A blog for while I'm living and working in Belfast, Northern Ireland for 2 months this summer


the last weekend

As usual, there’s too much to write about and too little time to do it! Sadly, this is our last weekend in Belfast. We’re trying to make the most of it though by cramming as many things into it as possible. Here’s a quick recap of the past four days:


Trip to Derry to interview Jean Haggerdy, a sister of a teenage boy who died on Bloody Sunday, and Kathy, a director at a trauma center that helped people after Bloody Sunday and through the inquiry.  We learned a lot about how people are feeling after the release of the report. Jean said that most of the families felt relief and we’re in a “period of digestion” at the moment.  In short, Jean was very positive and glad her brother’s name was cleared. Additionally, she does not want to see anyone prosecuted in the future for their actions on Bloody Sunday. It was really something special to have the opportunity to talk to her, as she was one of the few who was let into Guidhall early on the day of the release of the report and the report was very significant to her.


Said our final goodbyes at EPIC and Wave. It was really bittersweet saying bye to everyone…especially Plum since we have spent so much time with him in and outside of work.  I’ll definitely miss him a lot, especially his random stories and fits of laughter. I hope to keep in touch with both Plum and everyone at Wave


We moved out of our hostel that we’ve been in for the past 2 months and moved to the dorms at Queen’s University for the next couple days. Ruth will be happy to know that they are no where near the caliber of Farset. After moving in, Courtney, Shaunak, Sean and I left to travel to OXEGEN, a weekend music festival in a town 30 min from Dublin. (The festival is similar to Bonnaroo or Coachella). We didn’t know what was going to happen on our adventure…whether we would even make it to the concert or back. When we left the dorms, all we had booked were our hostel, our concert ticket, and how to get to Dublin on the bus.  So we set off with positive thoughts and somehow everything worked out and after 2 bus rides we made it to the concert in time to see all of the performers we had planned on watching.  The Black Keys were starting their set when we arrived.  Then Vampire Weekend took the stage and was incredible. They opened with Holiday, which had been stuck in my head the days before. Somehow they sounded exactly like they do on their albums but with even more energy. Loved them.

Vampire Weekend

Then we took a break and came back to line up for Jay Z.  After standing in the pouring rain for an hour getting pushed around, almost breaking our ankles, and getting pick-pocketed (sad face…but luckily they threw my wallet on the ground afterward with my ids and credit/debit cards! how kind) we were 5th row to see Jay Z rock the stage. To put how awesome our position was and how hard we had to work to stand there into perspective,  75,000 fans were expected at the concert. Jay Z played a ridiculous set and even played Bloody Sunday over a song. Following Jay Z we wandered over to the DJ tent to see David Guetta push his play button along with an interesting light show. Around 1am we decided we were over the David Guetta rave and decided to try to find a way to get back home.  Luckily, they were selling bus tickets straight back to Dublin so we hopped on and made it back safe and sound to our cozy hostel. All in all, it was an incredible experience and I’m SO glad the four of us went. I’m also extremely impressed with us because we made it work with no major problems. Definitely will be something I will never forget. I’ll have pix later from my disposable and Sean took some awesome videos, so I’ll try to put those up later.


After sleeping for the longest I’ve probably slept this entire trip (which is sadly only 7ish hours), we headed to the Guinness Factory. According to the boys, at the top of the factory we drank the best Guinness we’ll ever drink. I’m not a huge fan of Guinness so it wasn’t really anything super special to me, but the tour was interesting. Following the tour, we grabbed a quick lunch at a pub and headed back on the bus to make it back to see the bonfires in Belfast. Unfortunately though it was pouring, so the bonfires on the Shankill where Sean, Shaunak and I  were planning to go were delayed until Sunday due to the rain, so we ended up just hanging out which is always a good time with them.

And yet again, I’m seeing the sun rise right now…So I guess I should probably go to bed. Tomorrow (or today) we’re going to the Barking Dog for lunch, hanging out during the day, and hopefully going over the Shankill to see a bonfire and then going out with Joe, our night guard from Farset. Should be a good day! Monday are the parades for the 12th and Tuesday is our last full day here. Wednesday I’m back on the plane to the States! I’m excited to see everyone when I get back!

ps. just looked at teh forecast for Pasadena when i get back….really? more rain? booo


No more photos

Well, it finally happened…I dropped my camera and the lens is jammed. Not sure if I can fix it or not. So it looks like I wont be able to take any more photos for the rest of the trip. Stinks a lot. Cross your fingers it will fix itself somehow. Luckily though, Courtney W has started bringing her camera around, so I can steal her pix!

Anyway, hope everyone had a good 4th of July back in the states! Although they had awesome 4th of July/American themed parties here, I definitely missed seeing fireworks!


it’s a party in the USA (but not)

AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Celebrating the 4th of July in Belfast in the most American way we can….Budweiser, beer pong, dizzy (cricket) bat, and country music.

Mini 12th Weekend

This weekend is a sort of mini 12th celebration weekend leading up to the actual day of the 12th next weekend. Last evening we went to a parade on the Shankill. Two bands walked from the Northern Ireland Supports club all the way down to City Hall where they placed red poppy wreaths. Tonight is a Lambeg drum competition and tomorrow afternoon there will be another parade down the Shankill with over 70 bands! I bet we’ll be able to hear the lambeg drums from our hostel. Here are some pix from the parade last night:

fiddy p, pix and songs

This is completely random and not important, but I learned on Thursday while researching for EPIC that there is a mural somewhere around here of 50 cent…not sure why though but i thought it was amusing and my goal is to find it before we leave.  Then later that same night we got a taxi to go out and he was playing rap and I asked if it was 50 cent to which he responds, “oh yeah your boy Fiddy P.” Fiddy p as in fifty pent…instead of cent. I thought it was hilarious.

Here are some pix from the weekend and the songs I’m listening to. I’ll update about the past week and very eventful weekend sometime soon. I’m sorry doing this for the second week in a row, but I’m really tired/lazy and there’s just so much to write about and process! My other pix are up on Facebook though from our plaid night out on Thursday, culture night in Lisburn Friday, a trip to the rope bridge Saturday, and family fun day in Lisburn on Sunday.

plaid night out

with the new mayor of lisburn


Songs of the moment:

“I Can Talk” – Two Door Cinema Club – fun and poppy

“Sex on Fire” – Kings of Leon – still huge in bars here…i used to dislike this song but now i’m hooked.

“Not the Sun” – Brand New – I found out that Sean is a closet Brand New fan as well (aaand he’s up on the whole feud between tbs/straylight run/etc. which is sweet), so I’ve started listening to them a little bit again. Super emo, but super awesome.

“Quicksand” – La Roux

“I think UR a Contra” – Vampire Weekend – think it’s my favorite song on their newest album. Starting to get pumped because I think we’re gonna get to go to oxegen for sure now, sooooo i’ll get to see vampire weekend play!!!!!

“Empire State of Mind – Part 2” – Alicia Keys – they played this at the bar Friday night to get us to sing karaoke. Although the song is awesome with Jay Z – it’s been so overplayed that I’m sick of it and I now like this version so much more. I would love to see Alicia Keys again in concert – absolutely amaaazing.


weekend of little sleep but loads of fun.

I don’t feel like writing sooo here are some photos from a weekend of little sleep, but lots and lots of fun.

a lazy Sunday in the Botanic Gardens with the group

Queen's University

the sun coming up on the summer solstice - there was only about 4 hours of darkness that night

Lavery's - maybe better than the Bot...definitely better music! They played remixes to mgmt, yeah yeah yeahs, the strokes, and nirvana

most of the group at Lavery's

fancy ceiling and chandelier in Stormont - the parliament building

view from Stormont

weird puppet monsters at the city carnival to welcome the new lord mayor

more of the carnival at city hall

it was a great day to watch Gaelic football

Another great weekend in Belfast. 3 more to go. I’m going to miss it here!



The other day, Stevan, Sean and I got to go on a trip through Wave to Croke Park to see a group of Protestant and Catholic primary school students from Belfast play a group of primary school students from Dublin in a hurling match. Hurling is a primarily Catholic sport that’s a mix between field hockey and lacrosse. It’s kind of hard to explain how it’s played and I’m not even exactly sure how any of the rules work, so I’m not going even going to try. It’s super fast and fun looking and I wish we played back home! Here are some pix from the trip.

the little hurlers from Belfast

hurling clubs

croke park

really good hurler

sean playing



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