Corcomroe Abbey | Ireland

30 April 2014

Deep in County Clare lies a beautiful 13th century abbey.
Legend says that it was commissioned by King Conor na Siudane Ua Briain.
After it was completed, he had the five masons in charge of the project executed because their work was so beautiful he was afraid they would build churches more extravagant elsewhere.

The site of Corcomroe Abbey is remote. Our bus stopped at the abbey on the way to the Cliffs of Moher, allowing us 20 minutes to roam around. We were the only visitors there, making the abbey quiet and eerie. 

I could have easily spent a day here. There was so much to see, and the site was just so peaceful.

Happy Wednesday!

Guinness Storehouse | Dublin, Ireland

27 April 2014

I've come to the realization that I like Guinness.
Granted, it took me a trip to Ireland and the Guinness Storehouse to figure this out, but I now enjoy Guinness. The Guinness Storehouse was obviously a must on our list of things to do in Ireland.

Walking into the Guinness Storehouse was like walking into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory... only with beer and less oompa loompas.
The building stretches over seven floors. SEVEN FLOORS! However, the tour is self guided, meaning you can go as fast or as slow as you like.
First, you are introduced to the process of making the actual beer. Then, you see some of its history and impact on Dublin.
That's all fine and dandy, but then you walk down a dark corridor and into a completely white room (I know, Willy Wonka style) where you learn how to properly taste Guinness. Trust me, knowing how to properly drink it makes a HUGE difference.
Lastly, you are taught how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. Seeing as I was the closest person to the guide, I was first to demonstrate. After pouring your own Guinness, you are invited up to the Gravity Bar, a room with a 360 degree view of the Dublin skyline.

Is the Guinness Storehouse really worth the trip?
Is it worth the 15 euros?

I walked in thinking I didn't even like Guinness.
I walked out a believer with a pint of beer in my belly.

Happy Sunday!

Thoughts From Abroad | Part 27

25 April 2014

Welcome to Thoughts From Abroad, a weekly recap of the little things going on in my life in England!

  • Sorry for the lack of a 'Thoughts from Abroad' post last week! Lots of traveling = an unmotivated online Sara.
  • I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! Mine consisted of rain, rain, and more rain. 
  • I managed to do the stupidest thing possible since I moved to England. I left my backpack on the train! Luckily, it was found and I was able to pick it up a few days ago!
  • There is a Obama Plaza being built in a tiny town in Ireland. There is also a giant billboard of Obama holding a Guinness. You know, why not? 
  • I've done my first ever boat pub crawl. Hopping from one pub to the next is always more fun when you have a boat as your main form of transportation for the night!
  • I have to give a dissertation presentation to a panel of professors next week. Yeah, I'm FREAKING OUT!
  • It kills me that I have to wait every Sunday to watch the new Game of Thrones episodes. Everyone knows the only way to watch a show is by watching one episode after another for hours upon hours.
  • I somehow came down with a sore throat and fever a few days ago. Nothing a little tea and bed time couldn't cure!
  • You know that viral video of the Southwest flight attendant with her hilarious safety feature monologue? I've been on a flight with her before! That whole crew was hilarious.
  • My Medieval Bristol class yesterday consisted of a tour of two medieval churches. Not complaining at all :)
  • New layout... again. I'm a very indecisive person! 

Happy Friday!

Meet Vicky!

Vicky is from a small town in Somerset, England. She moved to Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia in August 2013 to spend the year with her Aussie boyfriend. 9 months later she is trying to apply to stay in Australia. She is "enjoying" the process of getting the visa application together whilst working, writing a newish blog about her adventures in Darwin, trying to be a photographer, spending time with the Aussie and her lovely new friends, and enjoying the sights and sounds of Darwin! She just needs to find a way to defeat the mosquitoes who call her lunch now!

Life of a Graduate Student

23 April 2014

I came to the realization the other day that I have never dedicated a post to my student life.
Yes, I mention school and dissertation stuff from time to time, but I have never sat down to tell y'all about my day to day life as a graduate student. 
So here we go!

The biggest misconception about being a graduate student is you have a lot of free time
Yes, I only have class twice a week.
Yes, I spend a lot of time on the internet.
No, I do not have all that much free time.
As a history masters student, I spend most of my free time reading, writing, or researching. If I'm not volunteering at the museum, I usually wake up and head straight to a cafe (it's so much easier to concentrate with food and coffee in your belly). On a typical day, I'll spend about 3-4 hours sitting in a cafe reading or writing.

So what am I reading or writing? At the moment I'm writing two 5,000 word essays and preparing for a dissertation presentation. I try to force myself to write everyday, even if it's crap. Editing will come later. As far as reading goes, I've buried myself under a ridiculous amount of books on Henry VII (my dissertation topic). Seriously, I know this guy better than I know myself at this point.

Once term is over (May 19th), I will be spending the entire summer writing my dissertation. It sounds like plenty of time, but it's not. I'll be spending most of my time either researching in archives or reading secondary literature.

Moral of this post?
There aren't enough hours in the day.

Happy Wednesday!


21 April 2014

Happy Monday!

The Cliffs of Moher | Ireland

19 April 2014

For the first time in six days I'm actually able to sit down and catch up on internet life!
If it seems like I've been absent from the blogging world these past few days, it's because I have been.
My college roommate, Meagan, came to visit for the week. In the six days she was here we spent time in three different cities and two different countries.
As you would expect, I'm exhausted.
Since I haven't given y'all any juicy travel post in a while, I thought I'd share my favorite part of Meagan's trip: The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland!

Since both Meagan and I had never been to Ireland, we wanted to make the most of the trip and see as much as possible. We booked a day tour with Paddywagon (which I will review in a separate post later on) and headed off to the Cliffs of Moher.

Located on the Atlantic Coast, the cliffs are a 3 and a half hour journey from Dublin. The views however, made up for us being stuck on a bus for so long. When we finally got there I was disappointed to see there were railings preventing you from getting too close to the edge. Understandable, yet not great for the photo ops I wanted. As Meagan and I walked further along the cliffs, we found the railings stopped and you could climb to the literal edge.

As much as it freaked me out, the blogger in me was determined to get some amazing photos. 

The Cliffs of Moher were absolutely breathtaking.
 If it wasn't so chilly I would have thought I was somewhere in the Caribbean! When the sun came out the water was a beautiful blue, stretching for miles and miles, uninterrupted.
Yes, it's quite a far journey if you are staying in Dublin like we were, but completely worth it.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend!


Book Love | Winter King

17 April 2014

Henry VII is my thing. 

When I picked Henry VII as the focus of my dissertation, I immediately ordered every book I could find on him. 
Some, I have to admit, are pretty dull. 
Others, pretty fascinating.
Winter King by Thomas Penn falls into the 'fascinating' category. 

Non-fiction books have a tendency to state dates and facts, allowing little interpretation for the reader. I never considered the possibility that a non-fiction book could be suspenseful and thrilling. Thomas Penn's writing creates a fuller and deeper story to the life of Henry VII. He captivates the reader with the drama of early Tudor history without creating fiction.
I would suggest this book to anyone who enjoys real life soap operas or Tudor history.

Other titles similar to this book include:
Hilary Mantel Wolf Hall
Philippa Gregory The Red Queen and The White Princess

There will be no Thought's From Abroad post tomorrow as I just got back from Ireland. Expect lots of amazing Irish posts soon!

Happy Thursday!

Bristol At Home | April

14 April 2014

Recently I was introduced to Bristol At Home, a Public History project documenting life in Bristol. 
As a history postgraduate student, I understand the importance of leaving evidence of daily life behind for future generations.

Here's how it works:
Every month @BlaiseMuseum will announce a theme. All themes pertain to daily life, such as your kitchen or favorite outfit. Take a picture of the month's theme and use the hashtag #BristolAtHome. Your picture, along with everyone else's will be collected for future historical research. Some photos may even end up in Bristol's Public History Collection!

Tweet a picture of your breakfast with the hashtag #BristolAtHome to contribute to future generation's historical research!

My breakfast: Buttermilk pancakes and bacon. 
Questions? Visit Bristol At Home's website for further details about the project!

Happy Monday!

Queen Square | Bristol, England

12 April 2014

In the past few weeks I've spent countless hours reading about Henry VII. 
I practically breathe early Tudor history. 
Becoming familiar with secondary sources on the topic you plan to write your dissertation on is essential.
Although my love for Henry VII and Elizabeth of York grows with every book, I do find myself occasionally reading a page only to realize I hadn't really paid any attention to the words. 
I've discovered the environment in which you read is almost as important as the reading itself. Changing the scenery every now and then helps you focus and, well, keeps you sane. 

The weather is slightly warming up, meaning reading outside is an option. I find myself on Brandon Hill or College Green often, but never really ventured far from Park Street for my afternoon reading. 
Growing bored of my regular spots, I decided to finally give Queen Square a go. 

Stepping into Queen Square is like stepping into 18th century England. I had walked through Queen Square on many occasions, but never really stopped to sit on one of it's many benches. It's beautiful, green, and most importantly, quiet. The perfect reading spot. 

Needless to say, I had a very productive afternoon. 

Happy Saturday!

Thoughts From Abroad | Part 26

11 April 2014

Welcome to Thoughts From Abroad, a weekly recap of the little things going on in my life in England!

  • If you haven't noticed, I took a little break from blogging this week. I've been working intensely on essays that are due next month, and I didn't have much time for this little blogging space! Lot of amazing travels to come though! 
  • What does everyone think of the new blog layout? It was a spur of the moment decision that I am oh so happy with!
  • My college roommate is going to be here on Sunday! I'm so excited! We'll be spending a night in London, two nights in Bristol, and two nights in Dublin!
  • I started Game of Thrones this week. I really didn't need to get into yet ANOTHER amazing show. 
  • I've had an intense craving for fried pickles lately. I wonder how one acquires a deep fryer. 
  • Sloth gifs... I die. 
  • The classy thing to do on a night out with the girls is buy pocket sized bottles of wine to drink on the walks in between our destinations. 
  • Once my essays are turned in next month I will have all summer to work solely on my dissertation! Don't hate me when I start posting about the War of the Roses and Henry VII ;) 

St. Mary Redcliffe

Happy Friday!

Throwback | Boston

06 April 2014

I'm attempting to organize my life.
And when I say life, I mean the 'Travel' page of my blog. 
Most of the countries I have visited were pre-Bristol in my Pocket. I thought long and hard about how I should include some of those travels, and it dawned on me: Throwbacks.
So grab a cup of tea and enjoy the lovely pictures of me in my awkward years.

Boston, Massachusetts
March 2013. 
Age: 21

As a history major, I quite enjoy vacations that involve historical activities and sites. As I was a senior at university in 2013, my parents let me pick the vacation spot for Spring Break.
I chose Boston, a city I had never been to but always wanted to visit.
I absolutely fell in love with Boston. The atmosphere and architecture in Boston is like nowhere else in the US. We stayed at a beautiful bed & breakfast a few blocks away from the Boston Common. Unfortunately, we were the last guests to stay before it closed down!

On our first full day in Boston we attempted to walk the Freedom Trail. While we managed about half of the trail no problem, we eventually gave up due to the weather! Us Texans are not used to snow!

Our second day we made a trip to Plymouth Rock. While the town of Plymouth is absolutely beautiful, the rock itself is a bit... underwhelming. Once again, we were defeated by the weather and ended up driving back to Boston for food and warmth.

The weather for Salem seemed to be on our side. Before our trip, we had spent a substantial amount of time trying to decide which museum to go to in Salem. We ended up picking the Salem Witch Museum. While the museum was very theatrical and touristy, we were provided with the history of witchcraft and the background story of Salem. We wandered around a bit before driving to Cambridge to visit the Harvard campus.

Our last day we wandered around in the morning before hitting up a tour of Fenway Park. I am not a huge baseball fan, but do enjoy the atmosphere of baseball games. I absolutely recommend doing a behind the scenes tour of the stadium as you get access to places such as the locker room and the seats on top of the Green Monster!

No trip to Boston is complete without a little trip to Fenway Park!

Happy Sunday!