like a scholarly CSI in how one can tell certain things about the body’s lifestyle, time of death, etc. There were other cool historical things as well, and it was interesting to learn about Ireland’s history given that it is in many ways intertwined with Scotland’s.

Next, we headed to Howth, a little seaside town about 45 minutes outside of Dublin. Howth happened to be hosting Prawn Fest at the time, but we were unfortunately there a little too early to join the festivities. The Prawn Fest logo is a cartoon prawn dressed like a chef, serving prawns. Pretty dark, right? Anyways, Ellie and I went on a cool hike from Howth, up around a hill along the coast. It was a nice taste of the Irish landscape, which I would describe as similar to Scotland’s but perhaps a bit more lush and less rugged.

On Saturday, we headed to Kilmainham Gaol, which played a significant role in Ireland’s history, housing various political prisoners, criminals, and families struggling through the potato famine. The tour offered a good view and context to understand Ireland’s complicated and contentious road to independence.

Then, just down the street was another establishment integral to the history of Dublin—the Guinness factory. We took a tour, learning the brewing process, how to taste Guinness in a ridiculous and pretentious manner, and how to properly pour a pint. It was one of the most important things I’ve learned all semester.

It was a lot of fun to see Dublin and hang out with Ellie, who’s one of those people I’m lucky to say will be a lifelong friend. She is, in the truest sense, a homie. Now, I’m back in St. Andrews, getting ready to leave for Copenhagen tomorrow.

Fun fact: to show respect to their kings back in the day, the Irish people would suck on the king’s nipples. On that note, talk to y’all next week!

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