Thursday, 31 May 2012


I can't believe I've been in Dublin for almost a month...and I left Canada over a month ago! Time is just flying; I can only imagine how fast the entire year is going to go by. It's been a nerve-wracking, happy, exciting and full-of-new month, but it's been great and I wouldn't trade the experiences I've had so far for anything in the world.

There have been some changes to my life within the past couple of days. My roommates moved out and I have new ones moving in tomorrow. They're a young, Italian couple who moved to Dublin to learn English. I don't know how long they're going to be staying (I don't think they do either) but they're very friendly and I'm sure they'll be good roommates. There might be some communication issues but I will try my best to help them learn English and it'll be grand! ( they say in Ireland).

The other change is my department at work. I had my last shift in the Drawing Rooms for a month; for the next month I will be working in the Cellar Bar. I'm really excited about it because it will be a different pace and more relaxed atmosphere than the Drawing Rooms (at least that's what I hear). There will definitely be a steep learning curve - for example, I need to learn the wine list (25 white, 25 red). But it will be a great learning experience! When June is done I'll move back to the Drawing Rooms to work for another 4 months (I think that's the plan, anyway).

And possibly my favourite news to report this time...I get to see my mom tomorrow! I'm not sure what we're going to be doing, but it'll be fun I'm sure! I owe her a meal at a nice restaurant, so that's at least one thing on the itinerary. I'm sure the visit will be too short, but it'll be amazing to see her in any case.

Happy June, everyone!
Love, Jennalyn

Monday, 21 May 2012

Wicklow Day Tour

This past Friday my friend Rochelle and I went to the county of Wicklow for a day trip. It was my first time out of Dublin since I got here, and even though the weather wasn't the best, it was still a great day! We had an early start and were touring around for about 8 hours, but most of that was spent on the bus. First stop was the Glencree Valley ("glen" means valley, "cree" means heat = heart of the valley) where we had our coffee stop and had a little snoop around. Then we drove through the Wicklow Mountains which had a very different bog landscape to what I'd seen before.

Bogs in the Wicklow Mountains
We saw where some of the scenes in "PS I Love You" and "Braveheart" were filmed, as well as the Guinness estate on Lough Tay (which means "Lake Tea", if I'm not mistaken).

Rochelle and I by the Guinness Estate (where Paul McCartney wrote "Yesterday"!)
We went to a monastic ruin in Glendalough, which had a lot of eerie character and skewed gravestones.

We then stopped for a late lunch in the town of Avoca, which was famous for being the set of the fictional town "Ballykissangel" (an old soap opera I think? Although I could be wrong). One of my favourite stops of the day was at the Avoca Wool Mill, where we saw rugs and things being handmade with looms. The colours in the mill were so vivid and beautiful! Avoca is a shop in Dublin that sells cooking things, clothes, rugs, candles, books, etc. and has a café with cakes to die for (at least that's what people say; I've never had any myself).

A man using a 120 year old loom to weave a rug.
All of the handwoven things in the store are supplied from the Avoca Mill, so it was interesting to see where and how they are made.  All in all it was a great day, and nice to get out of Dublin. I definitely want to do another day trip sometime, but perhaps I will plan for when the weather is nicer! 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Settling In

Hello all,

I don't have too much to report on this week, and I don't have any of my own pictures, which is too bad. My first week of work went quite well (I think). Everyone has been very helpful in answering the hundreds of questions I have, and I have been learning quite a lot - not just about my current job, but about hotels in general, the hospitality industry, etc. I've loved every minute of it, which is a good sign that I'm in the right degree! The shifts are a lot longer than I'm used to (and in heels, which is good fun) but there's lots to keep me occupied.  I've attended four training sessions thus far, including the champagne training I had on my first day.  Yesterday and today was spent in the training room watching slideshows and taking notes on the history of the hotel (a really rich and interesting history, if you want to know you can ask me!), the different departments, fire safety and manual handling safety. As well as that, we had a tour of the different departments and a couple of the rooms.

I have Thursday and Friday off this week, so I'm hoping to go to Wicklow (on the coast, south of Dublin) for a day with my friend Rochelle. It'll be nice to get out of the city, and Wicklow is supposed to be very beautiful! 

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of the Drawing Rooms/Bar No. 23 (which is where I'm working) so you can see where I'll be spending 40 hours of my week for the next year. The photographs were taken from the Leading Hotels of the World website (, which The Merrion is a proud member of.

The Drawing Rooms

Bar No. 23
Can you picture me working in those fancy places? Yeah, neither can I.

Hope you're all having a wonderful May! 
Love, Jenna

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

First Day of Work and Apartment

Dia Dhuit! (...that's hello in Irish apparently),

I had my first day of work yesterday, and my feet were killing me by the end of it! I got to The Merrion at 10AM, and got changed into my uniform and to The Drawing Rooms (the part of the hotel where I'm working) by 10:30AM. It's so different from working at a sports bar! I didn't really do any serving on my first day, but I was happy to clear tables and watch others because there seems to be a lot to remember: for example, when serving a customer tea, you never want them to pour the tea themselves, so there's a certain way to pour the tea for them. Another example is that all of the different menu items have a different place setting. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it soon, but it was a little overwhelming to begin with.

Possibly the best/funniest part about my first day was that there was champagne training! Two other servers and myself went to it, which involved learning about how champagne is made, different types, etc (and when I say champagne I mean only the sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France...the presenter was very clear about that!). Then we had a champagne testing; everyone thought I was lucky I got to drink on my first day! Apparently they have these trainings fairly frequently - tea training, coffee, red and white wine, etc. It's fantastic because many of the other people in the hotel are young and wanting to learn about the hospitality industry like myself.  Tomorrow some of us are going to go on the Viking Splash Tour  (click that to go to the website) and then out for drinks; it's a lot more interesting living here when I know people!

And, as promised, here are some pictures of my apartment:

My room, with my bed made (like it always is...)

My closet and photographs

The living room and dining room

The tiny and ill equipped kitchen 

Me out front of the apartment block. My window is the one on the bottom left.
So now you all have an idea of what my living situation is like!

Hope you're all having a great week!
Love, Jenna

Sunday, 6 May 2012

May 3rd-6th

My apartment is starting to feel a lot more home-y: I have clothes hanging in my closet, pictures on my walls and flowers in my windowsill (thanks dad!).  I have been trying to set up an Irish bank account and get some bills set up in my name (since my roommates are moving out at the end of the month) but it all seems to be a vicious cycle: you need a proof of residency (such as a bill) to set up a bank account, and you need a bank account to set up the internet/TV/etc. so I can't seem to get anything done. I've emailed my landlord and hopefully she can help me with some sort of document, but we'll see.

The best thing about this weekend was my dad visiting! He was only here for a day and half, but it was wonderful to have a friendly face and someone to talk to and hang out with.  He helped me set up my room a little bit more, fixed some broken cabinets (you know how dads are), took me out for supper and toured around Dublin with me. We had a really great day on Saturday (sunny and fairly warm despite a forecast of rain).  We walked all over downtown Dublin: first we got a coffee and drank it in St. Stephen's Green (dad said that we had been there before, but I couldn't remember)...

then we checked out The Merrion (where I start work on Tuesday) and hung out with Oscar Wilde a little bit at Merrion Park...

next we walked alongside Trinity College then visited Ms Molly Malone. After that we walked down Grafton Street and then stopped for a delicious ciabatta sandwich and, of course, more coffee. After lunch, we explored downtown some more and came upon a really awesome shopping centre called the "Powerscourt Townhouse". Definitely a cool place to check out! 

Next we walked to the Dublin Castle, which (after consulting my map) was a lot closer than I expected it to be. It wasn't very busy and not as cool as I thought it would be, but it provided a beautiful backdrop for our pictures nonetheless.

We continued walking through small streets and came upon the eclectic Temple Bar area of Dublin. It was a nice surprise, and definitely a place I will be visiting more often! It's also where we went for a fish and chips dinner that was so bustling we had to try several restaurants before we could find one with room for us!

We then walked across and along the Liffey River which divides north and south Dublin. We didn't explore north Dubin at all (a task for another day). 

Lastly, we went to Christchurch, which was an area I was familiar with as I spent my first night at the hostel near it.  

Everything was really beautiful and we were blessed with the non-Irish weather to walk around in. Today dad and I tried taking the bus to see how that works. We waited at the bus stop for quite a while and when no bus showed we decided it would be better to walk than wait any longer; of course, as soon as we started walking about 3 buses passed us...oh well, we still found a quaint coffee shop quite near to my apartment, so it all turned out alright. 

I was sad to see my dad go, but when mom and him visit next I'll hopefully have more neat places to show them and more stories to share. And, of course, when I get homesick I can always head over to what must be the one Tim Hortons shop in Ireland for a Canadian cup of coffee.

That's it for now! Hope you enjoyed the pictures :)
xoxoxo Jenna

Thursday, 3 May 2012

First Day in Ireland


I got into Dublin late last night and went straight to my hostel. I had a terrible sleep there, partially due to the rock hard mattress and partially due to not wanting to miss meeting my landlord. I got into my apartment about 10AM (pictures to come later). My landlord and my roommates are very nice; my roommates are from Brazil and they're moving back to Brazil at the end of the month, so there will be new tenants moving in in June. 

Today I walked to the shopping area/downtown, which is about a 15 minute walk from my apartment, and got a new phone number and some other essentials.  Possibly the most exciting part about today is buying a week's worth of groceries for only 20! I start work on Tuesday May 8th, which is exciting but scary, so I'll let you all know how that goes. I guess there's not too much more to report on for now.

Love and miss you all!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Switzerland In A Week

I'm leaving Switzerland tonight to move to Ireland. I've had a lovely week with my parents and have done lots of things (and a lot of relaxing).  I went out for sushi with my mom and my American parents (LeAnn and Jasper), I went to Bern for the first time (can you believe it?), I went on some walks, I did some driving, and explored an old castle's ruins.  Here are some photos of my week at home.

The Bern Clock Tower

 Me with my neighbours

My beautiful and quaint town of Arisdorf

The Dorneck Schloss (castle) ruins

I can't wait to show you some pictures from my new home in Dublin! I just have to get there first...
Love, Jennalyn