Today was our third and final day in Galway. We began the morning with a visit to a local farm about 40 minutes from downtown Galway. The farmer's wife greeted us in the farm house with freshly-baked Irish scones, hot tea, and coffee. After eating our breakfast and receiving a short introduction to life on an Irish farm, the group headed out to experience first hand what it's like to herd and shave sheep. We all watched in awe as a Border Collie, named Ted, rounded up over a dozen sheep into their pen. It was amazing how obedient Ted was to his master, and no one could believe the speed at which he managed to move all of the sheep. After watching Ted complete his job, we heard from Finton, the farmer in charge of the whole process. Finton demonstrated to us how to cut off a sheep's coat, how to groom sheep horns, and how to feed young lambs without mothers. Some of us actually got to hold bottles of milk for the motherless lambs to drink out of. Before leaving the farm, we met a very large pig and toured around the inside of the farmhouse. I thought that this was the best activity we've done yet because we were able to see what it's like living and working in Ireland, which is a perspective that most tourists don't have an opportunity to experience.
We returned to the hotel during the early afternoon, so we had a few hours to ourselves to walk around the city and grab lunch. Some people shopped around, while others went for a run, or caught up on much-needed sleep. After our leisurely afternoon, we had a jam-packed evening. The first event was a basketball clinic held by both teams at a community center about 30 minutes outside of the city. The majority of the kids who attended varied from ages 7-13, and they were all so excited to be there. After working with the kids on defense, passing, shooting, and 3-on-3 play, we ended the hour with a game of knockout between the men's and women's team (the women's team won thanks to Maggie Ely). To end the day, both teams attended a classical Irish River Dancing and Singing performance at a local hotel concert venue. Overall, it was a great day! Now we're off to Killarney.
- Claire Devaney (Class of 2015)
Hello from Ireland! Today we departed from Galway and continued our tour of Ireland by bus as we headed inland to the beautiful town of Killarney. On the way, we made a couple of unforgettable stops.
Our morning began with a trip through the town of Lisdoon, which is historically known as Ireland's matchmaking city. The story goes that many years ago, Lisdoon was where families sent their children to be matched for marriage. The individuals had no say over their choice of mates as land, status, and dowries were the only thing that mattered. Today, this matchmaking continues with a twist as single people and widowers flock to this area in search of love.
After our driving tour of Lisdoon, we made our way to the most beautiful stop we've encountered on our trip this far. We arrived at the Cliffs of Moher, where we battled the wind and took in the gorgeous Ireland landscape. As you can see in the pictures, this view was unbelievable. We all marveled at the beauty of the cliffs and sea as we looked out over the horizon. We found out that this place was not only beautiful, but also had a modern historic value. The cliffs we visited were actually the site of a scene in the sixth Harry Potter movie! It was so cool to know that we were in the exact spot of some of our favorite European actors.
Following this stop, we traveled to Clare County for lunch at the famous pub, Durty Nelly's. We enjoyed the delicious Irish cuisine once again at the restaurant which gave us the energy to cross the street to the beautiful Bunratty Castle and folk park. We got to do many things in our short time at the castle, including a guided tour leading us from everywhere from dungeons to princess quarters. We met a friendly donkey, played on a castle-inspired play set, and enjoyed the beautiful surrounding scenery. We left this stop to arrive at our second hotel, The International Hotel in Killarney. We have only just arrived at this beautiful hotel, but so far we have everything has been amazing! We were treated to a delicious dinner in the restaurant attached to the lobby. We have been resting in a food coma ever since, but can't wait to further explore the rest of Killarney in the coming days!
Love from Ireland,
- Ellie Greiner (Class of 2015)