Well, we finally made it to Dublin the other day. Like I said before, we had a great time with Amanda's family in West Cork, and I can still hear her little (hardly little by the size of him) brother's voice saying to me, "Quiet, you". Ahh, to be part of the family. :)
The day after Christmas Amanda's dad took us coursing, where two muzzled greyhounds chase a hare across a field, trying to make it change direction before it ducks to safety under a barrier. The shocking thing was, they obviously let the hare out first, and the dogs a few seconds later, and more often than not, the dogs never caught up to the hare! They really are fast little animals. There are hares all over Ireland, and since West Cork is in the countryside, there were plenty of them out on the lawns in Amanda's backyard in the mornings. I think one morning there were at least 10 of them, just sitting around, diging everything up. :) Happy little hares. We went out to Blarney to see the coursing, home of the famous Blarney Stone. We didn't stop and I didn't kiss it, seeing as how if you do, tradition states you get the gift of gab. I think I already have that, let's be honest!
We went out to another local pub the night after Christmas, and it was great. Full of locals and apparently the bar has to close at two, but they just close the doors, turn off a few lights and keep on serving until the police come, if they ever do. :) And get this, kids can be in the bars and pubs, but only up until a certain time, like 9pm. They were shocked that we Americans can't have kids in bars. Many pondered what they would do with their kids if they couldn't take them to the pubs with them. :) By the end of the night everyone was taking turns belting out songs and others were joining in. Rahima and I couldn't get up the courage to sing. I actually realized that I don't really think I know how a)most songs start or b)most of the words apart from the chorus. Hmmm...something else to now work on on those long bus rides.
So we headed to Dublin which is a VERY expensive city. We did a great walking tour and although it is expensive, it is quite pretty. We met a group of Australians living in London who shared our hostel the second night, so we all headed out together last night and are still paying the price for it a bit today. We jumped on a bus to Belfast and got here about an hour ago...which means 4pm and it is almost dark. Yikes! We are still trying to figure out the whole New Years situation, as we didn't do any preemptive planning for accomodations in Scotland (in hindsight, not very bright) and so we are still unsure if we will make it up there to welcome in 09 or if we will head back down to London perhaps. Wish us luck!