The Final Day

Today was my last day of work at Martinstown House.  It is certainly bittersweet.  On the one hand, I can’t wait to go home and see my friends, family, and cat.  On the other hand, the Booth family has gone out of their way to make me feel at home here and I don’t want to leave.  I am, however, looking forward to sleeping in my own bed!

Since my last update I have only visited one other town:  Kilkenny.  This is a small town located about two hours to the southwest of Dublin that was founded during Medieval times.  We walked around, looked at the buildings and the river, and toured the castle.  My favorite part was a huge grass park in front of the castle.  It must have been at least ten football fields long and filled with people enjoying the warm summer day (which is quite a rare occasion in Ireland).

Since my last update three new WWOOFers have arrived at the house.  Ben and Lauren are from Utah.  They both just graduated with degrees in psychology.  The third WWOOFer is Austin, who’s also from Utah.  He just graduated with a degree in biology/zoology/german/japanese.  They are all very nice, and already love it here at Martinstown House.

But for now, this is the end of my adventure.  I think I will keep this blog though, for adventures yet to come.  Where will I go next?  Japan?  Spain?  Road trip around the States for a month?  Argentina?  There are endless possibilities and nothing to hold me back.  I already have several small adventures planned for after my return home:  a road trip to Savannah, several concerts, and possibly a cruise to the Bahamas.  All of this will be followed by my move across state – from Orlando to Tallahassee – for law school in the fall. 

There will certainly be many adventures in my future and I am excited to share my experiences with the world.

Signing off – for now,

Ian Waldick (Irish Organic Farmer)

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The Weekend’s Adventure, etc.

Greetings All,

A lot has happened in the past few days:  I had my trip to Galway, my tour of the Connemara, two WWOOFers left, and one new WWOOFer arrived.  I’ll start from the beginning of the weekend.

I woke up at around 9:00am on Saturday, eager to start my journey to Galway.  My bus left at 11:00am from Kildare.  When I got on the bus, I was very happy to make good use of their WiFi to watch the first few episodes of the new season of Arrested Development on Netflix (which if you haven’t watched yet, I highly recommend that you do).  I finally arrived in Galway at 1:40pm.  After walking around the city for about half an hour, I found my hostel.  It was still too early to check-in to the room, so I left my luggage and went for an adventure.  I decided that I would walk up the coast to a place just outside of Galway called Salthill.  On the way there I found a small festival going on.  The most interesting thing at the festival was a game similar to water polo that was being played by people in kayaks.  Of course I took plenty of pictures of that.  After watching the game for a few minutes, I continued my journey.  I walked for about two hours, stopping in a few markets and shops along the way.  I finally reached my destination, snapped a few photos, and turned around.  By time I returned to the hostel I was cold and wet (it was raining out, of course).  After I checked into my room (with five other people in bunk beds), I went downstairs for some hot (also free) coffee and to take advantage of the WiFi.  While I was in the common area, I met a girl from Massachusetts and one from Vancouver.

After much conversation with a lot of the people staying at the hostel, I decided to go to sleep around 11:00pm.  I was the only one in the room.  Being myself, I decided that I wouldn’t need to purchase ear plugs for this trip; I was wrong.  I was woken up at midnight by drunk people.  I was woken up at 2:00am by drunk people.  I was woken up again at 3:00am by drunk people.  Then, when I had almost fallen asleep (around 4:00am) one of the guys in the room started snoring.  Then, the girl’s phone in the bunk above me started going off every fifteen minutes, which woke everyone else up except her.  Finally, I decided to wake up at 7:30am (after getting about three hours of sleep).

After eating breakfast, I set off to find my bus tour of the Connemara.  The Connemara is a large area of wilderness in north-eastern Ireland that has mountains, rivers, lakes, a castle or two, and a few small towns.  It is also home to the only fjord in Ireland.  The bus tour that I took drove us all over the Connemara from 10:00am to 5:00pm.  I got stunning pictures of mountains, lakes, rivers, sheep, and the castle at Kylemore Abbey.  Simply put, it was amazing.

After all of this, I went back to the train station for my two and a half hour train ride back to Kildare.  It went by quick (possibly because I was watching Arrested Development).  When I got home, I found my fellow WWOOFers waiting for me to eat dinner, which was a relief to me since I hadn’t eaten much all day.  Needless to say, that night I slept like a baby.

On Monday, one of the WWOOFers left for his new host.  He had been here the longest, since the end of March.  I was sad to see him go, but I know that he will have great adventures at his new host’s farm.  We also got a new WWOOFer on Monday night – a girl from France.

And this morning another one of the WWOOFers left for his home in France.

Until next time,

Ian

P.S. Today I tried Black Pudding…it was delicious (if you don’t know what that is, look it up)

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Adventure to the Mountains

Well hello again,

I realized today that I haven’t posted an update in a week.  On Saturday I went to Dublin again with one of the other WWOOFers.  We went to Collins Barracks, which is a military barracks that is still occasionally used for drills.  It also houses one of the national museums – this particular one focused on Ireland’s military history.  It was a nice museum (even more so since admission was free) to go along with the book on Irish history that I am currently reading.  After that, we went to the Chester Beatty (sp?) Library.  This is the largest private library in the world, and houses some of the world’s most famous works of literature.  Among the items in the library are original parts of the bible (Paul’s letters to the Philippians, Romans, and Galatians) and some of the first copies of the Quran.  This was an incredible experience.  After visiting the library, we went to Trinity College and walked around Dublin for a bit of sightseeing.  On Sunday, I went with the family to a food festival near Kells.  This was fun, and I got the experience to try some truly great Irish blue cheese.

On Monday morning I walked up to the main house to ask the family what work we should do.  Edward (the father) said that since it was supposed to rain all day, we would go on a trip to the Wicklow Mountains.  The family and WWOOFers then set off to the east.  We went to a few historic houses and took tours, but the main destination of our adventure was the town of Glendalough.  This is a tiny little town in the middle of the mountains where there had once (in the 12th century, I believe) been a monastery.  It was beautiful.  I took plenty of pictures, which will all be uploaded when I reach the airport for my return (and have unlimited bandwidth).

Since then, I have just been working.  We have done a lot of weeding and edging along the driveway this week.  When I say edging, I mean cutting and lifting 1.5 trailer-fulls of sod.  This is exhausting work – but now it’s the weekend!

Tomorrow morning I am off to Galway, on the west coast.  I will take the train.  I will have all day tomorrow to explore Galway, then will stay in a hostel (for the first time in my life) tomorrow night.  This should certainly be an interesting experience.  On Sunday,  I am waking up and heading to a bus tour of the Connemara.  This is a very beautiful (or so I’ve heard) untouched expanse of land in the northwest of Ireland.  There are forests, lakes, and mountains.  I will certainly take a lot of pictures during this trip, as it is the highlight of my adventure in Ireland.  As of Sunday night, it will only be two weeks before I am back at home.

I hope everything is going well for all of you back home!

Goodbye for now,

Ian

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It’s Time for Another Update

Hello World,

Not a whole lot has happened since the last update.  The most exciting things happened on Sunday, with my visit to Dublin.  I made a pilgrimage – the Guiness Storehouse and the Jameson Distillery.  Those of you who know me well know what I am talking about.  For the past year I have been brewing my own beer and I have been awaiting the moment when I would have the opportunity to visit a world famous brewery.  Needless to say, it was wonderful.  I now have a certificate to show that I, Ian Edward Waldick, know how to pour the perfect pint of Guiness.  There are six steps:  1) Select a clean glass, 2) Tilt the glass to a 45 degree angle, 3) pour the Guiness until the glass is ¾ of the way full, 4) let the “surge” (nitrogen bubbles) settle, 5) fill the glass the remaining way with Guiness, and 6) serve with the Guiness logo on the glass facing the customer.  As you can all see, I thoroughly enjoyed this.  The Jameson Distillery was cool as well, although the location where the tour is no longer functions as a distillery, which I found to be somewhat disappointing.  It was still amazing though.  For the rest of the day in Dublin I walked around, got some lunch (Brazilian food, believe it or not), and saw the Dublin Castle.  The Castle was closed to visitors, however, because it is currently occupied by the administrative staff of the European Union. 

Since then, I have been working every day.  A lot of what I’ve been doing has been weeding in the gardens, which can be quite boring.  I think when I get back to the States, I want to take a good month or two off before I even look at a garden again.  I am learning a lot about various plants and gardening techniques though, which is nice.  I have also learned how to properly acclimate new hens to a new environment, which I suppose could come in handy at some point in my life. 

The most exciting thing that has happened this week, however, was dinner last night.  The family that I am staying with requires that each WWOOFer cooks at least one meal for everyone during their stay.  I decided to do my meal last night.  And the dish I served was, of course, my chili.  Now anybody that has tasted my chili knows that I take great pride in it.  It is, simply put, delicious.  Well, I was a little bit nervous to make it here because the family was not able to find all of the ingredients that I usually use, so I had to improvise.  It came out great, however, and everyone loved it.  I got an 8.5/10 from the family (.5 was deducted because I did not know the “correct” way to cut an onion, which I now know, and it is a good bit more efficient than the way that I used to do it).

This weekend should be exciting, though.  On Saturday I am going back to Dublin to see the rest of the city.  On Sunday I am going to Kilkenny for the day.  The family says that there is a lovely castle there.  Expect pictures soon!

That’s it for now,

Ian

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Off to Buy some Hens

Hello all,

It has been about a week since my last update and, unfortunately, not a whole lot has been going on here in Ireland.  I have been working every day and experiencing what the locals call “an Irish summer.”  This means that it starts out at about 50 degrees and alternates between cold rain and wind, and sunshine every five minutes or so.  Although this can be frustrating, as one might imagine, you get used to it fairly quickly.  The WWOOFers have been eating lunch and dinner with the host family every day this week, which is quite pleasant.  Since I have arrived here, I have eaten everything from Fisherman’s Pie (mashed potatoes baked with cheese, fish, and mussels) to a lamb roast.  I am very glad that I decided to give up my vegetarian eating habits while I am here in Ireland.

This weekend, however, is sure to be a busy one.  Tomorrow (today) we are going to a hen festival in Kilcock.  The hosts want to add about ten new hens to their eleven hens that they currently have.  This should be quite an interesting experience, as I have never had the experience of purchasing a farm animal.  If any of you need help purchasing hens, feel free to contact me after this weekend, and I will be more than happy to help you pick out some good ones.

On Sunday, Oliver (one of the other WWOOFers) and I will be going to Dublin for the day.  I am very excited to visit the Guiness brewery and the Jameson distillery.  This will be a pilgrimage of sorts.  Along with that, we will explore the city, possibly visit a few museums, and purchase a power adapter for my electronics.  The two-prong plugs in America do not fit into the three-prong plugs in the U.K.  There should be plenty of pictures on the way soon.

Another bit of news:  I will be returning two weeks earlier than expected.  I have decided to change my return flight from July 2 to June 16.  I have decided to shorten my stay so that I will not be quite so stressed after returning to the states with moving and preparing for law school and such.  I believe that I can still have an incredible experience in Ireland over six weeks, rather than eight.  I just need to make every moment count!

Be sure to look for next week’s adventure, as I am sure to be traveling around the country.

Talk to you all soon,

Ian

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