It's nearly been a month and still I haven't blogged about my Worlds experience! Here's to hoping I remember everything...
Day 1: Flying and countryside
Important fact #1: Before April, I had never been outside of the US. Boarding the plane at Dulles, I was probably visibly the only person on the flight completely awestruck and excited about what was happening. The airplane was huge. We had our own TVs. We got an actual meal. I spent the flight watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and sleeping. Waking up the next morning, was very disorienting. I had only slept about a good three hours (uncomfortable), and the sun was shining in my face. At that point, we were just beginning to fly over Germany. And we got another meal. (sidenote: I am surprised with how good our food was on this flight. Manicotti, salad, and a brownie for dinner, and a danish and yogurt for breakfast.) My dad and I were in and out of Germany with hardly an incident unless you count my dad getting held up in security and me not having a seat on the plane until boarding time, but no big deal. I did make it to Ireland in one piece.
Important fact #2: I had never gone through customs before, and as I was in the back of the plane, I was towards the end of the line, which makes for an interesting adventure. As you can imagine, this was not good (especially since I was behind many African families trying to get a visa to enter the country). Luckily and unbeknown to them, the Irish had given me something to do, which was to sound out the Gaelic word for photography: grianghrafadoireacht. After the waiting, I was rewarded by going to the cute custom guy's booth, and off my dad and I went to be welcomed by the CLRG (see photo), claim our baggage, get our car, and go to the hotel, and eventually, Citywest.
The first time I walked into Citywest, my mouth was on the floor. There were so many people, so many vendors! And that stage... Citywest had three stages in all, one large arena stage, and two smaller more Oireachtas-sized stages. As you can guess, the first stage I saw? Was the arena stage. Being I was with my dad (who would've had to pay for a wristband), I didn't actually step into the room to check it out up close. It turns out that was a good move. I didn't want to psych myself out anymore than I already was. Everywhere I turned, there were dancers warming up, or practicing for their own competitions. While I appreciate the need to do so, the more I watched, the more I started to doubt the validity of me being at the world championships.
After this, my dad suggested we do a little sightseeing, so long as it was out in the sunshine, since the sun helps you adjust to new time zones (apparently). Pulling out my trusty Ireland travel book, I consulted various sticky tabs, and decided upon seeing Newgrange, and the area around it about an hour outside of the city, which leads to Important fact #3: pay attention to the travel guide. Newgrange is cool. It's older than Stonehenge, and it just looks impressive being all white and covered in grass. I only wish I could've seen the rest. My dad and I never go past the gate because we didn't have tour tickets, and the tours were all full. Had I read the entire entry in my trusty Ireland travel book, it would have told me this.
But we were not discouraged. We spent time driving around the beautiful lush and green countryside in search of other random things to do, besides learning how to drive on the wrong side of the road. Road here being more of a cavalier term describing a country lane that divided the fields and dipped in and out of the hills. Eventually we stumbled upon the ruins of Mellifont Abbey. Had I actually done any research, it probably would have been more meaningful. It was built in 1142, and looked like a ruin... I did have fun taking some nice pictures in the lavabo where the monks washed.
After this really long and quite disorienting day, my dad and I went back to the hotel, ate at the hotel restaurant, where Important fact #4: I didn't get carded for my alcoholic beverage. We crashed and burned after dinner with only a slight thought as to our plans for the next day: Dublin city.
To be continued...
Goals: Get new hornpipes down!