Daily Posts from Ireland
After we had breakfast at our hotel, Camden Courts, in Dublin. We walked to the natural museum, which is called the dead zoo. We looked at taxidermist animals from Ireland and around the world. It was a site to see! It was like stepping back in time to the early 1800's where science was at its prime. After looking around Dublin my friends and I headed back to the hotel to meet the rest of of group. We made our way by taxi to the train station. This was my first time in a train! We traveled an hour to a town called Kilkenny. This will be our home base until May 28.
This was a sad day for us all. We were leaving the Atlantic Aparthotel in Donegal that we called home for a week. We said farewell to owner John. We had such a fun time with! John was with us the whole time going on the tour with us and telling us great facts about the places we went to. Thank you John for giving us a great Irish experience! From there we headed off to Dublin. We arrived a couples hours later and walked to the Natural Museum of Ireland - Archaeology. Where we viewed the bog bodies from 400 A.D. and jewelry lost and persevered in Ireland's bogs. This was an amazing site to witness! After this we had free time to go shopping. I was so happy I found and bought a wildlife book of Ireland and Britain. That I have been searching for. My two friends could not stop laughunijh because I was and am still intrigued with. It's a beautiful wildlife book!
We woke up early to drive to the Giants Causeway. This site is a geological wonder! A volcanic result of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns right next to the Atlantic sea. Every step is shaped exactly like a hexagon. There is a Gaelic folklore to this magical place. It was said that a giant, Finn McCool, created the steps. Battling with his rival another giant from Scotland. This place is so beautiful! The fog was hovering over the coast while we walked closer to the Causeway. We saw Humphrey the camel shaped rock, a friend of Finn and his boot as well floating in Portnaboe bay. When we got to the Causeway I spent most of my time by myself walking around. Observing and thinking of this amazing natural structure. God is so amazing! It was if he carved the steps of the mountain. I prayed to God when I put my quarter in the wishing wall. This was a special moment, I though of my dad and family as I walked on the steps. Looking at the cute flowery plant life that grew in the rocks. After spending a couple hours at Giants Causeway we went off to Derry. To view the local mural art of Bloody Sunday from the perspective of people who grew up and witnessed these sad events. The Irish against the British for civil rights. It was a heart felt moment and we got to meet the artists themselves. The 3 of them grew up right there in Derry and told us their stories of the events that were occurring in the 1970's. They made it a point for us to know the murals were of historical meaning to tell the stories of the people who went through Bloody Sunday. This was not about choosing sides, Catholic or Protestant. We ended our last night in Donegal singing Irish favorite songs with Niamh in the pub. It was a hoot!
Today was a fun activity day. The group had a choice between high ropes, kayaking or horse back riding. I choose to go kayaking on lake Marvin. We geared up again in thick wet suits and additional vests and helmets. The view from the lake was amazing! We saw Drumcliffe mountain and farm lands with sheeps. We paddled a little ways down the lake and through reeds in the water. The sun stayed out for all of the afternoon. I enjoyed it! But wish we relaxed more on the lake, less paddling more viewing. Highlight of the day was seeing big wave surfer, Richie Fitzgerald. We had no idea he was in his surf shop in Donegal town and a few of us got a group photo with him. I am star struck! He was so friendly and nice, talking to us. So cool! At dinner we went down the road to La Sabbia. Where we ate free range and farm to table meals. I had the roast beef with mash potatoes. That was really yummy!
Our surf spot - Tullan Strand
We all woke up a bit later then usual from last nights parting (for most, hehe) and had a yummy traditional Irish breakfast. Before we got wet suited up to go surfing in the cold but beautiful wild Atlantic Ocean. Our wet suits were 5 millimeters thick and everyone's feet were covered with booties. We were all pretty warm. The Atlantic wasn't super cold as I thought it was going to be but I know the wet suits helped a lot to keep us warm. It was refreshing! The whole time when I was wading in the water I was thinking of my dad, who was a true soul surfer. I was so glad I caught a few waves for him and I know he would have been so happy for me. I enjoyed playing in the water! After I headed back to the beach to put my board down, I later on the sand for a minute then ran back to the water. It was a freeing feeling, I love it! The rest our the afternoon my two roomies and I slept in until dinner time. I ate a delicious Irish stew and after eating went to the movie theater to watch a great documentary movie called Waveriders. That made me think more of my dad. So many great memories to connect with the tradition of surfing. That is my link to the life style though my dad and being from Hawaii.
In the morning Niamh talked about Irish history and about the poet from Sligo County, W.B. Yeats. We left our hotel in Bundoran to site see in Sligo town. Our group walked around Drumcliffe cemetery the barrel place of W.B. Yeats with a beautiful view of Drumcliffe mountain. My two friends and I ate lunch on the river side and after 3 hours of shopping around Sligo, our last destination was Glencar. Where a beautiful waterfall flows and the whole group try ice cream at that exact spot called "99". This was a great day! I felt like our Hawaii group and Michigan (delta college) group was more friendly.
ABOVE: Glencolmcille - Traditional Irish Village
BELOW: Sliabh Liag Cliffs in the rain
We started the day with a short lecture on Ireland's history. Which was really interesting to hear about the Irish immigrants and Ireland's connection to America and Canada as well. My great great grandfather was one of the millions of people to leave Ireland in the time of the famine to Canada. After the speech we hoped on the bus to Glencolmcille museum of a traditional Irish village. The houses were original, just restored to show how they would have looked like in the 1800's. A wee bit later when the souvenir shopping was finished. We drove further up the road to see the Sliabh Liag cliffs. It was raining heavily the whole time we were there. My friends and I walked the mile to cliffs in the rain viewing sheep grazing on the cliffs slopes. It was amazing!
We entered Northern Ireland to visit South West College to see their amazing campus and hear about their sustainability in Ireland. our group traveled to Cavan Burren Park to walk through the forest to view pre-ice age rocks moved by man. In the marsh forest we saw shamrocks, mosses, peat moss and tall pine trees.
May 17- We arrive in Bundoran. The view from our room at the Atlantic Apartotel.
It took us a few hour yesterday to get from Dublin to here in Bundoran, Donegal. A sweet coastal surf town. The ride was long but we had amazing site seeing spots along the way. Like the acient bural sites at Knowth and the peace statue, along the border crossing over to Northern Ireland.
May 17 - Newgrange - Knowth & The Peace Statue.
Knowth at Newgrange was an amazing site! We viewed burial tombs older than the pyramids of Egypt. And see stones that were moved from the shore and carved by Irish people from the 800's or older then that. We had the privilege to walk onto of the biggest mound in Knowth and enjoy the beautiful view of the land, not to mention capture a great group shot.
May 18 - St. Patrick's Well and Donegal Castle.
Today, we visited Saint Patrick's Well and Donegal Castle. Not to far from where we are staying. There were also caves near the well where Catholics would have to hide from British soldiers to pray because this was forbidden by the British. There was a wishing tree at the well where past people had put ribbons, rubber bands, prayer beads and even a sock or underwear. Basically anything you wanted to leave as a keepsake. It was so funny when my friends and saw the sock and underwear at the very top of the tree. I was think of my dad when I was at the well and shed a couple tears as a couple other group members did for their loved ones.
My two childhood friends and I made it to Ireland (2 days and 3 flights later) from our home Hilo, Hawaii. The long but fun flights were worth the wait. Arriving at Camden Court Hotel, a beautiful historical structure located in Dublin. We had a few hours to kill before our room was ready so a group of us walked the streets of Dublin. Adirring the amazing historical buildings and in awe of Irish accents. Our destination was St. Stephen's Green, a sweet and bustling park, not to fall from the hotel. We meet a very helpful and friendly Irishmen who showed us the way to the park. I was so happy to see many friendly and nice Ireland locals. Dublin is a very busy city with lots of people walking, riding bikes and driving cars (large and small). It does remind me of the very beginning of New York, on a small building scale. Can't wait to see more of Ireland!